The PSP has a history of responding to the needs of teachers and schooling within the wider political, social and educational context of South Africa.
• Primary Science Programme (PSP) is initiated by Mrs. Anne Griffiths.
• PSP set up as a project of the Urban Foundation, Cape Town.
• Provided pupil participation primary science kits to a selection of schools allowing learners to work with the equipment in groups, in large classes.
• Provided week-long training courses for teachers in co-operation with the Department of Education and Training at the time.
In response to:
-Critical shortcomings in primary science teaching as a result of ‘Bantu Education’ under which a separate and inferior science syllabus had been prescribed along with very poor provision of resources and equipment .
• The PSP operates from four additional centres: Durban (1984), Port Elizabeth (1984), Johannesburg (1986) and Bloemfontein (1987).
• Cape Town PSP moves to the Uluntu Centre in Gugulethu - to be closer to the target schools. Also institutes an annual mass planning forum, where teachers prioritise areas of focus and help plan the PSP workshop programme for the year.
• PSP employs a Language Co-ordinator as teaching and learning takes place in a 2nd or 3rd language.
• PSP facilitates full day content and methodology workshops, culminating in work with children.
• PSP produces teacher handbooks with lesson plans and ideas for enrichment.
In response to:
-Introduction of an upgraded syllabus for all the separate and racially segregated Departments of Education. Request by teachers for PSP to run workshops/ courses on different science topics, which teachers had not been trained to teach.
-Recognising the importance of language in Science Education.
-The need to document the workshops and provide quality material for teachers.
• The National PSP Trust is registered as a non-profit Trust, with a national office in Johannesburg. It receives generous funding and support from organisations such as Joint Education Trust (JET) and the Independent Development Trust (IDT).
• A National Manager, Peter Glover, is appointed.
• The National Education Department seconds 36 experienced teachers to work with the PSP in projects in all nine provinces of the new South Africa.
• The PSP, together with teachers, formally assists the Western Cape Education Department to clarify the syllabus and give practical suggestions for its implementation.
In response to:
-Amalgamation of all education departments, under the new political dispensation,
-The introduction of National Education Department Interim Core Syllabus for Science.
-Recognition of the importance of supporting science education at the primary school level.
• The Western Cape PSP is selected to join a consortium of NGOs (along with UWC’s TIP, UCT’s SDU and ESST) to work in close partnership with the Western Cape Education Department to support teaching in Mathematics, Science, Language as well as the management of schools in urban and rural areas of the province in the GETinSET project.
• The GETinSET project is funded by the DG Murray Trust and the Rockefeller’s Brothers Fund and runs until 2001.
• The National PSP Trust closes down, due to lack of funding (June 1999).
• In the Western Cape the PSP is re-established as the Western Cape Primary Science Programme Trust, with a new Joint Management Board and independent 18A and 10(1)f tax status. All provincial Western Cape projects continue uninterrupted and all local staff are maintained.
• The National Education Department introduces the New Curriculum for Education in SA, the "Curriculum 2005 (C2005)".
In response to
-Introduction the Curriculum 2005 Outcomes Based Education (OBE) by National Education Department, leaving teachers confused and demoralised.
-Teachers expected to design learning materials and teach towards 'specific outcomes'. Teachers give PSP a mandate to develop and trial example learning programmes for OBE in order to assist them.
-Requests for PSP to run seminars and practical workshops, for whole staffs at many schools to explain the structure of the new National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and to interpret the requirements of Outcomes Based Education (OBE).
• PSP moves to better premises at Edith Stephens Wetland Park in Lansdowne Road, Philippi, still in close proximity to the schools.
• PSP launches Cluster Project which works each year with the education District Offices in clusters of schools to improve the planning, teaching and assessment of Natural Sciences with teams of science teachers from each school.
• The regular programme of short courses continues for teachers of the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Mathematics and Language.
• The PSP initiates an independent, longitudinal evaluation, conducted by Prof Clifford Malcolm of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
• PSP starts Hands-on-Environment Project which encourages and resources teachers to bring their learners to the Edith Stephens Wetland Park on environmental education outings. This project was funded by the National Lottery for the first three years.
