Authors: Marietjie Bruwer, Cycil Hartell & Miemsie Steyn

Keyword: access to education, inclusive education, primary education, primary schools

SDG: SDG4

Agenda 2063: A1

A significant number of young learners entering into Grade 1 in South Africa have not reached the required level of readiness for formal learning due to inadequate early learning experiences. As found in many studies worldwide, these learners are often traumatised because they cannot keep up with the pace and requirements of the formal learning situation, putting them at risk for school failure. Focus group interviews were conducted with Grade 1 teachers at two city schools in Pretoria to explore their experiences regarding the insufficient school readiness of their learners and the impact thereof on the learning process. The predominant concerns emerging from this investigation are the inaccessibility of the current curriculum (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement – CAPS) for learners with insufficient school readiness, and education policies which seem to work against inclusivity. Although Education White Paper 6 (RSA DoE 2001) states that providing quality education to all learners requires adapting curricula, teaching strategies and organisational arrangements to meet the needs of the learners, the teachers in this study feel that they are not allowed the freedom to do so. Recommendations are made to remedy the situation.