Buffalo City and Fort Beaufort:
South Africa 2019
August 2023 Update
In 2019 the partnership between Byrchall High School and Smiling Valley Intermediate Farm School celebrated 10 years of partnership working. During the visit to South Africa staff from each school discussed the next steps for the partnership. Mr Mncono had been promoted to Education District Officer, and he was leaving Smiling Valley as its principal, and would now be responsible for 88 schools.
A meeting took place with the senior education officers from the district to make new plans. Unfortunately these plans had to be put on hold during the COVID pandemic. During the years of lockdown we were all saddened to hear that Smiling Valley school had closed and has never re-opened. The pupils are now attending other schools in the area.
PiXL International is an educational charity, and part of Partners in Excellence (PiXL), and offered to support an expansion of our work in South Africa, and to continue the links with schools, teachers and pupils that were already well established.
PiXL International’s vision is focused on improving the life chances of young people through the advancement of education. Its mission is to support schools so that pupils can graduate with appropriate qualifications to enable success.
Here's a link to PiXL International's Website:
May 30th 2023 was the day when the schools involved in the project finally met together at their first ever conference in the Eastern Cape. This conference had been delayed since 2020, due to the pandemic, but the staff in the schools were still enthusiastic. Mrs Finch shared some of the PiXL strategies that PiXL schools in England have found useful in improving outcomes for young people in public examinations.
The conference was held at Stutterheim High School, with 31 educators present, representing 25 schools and 3 Education District Officers. The schools ranged from small remote schools with limited facilities and staff, to large secondary schools. Several of the schools had pupils from all age groups, from Grade R to Grade 12.
The delegates came from two districts in the Eastern Cape- Fort Beaufort and Buffalo City. The staff from the schools in the Fort Beaufort area were mainly Principals or Senior Leaders. They will continue to work with Mr Mongezi Mncono, the Education District Officer responsible for those schools. The schools involved from the Buffalo City area will continue to work with Mrs Gabisile Mncono, who is a subject specialist adviser, and they will focus on the key subject area of English.
Regular contact is taking place to support teachers and to share resources. The next step is to develop contact between more staff and also involve the pupils. This work continues to be supported by PiXL International.
Smiling Valley Intermediate School is a small farm school that caters for the learners who come from families that work on the surrounding farms of Combongo, near to King Williamstown in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Below are some pictures from the conference: