New school premises bigger and better

After six years in the pipeline, Barkly House Pre-Primary School is now officially operating from its new premises on the corner of Main and Kildare roads.

According to the provincial minister of transport and public works, Donald Grant, and provincial minister of education, Debbie Schäfer, the school is now bigger and better with a friendly learning environment.

They took a 30-minute tour of the school recently, interacting with staff and learners under the guidance of principal Jeni Reid and architect Rahdia Khatieb Parker, who designed the school.

The new premises were established after a decision to move the pre-primary school from the old Barkly House on Harfield Road to the former Newlands Clinic, to allow the expansion of Claremont High School.

According to Reid, plans to move to the new premises began six years ago and they vacated their old Barkly House in 2014 (“Barkly House now a danger”, People’s Post, 4 July 2017) to operate from prefabricated structures while plans were still underway­.

Construction work started in 2016 and was completed in October last year. The building has been in use since the beginning of this year, accommodating about 125 learners.

It comprises five classrooms, including the pre-school and Grade R. It offers space for natural sciences and a block area, as well as a functional and music room and aftercare room.

Schäfer says the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is committed to championing early childhood development. She says that while the decision to move the facility was due to the expansion of Claremont High School, the new premises also offer a well-developed space for equipping and preparing little minds for early education.

She encourages the surrounding communities and parents to play their part in protecting and improving the quality of services offered at the school.

Grant says the school is designed in a practical manner, taking into consideration concerns raised by the community of Newlands­.

“There were concerns about traffic congestion in nearby roads as the school is located in a busy section of Newlands. The design has so far tackled that as there have been no complaints as yet.

“I would like for the community to support the school in every way possible to make sure the children get the best education possible.”

He says the Department of Public Works continues to develop valued facilities in accordance with government regulations.

According to Grant, the R10.2m project is one of many developments with which the department is busy in the province.