Dynamic learning –
‘'characterised by change, activity and progress to enhance existing skills and understanding’

Curriculum Matters

At St George’s we use the CAPS curriculum as the framework for our academic curriculum. As a mainstream school that subscribes to the National Policy on Inclusive Education, we are free to experiment and innovate.  We are able to challenge the gifted, to develop the interest of the average, and to make curious the under-achiever.  Above all, our methods and techniques infuse our pupils with a quiet confidence in themselves and in their abilities.

The average class size is under 26, which means each pupil receives individual attention and a close relationship develops between pupil and teacher. Pupils are encouraged to communicate and develop respectful relationships with one another and with teachers, preparing them for their roles in life.

The High School curriculum and beyond

Rigorous thinkers – ‘a disciplined, considered approach that questions one’s own assumptions’

In our high school we aim to advance the concept of exploration, experimentation and research, while allowing for independent thought and risk-taking. We offer a more flexible an exciting curriculum which encourages our pupils to journey from dependence to interdependence and finally to independence, preparing them for their national senior Certificate exam in Grade 12.

Even though our classes we offer a remarkably wide choice of subjects:

In grades 8 and 9, all pupils get to do the following:

  • English Home Language
  • Afrikaans 1st Additional language or isiXhosa 1st Additional Language
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences – History & Geography
  • Creative Arts (visual & dramatic arts)
  • Economic Management Sciences
  • Life Orientation, which includes Physical Education
  • Technology

 

In Grades 10, 11 and 12, the subject offering is as follows:

  • English Home Language
  • Afrikaans or isiXhosa 1st Additional Language
  • Mathematics
  • Life Orientation
  • Physical Sciences or Visual Arts or Consumer Studies
  • Geography or Business Studies or Dramatic Arts
  • Life Sciences or History or Engineering Graphics and Design

 

Assessment of work progress is done on a continuous basis and, in addition, meetings are held by staff, where discussion centres on the progress of each pupil. Learning support is an important part and teachers give their full attention to anyone who requires help. Support Maths, Afriakaans and isiXhosa classes are offered free of charge, once a week.

Support systems in place include encouraging pupils to make use of their diaries and frequent contact with a mentor teacher. Referral to a team of therapists, educational psychologists and/or counsellors, is made when required.

We run a two-weekly Cycle Test Period. A Homework Room is available for pupils who wish to work in a quiet space in the afternoons.

In addition to becoming fully involved in assimilating a body of knowledge, the pupils learn how to pursue information, how to communicate with others and how to manage time and resources efficiently.

Regular outings to places of interest are included in the programme to give pupils a wider perspective. Well-planned fieldwork exercises and excursions are very effective forms of education.   Thus we make full use of our environment beyond the school campus as an educational resource with outdoor education being intrinsic to the timetable.   For example, excursions related to syllabi in Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Business Studies regularly take place, as do visits by Visual Art and Dramatic Arts pupils to galleries and theatres.

Leadership & Responsibility

We do not have a prefect system but rather have a Portfolio Leadership Network that assists in the general running of the school. Members of the Matric class take it in turns to be responsible for helping staff to administer various aspects of school life, on a rotational basis. Thus all senior pupils are given the opportunity to develop their leadership potential, to take decisions and to be innovative.  This is done by playing a part in areas such as discipline, sports coaching, library organisation and supervising prep, to mention a few.  All children are encouraged to participate in Round Square activities and the President’s Award Scheme.   The school gives official recognition to those who render outstanding service.

Two student representatives, from each grade, are elected onto the Student Council which meets fortnightly.

Mentoring

Matric leadership is based on the philosophy of shared leadership. We believe that all children are capable of being great leaders and we try to create leadership opportunities throughout all phases in the school.  As such we have a Peer Tutoring programme in place where individuals, who have been very successful academically, volunteer to assist younger pupils after school hours. They provide organizational and homework support as well as support in English and Mathematics.

