Plucky PE schools defy odds

WHILE many schools in Nelson Mandela Bay got off to a rocky start yesterday, other schools were determined not to let departmental problems get in the way of providing good quality education to their pupils.

Cowan High School and Parsons Hill Primary started out on a good note, with stationery and textbooks handed to pupils on arrival.

Cowan High principal Trevor Dolley said things went so well that most of his teachers started lessons after assembly yesterday morning.

Pupils at the school were divided into classes, the school issued its roll-out plan and teachers distributed textbooks.

“The teachers and members of the school governing body have been working tirelessly behind the scenes throughout the school holidays to ensure that we have this smooth start on the first day.

I praise them for their commitment and dedication,” Dolley said. Parsons Hill Primary principal Clinton Saddler reported a “great start” to the new academic year.

“All our kids received their stationery and books on time because we ordered them a long time ago. Every child had everything by the time they walked in to class, thanks to the hard work by the teachers.”

Dr Desmond Grove, principal at David Livingstone High in Schauderville, said that aside from little hiccups here and there, things went very well at the school on the first day.

 He attributed the smooth start to the teachers having dealt with the bulk of the work when chools closed last year.

“The teachers are all positive and geared up. It looks as if the pupils are ready to learn. We are ready to deliver quality education.  We are finalising the numbers of our intake.”

At VM Kinana High School in Uitenhage, Grade 12 pupils rolled up their sleeves and started cleaning their classroom after finding it vandalised and dirty.

Determined not to let this get in theway of starting their lessons, pupils mopped and swept their classroom. They picked up the litter before moving their tables and desks into the room.

“We have come here because we are ready to learn. If we must pitch in and get our hands dirty in order for things to get going sooner, then so be it,” said one matriculant.

 Sapphire Road Primary principal Bruce Damons said it was all systems go at his school yesterday morning, with children being alloted to their classes based on timetables that were ready. Classes started once the school bell rang.

Of the 1080 pupils enrolled at the school, Damons said, 901 arrived yesterday. The 308 pupils who did not attend were those who rely on transport that had been cancelled by the department.

 But despite the lack of transport, he said the school had come up with a plan to make sure that pupils attend school.

The parents had decided to walk children to school in teams every day. A group of unemployed youths had been employed to walk those pupils to and from school. The school lost seven temporary teachers, but had already looked at getting in parents to assist the overloaded teachers.

Two temporary teachers had also volunteered to come back, while two students who graduated last year would be teaching at the school for a small stipend.

“We really want to thank our parents for their continued support,” said Damons. “When we started after the school holidays the school was clean and it has not been vandalised. We are truly blessed,” Damons said.

A number of schools said a lot of parents who had neglected to register their children in good time had arrived yesterday hoping to find a place.

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