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Ceres school thrives despite challenges: Principal’s leadership makes the difference

Located in Ceres, Nduli Primary School faces a myriad challenges. For a start, the school is enormous educating 917 learners from surrounding communities; as part of the National School Nutrition Programme, the school prepares meals for all its learners twice a day – but has just one staff member to do this; school furniture is scarce, with three learners often sharing a single desk, in classrooms accommodating 48 to 65 learners. Large swathes of the Ceres community are subjected to chronic poverty, criminality, violence and the exploitative seasonal working conditions.

But despite the many challenges the township school and the broader Ceres community faces, newly appointed principal, Fezeka Lethunya, her teachers and staff are thriving! This is largely due to a co-action, co-learning partnership formed between Lethunya and Maddy Ross, a retired academic in the field of family and school reading practices. Together, Lethunya and Ross have recently completed Citizen Leader Lab’s year-long Partners for Possibility (PfP) programme and together they are taking the school to new heights.

Through PfP partnerships like Lethunya and Ross’, principals get the support and skills needed to confidently lead change and mobilise communities around their schools, while business leaders hone their own leadership skills within a complex and challenging school environment. The multi-award winning programme features the key elements of professional coaching, five-days of world-class training workshops, practical leadership development exposure in a South African school and regular learning and networking opportunities for principals and business leaders.

Lethunya believes that the PfP programme has played a significant role in helping her develop her leadership capacity and enable her to succeed in this very challenging environment.

” The leadership skills and knowledge gained from my partnership with Maddy have been put to great use, and we are now seeing more parental involvement at the school’’, says Lethunya.

The programme, she believes, serves as a platform for ‘’principals to share best practices and build unity, which is needed in our schools.’’

Working together to create #TheFutureWeWant