Chatsworth Seconday’s Zaheema Khan, Shuaib Abdullah, principal Arthur Luckhan, Shaheed Abdullah and Viloshni Naidoo.
THE once prestigious Chatsworth Secondary School has been scraping the bottom of the matric results barrel, but a sudden turnabout by resolute staff and determined pupils has boosted the school’s pass rate by 50%.

The school has leaped from its dismal 2016 pass rate of 27.3% to 77.7% this year, which is over the mark of KwaZulu-Natal’s average pass rate of 72.8%.

This followed the dedication of a new principal, Arthur Luckhan, and his team.

In the early 1990s, the Bayview-based school served pupils from elite parts of Chats- worth and surrounding areas who were attracted to the school’s constant sterling year-end performances.

Chatsworth Secondary produced local legends, including author Professor Ashwin Desai, Amnesty International secretary general Kumi Naidoo and anti-apartheid activist Lenny Naidu, among others.

“The school began to decline since the year 2000, and became infamous for poor results. I inherited that problem when I started heading the school in 2016 and had to be accountable for what was happening. We were damaged to a point of no return,” said Luckhan.

Starting 2017 with a bang, Luckhan made each pupil sign a pledge stating they would comply with Chatsworth Secondary’s code of conduct and strive for excellence.

Out of their own pockets, Luckhan and his teachers provided extra classes after school and during holidays, pressing pupils to focus on what would help them achieve their dreams.

“When pupils didn’t show up for classes I called their parents and went to their homes to sit down and see what the problem was,” Luckhan said.

For hours, the devoted principal would engage teenagers, discussing their future.

Shuaib Abdullah, 19, failed four subjects in his trial exams in September and was called to Luckhan’s office almost every day.

Abdullah recalled: “He spoke to me for hours, at the time I wasn’t performing well because I was interested in the wrong things but he kept pushing me and now I have passed, and I am hoping to study sports management.”

Luckhan added: “We have all sacrificed in so many ways and the school will grow from here.”

Luckhan said Chatsworth Secondary would attempt to make further strides by amending the curriculum, discipline and way of learning at the school.