Passionate principal Raymond Jansen helped turn Walmer Secondary School around after it had experienced a concerning dip in performance.
In 2013 only 50.1% of the school's Grade 12 pupils matriculated and he says the students were despondent after the results were released.
But in January 2015 the matric pass rate shot up to 88%, making Walmer Secondary one of the most improved schools in the Western Cape that year.
The in 2016 the matric pass rate rose steadily to 91%.
It wasn't an easy journey to improving the school's results, and Jansen explains that time and investment were instrumental in inspiring his pupils.
I told them that my duty at the school is actually to get them to pass. It's about showing them that you believe in them.— Raymond Jansen, Principal at Walmer Secondary School
Jansen says that he and his staff are committed to making a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged children and they willingly teach extended hours during the week and voluntarily host Saturday classes.
The WoodStock commuter school draws a wide pupil body from areas such as Khayelistha, Browns Farm, Phillipi, Gugulethu and even as far as Wellington.
After 2013, the school identified that language barriers created constraints for students learning other subjects.
As a part of their turnaround strategy they implemented the following changes:
- introduced isiXhosa as a Home Language and Afrikaans as a First Additional Language
- introduced strict measures such as doing away with the the matric ball and matric jackets, unless it is earned.
- removing the expulsion policy and instead replacing it with necessary support structures
Jansen says that students did not initially agree with his decisions, but later thanked him for motivating them.
This year there are 59 Grade 12 pupils at Walmer Secondary who have begun finals exams in the hopes of matriculating.
Listen to the full discussion with the passionate principal: