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Community

Call for Sea Point community to support local primary school:

“No need for local school despair” – May 2012

This is an appeal to all the parents who are in a panic about the (perceived) lack of Atlantic Seaboard schools. We were in the same state until last year, having been told – quite authoritatively – that Camps Bay Prep was the “only” option for us if we weren’t Jewish (Herzlia) and/or didn’t necessarily want private schooling (Reddam).

After our child was turned down by Camps Bay Prep over two years (the Grade R rejection letter a sad tale of 10 places, 107 applicants, and a situation “unfortunately” getting worse every year as more young families moved into the area), we started asking ourselves why Sea Point Primary School was not even suggested as an OPTION for us as Sea Point residents. Not satisfied with the vague answers and funny looks we received, we eventually we went to have a look for ourselves.

What a revelation! Apart from its good facilities (electronic white boards in every classroom) and amazing location (somewhat out of sight above High Level Rd, with entry in Main Drive through a manned security gate), it was the only school where the children politely greeted us as we were shown around by the principal. And then there was the principal herself: Almarie Mead, a teacher at the school since 1979, principal since 1993, official blogger for the nationwide MySchool campaign, and author of a book called The Principal of Fun (a guide to bringing the fun back into education, published late last year and no doubt proving invaluable at countless other schools).

Inspired by her obvious passion, we decided to give SPPS a go in Grade R, and it’s a decision we don’t regret. Mrs Mead has lived up to her reputation, our child’s teacher and her assistant are fantastic, and the PTA frankly does an amazing job raising funds for a school that gets virtually no government support because of its location in an “affluent” area. All the usual “extras” for littlies are offered after school hours (Playball, Drumkidz, Monkeynastix, karate and ballet) and fine motor skills development, extra English and OT in a small group are provided to those who need it. In short, our child is thriving.

So we are increasingly fed up with mounting frenzy about Camps Bay Prep needing more space because “there’s nowhere else”. What absolute nonsense. In walking distance for many of the young families who have recently moved back to Sea Point (the suburb itself having suffered from an image problem for a number of years!), with dedicated teachers and good facilities, SPPS offers an excellent education. And if its pupil body is more representative of the Western Cape than is the case at the other “good” local schools, surely that’s a plus?

Confusion, ignorance or prejudice surrounding SPPS perhaps dates from a time when there weren’t many young families living in Sea Point, but the current perception that there isn’t a primary school crisis in the area is misinformed. If local parents stopped getting swept up in the mob hysteria about lack of space at Camps Bay Prep, a 10-minute drive away, and supported the (high-quality, well-integrated) school on their doorstep, the benefits both for the school and for the surrounding community as a whole would be immeasurable.

SPPS has an information/registration session every Wednesday at 9am until the end of September. Call Junita Hensel on 021 434 5355 or email junita@spps.wcape.school.za.

Joanne and Patrick Gibson

Sea Point