Wespoort Primary services area of Portland, Mitchell's Plain but has a large contingent of learners from Khayelitsha, Philippi and Lost City. The school has always been aware of the decline in social values. The school has an ethos of engaging proactively with various NGOs offering a variety of workshops. These organisations include, SANCA, NICRO, Childline and various anti-drug organizations. Over the years, the partnership with these organisations and other like the Walking Bus, Read to Learn, cadet programme, Chosen Youth and other social development partners have become more important us.
Parental interest in learner's school work are varied - some are very involved and others show no interest in learner's work, most do not all attend meetings. Fundraising; there is parental involvement, but they have to be constantly reminded of their commitment to the School and it puts a drain on the school's finances if school fees are not paid and events supported.
In 2018, the Principal, Rodney Hendricks joined up with Partners for Possibility. He has always advocated self-development and self-enrichment and has accessed courses such as those presented by the Principal’s Academy too. In the Partners for Possibility programme he met George Whitehead, a retired CA who not only offered his expertise gained from many years in the financial sector, but who also wanted to learn how a school is run. His involvement is such that he has been co-opted onto the School Governing Body and the Finance Committee as he wanted to play a bigger role in the school’s affairs and in the process also become self-enriched. George is invaluable to our school. We have had a few financial issues over the years, including an auditor who did not give us the full picture of the financial situation of the school. George has assisted in identifying our financial administration needs as we have in the last few months, as an SGB, decided to let our auditor go. We are in the process of seeking a suitable person to become the school’s financial advisor and together with George, strive for excellence in our finances department.
By co-opting members of civil society for their particular skills to the SGB, the school benefits from this expertise. Decisions which are taken in the best interest of the learners at the school thus has input from persons who are professionals or experienced where SGB skills may lack or need to be enhanced. George Whitehead plays this role very well. We are very blessed to have such a person who is connected with our school and are proud of our association with him.
I thus implore of each SGB to co-opt members to enrich the governance of the school. It can only add value to your deliberations. Identify those people that you want to co-opt early, whether it be a parent or professional. Invite them for an "office talk", tell them why you wish to have them as a co-opted member, be proactive. I can guarantee that SGB will flourish and be enriched with people such as my partner George Whitehead. Try it, it may be the best management decision you have made in a long time.