Academic Policy

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Academic Policy

INTRODUCTION 

The academic affairs of the school are managed by the deputy-principal through the Committee of the subject heads. The Principal is also a member of this committee. The committee meets twice a term under the chairmanship of the deputy-principal and deals with all issues relating to the academic activities of the school. The body creates the policy and ensures that policy is adhered to. The committee will ensure that the academic programme for the year is properly planned and executed, including the assessment procedures, timing of assessment, and the administration of mid and end of year assessments. It will also ensure the maintenance of academic standards through the moderation of results reported on by each department in a special post examination staff meeting. The committee will also ensure an annual review within departments of their teaching and learning programmes, including decisions to be implemented to ensure improvements on a regular basis.

EXAMINATIONS

The school takes part in the Free State Education Department grade 10, 11 and 12 examinations. It also participates in the moderation procedures of the Free State Education Department.  The school also writes the Annual National Assessments (ANA) set by the National Department of Education.

If a learner misses an Examination the following policy will apply:

  • The learner will receive no marks (0%) unless:
    • A certificate from a registered medical practitioner is received. The certificate must clearly state that the learner was unable to sit for the examination on that day.
    • A letter from a registered sporting organisation stating that the learner is representing South Africa in an international competition is received.
    • A letter from the parents of the learner stating that the learner was attending the funeral of a close family member is received. The school reserves the right to ask for proof of the death of the family member.
  • If a medical certificate is submitted the learner will receive a mark based on his performance in the subject for that year.
    • If there is no consistent assessment history for the learner in that subject then the learner will receive an estimated mark which is 20% below the class average for that subject.

The following procedure will apply when an examination is to be written:

  • All learners must line up outside the classroom and have all the equipment necessary for the writing of that examination ready before they enter the examination venue.
  • All learners must enter the examination venue in silence and must sit in the desk to which they have been allocated by the invigilator.
  • The invigilator must then give all learners the following information.
    • No learner may go to the cloakroom while an examination is being written. If there is an emergency a member of staff must accompany them to the cloakroom and the door must be left open.
    • No learner is allowed to have any material on or near them which could assist them in the writing of the examination.
    • No learner may be in possession of a cellphone or any other electronic device while they are writing an examination.
    • No learner may eat or drink while an examination is in progress.
    • No learner may borrow anything from or lend anything to another learner while an examination is in progress.
    • No learner may communicate with another learner in any way while an examination is in progress.
  • All learners must obey the instructions of the invigilator at all times.
  • Failure to comply with any of the rules will result in the learner being reported to the Head of Academics who in most cases will instruct the relevant subject teacher to give the guilty learner 0% for the relevant examination.

If a learner is caught or suspected of cheating during the writing of an examination the following procedure must apply:

  • The invigilator must initial the examination answer script after the last word that the learner has written.
  • Under the initial the invigilator must write the date and the time at which he/she initialed.
  • All suspicious material must be removed from the learner.
  • The learner must be handed a clean sheet of paper and allowed to continue with the examination.
  • The invigilator must write a detailed statement of the incident clearly detailing the accusation against the learner.
  • The examination script with the initials, the rest of the examination script and the statement must be handed to the Head of the Irregularities Committee.
  • The examination script must be marked.
  • The Head of the Irregularities Committee will investigate the incident, call a meeting of the Irregularities Committee and they will apply sanctions according to the code of conduct.
  • The parents of the learner must be informed once the matter has been fully investigated.

LANGUAGE POLICY

The official language of teaching and learning is English, and the administration of the school is in English. All learners take English Home Language as an examination subject. Afrikaans First Additional Language and Sesotho First Additional Language are also offered. All learners take two official languages (English Home Language and Afrikaans First Additional Language) up to the end of grade 6 after this they may choose to either take Afrikaans or Sesotho First Additional Language in addition to English Home Language.

ASSESSMENT

Assessment occurs in all subjects and in all grades on a regular basis according to the guidelines and policies of the Education Department.  Marks are compiled at the end of each term according to the relevant policies and a report is sent to the parent. 

