A new school in Tafelsig wants to serve the community with quality education and have their pupils achieve great success.
The new school, Tafelsig No 2 High School is situated next to Perseverance Primary School. The school has 400 grade 8 and grade 9 pupils with 14 teachers, four support staff and 10 classrooms.
Acting principal Keenan Herbert told the Plainsman, on Friday February 17, he is delighted to be part of the new school.
The school opened its doors on Monday January 16 and the pupils started their first day on Wednesday January 18.
Mr Herbert taught at Gateway High School in 2022 in Ottery, which taught consisting of pupils from Samora Machel, Khayelitsha, and Mitchell’s Plain, among others. Some of the pupils from Gateway High School living in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha are currently at Tafelsig No.2 High School, he said.
Placements for Tafelsig No.2 High School were done by the Western Cape Education District, he said.
The school will be electing a school-governing body in the weeks to come. Once they are elected, discussions about a new school name, school uniforms, placements and the possibility of more grades opening up, will begin.
“We want parents involved,” said Mr Herbert.
In the interim, they looked at affordable ways to choose their uniform, going with a grey skirt and pants with black jersey. The SGB should be elected at the end of March. They’re also excited that plans for a sports field are starting soon. The sports field is for Perseverance Primary and Tafelsig No 2 High School, said Mr Herbert.
“Because we are not selective of who is placed here, my vision for this school is to ensure that pupils get their matric certificate and set them up to qualify for tertiary education enrolment,” said Mr Herbert.
Some of the pupils have been out of school for a year, he said.
“We need to find where they’re at. The pupils are exposed to many things in the community. I always tell them, what’s acceptable at home may not be acceptable here. We instil values in them such as respect, transforming the mindset of pupils. It won’t happen overnight but with time it will,” said Mr Herbert.
Once the SGB is established they’ll be able to tap into funding, said Mr Herbert.
Struggling pupils are referred to social services programmes. The programmes focus on a holistic approach to identify what the cause is and continue care and support the pupils, he said.
“The Safe School team have ensured our security at school during the week. Tafelsig neighbourhood watch has also been a great help in protecting our pupils. We are grateful that they could help us. We want to build a relationship with the community. They should be the eyes and ears of our school,” he said.
Shantal cloete, chairperson of Tafelsig West Neighbourhood Watch said they’ve been involved in the school since they started building.
“We’ve been the security for the workers as well as at night especially to secure the equipment and building material. We are still at the school as security in the morning and afternoon as volunteers. We wish the school well and a safe environment for the pupils.”
Mr Herbert graduated in 2014 from Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a Bachelor of Education (B.ed). He taught at Beacon Hill High School in January 2015. In 2017 completed B.ed honours in Educational Management. In 2020 he became departmental head at Beacon Hill High School. In 2022 he worked at Gateway High school as acting deputy principal.
Bronagh Hammond, WCED spokesperson said the school was opened to accommodate the additional placement needs of the community.
The school was completed in December 2022, she said.
An interim SGB was instituted and an acting principal appointed.
“The school currently offers tuition to Grade 8 and 9 pupils. Next year, these grade cohorts will move up a grade, thus making the grade offerings from grade 8 to grade 10. The following year, 2025, it will go up to Grade 11,” she said.
“There is nothing unusual about this. The WCED phases in grades like this at most start-up schools. The school is a public ordinary school and therefore will receive norms and standards funding. Furniture and equipment has been delivered to the school by the WCED,” she said.
“The school advocates and ensures they give quality teaching for every child at Tafelsig by being well-prepared every day,” said Mr Herbert.
Grade 8 pupil Mvelo Mpengesi, 13, said it’s fun and challenging being at his new school.
“Social ills affect us, such as poverty, crime and substance abuse but we’re going to solve it,” he said. He wants to be an engineer.
Teacher, Abdul-Mueed Cassiem, said it’s his first year teaching.
“There are challenges around the school but it can be solved. We make sure to give our pupils the best education, making teaching in class relatable to their reality. Mitchell’s Plain is stigmatised. This school is something positive within the community, this school will be excellent,” he said.
They’re looking forward to building on the school’s legacy and making sure each child gets quality education and achieves success, he said.