After-school classes bring hope for better pass rate

Matric pupils during an after-school class at Ocean View High School.

An after-school programme was launched at Ocean View High School last week with the aim of improving the school’s matric pass rate.

Frances Grendon, of Noordhoek, said she had decided to help the school after reading earlier this year that its pass rate had dropped from 50.9% in 2021 to 50.6% in 2022 (“Matrics of 2022 beat the odds,” Echo, January 26).

At the time, the school’s acting principal, Andrew Sanders, attributed the 0.3% drop to the attitude of pupils, a lack of involvement from parents, and a lack of discipline. He said parents and pupils did not see education as a means out of poverty and a way to get a better future.

Ms Grendon, a former financial controller and human resources manager, said she grew up in Simon’s Town and was a child during the forced removals under the Group Areas Act.

“I have always wanted to give back to my community and thought this would be a good opportunity for me to do so,” she said.

After reading the article, she contacted Mr Sanders who welcomed the idea.

They had a meeting to discuss the challenges and later visited the New World Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Lavender Hill that offers after-school facilities and educational support, among other things, to see how its facilities worked.

The programme, which is run by the school’s teachers, started on Monday April 17, and Ms Grendon, who with the help of two local supermarkets arranged lunch for the pupils, said attendance had been good.

She spoke to the pupils before the start of the programme, urging them to attend. She plans to visit the school several times a week to monitor attendance and the outcome of each session.

Mr Sanders said the after-school programme would run from Monday to Thursday, from 2.30pm to 5pm.

The aim is to create an atmosphere for self-study and to give pupils an opportunity to address any problems they might have with their schoolwork.

He said it had been hard to get everyone on board as most parents seemed more concerned about the matric ball than their children’s education.

“The school is working hard to increase its pass rate. We are working towards an 85% pass rate,” he said.

It was important to provide pupils with a meal after school as you “can’t teach a hungry child”, he said, adding that local businesses had been helping with this, for which the school was very thankful, but he hoped more would get involved.

Matric pupil Siyanda Mahoyi said the classes were started to help pupils who did not do well the previous term and those who struggled to study at home.

She said the classes gave them an hour to do their homework and an hour to work through their notes and they could ask for help.

“So far, the programme has been helpful for me because I get to focus more on my work, and that will help me to up my grades,” she said.