Pioneering forum empowers SGBs

From left, are parents Patricia Ravell, Zelda Adams, Neil Thomas, Sep Koopman, Eleanor Ely and teacher Wendy Koeries.

Teachers and parents from schools in Retreat, Steenberg and Lavender Hill have made history by starting the School Governing Body (SGB) Forum, which is the first of its kind for the area.

Members of the forum came together on Tuesday August 2 for its second training and development conference, which was held at Delta Primary School in Retreat.

The first conference was held in March.

The idea for the forum came about five years ago and was established by Floreat Primary School principal Noel Isaacs to empower SGB members.

“A few other principals in the area and I were discussing the fact that there is not enough training for SGB members, especially for parents. So instead of sitting back and not doing anything about it, we decided to start this forum to provide training and to also see if we can get membership of the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) governing body association,” said Mr Isaacs.

He said the benefit of joining the department’s association is that they will have a voice when making decisions about funding, discipline and other governance issues.

So far parents and teachers from 20 schools in the area are part of the forum but Mr Isaacs has extended an invitation to all schools who want to take part.

The SGB Forum chairperson, Basil Williams, who is also the chairperson of Lourier Primary School’s SGB, said the forum looks at the broader picture.

“Each school in our area is really suffering. If we combine all our forces we can do great things. We want to change the faces of our community by providing guidance and advice to parents and teachers who need help,” said Mr Williams.

“We would like to see it grow from strength to strength,” he said about the forum.

Sharon Lewin, Circuit 1 manager for the WCED’s Metro South district, said the department fully supports the forum.

“Parents need to be built up and be developed. The desire is there, they just need to be given the knowledge about what to do about various issues. We want to help them build their capacity so that they can become more confident and knowledgeable so they can deal with the issues that schools face daily,” she said.

Parent Patricia Ravell said she was looking forward to what the forum would be offering.

“This is my first time on a governing body and I am excited about what is being done for parents. Through this training and development I can be a better SGB member and find proper solutions to the issues at our schools. It really gives us a better stronger voice,” said Ms Ravell.