In the face of the myriad of challenges of COVID-19 navigated by teachers and learners, Somerset West Private School (SWPS) was exceptionally proud to report excellent 2020 Matric results, recently garnering local and national awards for its Matrics’ star performances from the Western Cape Education Department as well as the national quality education group SOS (Skoleondersteuningsentrum).
Established 23 years ago, Somerset West Private School managed to confirm its status as a leading school again.
Somerset West Private School chose a proactive and agile approach to possible pandemic conditions early in 2020, and preparations (such as four-hour Saturday Maths classes) helped to result in good performances, despite the odds.
Provincially, Somerset West Private School was in the top two schools of the province with an NSC enrolment of less than 30 candidates. This earned them the accolade of Western Cape Education Department Award for Excellence in Academic Performance, placing Somerset West Private School in 2nd position.
Somerset West Private School is well known for its excellent Mathematics results. This year, the Mathematics Department delivered exceptional results. Out of 30 candidates who did Mathematics, 14 achieved distinctions. The Mathematics subject average of the group was 75%.
Moreover, in a national contest of private schools, SOS awarded Somerset West Private School 5th position in the category Small Schools with the Most Distinctions Nationwide, with 19 candidates, 29 distinctions, and an average of 1,53 distinctions per candidate.
Principal Morné Coetzer comments that he is exceptionally proud of all the school’s learners and staff for these much-deserved honours, especially given the challenges of COVID-19.
“I am so proud of everyone for receiving these awards. 2020 was a very tough year, and we are incredibly proud of our efforts during the lockdown. As a school, we continued with online schooling, and all our grades wrote a complete online May/June examination. This contributed to our excellent results, as our Matrics had a practice run before the September examinations.
“We were able to complete the entire syllabus by the end of August, which allowed us a lot more time to revise. Our Matrics worked diligently throughout the year and put in a lot of effort, and are so deserving of this applause and recognition. For us, the Awards we receive verify what we work towards daily – providing a truly high quality of education to our learners. We want to open doors of opportunity for our learners by providing the best education of the best quality possible.”
Coetzer says that it is important for all at Somerset West Private School to know their high standards are being maintained. “We know our educational standard at Somerset West Private School is tops, and we work hard at keeping it like that. But to receive confirmation of this via provincial and national honours is very important to us. Comparatively, we are a small school and are pleased we can compete on all levels even when conditions in the socio-environment are less than ideal.”
“Notably, our fellow high schools in the Helderberg region also turned in excellent results in a memorably challenging 2020. We would like to warmly congratulate these top-performing schools’ teachers and learners in our area – we are delighted and proud that many of our Somerset West-based schools continue to be so highly regarded,” says Coetzer. “
Hard work and bright futures
What is the secret to this unique educational gem of Somerset West’s ongoing success?
Coetzer says that Somerset West Private School’s philosophy of engendering a culture of hard work to reach goals in life is central to their successful formula.
“What is important for us at the school is to show learners that through hard work and dedication, they can reach their goals. We are all here to evolve and progress, and the pandemic has undoubtedly asked us to change the way we teach and think.
“The past year of the pandemic, while bringing immense difficulties worldwide, also opened the doors to improving and enhancing education in new ways, by communal efforts and applying technologies and Science such as AI in the future, the Principal notes.
“At our school, our learners, parents, admin staff, and teachers took hands and forged new paths in the last year. By constantly tackling difficulties in our lives, we can transcend blockages within ourselves, which enable us ultimately to awaken the Higher Self inside each one of us.
“Our experience at Somerset West Private School and our results for 2020 suggests we are entering one of the most exciting decades of change in education, and we welcome this progress.”
Second chances for Matrics
Somerset West Private School is proud to be playing a vital role in strengthening Maths and Science learning, which are crucial areas for entry into further studies for Fourth Industrial Revolution roles.
In addition, the school has a well-regarded Post Matric programme, attracting learners from the Western Cape and countrywide who are looking to improve their Matric marks or take new subjects they require to access further studies.
One Post Matric learner of 2020 had a remarkable year – upping her Matric marks in Maths (from 57% to 86%) and Science (65% to 80%) and has gained entry to the first year of an MBBCh degree at Stellenbosch University, on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a medical doctor. Says Coetzer: “We are one of the few schools that offer Post Matrics the opportunity to improve their matric results, and learners can even do Maths and Science Grade 10-12, in one year. We want to encourage learners who want to improve their matric results to find out more about our Post Matric program; details are available on our website.”