• The PSP wins tenders to offer the WCED official three week Natural Sciences Training courses for 300 Intermediate Phase teachers at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute (CTLI) over the next three years, with a follow up course in 2008.
• The PSP, together with the EMDC SOUTH and the Shuttleworth Foundation, embarks on the 'H' Project. PSP works with the Foundation Phase teachers in nine schools to support Natural Sciences investigations for young learners.
• The PSP co-ordinates the TWW Project working in all West Coast Winelands primary schools in the areas of Mathematics, Science and Technology, in partnership with the WCED, and service providers (IMSTUS, SDU and ORT-TECH).
In response to:
-The need to establish a co-ordinated approach by NGO's, together with the department of education districts, to support teachers and schools.
-The need to include environmental education, and to provide direct experiences for children from poor schools, in the rich environment at Edith Stephens Wetland Park.
-The need to introduce science with children in the first years of schooling (Foundation Phase).
-The need to provide researched information about the PSP's processes and impact.
• The PSP Cluster Project begins a three year evaluated cycle in five districts.
• The Metropole South District invites the PSP to participate in a consortium of providers for the Zenex Spark Project - a three-year evaluated teacher development project focusing on Mathematics and English and funded by the Zenex Foundation.
• The regular programme of courses is now known as the PSP Innovation Project and has expanded to offer 196 hours of course time for teachers in Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Environment and Language.
• New resource materials are developed each year, drawn from our engagement with teachers.
• The PSP appoints a new Director and staff grows to 13. Two three-year projects, the Zenex Spark Project and the PSP Cluster Project are concluded, with the positive external Evaluation Report on the Cluster Project released in August 2009.
• The PSP core work consists of three major projects called - Innovation project, Cluster project and Materials development project.
• The first PSP Conference of Teachers is held in October 2009, with teachers presenting their best practice arising from the Cluster Project experience.
In response to:
-Needs of education districts to extend support to more schools
-Teachers need for intensive support in Mathematics, Sciences and English.
-Teachers need for up-to-date teacher support materials.
-Need for evidence of impact of PSP on learner results.
• The PSP experiences a serious cash-flow crisis.
• The PSP restructures with new management and key staff in order to streamline and improve operations.
• PSP staff undergo formal mentorship training from University of the North West..
• The PSP appoints a full-time fundraiser and works towards financial sustainability.
• The PSP initiates and co-ordinates a project with first time teachers - called the Joint Mentorship Project (JMP). It is a collaboration between the University of the Western Cape (UWC), the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) Districts and two NGO service providers, PSP and MEPP (Mathematics Education Primary Programme) to mentor 20 first-time teachers from UWC in their first two years of teaching. This pilot project is researched through Action Research methodology.
• The Innovation, Cluster and Materials Development projects continue and deepen their impact.
In response to:
-The need for first time teachers to be mentored in the workplace - in order to replace aging and retiring teachers with competent professional young teachers.
-Government policy requiring Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Education Department and NGOs to collaborate to provide teacher training and teacher professional development.
-The need for first-time teachers to improve their knowledge in their teaching subjects (which were not covered in their pre-service training).
• The PSP appoints a new director.
• PSP begins a new 2-year Cluster Project cycle with more cluster schools in three districts. PSP begins a new Joint Mentorship Project (JMP) cycle to commence in 2013 with 25 first time teachers.
• The National Department of Basic Education contracts the PSP to write and improve the new National CAPS Curriculum for Natural Sciences for Intermediate and Senior Phases.
• The Joint Mentorship Project (JMP) is selected as one of the Global Best Award winners for the 2012 Global Best Awards in the theme "Partnerships that Inspire Young People in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in Africa". This award is decided through the International Education Business Partnership Network (IPN), in collaboration with MIET Africa and The Conference Board of Canada.
• The PSP updates the Natural Sciences & Technology teacher-support books.
• PSP produces a handbook for first time teachers and for schools - called the TeachSmart handbook.
• In 2014 the first time teacher conference was held at UWC in which first-time teachers showcased their best practice.
In response to:
-New national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) introduced by Department of Basic Education (DBE) for implementation.
-The success of the JMP pilot project and the need for more first time teachers to be mentored.