A Mentoring Programme is run by the Ethos Portfolio.  Grade 8 pupils are mentored and supported by Grade 12 pupils who then also take on a big brother / big sister role to facilitate the transition of Grade 8 pupils into the High School.

Career Guidance

This important facet of secondary education is built into the timetable from Grade 10 and is covered mainly in Life Orientation classes. Issues studied include general coverage of Law, Sexuality and Relationships, Time Management, Study Methods and an Introduction to Careers.   Grade 11 concentrates on Personal and Career Assessments.   In Grade 12, pupils are exposed to information from academic institutions and businesses, and they regularly visit Career Exhibitions and Open Days.

As part of being a school that subscribes to inclusive practices, we have a specialist class – Bethany House – for children, between the ages of 14 and 18 years, who have specific learning challenges that cannot be met by mainstream education. In this small class (a maximum of 10 pupils), each pupil has their own personalised individual education plan (IEP) to enable them to reach their full potential. Although they have their own learning plan that includes library, computer, art and music periods, these pupils integrate fully into other mainstream activities such as sport, camps and chapel.

The Prep School curriculum and beyond

Curious learners – ‘a strong desire to know, ask questions and actively seek out answers’

Our Prep School pupils are given a firm grounding in those basic skills that are vital for all round development. In addition, every opportunity is taken to extend all pupils.  In keeping with our belief that every child has special abilities, we place strong emphasis in encouraging emotional intelligence and cognitive skills and critical thinking by incorporating learning that extends beyond the curriculum. A policy of continuous assessment is followed but formal assessment is only introduced in Term 3 of Grade 3.

We emphasise academic, social and emotional support from Grade 1 to Grade 7 and close links are encouraged between teachers, parents and pupils.

An outdoor education programme is in place whereby Grades 4 – 7 each have a three-day camp every year. Our pupils also go on regular outings of educational interest. Educational theatre productions and visiting speakers are invited to address the pupils from time to time.

Our philosophy is that every child has special needs at some stage or another. We therefore have an Inclusive Education Department (IED) that ensures that every child benefits from the support services offered at the school. Besides individual therapy, there is also in-class support to assist with facilitation and mediation to the learning process.

Being an inclusive school, we have two classes in our Prep School for children who have specific learning challenges that cannot be met by mainstream education.  The Olive Learning Centre (OLC) caters for children between the ages of 6 and 9 years, while the Intermediate Phase Learning Centre (IPLC) caters for children between the ages 10 to 13 years. In these small classes, with a maximum of 10 pupils, each pupil has their own personalised individual education plan (IEP) and integrate into appropriate mainstream classes, where possible, to enable them to reach their full potential. Part of their learning plan includes library, computer, art and music periods, as well as integrating into mainstream activities such as sport, choir, camps and market days.

The Pre-Primary curriculum and beyond

Happy – ‘a sense of contentment and safety’

In our Grade Pre-R class and two Grade R classes we utilise a special combination of elements adeptly balanced to provide a planned, stimulating environment for 5 and 6 year olds.

In this happy atmosphere learning takes place through play, which is perfectly suited to the young pupil as play to them is a serious business!  Our classrooms and outdoor play area are well- equipped and attractively arranged in an open-plan system. 

The daily programme begins at 08:30 and ends at 12:30 and the pupils are encouraged to involve themselves in all aspects of the integrated curriculum on a daily basis. Learning through experience, where creativity and process are the focus, allows them to gain valuable life skills.

All the basic skills of cutting, pasting, writing a name, counting – the pre-skills for later learning – can be challenging for young pupils. The informal, structured setting of our Pre-Primary provides opportunities for acquiring these skills.   During micro-teaching (small group) sessions, specific observation of the pupil’s skills development takes place and individual attention is given.

The pupils also go to Music, Art and Library (and swimming in summer) weekly.   They have an opportunity to participate in optional extra-murals: Playball, Judo, Dancerise and Ballet.   We also arrange termly outings and visiting productions.