Bonwelong Primary School in Ivory Park is like an oasis in a desert. It has neatly kept gardens and school grounds are generally free from litter. Learners are neatly dressed in their white shirts and grey bottoms, and are courteous to staff and visitors. The Principal, Ms Siphiwe Zulu, runs a tight ship. The school functions like a well lubricated piece of machinery and, although there was some initial scepticism, has now fully embraced the GPLMS. The school has a highly supportive School Management Team, starting from the school Principal, Ms Siphiwe Zulu. One of the school’s two deputy principals, Ms Erica Furumele, teaches English to two Grade 7 classes, and the Head of Department, Ms Gladness Mzolo teaches English to grade 4s and grade 6s. The HOD is a joy to work with, and is very supportive of staff members, and disseminates information efficiently. The staff compliment is very dedicated, with teachers even using Saturdays to catch up.
The school works in synergy with the community. If a teacher is concerned about the progress of a learner, it is brought to the attention of the parents, through the School Management Team. Members of staff even have their own children attending at the school. This is a good sign, as it shows that they have confidence in their own school, and they are likely to give of their best, as they can personally identify with and empathise with the other parents in the community.
An analysis of the learners’ performance this term has revealed that 65% of the learners achieved a pass mark in English. Although the teachers noticed an improvement, there was a consensus that learners still face a challenge in writing. Learners are strongest in the listening and speaking tasks. This may be because Learners are encouraged to communicate in English when at school, as it is the Language of Teaching and Learning. As a school policy, educators of other learning areas also teach and communicate with learners in English. This serves the purpose of improving the learners’ comprehension of English.
In their strategies for improvement, all educators from grade four up to seven pointed out the need for more attention focussing on the skill of writing. Others also mentioned the need for learners to read more in order to expand their vocabulary. Stakeholders all know that more work still needs to be done to ensure that learners can write properly but we can see plenty of evidence every day that the foundation blocks are all being carefully put in place here at Bonwelong Primary.
Picture: Ms Erica Furumele (Deputy Principal) and Ms Siphiwe Zulu (IP HOD) at Bonwelong Primary School, Ivory Park.