Educator' perspectives on collaboration in Institutional Level Support Teams (ILSTs) of schools in the Wynberg, Grassy Park and Pelican Park area
South Africa has a history of inequalities due to the Apartheid system, much of this is reflected in Educational policies regarding Special Education, Specialised Education and Educational Support Services resulting in inadequate education. "Education White Paper 6", (Department of Education, 2006) is a response by the South African government to the inequalities, which constitute as barriers to learning. The key to reducing barriers to learning at all levels of education lies in the strengthening of Education Support Services, (Department of Education, 2001). Thus Support Services Systems are established at various levels including National, Provincial, Regional, and Education Districts and at Institutional Level. At the level of Institutions, Institutional Level Support Teams are established as a school -based team, with its primary function to put in place learner and educator support services. Institutional Level Support Teams (ILSTs) are expected to co-opt expertise from the school community, collaborate with the local community, parents and the District department of education. The Institutional Level Support Teams are expected to collaborate or form partnership to achieve their common goals and successful achievement of their objectives. The main objective of this study was to gain insight into educator's perspectives on collaboration or forming partnership with other members of their schools' ILSTs. These perspectives related to the attitudes educators have towards collaboration in the ILST, the benefits they consider deriving from their work at the ILST, the activities they involve themselves in and the challenges they face while collaborating with other members of their schools' ILST. The study adopted a mixed methods approach and involved teachers of four high schools in the Western Cape. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using questionnaire and interview protocol. The results of the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data collected for the study revealed that the educators who participated in the study expressed fairly positive attitudes towards collaborating with other stakeholders in the ILSTs. The participants felt that their participation in the schools' ILSTs was beneficial to the learners, parents and educators. All activities presented to them on the questionnaire were endorsed as those they participated in while collaborating with others in their schools' ILSTs. The participants also indicated that they experienced a number of challenges while collaborating with others in their schools ILSTs. These challenges include a lack of parental and community involvement as well as poor guidelines on the operations of ILST by the Department of Education. The study provides recommendation as to how to improve collaboration in the ILST.