The successful functioning of a school does not just happen. The levels of complexity are high, the responsibility to deliver excellent education is significant, and there is a need to operate at both strategic and operational levels. So much has to be accomplished daily without neglecting the need to prepare children from a variety of backgrounds for a future that may well involve more change than the past.
Doing all of this successfully does not happen in isolation. In a school context, success depends on how well the school management team, the school governing body (SGB), the PTA, the educators, the parents and the broader community perform and collaborate. Without a committed and integrated effort of all those involved in various capacities at CPS, the school will fail to replicate past successes let alone continue to improve and better position our children for success.
We are in the fortunate position at CPS where the levels of engagement from so many are so high, and the commitment to the success of the school can be seen just by walking onto the school property, or attending the Fun Day, which is an incredibly successful annual initiative of the school’s PTA, and supported by all the school’s stakeholders.
As one of the school’s stakeholders, the SGB has various functions to fulfill. It is established in terms of the South African Schools Act, which provides that the governance of the school is vested in the SGB.
Section 20 of the Schools Act sets out the primary responsibilities of an SGB, which include:
- promoting the best interests of the school and its development;
- adopting a constitution and mission statement;
- introducing a code of conduct;
- providing support to educators and the principal in carrying out their duties;
- determining times of the school day;
- administering and controlling the school’s property, and buildings and grounds;
- involving parents and others to undertake voluntary duties and tasks;
- recommending to the Head of Department the appointment of educators and non-educator staff at the school, subject to the relevant legislation Educators Employment Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 138 of 1994), and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995); and
- managing and allowing the use of school facilities for fundraising, community, and social uses.
There are three groups represented on a governing body:1. Elected members who can be:
- parents of learners at the school;
- educators at the school;
- staff members who are not educators, such as secretaries and maintenance staff; and
- oearners at the school who are in grade 8 or above (they must be elected by the representative council of learners).
2. School principal
3. Optional co-opted members, who don't have the right to vote, for example:
- members of the community; and
- the owner of the school property, or his or her representative, if the property is privately owned.
The current structure of the SGB of Craighall Primary is as follows:
- Andrea Prout-Jones (Principal)
- Coral van Zyl (Chairperson)
- Rory Moore (Vice- Chairperson)
- Elke Smith (Treasurer)
- Sharon Martin (Secretary)
- Alison Mela (Educator)
- Muse Sibanda (Educator)
- David Beattie (Parent elected)
- George Parker (Co-Opted)
- Blessing Kavai (Member)
The current SGB is committed to ensuring that CPS continues to build on the amazing work done over many years to bring the school to the point where it has an excellent reputation and is a school of choice for many. Most of the work done by the SGB happens behind the scenes, and the scope of this ranges from renewing of the school’s insurances annually, to renegotiating service provider contracts, to maintenance of grounds, and the ongoing development of the school’s infrastructure, to name a few.
The CPS SGB is an active body and meets at least monthly as a full Board and there are regular sub-committee meetings of, for example, the Finance Sub-Committee. Less formally, the members of the SGB are often at the school meeting with school staff to discuss issues of maintenance, or plan or assist in any way we can.
It is also the SGB’s responsibility to ensure that the finances of the school are managed effectively, and that the school’s limited resources are directed appropriately. The CPS SGB has a Finance sub-Committee, chaired by Mr. Drake as the Treasurer, which meets monthly, over and above the full SGB meetings.
Our SGB members are passionate about serving the school, and the meetings are full of lively debate, where the best interests of the school are placed above personal interests and egos.
The challenge for any governing body is that its members serve for terms of 3 years, unless they are re-elected. The need therefore exists for the current SGB to develop long-term plans, and continue to build on the foundations of the school and its long history, as well as work towards leaving a legacy of its own.
Finally, one of the major roles that our SGB aims to fill is to support the incredible people who run our school and teach our children. As such, we feel privileged to be able to contribute to this amazing school, and continue to build and develop CPS. We are committed to the school’s long term success and value the amazing support received from the rest of the parent body and to excellently and diligently fulfilling the roles we have been entrusted with.