Cecil Road Primary School in Salt River plays an important role in the lives of the surrounding community, as well as the children who attend it. But the beating heart of the school itself is Principal Mathews, who goes out of his way to support the learners under his care, even buying school supplies to the value of R10 000 for the children.
Founded in 1937, Cecil Road Primary School has been home to many generations of learners over its 85-year history. There are currently around 550 pupils attending the school, and most of the students and teachers are either children of alumni or alumni themselves, which speaks volumes about the positive impact of the school on its community.
As of 2010, the recommended learner-teacher ratio and class size for primary schools in South Africa are 40 learners per teacher and 40 learners per class, but at Cecil Road, the situation is more positive. Classes are kept small and manageable, with two classes per year for grades R to 7, each with only thirty pupils. Cecil Road Primary also consistently boasts a great academic record, with literacy and numeracy numbers that are in the impressive 90% range, compared with the ever-declining national numbers, which stand at 87.05% this year. These numbers are a clear reflection of the quality of education that learners receive at this school.
“I believe in old-fashioned values of community and loyalty, and I try to teach this to all our learners.” – Principal Mathews of Cecil Road Primary School
Principal Mathews, himself a former student – as were his parents – is now in his 30th year of teaching, and a true role model to the children, the school and the community at large. He lives by the principle of old-fashioned values and believes that community is all-important. Under his guidance and encouragement, the school has been partnering with many community service providers who have provided access to the local pool, free fibre and Wi-Fi, access to a school hall, projectors, computers, medical care, and more. Principal Matthews is very excited about the Wi-Fi access, as he believes it is time to introduce e-learning into the school and modernise teaching methods. The community involvement and support towards this school cannot be understated, and it is clear to see why.
Principal Mathews has been purchasing school supplies at PNA in Observatory for a number of years. Earlier this year, the store became aware that Principal Mathews was not only buying stationery out of his own pocket, but that he had spent more than R10 000 in order to provide his learners with vital school supplies. Principal Mathews explains that ‘in the old days, we were given our school supplies and books, but the department no longer supplies. Every child has to buy their own stationery, and some of the parents cannot afford it.’ The staff and management were so touched by his selflessness that they decided to support his cause and donate stationery to the foundation phase learners at Cecil Road.
‘Without involvement and support from the community and suppliers, our school cannot succeed and continue to thrive. I am very happy to have a stationery supplier like PNA on board.’ – Principal Mathews of Cecil Road Primary School
On Wednesday, 22 June 2022, PNA Observatory and Principal Mathews organised a morning of fun for the school. The festivities started with a question to all the kids about what they want to be when they grow up; responses ranged from doctors, lawyers, teachers and accountants to movie stars, software developers and more. The PNA team then led the children in an energetic dance which was well received. Some future stars pulled out their cool moves, and even some teachers were persuaded to shake a leg. PNA then set up a table with goody bags containing a lunch box, juice bottle, notebook, ruler, and pens. Each student was given an orange and apple as a healthy snack for the day.
PNA also handed over a hamper filled with Bostick products to a young male student who was the highest achiever in his Grade 7 class. His dream is to be a software developer when he grows up, and his encouraging words to students were ‘to work hard and never give up’. The kids were clearly excited to receive these generous gifts and snacks and treated everyone to bright smiles and thank yous.
‘We are all about being in a long-term relationship with our suppliers, and we remain loyal to them as they are loyal to us’, says Principal Mathews. The pupils and staff would like to thank everybody at PNA Observatory for their generosity and support.
If you would like to donate or support the Cecil Road Primary School in any way, you can contact them on 021 448 1574 or email them via [email protected].