Factors influencing the implementation of a grade R school readiness learning support programme in two previously disadvantaged primary schools in the Cape Town metropole
Hans, Mariotte M
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This study investigated the factors that impacted positively or militated against the implementation of a learning support programme (ISP) in grade R classes at two primary schools located in the same poor socio-economic area within the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Learner Support Teachers used this programme to enhance learning in grade R and was called an Intervention Support Programme (ISP). The purpose of the ISP was to improve the school readiness skills of the Grade R learners in four domains: language development, gross and fine motor skills, auditory perceptual skills and visual perception. The study followed a qualitative research approach and was guided by a case study research design. The sample comprised both designers as well as implementers of the ISP who were school-based as well as education district-based officials to explore their views and/or experiences of the ISP. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews after all ethical protocols were followed. The data was analysed using a thematic approach. The findings highlighted, that despite the learners experiencing barriers to learning, they improved by participating in the ISP. The study identified the following factors that facilitated the successful implementation of the ISP: the grade R teachers and LSTs’ work experience and qualifications, their positive attitudes and commitment towards teaching, the designers, implementers and grade one teachers’ positive views about the ISP, the constant review of the ISP, and adapting the ISP to suit local learning and teaching contexts of the schools. The study also identified the following factors that militated against the successful implementation of the ISP: the non- involvement of the ISP implementers (grade R teachers and LSTs) in the input and design of the ISP, the nonalignment of the school curriculum (CAPS) with the ISP, the manner in which ISP leaners were selected, time constraints regarding the delivery of the curriculum, the non- or under-involvement of parents and the community in their children’s schooling, the non-involvement of principals in the ISP and the unrealistic expectations of the district- based officials with regard to the ISP. The study also makes recommendations about how the ISP could be improved to enhance its effectiveness.