An emergency high school has been set up to accommodate the hundreds of Mitchell’s Plain pupils who did not find placement earlier this year.
Mitchell’s Plain High School, as it is called, opened its doors to Grades 8 and 9 on February 18.
Principal Faiq Salie said the school took in 200 pupils, in four Grade 8 classes and a Grade 9 class.
Last year the mobile start-up Perseverance Primary School opened its doors to 170 pupils, from Grades 1 to 3 (“First award ceremony for Perseverance Primary School”, Plainsman, December 5, 2018).
To get into the school next year, applicants must register online, and following regular assessments.
He said the school building, formerly home to Khanya Primary School, which moved to Philippi, had been vandalised, with only 13 of 27 classrooms being operational.
The high school will share its premises with False Bay College Mitchell’s Plain campus, until 2021, when its lease expires.
Mr Salie, the former principal of Wynberg High School, and who grew up in Lentegeur, said he saw his role as ploughing back into the community.
“I’m here and the staff are here to inspire the pupils and to encourage them to dream. Also, the parents who want to be different, and allow their children to be better than they were,” he said.
He said there would be no compromises on providing quality education.
“We have a moral duty to provide quality education, irrespective of economic or social challenges,” he said.
Mr Salie said he would like the pupils to excel and access opportunities to have a brighter future.
“The pupils must be better than those who taught them,” he said.
He said pupils should look the part and act the part, which starts with uniform.
“We want to develop a sense of pride, which will spiral into their school work. The teachers must do the same, and eventually this synergy starts to show,” he said.
He said when pupils represented the school or were seen outside school, they should be demonstrating excellence.
Mr Salie wants the school to serve the community.
“It must be used for early childhood development, the elderly, religious groups and sports clubs.”
He said pupils should leave the school in a better condition in which they found it, and that spaces should be created that encourage pride.
The school has accessed emergency funds from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Community Work Programme (CWP), a national government entity providing job safety.
The windows and electricity at the school had to be replaced. New burglar bars have been fitted and the concrete floors and stair wells are being fixed.
CWP supervisor Fred Arendse said they removed graffiti from the boys’ toilets, and painted them.
They have members stationed at the gate; control signing of the visitor register; clean classrooms; the chalkboard; water channels; help with the scholar patrol; safety and security of pupils at school and during the school holidays, with a workshop at Mnandi beach.
Mr Arendse said they work 64 hours a month, and help at the school wherever they are needed.
“I’m glad that we have been able to work at the school, and see the difference we are making,” he said.
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said it was not an emergency school.
“It is a public ordinary school like any other,” she said.
She said the demand for high school accommodation in the area, specifically for Grade 8 intake, led the department to look at available options for accommodation.
Ms Hammond said the site was previously used as a primary school, and subsequently, due to the site’s availability, it was agreed to open a new school there.
“Regarding its future expansion and any new developments on the site – this is still under discussion,” she said.
She said the school was opened to accommodate pupils due to pressures in the area, adding that the department was investigating possibilities of expansion, as well as the development of the curriculum to suit and cater for needs of the community.
“We are very excited about the future prospects of the school,” she said.
Ms Hammond said vandalism continued to be a problem, not just with this school, but many schools throughout the city. The WCED will be assessing the security needs of the school.