Western Cape educators do the province proud at the National Teaching Awards

Leigh Dunn

I am extremely proud that three of our educators from the Western Cape received awards at last night’s National Teaching Award Ceremony. 

I was delighted that I was able to attend the awards which were scheduled to coincide with a Council of Educator Ministers’ meeting in Pretoria. 

I was therefore able to witness first-hand the excitement around this event and was thrilled to see two of our educators winning first place and another educator third place in three of the ten award categories. 

Leigh Dunn from Formosa Primary School in Plettenberg Bay won the award for “Excellence in Special Needs Teaching”. 

Mr Dunn is responsible for the ELSEN UNIT at Formosa Primary School and has designed a baseline assessment for the Unit’s special needs learners. 

He has made, and continues to make, a huge contribution in the field of learners with special needs and this is evident in his work, which he shares with his colleagues and other teachers in the broader education fraternity. He works closely with occupational therapists and specialists.  

His love for children and his vision to make a tangible difference in the community of Plettenberg Bay and the surrounding areas is noticeable and we recognize his passion, commitment and his innovative teaching styles.  

We congratulate him for achieving such a prestigious award. 

Our second award winner from the Western Cape was Bernadette Bailey, who won an award for “Excellence in Adult Basic Education & Training” 

Ms Bailey is the Worcester Community Learning Centre Manager and her impressive and transformational management style makes her an example of best practice for adult basic education training centre management. 

Her sound judgment has contributed to substantial increase in the number of learners who have enrolled at the Worcester CLC. The CLC comprises 13 sites and provides learning opportunities to 1371 learners from Levels 1 – 4 and Grade 12. 

Ms Bailey is a team player and a team leader. She is always willing to make the CLC’s resources available to various government departments, and most noticeably the WCED. 

Amongst others, the Worcester CLC has now introduced very successful skills development programmes, which contribute to poverty alleviation by creating opportunities for learners to be economically active. In order to create more opportunities, the CLC introduced Travel and Tourism at Level 4. 

The manner in which the learning centre has proactively and creatively engaged with the learners has made this a community-friendly learning centre. The helpful approach of the centre manager has ensured that client care and service is provided by the centre’s educators through their inspiring and innovative engagements with the learners. 

Ms Bernadette Bailey is indeed a laudable recipient of this award. 

In the category “Excellence in Primary School Teaching”, Alletta du Toit from Hexvallei High School in De Doorns achieved third place. 

Ms Aletta du Toit has been in education for 25 years and heads the Foundation Phase at Hexvallei High School. She is a worthy runner-up of this award as she takes personal interest in each individual learner, visiting their homes, meeting their parents, developing a relationship and a deeper understanding of the context of every learner in her class. She believes that parents must be equal partners in education in order for their children to attain their full academic potential. With this philosophy in mind, her learners have produced good results. 

Aletta’s excellence has been noted in both her district and nationally: at district level she serves as a lead teacher in the Foundation Phase. Nationally, she has been selected by the Department of Basic Education to write, translate and moderate the ANA Afrikaans Literacy exam papers for the Foundation Phase. Furthermore, she has also been selected by DBE as a national marker for the ANA. Provincially she is part of the core training team to facilitate the CAPS roll- out for Foundation Phase teachers in her district. 

Her passion for the plight of children has resulted in the establishment of the Brave Heart Foundation, of which she is the director. Under her leadership a home was created for HIV/AIDS infected and affected children. She is also the Provincial and National Netball u/18 coach and her team has won gold at the National games. 

It is no wonder that her principal calls her both his left AND his right hand! 

So congratulations to these winners and to all the educators that made it to the finals of these awards. 

Your contribution to education and the public status of the profession is highly valued. These National Teaching awards which you have received are undoubtedly lifting the profile of teaching as a key profession in South Africa. 

You have all done yourselves and the people of the Western Cape proud!

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