This Good Shepherd Trust quarterly report provides an overview from May to September 2019. Eugene Delacroix once said: “We work not only to produce, but to give value to time.” Since our Trust meeting at the end of May and four months later one just cannot believe how time has flown. I am now marking my first year in my position as a proud Principal of this amazing public school on private property. I can assure you that I have learnt quite a lot. I strongly believe that one has to add value to time and that this time must be spent and planned with discipline and enthusiasm. At Good Shepherd Primary School we encourage learners at Assembly every morning to spend their time in a valuable way and to be positive in what they want to achieve. I am confident that we have the ability to educate learners in such a way that they can become successful leaders of tomorrow. Any quality educator with a strong vision will not only teach his or her learners about the content of the syllabus, but will also teach them the lessons of life and especially the values of our school.
On Friday 31 May, some of the Old Andrean Boys paid a brief visit to our school. They handed over a cheque to the school which can be used to invest in educational material. Our Marimba Band performed during the hand-over and the Good Shepherd Community appreciated their kind gesture. Our mid-year exams went well and we experienced once again that a great majority of our learners completed their formal and informal assessments with responsibility and are keen to succeed in life. We are also focusing on our learners with academic barriers and motivating them to attend the homework clubs, extra maths club, etc. Some learners have also been referred to the Rhodes Psychology Department for evaluation, etc. Reverend Claire is looking after the wellness of our learners and has regular sessions with them on a Wednesday. Mrs. Sievwright is also helping out with counselling and the wellbeing of learners who are referred to her.
Congratulations to Mrs. Eleanor Christian, appointed as our new Head of Department as from 1 June 2019. She is doing an outstanding job and takes a lot of admin and curriculum monitoring from my workload. Mrs. Christian will attend a leadership symposium in 2020 to give her more practical knowledge regarding the roles and responsibilities of her position. We can now advertise her Post level 1 post in the Foundation Phase and hope to fill this vacancy soon.
Mrs. Green (Gr. 1 educator) was on maternity leave until 9 September. Mrs. Booysen helped as a substitute teacher and has done amazing work with the Gr. 1’s in Mrs Green’s absence. Ms. Botha (English Home Language Gr. 4 to Gr. 7) is not fit to work at the moment and we are privileged that Rhodes Education Faculty helped us with two final year students. Both these students give their best and I can only testify of the positive feedback I get on a daily basis from the parents. During our AGM in November 2018, we had made some promises to our parents and learners for 2019 on various fields. Rugby and Netball have been implemented in our sport programme and we can only share positive stories. Lelihle Matyolweni in Gr. 6 has been selected for the Albany Primary Schools Rugby Team. The Albany team participated in a rugby tournament from 13-16 June at Marlow Agricultural School in Cradock. We have played numerous matches and one of the highlights was the rugby and netball matches vs Port Alfred Primary in Port Alfred. The bus trip to the sea was a highlight for the players. We could not play any matches against St. Andrews Prep due to the clashes on the term calendar. We thank Mr. Tim Barnard for inviting us to soccer matches at SACS fields. From next term we will also participate in Mini-Cricket for the Foundation Phase. Some of our Foundation Phase learners are also actively involved in the Rugby Ready Programme that is supported by EP Rugby. My thanks to the voluntary coaches for the coaching of all our players. Our school was the only primary school amongst many high schools to perform in the annual Shakespeare Schools Festival. We are proud to announce that their performance on 23 August in the Rhodes University Box Theatre was a huge success and we have received many compliments. Good Shepherd is also a school that wants to give back to the community. We held a “Civvies Day” to raise funds for the ‘Survival Band’ (which includes parents and friends of the School) to travel to the USA in 2020. Their live performance at GSS was enjoyed by everybody. During Mandela Day we visited the Raglan Road Multi-Purpose Community Centre; soup and bread was served to the elderly. Their appreciation will stay with us for a long time to come. We also donated a hamper of food to two elderly ladies whose houses were completely destroyed in separate fires.
We have made a concerted effort over the past few months to raise the profile of the GSS by featuring in the Media. I still believe this is the cheapest and most effective way of promoting our school. It is quite important that people outside the Grahamstown region read about our proud school. Our quarterly parent meeting on 18 July was again a success and I appreciate the fact that parents spontaneously took part in the meeting and shared their ideas. Soup was served afterwards and we are delighted that just over seventy parents arrived to attend the parent meeting. During the National Arts Festival our school grounds were used as an entry gate to the parking area. A contract was signed between NAF and the Good Shepherd Trust and the Trust have received their money for this agreement.
We have recently held a farewell function at the Highlander for Mrs. Cecile Mager, the former principal of GSS. The function was well attended and Mrs. Mager showed her appreciation in her speech and with us individually. Mrs. Appollis, who retired after 44 years of dedicated service to GSS, will receive a farewell function in November.
The headmaster of St. Andrews Prep, Mr. Brendan Brady, visited our school during the term to discuss the Number Sense idea in Mathematics. Although this is an expensive venture, we do believe that this new way of understanding Maths can be of value to all our learners. Mr. Accom (Maths educator Gr. 4-7) and Mrs. Christian (Foundation Phase) have attended two different Number Sense lessons at Victoria Primary. They will do a follow up at St. Andrews Prep later in the term. Both these educators are very positive and do believe that we can implement this at our school from 2020 (Gr. 1-5). Mr Aarnout Brombacher will do demonstration lessons at the School on a Friday in November, followed by the Grahamstown Number Sense workshop on the Saturday, which four GSS educators will attend.
