A number of factors I believe allow us to add value to a student’s education which public schools and some other independent schools cannot offer at the same level; namely: our classes are kept small averaging about 12 – 14 students in a class. A few classes had as few as seven students in a class this past year, with no class having more than 16 students (this rule is only broken in exceptional circumstances with learner approval). We are also fortunate to have a dedicated and motivated staff who enjoy what they do and understand the importance of education and individuality amongst students. The college is one large family where everyone knows each other and respects each other.
It probably has the exact opposite effect. With our low numbers we are able to offer a degree of individuality by not having a formal uniform, but students are still required to be neat. We treat the students as young adults and they are expected to behave accordingly. We are able to give the students certain privileges which would be difficult at a larger school. We also have zero tolerance on other fundamental issues like drugs. This zero tolerance is supported by all our students and parents. Like any school we have a code of conduct which is very comprehensive and fair.
We follow the National Department of Education’s syllabi, as do all public schools in South Africa, the difference probably lies in our teacher: pupil ratio, which averages 1:12, compared to the national norm of 1:35. This allows our teachers time to give students more individual attention and apply a broader array of teaching techniques.
The college operates an open door policy, and all parents have full access to the principal and the staff as required. We also make extensive use of technology in the form of SMS’s and e-mail. In terms of academic feedback, we probably have the highest level of reporting in the city, with 7 reports a year (two a term, except the 4th term).
Grade 10, 11& 12 learners who feel they will benefit from smaller classes and more personal attention than mainstream schools are able to offer.
- Both academically gifted and underachieving students who feel they are getting lost in the crowd and will benefit from smaller classes.
- Learners who want to take responsibility and accountability for their futures and are looking for a positive and secure education environment.
- Post matric students who want to improve their results or correct subject choices to follow specific career paths.
- The college ONLY accepts students who want to come to the college and are prepared to commit themselves to giving of their personal best without comparison to other learners.
One must remember that grade 10, 11 and 12 now constitute a separate education phase FET, which makes it a natural point for change.