SPF Project


Funded by: Kistefos, Norway

Project Coordinator: Hilton Williams

Sector: Education

The vision is to empower principals, teachers, learners and the community to improve the quality of learning and teaching for learners in 14 rural and township schools.

The Kistefos Academic and Sport project uses highly qualified mentors / coaches to visit 14 schools to share their vast knowledge in leadership and teaching for principals and learners, School Management Teams (SMT) and English, Mathematics, Science and Foundation Phase teachers to improve learning and teaching. Daily visits allow contact sessions with each school twice in two weeks.


Mentors / coaches were appointed. Numerous schools were invited to participate in project, many applied and 14 were accepted. Their participation is supported by the Education Department. Meetings and questionnaires determined the needs of principal, staff and learners in each area. Strategic planning allowed focus on areas of need. Mentors travel in teams and mentor / coach and provide scaffolding. They identify needs and challenges to provide support. Planning was emphasised and good progress at micro- and macro-level has been achieved.

·         Science and English mentors have conducted afternoon workshops, which were well attended and appear to have been very successful.

·         Foundation Phase planning files have been given out to all the teachers.

·         Focus on the use and application of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) documents.

·         Model lessons have also been presented by the mentors for the teachers to follow.

·         Teachers have been supplied with websites to load a variety of video clips to help with their teaching. These sites also have lesson plans that are helpful.

·         Meetings with principals and teachers in charge of student leaders have been held.

·         At least 10 senior learners from each school are to be trained in a leadership programme and exposed to a full day of adventure-based learning.

·         Impact in three schools to date: contact with the teachers in charge about the concept of student leadership as well as the procedures of selection.

·         Types of duties for student leader have been identified and shared with schools.


Quantitative Description: Anecdotal input.

General issues:

·         Maintenance issues appear to be an issue in most of the schools. Roof leaking, no blackboard, toilet problems.

·         Teacher shortages appear to have a serious impact on time on task for students.

·         Teacher absentees with no substitutes is a cause for concern. Classes are doubled up with a teacher doing a baby- sitting function.

·         Students arrive late in some schools yet other schools start on time and students are punctual.

·         Despite the DoE instruction of no meetings at Rubusana before 14:00 this, according to the teachers, still appears to be happening during the mornings.


Class / subject teaching:

·         Many mentors reported that teaching was happening in most schools, however, some still seemed disorganised.

·         Many teachers point out students being unable to speak and understand English as the medium of instruction. Teachers regularly code switch in trying to teach a concept to the students.

·         Some teachers are behind with the CAPS and put this down to having to constantly revise stuff that has not been understood by the students. They feel that they cannot just move on without the students understanding the curriculum. This then puts them behind according to the expected pacing.

·         Some class rooms are attractive but others need serious transformation to be a comfortable place of learning.

·         English, Science and Maths teachers need upgrading, assistance with knowledge-based input as well as teaching methodology.

·         Teacher lesson organisation of the large classes needs to be looked at. In some schools teachers only had a few NECT books that were being passed class to class.

This is disruptive and not good practice.

·         Observation is that teachers do very few practicals in Science and are not familiar with the scientific process.

·         Planning for the day as well as lesson plans still seem to be a problem. An assumption seems to be that because of the CAPS and NECT, planning is not necessary.

·         There is a serious shortage of teachers and senior staff appointments are delayed.

·         Text Book shortages remain a huge problem.

School management and Leadership.

·         Intentions: The focus is on protecting teaching time. Students and teachers should be in class, teaching and learning. Management plans have been put in place.

·         Delivery of Learner / Teacher Support Material (LTSM) has not been done in some schools and incomplete in others. This is being followed up urgently.

·         The programme intends to get the parents more involved in the school leadership.

The programme proposes to plan parent workshops to:

·         To help parents understand their involvement in the school. What can they do to help! Participation in general upkeep of the school.

·         Assist with the up-coming SGB elections.

·         Initiate a newsletter to parents, keeping them informed about the school.

Student Leadership.

·         Many schools have a misconception of the student leaders being an extension of the teacher’s role.

·         Our observation is that the idea of student leadership in the Primary Schools is not a familiar concept. Although some schools do make provision for this.

·         In the high schools the idea of the RCL is understood as it is legislated for grade 8’s and upwards. Yet the manner in which it is applied needs to be improved.


·         There has been a marked improvement in the quality of learning and teaching despite the enormous challenges.

·         The lack of Leadership and Literacy led to a project of training Principals, Gr1 and Gr2 teachers. This was outstanding and 49 were trained in Leadership, Learning and Literacy Encounter (CL3E) skills which will have a wonderful positive impact on leadership and literacy. Resources have been secured and the mentors will continue to monitor and guide the teachers as well as the leadership team.

·         Reading Champions have been appointed to promote literacy. They have been trained and resourced. They work full time in classes and promote literacy by establishing and running after school Reading / Homework Clubs and supporting reading in Foundation Phase (Grades 1-3) classes.


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