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Teachers on go-slow over principal

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This was despite the new principal urging them to remain at school and return to their classrooms to write their tests at 11am

NO SCHOOL: While teachers at Homevale High School stayed in the staff room in protest against the appointment of the new school principal, pupils were left unsupervised. Picture: Soraya Crowie

TEACHERS at Homevale High School embarked on a go-slow yesterday morning, where they are calling for an investigation into the appointment of the new school principal.

Pupils were left unsupervised, with some seen wandering outside the school grounds or sitting on the grass during class time.

This was despite the new principal urging them to remain at school and return to their classrooms to write their tests at 11am.

“You will not regret what you do. After you have written your tests, you can do what you like,” he advised them inside the courtyard.

After being addressed by the principal, certain pupils indicated that they would be going home. “We can’t write tests if there are no teachers.”

A large group of teachers gathered in the staff room, insisting that no classes would be taught until they received answers from the circuit manager.

“The principal does not have seven years of teaching experience. He was the former human resource manager at the Department of Correctional Services.”

The teachers claim that the new principal, who was appointed four months ago, is ill-qualified for the post, is autocratic, is taking decisions without consultation and is laying unnecessary charges against staff.

“He also closed down the tuck shop.”

The deputy principal, Bertie Powers, added that he had lodged a grievance with the Education Labour Relations Council regarding four unfair charges that were laid against him by the new principal.

“There are only three cleaners who are expected to clean the entire school grounds. They are also downing tools.”

Spokesperson for the Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, stated that the appointment of the Homevale High School principal was based on the recommendation of the school governing body (SGB).

“The appointment of a principal is solely the responsibility of the Head of the Department of which the SGBs can only make a recommendation. In this case, the Head of the Department agreed with the recommendation of the SGB,” said Van der Merwe.

He assured the general public, school community and concerned parents that all due processes were completed in line with the prescribed rules and regulations.

“Our district office has made attempts to meet with the concerned teachers last week. However, they refused to meet with the district officials as a result of the work to rule declared by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

“The successful candidate met the qualifying criteria for the post as principal with the requisite qualifications, skills, knowledge and expertise. His appointment is in the best interest of education, the prosperity of the school and the future of the pupils.

“The department is looking into the conduct of the teachers and will take appropriate action. We will take the necessary steps to ensure that schooling returns back to normal as soon as possible.”