I was an Acting Principal at Enkwenkwezini SS School and towards the end of 2011, I attended a district workshop to present our Turn-Around strategy as a school that was under-performing.
During this workshop I also heard about the PMDP. According to Mr PK Mhletywa and Ms NJ Mgebisa from Education Professional Services at the provincial office, this programme was supposedly going to assist principals in driving improvements. I reluctantly agreed to be part of the programme (as I was acting principal at the time) after some further convincing from the Head of Curriculum, Mr Helesi.
My main objective was to improve results and save our school. The school was on the brink of being closed down as we only had 50 learners and we were also not performing for years. Our 2011 Gr12 results were 8,6% (1 learner passed out of a class of 12).
I soldiered on and slowly started liking the programme. Some of the things that made the turn-around possible for us was ensuring that I shared my vision with our staff and improved teamwork using the tools from the programme. When the teachers started believing and sharing the same vision, things started changing. There was a positive spirit in the school and everyone worked towards the same goals.
What also worked well for me was to tell the teachers that they are allowed to be creative in achieving the desired goals and they amazed me. I also started making our learners feel special, more specifically the Grade 12s and they became so positive and they also worked hard towards the same goals.
Our results soared the following year: 2012: 80%; 2013: 80%; 2014: 84.2% and 2015: 100%
We are not looking back … I would recommend the PMDP for all principals and my specific advice will be as follows:
- Change your attitude about what you are about to learn from the programme
- Improving relations at school is the first step
- Share your vision and get everyone to live it
- Allow teachers the freedom to be creative within the rules of the school
- Make your learners feel special
- Use the tools from the programme
- Work closely with SGB and parents generally for achieving stated goals
By Mrs Nosizwe Jacobs – Principal of Enkwenkwezini Senior Secondary School in Fort Beaufort district, Eastern Cape.