Western Cape


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SACEE has had a roller coaster year with many changes to roles and responsibilities and significant new directions in several areas.

We have seen several Committee members retire and several aspirant Committee members take up their roles and begin to get a feel for their responsibilities. Terrill passed her responsibilities as Chari to me but has retained responsibilities in several important areas including both the Spellcheck and the rambling Readers. Roger Graham has passed responsibility for the Forum Discussions to Alexa February of Reddam House. Robin Malan has formally passed his responsibilities as editor to Twanji Kalula but remains intimately involved in the business. Anne Schlebusch has formally resigned from the Committee so that there is no clear conflict of interest. Robert van der Valk, the Business Manager of English Alive and his wife, Sharon have continued to give wonderful support to English Alive on the administrative and financial side but have asked for us to look for alternative people to replace them.

Peter Nicolay has indicated he would like to retire from his position as Treasurer of SACEE so we need to look at finding a replacement for him.

I would like to formally express my deep appreciation of the continued support and service all these members have continued to give to me and to SACEE during this year. SACEE is made up of the members who offer their services and expertise to support the SACEE mission and we have been incredibly lucky over the past decades to have a loyal and talented bunch.

What is the SACEE – Western Cape’s strategy going forward?

Brain-storming Session Artscape 9 August:

This was a productive and energising session which saw the induction of several new committee members. It gave the opportunity for SACEE to re-examine its mission and to identify values by which it operates. It also gave the opportunity to identify key challenges and opportunities and to get feedback from teachers in the field who had a clear sense of what we needed to do.

Finances and sponsorship remain key issues to be addressed.

Partnership was identified as a key operational mode. This has resulted in several new initiaitives including linking English Alive with the Open Book Festival, linking the SACEE brain-storming with Artscape’s Womens’ Day, linking with the New Hampshire University degree programme and the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship. There was also a foray to link the City Bowl Public Speaking Challenge with Cape Town Rise and we will need to see how this develops.

One of the biggest challenges for our operations is the new initiative from the Department of Education to run the Western Cape English Language Teachers’ Association (WCELTA) which basically duplicates what SACEE is doing at a provincial level – with significant funding and without the SACEE track record and footprint.

WCELTA (through Malcolm Venter) requested a SACEE representative to stand on their Committee. I have attended a committee meeting and a provincial district meeting. Their chair, Fazeela Haferjee, is a wonderful woman with energy and vision that she is sharing.

Another important area that SACEE could contribute in was seen to be professional development of teachers.

I am excited that we have launched a new Helderberg Chapter linking schools in the Somerset West, Paarl and Stellenbosch areas. This has also seen the signing up of several new schools in this area. We look forward to hearing more about developments with the new Chapter.

The Western Cape branch of SACEE has had a busy year, running their main projects throughout 2019:


Terrill has continued to co-ordinate the Spellcheck competition – sharing some of the responsibility for communicating with the schools with me when her duties at the Summer School clashed with the school term. This has allowed me to get an idea of the scope of the project and I have been very pleased to have the ideas and technical skill of Melanie Horn O’Connell to dream a new approach to the spelling competition that should significantly reduce the load on marking and administration.

The Rambling Readers

Terrill has continued her oversight and involvement with this project.

The Forum Discussions

This year we have seen Roger Graham pass his baton on at Westerford, and, more importantly, in the Forum Discussions. We have also had significant interest shown by other schools – including the Helderberg area. We welcome Alexa February of Reddam House as the new co-ordinator of the Forum Discussions. Roger and I meet with her tomorrow afternoon.

City Bowl Public Speaking Challenge

A positive and encouraging start to the SACEE 2019 Public Speaking Challenge. This was the initiative of Jack Mutsvairo of St Cyprian’s School and looked to initiate a sense of community amongst the schools in the City Bowl. The competition was piloted in the third term of 2018 and this year has seen the first Junior round take place. The Senior round comes up at the beginning of May. Three schools participated last year and this has increased to four this year. The schools represented are: St Cyprians, Cape Town High School, Gardens Commercial and Zonnebloem Nest.

A huge thank you to the team from Gardens Commercial who supported Chantal Chavda and the learners with both their presence and with timing and the adding up of the scores. Thank you too, to Jack Mutsvairo for his detailed feedback of both positive and negative aspects of the presentations. The learners found this useful and encouraging.

The Slam Poetry Initiative

Abdulmugeeth Petersen of Pinelands High School is driving a new initiative of involving particualrly Grade 8 and 9 students with the writing and performing of poetry. This age group is seen to be key to inspire with the potential of poetry to express emotion and to both inspire and motivate us to action.

Partnership with Jakes Gerwel Fellowship

The JGF has been identified as a strategic partnership for SACEE. Jakes Gerwel Fellowship is established by Allan Gray to identify candidates with the potential to be excellent teachers and to support them financially and nurture them into excellence.

SACEE envisages that JGF students will linkup with particular SACEE projects and take some level of responsibility and provide new ideas and energy. Long-term, this develops capacity in new teachers and connects them to the SACEE projects.

It also provides potential material for the students to use as research material. This assists the students with developing an educational research footprint.

Earlier this month we welcomed Miarah Cader, our first recruit from the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship, as an adjudicator in the City Bowl Public Junior Speaking Challenge. We look forward to more candidates linking in with our activities.

Scalibrini Centre

SACEE was approached by the Scalibrini Centre to see if we had manpower available to mark assignments for students linked to an overseas degree programme for migrants and refugees run by New Hampshire University. We had two people accept responsibility for marking assignments, one has stopped but the other is continuing and is doing excellent work. There would be room for one or two more people to assist with marking.

English Alive partnership with the Open Book Festival

Last year SACEE was allocated a stand at the Open Book Festival in order to display and sell copies of English Alive.

This year we are looking to combine the annual Launch of English Alive with the Open Book Festival and to involve local, senior school writers showcasing the publication and reading their poems to the Festival audience. We have been allocated a venue in the Central Library for this event.

Ideas that have not yet come to fruition include a conference or workshop offering professional skills development for teachers, a family reading challenge.

Alison Gwynne-Evans

Chairperson – Western Cape