An investigation of school improvement : a case study of David Rattray foundation partner schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
Schools within South Africa are not performing as they should be due to a variety of issues within the school system. It is for this reason that there has been an increased interest in the field of school improvement. This research study is an articulation of a case for school improvement. In the Rorke‟s Drift / Isandlwana area of KwaZulu-Natal the David Rattray Foundation (DRF) implements school improvement projects at partner schools within the area with an aim to bring about school improvement. This qualitative study entailed the researcher conducting semi-structured interviews, a document analysis, non-participant observation with the use of a checklist, a preference analysis, and Participatory Action Research (PAR) to formulate a case study of the David Rattray Foundation (DRF). There were three main themes that emerged from the data of this research, namely (a) school improvement, (b) partnerships and (c) wider system issues. Within this study the researcher identified a shift from a charismatic approach to school improvement to one that is more systematic and business like on the part of the foundation. An interesting approach to whole school improvement is articulated by the manner in which the foundation operates. With the complexity of the school system, the researcher has identified that the DRF uses business principles to counter the problems that arise with the implementation of school improvement interventions, thus within this study the researcher presents a business model of school improvement.