Gansbaai Academia is a no fees, multi-cultural school situated in Gansbaai. The school officially opened its doors with 359 learners on 22 February, 2010 on the insistence of the local community who reasoned that the other high schools in the area were too remote. It serves all communities and most of the school’s current complement of 765 learners originate from the three main population groups (black, coloured and white) in Gansbaai and Stanford and their surrounding areas. The graphs below illustrates the unique demographics of the school:
Academia is a dual-medium school that tutors in English and Afrikaans. A choice of Xhosa or Afrikaans as home language is offered in conjunction with English as second language. Apart from mandatory Life Orientation, three more subjects can be chosen from a list that includes Accounting, Business Studies, Computer Applications Technology, Geography, Hospitality Studies, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Tourism, Mathematics or Math Literacy. The school also intends to offer Maritime Studies as a subject, but a lack of resources has so far delayed this. The foundation of the school’s culture is the “Six Pillars Of Character” trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Gansbaai is a small fishing coastal town in the Overstrand region of the Western Cape province of South Africa about 45km east of Hermanus, and about 150km south-east of Cape Town. In the 2011 census, the population ofGansbaai was recorded as 11,598 people, living in an area of 12.4 square kilometres, giving the town a population density of 932.1 inhabitants per square kilometre. 45% of the inhabitants described themselves as “Black African“, 30% as “Coloured“, and 24% as “White“. 53% spoke Afrikaans as their first language, 40% spoke Xhosa, 3% spoke English, and 4% spoke some other language. Some people are of the opinion that the census figures, especially the black component, are understated by a large percentage.
Given the fact that governmental controls over fishing quotas are being strictly enforced, the burden of life has increased dramatically for the town’s population. High local unemployment levels have created widespread poverty. Homelessness, inadequate housing and access to basic amenities, including health care, represent key threats to the town’s education level. The town’s family poverty status, based on the Quintile 3, includes the poorest of the poor and the school is currently running a nutrition scheme utilised by about half the learners.
The school principal, Mr Tommy Wilson has nearly thirty years of experience in education and was acting principal for four years at a Worcester high school before taking over the reins at Academia. His qualifications include both a BA degree and B.Ed degree in teaching management. He also holds an advanced certificate in education as well as a diploma in Teaching Management. Together with his able and enthusiastic staff they hold the view that all pupils can succeed and they are working to see that it happens.
Extra-mural activities include an established school choir, debating and public-speaking societies and a school newspaper. We are fortunate to share the adjacent municipal sport amenities which include an AstroTurf field. Learners can play netball, rugby, soccer, hockey, cricket and athletics. Other sport codes include golf, tennis, bowls and chess.
Much has been achieved in the short history of the school. These include new traditions established such as
- The matric valedictory day to bid farewell to the school.
- The grade eight induction ceremony.
- “The Surfwalk”, an annual fundraiser organised by the teachers.
- The school’s birthday (22 February) celebrations.
- The proud “Sharkie” campaign.
- Cultivaria – a cultural evening showcasing the diverse talents of our learners.
- Became a School of Mathematics and Science in the District as from 2015.
- Inclusive school catering for learners with learning difficulties.
Some of the school’s other achievements include:
- A special director’s award for the highest first matric pass rate (92.1%)ever by a new school. The pass rate in 2013 was even higher at 93.1% and 16 learners received university exemption, which led to two more director’s awards. The top learner achieved 5 distinctions and was rewarded with an all expenses bursary at the University of the Orange Free State. In 2014 our pass rate fell slightly to 89.9 percent, which was in line with the national results.
- A close relationship with prof Jonathan Jansen of the University Of The Orange Free State, who has offered all inclusive bursaries to our top learners in 2013, Bianca De Koning, and 2015, AndisiweWulana. They both achieved 5 distinctions and Andisiwe missed her “A” average by a fraction of a percentage.
- Our u/18 football team won the Copa Coca Cola Cup Overberg Regional Finals.
- Being selected to participate in the Media24 initiative Rachel’s Angels and this year being selected from over 20 schools to host their prestigious market day.
- The establishment of a school library.
- A number of learners achieving Boland Colours for rugby, girls’ rugby and athletics as well as regional colours in netball and chess.
- Adult education courses.
- Achieved a score of three in a whole school evaluation, which the assessors reckoned was without parallel for a new school. The whole school evaluation is a national policy to reinstate the supervision and monitoring mechanisms at school level and is designed to help supervisors reach conclusions on the overall performance of schools using agreed national criteria. A synopsis of the report is available on our website.
- The principal, Mr Tommy Wilson, receives a Mayoral Award for Excellence in Education in Overstrand.
The school is a non-fees school with a limited grant from the government which must pay for running expenses such as the municipal bill, textbooks, telephone and photocopying.
The school faces huge challenges because of the state of the local community. These include preventing local social issues such as drugs, alcohol and gangsterism from spilling onto the school grounds. There are also a large increase in learners with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome related problems. Parental involvement is also a huge headache and it seems as if a large percentage of parents expect the school to do everything. Most parents are unable to make a contribution of R50 a month to the school. Therefore we are 90 per cent reliant on government funding, which amounts to R1100 per learner per year, and are not in a position to employ extra teachers leading to overcrowded classrooms. It is also impossible to purchase much needed equipment such as whiteboards.
A large percentage of the learners also see no future for themselves and one of the biggest challenges the school faces is to instil a sense of belonging and to show the learners that by studying they can control their own future. Amongst other problems is language with some of the learners having only a rudimentary knowledge of any one of the tutoring languages.
Our sporting activities are also costly to run because we are in a rural area, with no nearby high schools to compete against. The cost of transport for away games is thus a major headache because the nearest schools we compete against are in Hermanus, 43 kilometers away whilst other schools are based in Caledon, Bredasdorp, Grabouw and Swellendam which are much further.
- Short-term Needs
- Additional teachers
- School bus
- Teaching aids such as electronic white boards
- Library contributions
- Sport uniforms
- Excursions and tours
The school maintains a good relationship with the local newspaper and it manages a well maintained website www.gansbaai-academia.com in addition to our Facebook page. All meaningful donations and sponsorships will thus receive good exposure in the media. Departmental audits have also found our financial systems in good health, which means that your contributions will be properly spent to benefit all our learners.
Advertisement, branding or sponsorships are available in the following areas:
- Advertising boards next to the local road
- School newspaper adverts
- SMS communications with parents
- Monthly parental newsletter
- Branding of school bus
- Sport uniforms
- The “Sharkie” (our school mascot)
- Golf Day Sponsorship
- Our learners, such as our school choir are available for functions and community based service.
- Contact details
Gansbaai Academia may be a new kid on the block but in its five years it has already progressed well on the road to become a school of excellence and one of the top schools in South Africa. With your assistance we can show that a no fees school can provide a future to all learners as well as becoming a shining beacon of light for all the people in the community. We assure you that that you will be proud to be associated with the development of this school and look forward to working with you.