More than 50 years ago the need for a school for disabled children on the West Rand was necessary.
Where 50 years ago existed only bare veld, where stood a vacant, almost unwanted piece of ground, today stands a modern building complex.
1959 Mrs. H. Weeks started transporting five disabled children to Forest Town School daily in a station wagon that belonged to West Rand Cripple Care Association (W.R.C.C.A). By 1960 enough money had been raised for a little bus, and Mrs Weeks with a bus load of 20 children and an assistant, became a regular feature on the highway from the West Rand to Forest Town School. The children spend more than an hour travelling each way.
1961 The principal of Forest Town School Mrs. Vorwerg, suggested that a school be started in Krugersdorp. Mr. N Basson is member of the W.R.C.C.A and himself the parent of a disabled child know the difficulty to get treatment, guidance and education for disabled children. He started negotiations with the Department of Education, Town Council, architects, builders, building committees, West Rand Cripple Care Association and few other organisations, institutions, people, etc. to start a school.
1966 In April the final stages in the planning of the West Rand School have been reached and the building of the R800 000 school and hostel is expected to start. The school will be built on a 4 Hectare site in Wentworth Park. The site was donated by the Krugersdorp Town Council.
1967 The school was built under sponsorship of the W.R.C.C.A who have bear 25% of the cost with the government contributing the rest. What a proud day the 30th September 1967 was to all who had worked for the erection of the school. The foundation stone was laid by Senator Jan de Klerk, then Minister of Education.
1968 On the 23rd July 1968, the West Rand School for disabled children was officially opened! In the school Journal is written: “Our school begin this morning with 33 learners, 20 day-scholars and 13 hostel learners. There were 4 foundation phase classes, 3 pre-school classes and the hostel consisted of only 2 nursery hostels. The staff comprised of the principal, Mr Adriaan Louw, 5 teachers, 2 physiotherapists, 1 occupational therapist, 1 speech therapist, 2 office staff, 2 housemothers, 1 bus driver, 1 general assistants, 2 housemothers.”
1973 Within 5 years the school had an amazing expansion. There were 170 learners (92 in the hostel and 78 day-scholars. An office complex, 8 primary classes and a library came in use. The junior and senior girls hostel (48 girls), the junior and senior boys hostels (48 boys), dining room, kitchen, laundry, heated swimming pool and school hall was completed. More staff was appointed – deputy principal, vice-principal, 2 psychologists, maintenance officer, nurse, 4 speech therapists, 5 physiotherapists, 2 occupational therapists and 13 teachers. One office staff, 11 housemothers, 2 factotums and 12 general assistants.
2018 In 50 years West Rand School has developed in a school to be the proud and joy of many disabled learners, their families and staff. In 2018 there are 272 learners and the appointed staff are – 1 principal, 2 deputy principals, 8 Head of departments, 24 teachers, 4 speech therapists, 4 occupational therapists, 3 occupational therapists, 1 nurse, 5 office staff, 7 teacher assistants, 2 care assistants, 8 hostel staff, 13 general assistants, 5 bus drivers and 1 security guard. The school have 1 nursery class, 2 pre-school classes, 7 foundation phase classes, 6 intermediate classes, 2 senior phase classes, 4 junior special classes, 3 special intermediate classes and 4 senior special classes.
Recent years: A new events lapa was added to the school. Old trees and scrubs was replaced with new trees. The road around the school got a new tar level. A large waiting shelter was erected at the main gate for learners waiting for their transport. The main gate got a face lift and the side entrance of the school came in use for the traffic flow and the safety of our learners. For the safety of our learners a security guard was appointed and service the entrance of the school. Up to standard alarm and camera system was installed. 50th year memorial bell tower was erected. Every classroom has state of the art white boards to help with the education. Laptops were bought to help learners with specific needs to be part of the classroom environment. Old leaking parts of the roof was replaced. An incontinent clinic open and 2 care assistants are appointed to help learners with their daily hygiene. A new medical wing open. The library was issued with new books and seating for the learners to enjoy reading. The school have 8 new mini busses and a new vehicle to transport learners to and from medical appointments. A cooking class and agricultural centre was open as part of the special classes curriculum. An Archery court was erected. A big utility store was erected. Cardboard for staff vehicles and entrances was installed. A memorial garden had erected. The gardens are beautified and accent lighting install. New beds and bedding for the hostel. Staff room got a facelift. A boardroom was opened. An old school learner operateS the copier office as an income.
The school cares for disable learners as young as 3 years old, and up to 18 years old. The earlier children receive therapy, the easier they will be able to adapt to and adopt normal positions and movements. At West Rand School provision are made for the development and adaptation of the child. Therapy plays a large part in a life of a disabled children to help them to unfold to the maximum of their physical abilities. In the class the intellectual abilities of each child are developed to the maximum. The number of learners in a class are according their disability. Curriculum is according the criteria of the Department of education. Assistance is given to students who have physical problems in a classroom. Laptops and special electronic equipment and software are used to help the learner. The school also have teacher assistants appointed to help the teacher assist the learners in class. Regular educational excursions are done. These excursions not only serve as curricular assistance, but also teach the student social values where they can experience independence and adaptability in society.
The whole staff work wholeheartedly as a team to achieve our ultimate goal, namely that we will not only help our children to develop physically and mentally but that we will give them the necessary confidence and independence in their adulthood to have a place in society.