MODERATION

Moderation occurs in a number of ways during the course of teaching and assessment.  Moderation of tests and at exam times: within departments, individuals are delegated to set tests or exams which apply across the whole grade. These exams and tests are moderated by the subject head to ensure appropriateness, comprehensiveness and correctness. If the marking of the exam is undertaken by several persons across the grade, then moderation of the marking should take place to ensure consistency of approach.  The moderation of all marking is the responsibility of the subject head.  The subject head is also responsible for the moderation of all final subject marks.  This is done in co-operation with the Head of Academics.  All Grade 7 – 12 results are discussed once a term at a specially convened staff meeting. Grade 1 – 3 results are discussed at a specially convened Foundation Phase meeting and Grade 4 – 6 results are discussed at a specially convened Intermediate Phase meeting.  The Grade 7 – 12 meeting is chaired by the headmaster and the Grade 1 – 3 and Grade 4 – 6 meetings are chaired by the relevant phase heads.

MONITORING OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Initially it is the responsibility of the class teacher to monitor the overall academic progress of the boys.  The housemaster or Head of Academics may also be consulted when necessary.  Boys who are experiencing difficulties will be referred to the Site Based Support Team which is made up of the following people:

  • The Headmaster
  • The Head of Academics
  • The relevant housemaster
  • The school remedial teacher

Parents must be involved in the discussion as soon as possible and if necessary outside specialists may also be involved.  In most cases the issue must be reported to the District Based Support Team (Departmental Inclusive Education Unit) as soon as possible.

REVIEW OF LEARNING PROGRAMMES, DEVELOPMENT OF LEARNING PROGRAMMES, AND EQUIPMENT

All departments will review regularly the teaching materials and programmes they are using. This review should be minuted in departmental minutes to form an ongoing record of the learning material. From time to time, the Head of Academics will ask each of the departments to complete a review of its learning programme for the past year, for every grade, and to table the findings of this review.

LEARNER APPEALS PROCEDURE

If the learner wants to appeal against results achieved he will communicate this to the Head of Academics.  The Head of Academics will consider the appeal and if necessary convene a meeting with the learner, his parents and the relevant teacher/s. This meeting will attempt to resolve the difficulty.  In the event of the learner not being satisfied an appeal to the Headmaster can be made.  His decision will then be final.

STAFF ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT

Staff Development is the responsibility of the Staff Development Team (elected by the teaching staff).  Various training interventions will be organised and presented.  All teaching staff are required to attend these interventions.  In addition, teaching staff are encouraged to take part in professional growth seminars organized by appropriate bodies.

STAFF APPRAISAL

All staff are required to take part in an annual appraisal process. This appraisal process follows the guidelines and policies outlined in the Education Department’s Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS).  IQMS scores for teachers employed by the state are submitted at the end of each year.

MANAGEMENT OF INFORMATION SYSTEM, AND LEARNER PROFILES

The School has an extensive database of information relating to the academic progress of all learners within the school. This information is stored on the SA-Sams system and can be accessed by teaching staff when required.

HOMEWORK POLICY

All pupils are expected to do homework daily during school terms. The purposes of homework include follow up from the day’s lesson; preparation for the next lesson, working on projects and assignments scheduled in the term planner. Homework also encourages self-study practices, and allows for development of self-discipline and time management skills. The expectation is that pupils should be doing regular homework each night.

In cases where homework is not completed, pupils will be required to attend an Intervention Programme (IP) session the following day (Friday offences must attend on Monday).  This supervised session will give the pupil an opportunity to complete the required work.  Details of attendance are recorded.  Repeat offenders are referred to the Housemaster.

PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING

A separate policy has been developed for responding to instances in which plagiarism or cheating is detected or suspected. This provides for decisions about marks to be awarded as well as for actions to be taken to try and inculcate more meticulous and honest behaviour on the part of learners. 

May 2014