During a meeting between Mrs. Hibbert (Headmistress DSG Junior) and some of our staff, we have decided to work closer with the DSG outreach programmes. The DSG Junior girls visited us as part of Reading Week and interacted with our learners. They formed groups and read to each other, this was an enjoyable event and we are looking forward to meeting with them again. Afterwards the DSG girls donated some books to our library. I attended the Catholic Schools Office Principals’ workshop in Port Alfred and enjoyed the full day of interaction with other school Principals, as well as the sessions with the Department of Education on the role of public school on private property. Statistics showed that these no-fee schools are the best performing schools and the reason for this achievement is quite simply, that the learners enjoy education in a safe environment with excellent infrastructure. Self-respect and discipline are some of the key elements that arose from this workshop. On 5th October educators with 15 years’ experience and longer will be presented with long service certificates during a luncheon at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Grahamstown. In my previous report I informed the Trust that we will receive a visit from the audit panel in Bhisho. We survived our internal audit by the Department of Education and I want to thank Prof. Antrobus and Mrs. Meiklejohn for all the preparation and hard work behind the scenes. All public schools on private property have been audited by the DOE. Some of these schools experienced the arrogance of some of the panel members and have a problem with the fact that the final audit report was a matter of copy and paste to all the schools, yes, our report went to St. Mary’s as it was wrongly copied and pasted! I can assure the Trust that our report was a good one and we thank the Good Shepherd Trust for all their financial and academic support.
During the past four months I have attended two meetings with our neighbourhood Principals, Mrs. Rafferty from Victoria Primary and Mr. Schmidt from Victoria Girls High. Some of the discussion points were the use of sporting fields, how we can help each other in a way that is educationally beneficial and the possibility of a cleaner and more attractive Huntley Street. I am positive that the outcome of our meetings was successful and that we can only learn from each other to take our schools to higher levels.
Amanda Mafu is our new IT Lab Facilitator. She is a hard worker and is managing to bring a new sense of purpose to the use of the IT Lab. The learners are enjoying all the IT educational programs and the feedback from them is positive and encouraging. Eight of our Gr. 5 and Gr. 6 learners have been identified to join the Johan Carinus Art Centre for art classes once a week. These learners are enthusiastic and enjoy the creative art sessions. Thank you once again to the Good Shepherd Trust for funding this project. I have attended numerous Principals meetings and workshops. Two of the recurring points on the agenda are i) the matric pass rate for 2019, and, ii) the mismanagement of the nutrition programme and school funds. Our bookkeepers are Business Sense, they evaluate our financials on a monthly basis and again the GSS Trust is funding this. This is a huge burden taken away from the school and it helps a lot. We are in the process of budgeting for 2020. We involve the Financial Committee of the SGB and will have a few meetings before we explain the budget to the parents in November. There isn’t even space for a mouse from Gr. 1-7 for 2020. We have done the admissions for Gr. R and can accommodate 35 learners, we received just more than a hundred applications. That is after we were forced to reject any new application forms beyond the closing date. Our library was blessed to receive three boxes of donated books from the Rotary Club of Uttoxeter in England. We have also donated some of our old books and those more relevant to High Schols to Mary Waters High School. Ms. Venn our Library Coordinator also hosted a bargain book sale (R5 each) which was well supported.
Educational excursions are cardinal in the educational process. What a learner experiences first hand during an excursion will stay with him or her for a very long time. The Trust will sponsor the transport form our Gr. 7 class to the VW Auto Pavilion in Uitenhage. Our other classes visited the museums, fire brigade and NELM as part of education programme. Currently the Trust are investing quite a lot of money in the infrastructure of the school. Roof leaks are being repaired, paintwork to the window frames/security gates, the play area at the Gr. R class will be painted and varnished, etc. We are blessed with numerous organizations that are involved in the educational process at our school. GADRA plays a vital role and we thank and appreciate all the staff at GADRA who invest many hours in our school programme, all to the benefit of our precious learners. The Home School Partnership Programme (HSPP), through the Lebone Centre, emphasises the important role of parents after school hours, several of our parents are doing this programme. We are working closely with Mrs. Knoetze and Ms. Long from the Rhodes University Education Faculty. Mr. Booysen from Rhodes University Psychology Department is evaluating and assisting our learners with academic barriers. Thank you to all stakeholders who are making a positive difference in our school.
Important dates for the fourth term: Good Shepherd 135th year Birthday Celebrations in the Cathedral on Friday 4 October at 10:30. Our Gr. 6 Leadership Camp will be hosted at Fairewood from 11-12 October and our Prize giving will be in the Drill Hall on Friday 18 October.
Thank you once again for all the support, all stakeholders are giving our children hope for the future.
Thank you to Prof. Antrobus and Mrs. Meiklejohn for all the assistance and guidance and communication on a regular basis.
Our sincere thanks to Sifunda Kunye for keeping our IT Lab running and effective. The Trust have recently appointed Amanda Mafu in the IT Lab, after Mrs. Kruger left us. Thank you to Amanda for always trying to accommodate the learners and to share her knowledge with them in a calm and constructive way. I will visit the IT Centre on regular basis and experience for myself the interesting things that the learners are doing. We have entered the “Fourth Industrial Revolution “ and I strongly believe that computer literacy is a must for every child even if he or she is only five years young. The educational work that Sifunda Kunye are doing cannot be measured in money, but only in our leaders confidence for the future. Thank you to Jolande and Xander for your visits and positive attitudes towards our Good Shepherd learners.
Principal: Manie Cronje
Good Shepherd Primary
Tel: 046 622 8998
Cell: 084 580 1326
Location: Good Shepherd Primary School
Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa