Spine Road High pupils master maths

Spine Road High Grade 9 maths teachers; Zarina Mathews, Kellina Pillay, principal Riyaadh Najaar, Ilze de Wet, Shanaaz Miller and Fatima Manuels.

Spine Road High School in Rocklands, a maths and science focus school, did exceptionally well in the annual systemic tests, achieving the highest results for maths in Mitchell’s Plain.

The tests are specifically for grades 3, 6 and 9.

The Grade 9 pupils did not only do well in maths but placed the second highest for language.

According to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), Spine Road High pupils achieved an average mark of 71.9 percent in maths compared to an average of 33.3 percent in the Metro South Education District.

WCED spokesperson Paddy Attwell said 90.7 percent of the pupils achieved more than 50 percent, which is the pass mark for the tests in Grade 9, compared to 21.7 percent in the district and 23.6 percent in the province.

For the language tests the pupils at Spine Road High achieved an average of 69.4 percent compared to 52.9 percent in the district and 52.6 percent in the province.

Principal of Spine Road High, Riyaadh Najaar, said he is proud of the pupils and staff who have worked hard throughout the year.

“Our pupils and staff are committed and are determined to do well. We encourage our pupils to be positive towards maths as it can be challenging and we make sure that they have enough support,” he said.

Spine Road High head of department for maths, Fatima Manuels, said the school hosts extra classes for pupils, and has made smaller maths classes. “We split the pupils into smaller classes so that we can work with them on different levels. So we would take one class and divide it into three and split those who are struggling, so that those pupils do not get lost.

“We also provide them with materials and show that we have an interest in them. We are very proud of them and we know they will only do better,” she said.

Mr Attwell said the school has consistently performed well in the tests and provides an excellent example of best practice in teaching language and maths.

“The systemic tests tell us exactly what we have to do to improve the language and maths skills of learners in primary school and Grade 9. This is important because language and maths provide the foundation for further learning. We use the annual tests to inform teacher training and support, to set targets and to monitor progress,” he said.

Another high school that has done well is Mondale High School in Portland. They achieved the highest pass rate for language in Grade 9 in Mitchell’s Plain, with 98.2 percent.

Rocklands Primary achieved the highest pass rate for maths in Grade 3 with 94.5 percent, while Westville Primary School in Westridge achieved the highest pass rate for Grade 6 maths with 94.5 percent.

AZ Berman Primary School in Beacon Valley achieved the highest pass rate in Grade 3 for language in Mitchell’s Plain with 92.9 percent, while Westville achieved the highest pass rate for language in Grade 6 with 93.6 percent.

Principal of Westville Primary School, Cheryl Baker, said she is proud of the school’s achievement. She said they have an excellent strategy in place that works for them. “It is only hard work, teamwork and community assistance that give us good results. The community takes ownership and are very supportive. We usually have grade and staff meetings and always have a plan for the year. When it comes to parent meetings we are guaranteed more than 90 percent attendance,” she said.

Ms Baker said on weekends they have sessions with parents where they teach them how to help their children. They also have a home-school partnership programme, called Wordworks, aimed at working with the Grade 1 pupils at the school.

“We also have a school-based support team for every grade that discusses challenges and works out a support programme. A big thank you to the staff and community,” said Ms Baker.

“The results reflect the hard work of teachers, learners, principals and officials who provide excellent examples of best practice in teaching, learning, school leadership and education support,” said Mr Attwell.