There has been a disastrous fall in the pass rate at the Sandringham High School in northeast Johannesburg, with only 77% of matrics passing last year, down from 89% the year before.
I discovered this on Wednesday when I visited the school to do oversight on their needs and difficulties on the first day of school this year.
A photograph of my visit to the school can be found here.
Previously I was most impressed by Mr Phillip du Plessis, the principal, who vastly improved the school in various ways, including a 91% matric pass rate in 2017.
Unfortunately, he was seriously injured in a car accident in July 2018 and was widely reported to be missing until he was found in a hospital ICU, since when he has been booked off sick and may possibly return in June this year.
Ms Seetha Naidoo is now the acting principal, but it is clear that the school is suffering from the absence of Mr du Plessis, who had the dynamism to improve the school. Former pupils had confidence in him and assisted the school financially, but this is no longer the case.
This year the school has 1100 enrolled pupils, up from 980 pupils last year. There are only 38 teachers, which leads to large classes. The school struggles to get parents to pay extra fees, so only two extra teachers are employed by the School Governing Body (SGB).
School infrastructure has deteriorated and the computer library has not had internet since 2018, which is an inexcusable failure by the Gauteng Education Department (GED).
I am concerned that the matric pass rate has fallen so much, and is now lower than the 87.2% provincial pass rate.
I will be taking up the plight of the school with the GED which needs to intervene urgently with extra resources and management expertise.