First day of school

Excited new pupils get ready for their first day of school at Camps Bay Primary School.

As the matric class of 2017 prepares to make their way in the outside world, thousands of new pupils stepped into a school building for the first time last week.

Schools across the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl welcomed nervous and excited pupils beginning their 12-year schooling career.

However, there were some challenges that some schools faced.

Mahdi Samodien, principal of Prestwich Primary School, in Green Point, said one of the biggest challenges they’ve had was that of late enrolment.

He said even though it was a week into the school year, some pupils had still not come to school for various reasons. He encouraged parents to bring their kids to school.

“My motto is always to accommodate if I can and I encourage other principals to do the same,” he said.

Despite the challenges, he said he was looking forward to the academic year.

“We told the pupils in Grade R that we were giving them a plane ticket and taking them on a journey. We are going to do our best to pave the path for them,” he

Stuart Collier, principal of Camps Bay Primary School, said they were also looking forward to the new year.

He said the first week of school had gone well and the classes for the foundation phases were full.

He said the school was embracing a theme of “diversity and change” this year and would be introducing a new topic to the pupils every week.

“Our philosophy is to make the new pupils feel welcome and make them part of the Camps Bay family because it is a community school. We are also focusing on water saving schemes.”

Some of these schemes, said Mr Collier, had already been implemented and included teaching the pupils the importance of saving water.

This, he said, was becoming even more important as Day Zero, the day the taps run dry, approaches.

According to Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, the 2018 school year got off to a smooth start.

She said the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) would be on stand-by to provide assistance at schools where there are late registrations and any other last-minute tasks that needed to be completed.

“To parents who are having difficulties enrolling their child, or who have failed to enrol their child: I urge you to approach the local district office as soon as possible, for assistance with finding a place at a school,” she said.

Ms Schafer added: “Parents have an important role in their child’s school career and we ask that they assist us in this 12-year journey by cultivating and encouraging their child’s reading and writing skills. Children can achieve much more with supportive, interested parents. Without it, their entire futures could be compromised.”

She also wished pupils, teachers and parents a successful academic year ahead.

Parents can visit the WCED website for a list of district officials as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding enrolment on