Elizabethfontein School - Our Twin School in South Africa
Goostrey and Elizabethfontein Primary Schools
Goostrey School has been twinned with Elizabethfontein Primary School since 2004. The initial twinning was a result of contact being made in 2004 with an organisation just starting up called Afri-twin. Following a meeting with Afri-twin we were put in touch with the then Head of Elizabethfontein, Mrs Dalena Van De Vyver. We met her and visited her school and the relationship with Elizabethfontein was formed.
Elizabethfontein school is in an isolated rural area in the Cederberg region approximately 3½ hours’ drive north of Cape Town. There are currently 261 pupils at the school. The majority live in the surrounding farming district (Agter Pakhuys). There are 16 teaching staff and 10 hostel staff, and more than 160 children live in one of the two hostel dormitories during the week.
“Many of the children come from homes that are not conducive to learning and the hostel provides a comfortable, homely safe-haven during term time.
“The environment has a drastic impact on our pupils. Numerous interventions and extensive pastoral care is required to ensure optimal learning can take place. If the child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in the way the child learns.” This is due to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (Western Cape highest % in the world).
Our motto of “Reach for the stars” is visible daily, and forms the foundation on which Elizabethfontein Primary is built. Pupils are given the opportunity to reach their full potential, and excel in terms of academics, culture and sport. Our school values of: Love, Respect, Friendship, Kindness and Honesty form the basis in everything we do. To reach our goal we follow a recipe:
* Practice 5 value words: love, respect, friendship, kindness and honesty
* Have a dream.
* Focus on making good choices.
* Have commitment / self-discipline.
* SMILE: See miracles in life every day.
Our learners are very good at dancing and singing. Our culture is a “proud-to-be” entity at our school and has opened many doors for us. The dance form is called the Riel. It is the regional dance of the Khoi San people. A guitar is played while sitting around the campfire. People dance in the firelight. The dance tells a story. Animal movements are imitated as well as happenings in a family – young man courting a girl, hunting, wedding, new baby. Each year we take part in the Afrikaans Culture Organization’s Riel Dance Competition and since 2009 have been in the top 3, for 2 years the SA Champions. In 2015 we were runner’s up. This year we have 2 teams qualifying for the finals on the 3 December at Paarl Monument.
The community is very involved and positive toward the school. The farm owners support their workers in raising the children through enrichment programmes on the farms and at school.
We create an educational oasis in a rural school in the Cederberg. We belong, We care, We Serve”
Annetjie Dames – Head Teacher
Twinned in 2004
First visit here: June 2005 6 children, 3 adults
Second Visit here: June 2008 8 children, 2 adults
Third visit here: June 2011 10 children, 2 adults
Fourth visit here: June 2014 9 children, 2 adults
Fifth visit here: June 2017 10 children, 2 adults
Visits to Elizabethfontein
February 2005 I teacher
February 2008 2 teachers, 2 TAs
February 2013 1 teacher
3 school families have visited Elizabethfontein.
Whilst some of the benefits of the twinning and visits are intangible, below is a brief list of some of the clear benefits that we have seen over the last twelve years:
- The SA children can demonstrate and share their skill in dancing and singing with the children at Goostrey school
- The SA children participate in and become part of Goostrey Rose Day
- The SA children can participate in the wider community, possibly dancing at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, local residential homes for the elderly and at the Cheshire Show
- Children from very different cultures and backgrounds can learn about each other and make lasting relationships
- Many of the SA children are inspired and start to believe in themselves and their ability to aspire to higher education having gained enough self-esteem and confidence to gain places at High School (a significant proportion of the children leave school without attending High School)
- The SA children may inspire the community here and encourage a feeling of greater community responsibility
- The SA children may inspire more children from Elizabethfontein to strive to attend high school as a way out of the cycle of alcohol and abuse
If your family would like to host one of the 10 children visiting in June 2017, please see Miss Atkins or Mrs Saxton. If you would like more information, please email Mrs Saxton (firstname.lastname@example.org)