Though the Western Cape is home to many of South Africa's most prestigious schools, it has a staggering dropout rate of over 50%. Located in a community with a particularly high prevalence of out of school children, School of Hope is a registered special-needs secondary school that accepts students of all ages and backgrounds.
There is no requirement of an entrance exam, only the prerequisite that students demonstrate a willingness to learn. The student population includes former street children, rehabilitated drug addicts, and children from abusive, neglectful homes. Some are in need of a nurturing, family-like environment in order to complete school successfully and come from childcare institutions and group homes for older youth. As a result of all or some of these factors, these young people have missed a substantial amount of their education and may be anywhere from six months up to three years older than the other students in their corresponding grade.
School of Hope operates on a typical school day, but the class sizes are limited to 15-25 students per class, significantly smaller than mainstream schooling, which allows for more targeted attention. Recognizing the diversity of learning levels, School of Hope provides individualized support to help each student graduate from grade 12. In addition, the school also offers support groups to parents and involves them in learning interventions specific to their child's needs. Finally, the school includes a full nutrition program to provide both breakfast and lunch.
School of Hope is currently able to accommodate 120 learners in classes from grades 8-12.
Click here to see full program profile
Model details1999Not-for-profitComprehensive curriculumActiveLong-term projectScholarshipsBeth UrielWestern Cape Education DepartmentMarsh Memorial Home
BeneficiariesIndividuals with disabilitiesOut-of-school childrenOrphans and vulnerable children
School of Hope partners with Beth Uriel and Marsh Memorial Childrens Homes to identify prospective children who should be encouraged to enroll. The students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning by contributing 150 Rand per month in school fees, however, only 40% of the students are able to do this and the remainder are not turned away.
TechnologyComputerOtherComputer Application Technology (CAT) is a compulsory subject for all students. There is a laptop for every student. The alumni are welcome to return to the school to use the laptops for their tertiary studies.
Number of non-teaching school staff: 6January, 2014
The school hopes to offer Information Technology as a Grade 12 subject. A long-term goal would be to start another school with a focus that differs from current “business” focus to reflect more of a humanities focus.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
The internal strategy is based on the monitoring guidelines of the Western Cape Education Department and Umalusi Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training. A staff member at School of Hope serves as a quality assurance officer and the monitoring of staff is the focus of the principal. Teachers attend a weekly monitoring meeting to reflect on planning, teaching methods and interventions to ensure that all the teachers are prepared to teach to the best of their ability.Standardized assessment performanceUser satisfactionAbility to reach the poorGraduation or promotion ratesTeacher attendanceStudent attendanceTeacher retentionStudent retentionCost effectiveness/value for moneyYes