With schools on the Atlantic Seaboard generally doing quite well in the annual National Senior Certificate examination,Vista High School in Bo-Kaap has stood out by increasing its pass rate by nearly 20 percent.
When the matric results were released last week, there was good news for the school – it had achieved a 91.37 pass rate this year, 17.7 percent higher than last year.
Principal Charline Little, who has been at the helm since May last year, said she was very excited about the school’s achievement.
“We had eight progressed learners – two were unsuccessful and the others passed the subjects they actually wrote. I am elated. Even the progressed learners came through for the school.”
In addition to the increased pass rate, she said, the class of 2016 had achieved 20 Bachelor’s passes, compared to the 17 the previous year. “I am extremely proud of the matric learners. This year I have 86 matrics and I am aiming for a 100 percent pass rate. Judging from last year, I know we can do it.”
The news for Sea Point High School, however, was not as good. Their pass rate dropped from 94 percent in 2015 to 84 in 2016.
Principal Piet Botha, said they were disappointed with the drop in results. “The two ‘killer’ subjects – and it’s always the two – are maths and science. I would say more than 90 percent of the pupils who didn’t make it, didn’t make it because of these two subjects.
“Many of these pupils are not going to become doctors and scientists, but parents still want them to do maths and science, although we said all along that they will be the two killer subjects.”
He said another concern for the staff were pupils not performing to the best of their ability.
“The thing with Sea Point High is that all through the years, people send their children here because at the end of matric, they will get a good pass mark. Sea Point High is a small school, so there’s a better chance.
“Until last year, we had been able to do that.
“Our concern is that the input from the children is minimal, and the staff had to do everything for them. This year the children did even less. And we tried our best. The end result is something we can use this year to tell pupils that if they don’t work throughout the year, this will happen.”
While Sea Point High School was hit by a tragedy last year when three pupils linked to the school were killed in four days (“Sea Point High rocked by triple tragedy”, Atlantic Sun, October 6 2016) and they had a pupil hospitalised, Mr Botha did not attribute the drop in pass rate to these incidents.
“These pupils were not in their matric year. The school had a memorial service and they had time to grieve the deaths of their fellow pupils. But there comes a time where you have to think about your future.”
He said the school would embark on a plan of action to improve maths and science grades.
At St Cyprian’s in Gardens, the school was celebrating once again obtaining a 100 percent pass rate. Principal Sue Redelinghuys, said it had been a particularly difficult time for her 52 matriculants, as they were the first group to write the Independent Examinations Board exams.
“We used to write the state exam, but this year we changed. We knew it was coming, but it was an unknown. The girls were also affected by outside factors, such as the protests at university which brought about uncertainty, but they still worked hard, and teachers worked extra hard.
“At the end of the day the pupils realised that they have to get good results and a good body of knowledge.”
She said that the school has been achieving 100 percent pass rates for more than 20 years. This year, of the group of 52 pupils, 50 received Bachelor’s passes.
“What I admire about our girls is their work ethic. They do extramurals and sport, among other things, and it’s hard to manage, but they manage. I salute them and I am proud of them.”
Other schools in the City Bowl and the Atlantic Seaboard also recorded positive results, with Camps Bay High achieving a 100 percent pass rate for the third year running; and Herzlia High School in Vredehoek and Good Hope Seminary in Gardens also achieving 100 percent pass rates.