Schools Improvement Initiative

SII objectives


SII objectivesOBJECTIVE 1: Teacher professional and school organisational development


The main delivery vehicle for teacher professional and school organisational development is the range of university-certified professional development courses [1] administered and delivered by the Schools Development Unit (SDU) in the university’s School of Education. This preferred professional and organisational development model links formal qualifications with school-based support thereby enabling university staff to address issues of course and curriculum implementation in the classroom.

OBJECTIVE 2: Professional Practice Schools (PPS)

To date, four primary and two secondary schools in Khayelitsha have been identified as SII Partner Schools. These are sites where more extensive reciprocal links with the university are established. Through the School of Education, opportunities are created for UCT post-graduate student teachers[2] to undertake their teaching practice in these schools. As part of this initiative, piloted in 2013, the university also encourages its graduates to apply for teaching posts in these (and other) Khayelitsha schools as they become available. This strategic objective supports the notion of collaboration between universities and schools as a recognised approach for improving teacher and student learning practices (Deppeler, 2006; Cohen and Hill, 2000; Ramsey, 2000). In addition to pre-service teacher training, the PPS model enables fourth-year Occuptional Therapy (OT) students from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) to undertake the practical component of their qualification in the partner schools. From 2014, the seven-week rotational blocks of these FHS students has been extended to include Speech Therapy and Audiology students.

OBJECTIVE 3: Broader Institutional Engagement

As a direct link to Objective 2, the SII sees itself as a conduit which facilitates a greater level of engagement by university-based social responsiveness initiatives and programmes in Khayelitsha schools. Significant also in terms of broader university engagements is the collaboration between the SII and UCT’s student volunteer organisations. The student volunteer programmes, ‘TeachOut’ and ‘Inkanyezi’, for example are UCT-based interventions offered by Ubunye student volunteers to Grade 8 and 9 learners in one of the partner secondary schools.

OBJECTIVE 4: University Recruitment

100UP is a three-year enrichment programme which focuses on building the intellectual, social and cultural capital of a selected group of 100 learners (five per school) drawn from the 20 high schools in the Khayelitsha township, in order to better prepare them to compete for places at UCT and other tertiary institutions. An additional group of university potential Grade 12’s from these schools, called the GILL NET group, is brought on board after June each year to extend our reach as broadly as possible across the 20 schools.

The programme is structured around a range of focused activities that provide a significant amount of intensive contact time. The project draws on the expertise of staff and students from across the university community.

OBJECTIVE 5: External Engagement

In deepening its engagement in schools, the SII supports partnerships with education-based groupings outside of the university. This includes significantly, collaboration with Metropole East Education District (MEED). In addition to working closely with the departmental district officials, the SII has established a partnership with the Bookery in supporting three of the SII primary schools in establishing their school libraries, and Rotary in the establishment of a Language Partnership, which is active in all four primary schools.

[1] Besides a number of accredited two-year part-time Advanced Certificates in Education (ACEs), a suite of certified Short Courses is also offered. These formal qualifications are variously tailored to meet either the subject-specific professional development needs of practising teachers and/or the broader organisational management needs of school leaders. In response to the new national qualifications framework for teacher training, the exisiting ACE programmes are in the process of being replaced with the equivalent qualification – the Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT), to be implemented from 2014 onwards.

[2]The university’s pre-service teacher training is limited to graduates only.