Extra maths and reading for foundation pupils

Education MEC David Maynier, left, announced that foundation phase pupils will spend an extra 60 learning hours on maths and reading. With him is Boundary Primary School principal, Stanford Allies.

Foundation phase pupils in the province will spend an extra 60 learning hours on maths and reading to make up for learning losses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Education MEC David Maynier made this announcement on his visit to Boundary Primary School in Bonteheuwel on Tuesday July 19.

According to Mr Maynier, the foundation phase pupils (Grade 1 to Grade 3) were the most severely affected.

Comparing the systemic test results of 2021 and 2019 showed that the Grade 3 pass rates in maths had dropped by 13.8 percentage points and language by 8 percentage points, he said.

“These learning losses will have a serious knock-on effect as these learners progress through their school careers. Education experts recommend the allocation of additional time for the teaching and learning of mathematics and reading, more teacher support and improved teaching practices, and encouraging parental support to catch up on the time and learning lost,” Mr Maynier said.

He made it clear, however, that the intervention would not lengthen the school day.

“These increases will be accommodated by adjusting the amount of time allocated to life skills. We recognise the importance of life skills teaching in the development of our learners. It is therefore important that the remaining time for the subject be used effectively within the new timetables.

“The intervention will see an extra two hours per week allocated to reading and an extra one hour per week for mathematics – amounting to an increase of 60 learning hours for every learner over the remainder of the year.”

Boundary Primary School principal Stanford Allies, said his pupils had performed “dismally” in the systemic tests because they had missed out on a lot of work. His foundation-phase pupils usually performed better than the senior pupils, he said.

“They find it difficult to grasp concepts and teachers have to explain up to three times. We have our work cut out for us now. We also don’t want to overwhelm or burden our children, so we need to get the balance right. Children perform well when they have structure and routine, and we are getting into that rhythm again. We need to get the basics right, and we welcome the intervention.”