The Bhabhathane Principal Enrichment (PE) Project is unique in that 7 of the 9 Principals have been members of the Steering Committee, later the Bhabhathane Board which, since 2012, has been tasked with transforming education across all schools in the Franschhoek Valley. The Principals were involved in the extensive Bhabhathane Planning Phase and developed a common Vision and Mission for education (over 5 000 children, parents & teachers) in the small, geographically bound Valley and with the guidance of external education specialists have prioritised the educational needs of the Valley. They are seen as the change agents in the community who are guiding the transformation process not only in their individual schools but across the school cluster in the Valley.
The PE Project has provided an opportunity to build the leadership capacity and also project management skills of the Principals. For the last two years, each Principal has a mentor (retired principals) who visit them every two weeks and spend two hours with them. This is a safe space where the principals and in 2017, their deputies, discuss any burning matters pertaining to their schools and find common solutions. Two of the Principals and one deputy have successfully completed the Management Certificate in Education Leadership at the UCT Graduate School of Business.
The Principals meet every month to:
- Manage all the Bhabhathane Projects and take decisions on which Projects will be implemented
- Discuss fundraising and the finances of the Bhabhathane Programme
- Collectively address issues pertinent to all the schools in the Valley e.g. the safety of learners being transported in cars to and from the school and bullying.
- Assist each other with amongst other things, discipline matters, parental issues and appointment of staff.
The Teacher Enrichment Project Committee, comprising of representatives from all nine schools and across all Phases. The members of the team are all in leadership positions at their respective schools, either on the School Management Teams (SMTs) or leaders of their Phases. All the Well-being Team Co-ordinators are on the Project committee. The committee is chaired by a teacher nominated by the members of the committee. In addition, each Phase group has a Chair who leads the Phase discussions. The PC has defined focus areas for each Phase.Within each of the focus areas, opportunities are created for three processes.
The three processes:
- Teacher skills and knowledge development
- Personal leadership development
- Cross-school networking and sharing.
The design of the Learner Enrichment Project (LEP) has evolved out of a process started by the Teacher Enrichment Project Committee. The Learner Enrichment Project falls outside of the curriculum but supports the holistic development of learners (across the schools in the Franschhoek Valley) for them to adequately cope with the demands of the schooling system and life beyond. The overall goals of the LEP are directly related to the Bhabhathane high level Goals which are based on the Vision and Mission, and which include:
- Full enrolment of all 3 – 5 year olds in structured pre-school programmes two years prior to entering Gr 1
- 100% learner retention between Gr 1 and 12
- Quality teaching and learning at ECD centres and schools
- Development of learners which addresses all five dimensions, being physical, emotional, social, schools’ ethos culture and values, and cognitive
- Involved, participating and contributing parents
- Motivated learners
- A safe learning environment
- An efficient and supportive schools’ infrastructure
- Learners’ career success
- A learning community
- A sustainable FSTP [Bhabhathane].
Sub-Projects of the Learner Enrichment Project
The Learner Enrichment Project has seven sub-projects namely:
- Student Leaders’ Forum
- The Alternate Curriculum
- Learner Mentorship
- Spelling Bee
- Juggling and Card Skills
- Choir and Culture
Early Childhood Development
The integrated ECD Project which has impact on some 1 500 children under the age of five years, has become firmly established across the Franschhoek Valley.
Visible successes have been:
- The development of the members of the Franschhoek ECD Forum (FECDF) to the point where the Forum with 20 members is registered as an NPO.
- Differentiated Learning Programme training and accredited Level 4 and 5 training predominantly with The Early Learning Centre (TEEC) that has enabled the practitioners to dramatically improve the daily implementation of a programme for different age groups in the centres and playgroups
- Training in early interventions for children who show possible developmental delays and the referral of children where in-centre support has not been possible
- Through partnership with JAM International and the LunchBox fund as well as a local hotel group, provide children at the ECD Centres and playgroups with two nutritious meals per day
- In partnership with volunteers from JAM International and Rotary upgraded ECD Centres previously unable to register with the Department of Social Development. In partnership with the EPWP ensured the sustainability of the home visiting and play group programme for a further year.