Peak View High School’s matric class of 2016 have written themselves into the history books when they achieved a 100 percent pass rate – the first in the school’s almost 40-year existence.
What makes their feat even more significant, is that only five years ago, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) threatened to close the school, as its 2011 matric pass rate, at 18.9 percent, made it the worst performing school in the province at the time.
The school was among 27 schools in the Western Cape that was earmarked for closure. However, in October 2012, then Education MEC Donald Grant overturned recommendations by the WCED to close the school, after a public outcry.
Peak View High School’s principal, Oswald de Villiers, said the low pass rate at the time was because pupils with Xhosa as a home language had been forced to do English as their home language.
The pass rate had soared after Xhosa had been introduced as a home language at the school.
Within the first year of introducing Xhosa home language, the class had achieved a 95.6 percent pass for that subject. In 2014, the school had a 77.4 percent pass rate and 87.3 percent in 2015.
Mr De Villiers is over the moon with the 2016 results.
“This is a great achievement for us. We also obtained a 100 percent pass rate in eight subjects. This is a big vindication from what we were faced with in 2012. We started making remarkable improvement right from the onset – when pupils were given the opportunity to switch from English home language to Xhosa home language. We have been on the right track since then,” Mr De Villiers said.
He said staff had been confident that the 2016 matrics would do the school proud.
“We had a firm belief in their ability to pass. We told them right from the offset that they could make history. We believed in them. Our teachers put in the extra effort. They extended the school days, and had one-on-one sessions during intervals.
“The WCED also hosted intervention classes on Saturdays, and we are very grateful for that. The matric class of 2016 will be remembered.”
Mr De Villiers said the school now faced the challenge of being consistent.
“We realised that now that we have obtained a 100 percent pass rate, we have to continue in this vein, and also ensure that we improve on the quality of pass rates. We had 34 percent Bachelors passes. We will also be facing different challenges this year, as 40 of the 95 pupils in Grade 12 this year, are progressed pupils.
“I know, however, and they have proven it in the past, that my staff are willing to go the extra 10 miles. The staff are excited about our results, and with that euphoria, they are energised and ready to take on this year. I have the best staff in the whole of the Western Cape, who are very supportive of one another,” he said.
He also thanked WCED circuit team manager Anusha Naidoo and the former circuit team manager Brenda Robertson, both of whom, he said, had been very supportive.