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City school locks out latecomers


Dept says 'it's a case of pupils not taking up their responsibility for being punctual and this compromises notional time'

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PUPILS who are persistently late for school could face being locked out.

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said yesterday that the department was experiencing late arrivals among pupils at a number of schools, especially in the Frances Baard District.

“We appeal to parents and legal guardians, as the primary caretakers of our pupils, to fulfil their responsibilities and ensure that these pupils arrive on time at their respective schools and do their homework.

“Education is a societal matter, and all sectors of society must work together to ensure our children receive the education they are entitled to,” he added.

Latecomers at William Pescod High School found themselves on the wrong side of locked gates yesterday and were forced to return home.

Van der Merwe confirmed that the late arrival of pupils was a persistent challenge at William Pescod.

“Pupils who are late disrupt valuable learning and teaching time, as pupils virtually lose the first period in most cases or walk into classes and disturb lessons already in progress.”

Van der Merwe said that despite numerous engagements with pupils at this school, the challenge still persisted.

“A parents’ meeting was convened and it was agreed that the gates should be locked at 7.45am – with the school officially commencing at 7.30am – to curb this challenge. The decision was communicated to all pupils.”

Van der Merwe said that the fact that some pupils were met with locked gates yesterday was “a case of pupils not taking up their responsibility for being punctual and this compromises notional time”.

He added that the department continued to engage with the school to find out how best to address this problem.

A parent, meanwhile, said that she was surprised when she drove past the school yesterday morning to see a large number of pupils standing outside the locked gates.

“Many of these pupils are matric pupils who cannot afford to lose teaching time,” she said. “Instead of being at school and getting an education, they are now roaming the streets.”