The Ward 1 office was recently approached by the headmistress of Lovemore Park Farm School, Ms Ayanda Nkumanda, who appealed for help to prevent the threatened merger or closure of the school.
The following is her appeal:
On 12th March, 2013, the MEC for Education, Mr Makupula called the school governing bodies to a meeting at Algoa College of Education. This was to relay the scenarios for the re-alignment, mergers and closing of schools. The District Director of Port Elizabeth addressed the meeting on the status of the district, number of learners, teachers and schools in the district. This was done in order to prepare for the 2013 Planning and Budgeting.
The aforementioned was based on whether schools were to be closed, or merge and restructure. The expected number of learners in small schools was given as 135 – 310 for Primary Schools. If there are less learners, the school must consider a merger or closure. The biggest Primary Schools should have 860 learners at the ration of 35:1. An example was made of Lovemore Park Primary School with 104 learners, and Elukholweni Primary with 115 learners.
Based on this, the schools were charged to do consultations and report within 3 months on the following (I will only dwell on our school for the purpose of this report):
- Discuss the matter with parents, thereafter make decisions whether to merge or close,
- Consult with school communities and Councillors to get their point of view on the matter
- Not to ask the MEC as to what will happen to the infrastructure, but give him directives on what to do, stating the requirements clearly,
In our case, the School Governing Body and the parents have met and decided on the following:
- The school must not close. It is the nearest school to Walmer township. Both Primary schools in Walmer are well above 1000 learners per school. The overflow of learners should come to Lovemore Park, as we need 35 extra learners to comply with the new requirements,
- The school belongs to the government,
- The Department of Education should build one extra classroom. Renovations are needed to the other buildings and toilets, and we need a supply of drinking water.
- We need to erect a fence around the school for security,
- Interact with the municipality for maintenance, collection of garbage, and supply of drinking water
- Create suitable fields for cricket and netball,
- Create a parking area, staffroom, and extend and upgrade the kitchen and library,
- Obtain a caretaker, cleaner and a clerk for the school.
On the other hand, we request the community to assist and support us in our endeavours. Ideally, we need community help with the following:
- Build the required extra class, as currently our grades 1 and 2 are sharing a class with grade R
- Assist with taking garbage to the dumpsite,
- In the list of requirements to the MEC, choose what you can do to assist.
The school has been progressing, until the department took away feeding, transport and we are short of educators. All these are now resolved, except for the fact that only 88 learners are fed and only 27 get transport.
We have a list of achievements attained during the past five years. We need your help and the list of requirements can be discussed with us at the school.
Closure is not an option. We need to keep this school open. Elukholweni and Bushy Park Farm Schools will most likely merge, at the existing Elukholweni site, and these premises cannot handle more than 160 learners. We need to find another 35 learners to enrol at the school, and I have approached two of my DA colleagues, who live in Walmer township, to assist in this regard.
We know that there are many children in the township who are not attending school because their parents cannot afford the transport costs. This matter will be taken up with the Department, because all pupils at the school must be treated equally. Subsidised transport must be provided.
Lovemore Park Primary needs to obtain one new classroom, and we need to renovate the one existing building to create another classroom. We need to create a bigger kitchen and library area and we need to obtain a supply of drinking water. The toilet block also needs attention. Do we have builders and plumbers who can assist us?
We need to remove all the garbage and cut and clear bush – who has some labour and a truck?
The two new teachers are making a big difference and the small team of educators needs our full support. The youngsters are enthusiastic and we must give them the opportunity to get a good education. This is all possible, and together we can make a difference in the lives of these pupils.
Are you able to assist the School?
Mrs Nkumanda and I discussed these issues last week and I offered to email our local database with this list of requests. How can you help? Are there other aspects which could or should be considered? Will you be prepared to get involved as part of a Task Team that will work with the educators and SGB?
The current group of learners need our support. Activities will initially be co-ordinated through my Ward 1 office and working together we can really make a difference in the lives of these pupils.
Please join us on this journey. Email your thoughts and ideas and suggestions to my Ward office at Ward1@mandelametro.gov.za Alternatively, call Vedette or Anneen on 041 583 1732 and tell us what you can do to assist or fill in the form below and select Ward 1.
Please give us some indication of your anticipated support, by noon this Thursday, 13th June, so that we can discuss plans with the Headmistress and the Dept Education.
There are many challenges ahead, but with community support we can transform this school and build it into a proud symbol of hope for the future, which will have a positive impact on these young learners. Please help us to secure the future of the Lovemore Park Primary School.
Cllr. Stanford Slabbert
082 9900 907