Original Research

Towards sustaining performance in a Gauteng secondary school

Nonceba P. Ntuta, Willem Schurink
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 8, No 1 | a191 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v8i1.191 | © 2010 Nonceba P. Ntuta, Willem Schurink | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 February 2009 | Published: 26 November 2010

About the author(s)

Nonceba P. Ntuta, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Willem Schurink, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Poor school performance is a major problem in South Africa. To date the success of intervention strategies that were aimed at turning the situation around in dysfunctional schools have been short lived and were not sustainable.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the reasons for the failure of an intervention programme in a school that managed to perform well for the time when it received assistance.

Motivation: It is essential to determine the reasons for this continuous failure of school intervention programmes if we want to address the serious problems experienced by the South African education system.

Research design, approach and method: In this study, a qualitative research approach within a case-study design was used.

Main findings: The main reasons for the inability of the school to sustain its performance were not internal (within the school itself) but external (within the education system).

Practical and managerial implications: The findings of this study highlight the importance of external leadership and support by the districts and the Department of Education in changing the poor performance of schools at large.

Main contribution: Contrary to literature emphasising the lack of leadership at school level as the main problem of poor school performance, this study found that the problem was mainly due to a lack of leadership at departmental level.


politically-driven reform; education; poor school performance; school improvement; transformation


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