Washington Drive ready for new school year

Colorado Park resident, Yasmeen Roghay, having her say about the prospects of the new school at the meeting on Thursday October 24.

Washington Drive Primary School is the name of the new school that will open in Washington Drive, Colorado Park, when the 2020 school year starts.

The school’s pupil number will be made up largely from pupils who were unsuccessful in their applications to other schools in Mitchell’s Plain.

Residents have been asking for a school for the suburb for years said resident Warreldia Daniels.

Speaking at a meeting of the Colorado Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CRRA) on Thursday October 24, Ms Daniels said parents were in tears because they wanted their children in school.

“Why do you come with a new school now, when you could have built the school when we had asked for it back then?” she said.

However, Lynn Primo, from the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) Metro South District, said infrastructure does not come cheap and it takes about two years to build a school. It is one of 30 schools in the province, she said.

The classrooms will be bigger than the average classroom, 60 square metres.

“Every community has its needs, it is the journey that we are on to see to those needs and achievements,” she said.

Natalie Bent, former ward councillor for the area and member of the CRRA, said children from Colorado Park should get first preference for this school.

Bronagh Hammond, WCED spokesperson, confirmed that they would.

She said pupils have already been identified from the department’s unplaced list. Preference will be given to unplaced pupils from Colorado Park, but it will also include pupils from surrounding areas.

Sub-council 23 chairperson, Elton Jansen, said Ms Bent, in her term, brought building a school in this area to light.

“It may have fallen on deaf ears then but now it is here. Let’s drive it, let’s take this community and turn this school from a temporary one into a permanent one,” said Mr Jansen.

Thus far 280 pupils have been accepted at the school, which will only be offering grades 1, 2 and 3 initially.

Ms Hammond said the school will start as a mobile or prefab school with the intention of building a brick and mortar school, if and when the department’s budget allows.

She said once the school is registered and a school governing body (SGB) is elected, they will decide on the name of the school but in the interim it’s called Washington Drive Primary.

Michael Jacobs, deputy chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plan United Residents’ Association (MURA) and also a Colorado Park resident, welcomed the news of the school. “A school is surely needed in this community as residents have been requesting one for many years,” he said.

Almondt van der Schyff, chairperson of CRRA, said parents have spent a lot of money to send their children to other schools. “I am very happy about the new school. I drove past the area where it will be and it is exciting for us. This is a wonderful time as this community has been waiting for years to receive their own school since there are no schools in the area.”