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An Atteridgeville school transformed through teamwork

“Teamwork makes the dream work”. This iconic phrase was coined by author John C. Maxwell. He believed that team success is assured when it is built on the grounds of solidarity, respect, communication and mutual understanding.

And as Ivy Aphane, principal of Matseke Primary School in Atteridgeville, Tshwane recently discovered, building strong, cohesive school teams on these qualities is needed to successfully educate our youth. Aphane’s route to this discovery began when she was paired with Gaongalelwe Dire, a Finance Manager at Bestmed Medical Scheme, on Citizen Leader Lab’s flagship leadership development program, Partners for Possibility.

The award-winning programme pairs school principals with business leaders in a 12-month leadership programme. Through these partnerships, principals gain the skills needed to confidently lead change in their schools, while business leaders hone their own leadership skills within a complex and challenging school environment.

Atteridgeville, the township in which Matseke Primary is located, was originally established in 1939 by the apartheid government, as a settlement for black people.

It is a culturally vibrant township, however, it has its fair share of social challenges. , The people of Atteridgeville contend with abject poverty, pervasive violence, substance abuse and frequent xenophobia.

Amid these social issues, Principal Aphane embarked on her Partners for Possibility journey with her sights set on charting a clear path for Matseke, and ingraining a school culture that lends itself to a more motivated staff.

Aphane says that she is most proud of the outcomes of the team building session that has rectified what she described as a “lack of teamwork amongst the staff members.” Organised and facilitated by Bestmed, this session focused on conveying the importance of trust and relationship building. The principal mentions that since the session took place, she has noticed a significant increase in morale, productivity and co-operation among the staff.

‘’Thanks to Bestmed’s help, I see the staff embracing our school’s motto of ‘Unity is Strength’ and working together to achieve our common goals. Their participation in extra and co-curricular school activities has improved.

Throughout the Partners for possibility programme, Gaongalelwe has been my guide on how to do this. She has helped me to understand what it means to work interdependently,’’ says Aphane.

Matseke’s new-found ethos of synergy and togetherness has had a positive influence on key stakeholders in the school community.

‘’My School Governing Body, too, are now supporting all the school’s projects,’’ says Aphane.

How did Principal Ivy Aphane use her newly acquired leadership skills to improve Matseke Primary’s infrastructure? Find out soon!

Let’s work together to create #TheFutureWeWant

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