The implementation of a Remedial Teacher and Arts, Crafts and Entrepreneurial Skills Teacher at L.R. Schmidt Primary School in the historical village of Genadendal, close to Greyton in the Western Cape, has been a huge success according to the school’s Principal, families and community members in general.
These two teaching posts, which were implemented in 2016, with funding made available by Klipheuwel Wind Farm, provides a stimulating and creative environment for many children who are not academically inclined.
“It all started in 2016 when we did an analysis of the learner’s results and performance in class and we recognised that we needed to think outside of the box if we wanted to see a difference in our learners’ achievements,” said Mr. Simon Speelman, Principal at L.R. Schmidt Primary School.
“At the time the Department of Education wanted to make the school fully inclusive, which gave us the opportunity to bring in expertise to meet the needs of the learners, however, no funds were made available from the Department, so we are so grateful that Klipheuwel Wind Farm were able to step in and meet this need, because we would not be where we are today without them,” he added.
This school is based in Genadendal, about 30km outside from the wind farm educates 420 children from Grade R to Grade 7. The remedial class teacher has nearly 30 years of experience and teaches a class of 20 learners who are at Grade 4 stage, but range in ability from Grade R to Grade 3.
“Having a remedial class has definitely benefitted the school and the learners. I can clearly see how they have improved. The learners are often at a very low level when they begin in my class and by the end of the year they are doing so well, their confidence has grown immensely too,” explained Ms Juliet Oliver, Remedial Teacher at L.R. Schmidt Primary School.
Ms Heidi von Caeus, Arts, Crafts and Entrepreneurial Skills Teacher believes in each learners individual talents and abilities, saying, “I believe every child is born with a different set of abilities – we don’t all excel academically, some are experts at using their hands, some at reading, some at analysis and so on. At our school we like to be able to cater for a variety of abilities.”
Learners are regularly taken to the Greyton Market on a Saturday to sell the goods they make in class. They learn how to communicate with the customers and market their goods to grow their confidence.
“The learners who were bullied and laughed at before are now in the class that everyone wants to be in. Hardened, angry young people forget about their challenges while they create, and excel at working as a team,” she added.
In addition to this school support programme, Klipheuwel Wind Farm also funds a bursary programme, launched in 2016. To-date it has invested around R2 million, across twenty-three bursary recipients. The costs of tuition fees, travel and accommodation costs, book allowances and even a stipend are included.