It Takes a village – let’s help
Dorothy Ker-Fox draws our attention to the desperate needs of the Sea Vista Primary School
Sea Vista Primary School in St Francis Bay, moved from their “farm school” site and situation (with minimal / no facilities) into their new building at the beginning of 2017, this led to an influx of children who had been attending schools in Humansdorp and were registered at Sea Vista in 2017.
While helping out at Sea Vista primary at the end of 2017 two critical issues were brought to my attention: the lack of teaching staff (the staff allocation did not increase with increased numbers) and the low literacy rate due to very big classes, over 70 in grades one and two in a single class each). A decision was taken by some members of the community, it started with St Francis United Church, to help out, if possible, the following year.
2018 started with a crisis for the school. Their grade 1 enrolment was over 100 with 1 teacher, teaching English, Afrikaans and Xhosa children, all in 1 classroom. Grade two had a similar situation with over 75 children in one class, the grade two class had all completed grade one in Afrikaans (many had been allowed to proceed to grade two even though they were unable to read or function using numeracy). A decision was taken to sponsor a grade one teacher so that the class could be split into two groups, the classes were then taught in Afrikaans and Xhosa (according to the majority of children’s home languages and pressure from the community). The local community, church and Rotary helped with the funding of this teacher. (It must be noted that the grade R classes at both Sea Vista and Talhado are taught in separate classes, Xhosa and Afrikaans).
In conjunction with this effort about 20 members of the community gave of their time and started “support classes”, small groups of grade ones, twos, and threes who were unable to read were given support with phonics, reading and basic comprehension skills three times a week in the mornings. Another group of about ten volunteers started a Mathematics / basic arithmetic support programme for seniors who were unable to pass and did not have the basic numeracy skills. This was taught in the afternoons to small groups of children (grade 4 to 7).
The principal and teachers at the school were thrilled with the progress made by the children who had been attending our classes and we were asked to continue with this project in 2019. The support programme is running again as it did last year.
The staff situation looked as if it might improve, in July last year the Education Department employed a grade one Xhosa teacher, this meant the teacher we were sponsoring could move to the grade twos and that class could be split into Afrik and Xhosa classes . Then in January this year the Department employed another grade two teacher. Our joy was short lived, two teachers (grade two and four) retired at the end of the tem (March 2019) and the Department has, as yet, not advertised either of these posts. The community will continue to raise money through donations to sponsor the grade two teacher and has agreed to sponsor a grade four teacher for the second term only – hopefully by then the Dept will have appointed teachers.
The school situation at present
Grade R (preschool) 2 classes of approx 40 children each (Xhosa & Afrik)
Grade 1 2 classes of over 50 each
Grade 2 2 classes of over 50 each
Grade 3 one class – over 60 children
Grades 4 to 7 only one class for each grade – over 50 children, in some cases over 60, in each class.
JUST IN – 07:15 28th February
Pancake Day extended! R5 with sugar/cinnamon.
Ladies’ Guild of St Francis United Church is fundraising to buy cricket practice nets for Sea Vista School. Orders welcome to be collected at Sandown 16 Stavenisse between 11h00 – 13h00 today. Please bring container.