We are very happy to announce that Matthew Dunning, head of the English department at Selly Park Secondary School in Rustenburg, is our 2019 English Teacher of the Year.

Matthew was nominated by the head of his school, a teaching colleague, and many of his current and former students. All nominations attested to his phenomenal skills as a teacher and willingness to go the extra mile for his students. Furthermore, the valuable work the school is doing in terms of servicing the needs of the local community also fits our criterion of teaching under challenging circumstances.

According to Heidi Lowe, school principal, some 90% of the students do not have English as a home language. “Our school is not subsidised and we do not receive any external funding. We have a large number of learners who are on bursaries.  At present we are assisting Lonmin with a number of learners who lost their parents in the Marikana strike. As we do not have a boarding school all these learners are in a boarding home and very rarely see their remaining parent. Their home language is Xhosa and their remaining parent often cannot communicate or understand English. A translator is therefore required in any communication. All the learners had very limited exposure to English before coming to Selly Park.  This naturally poses very challenging circumstances for the English department.”

Matthew’s prize consists of the following:

  • Two night’s free accommodation in a self-catering cottage in Franschhoek, during the Franschhoek Literary Festival
  • Six sets of double tickets to events at the festival.
  • Transport costs to and from Franschhoek for the weekend.
  • A year’s free subscription to English at Once worksheets.

It gives us great pleasure to recognise a teacher of Matthew’s calibre and we hope he will have an awesome time at the fesitval.