Developing global achievers

Kyalami Schools' Abie Swart. (Supplied)

Kyalami Schools' Abie Swart. (Supplied)

There are three educational institutions under the Kyalami Schools umbrella — Beaulieu Preparatory, Kyalami Preparatory and Beaulieu College — and they all ensure that their pupils are given the best education possible alongside a strong moral compass, and the right skills to help them succeed in the real world today.   

“Education provides a wonderful opportunity to influence and mould the future leaders of this country,” says Abie Swart, chief executive of Kyalami Schools. 

“It’s the only vehicle we have that can improve people’s standard of living and the way they look at the world, and as educators we have an important role to play.”

This educational triumvirate upholds a unified set of values that are incorporated into all school communications and the ethos of the educators also form the moral groundwork upon which all pupils stand. These are: consistency, accountability, integrity, excellence and respect.

“We instil values into our pupils and this is done through a range of programmes, awards and rewards because a person can have a fantastic education, but they also need to have their moral compass pointing in the right direction,” says Swart. 

The school also focuses on keeping its class sizes small so that pupils receive individual attention and support. Swart believes that this is vital because it not only offers the pupils room to grow, but it also accommodates the reality that pupils all learn differently and in this environment they have the freedom to study at their own pace.

“It comes down to the qualities and skills of our teachers,” he adds. “We invest heavily into their professional development so that they are given the tools they need to support the pupils and also constantly build on their own core competencies.”

Boosting opportunities

The Kyalami Schools Group has also undertaken to introduce a new system of creative and analytical thinking to the curriculum — the Thinking Schools Project. The goal is to encourage pupils to ask the right questions and to use their learning more effectively to develop critical thinking skills.

“The Thinking Schools Project was one of many models we examined for the school and we found that it was the best in terms of enhancing our current learning and teaching systems that follow the Independent Examinations Board curriculum,” says Swart. 

“We don’t just instil knowledge into pupils; we look at how they can use this knowledge and give them the skills of creative thinking and problem solving. They use their learning in practical situations and in projects that ask them to take the information they have and apply it to real world situations.”

All three schools within the group have been structured so that they encourage active engagement within their communities. 

“We have a scholarship programme and one of our goals is to expand this so we can give more opportunities by the end of this year,” says Swart. “We are also partnered with a trust that affords pupils the opportunity to study at our high school. We work closely with other schools in our community to uplift them and share knowledge.”

The three schools merged in 2012 and have spent the past year strengthening their value proposition and ensuring that best practise is carried throughout all three institutions. 

This has allowed for them to develop a rich and varied curriculum, boosted by the development of the Thinking Schools Project. It also provides an environment that encourages children to uphold strong values as they grow and learn.

“It is a joy for us to see our pupils enter the schooling system and how they advance and grow,” says Swart. “It’s amazing. I don’t think there is any other career so rewarding. We believe that teaching is a calling, not just a job, and you can see this in how we engage with our pupils.”

This article has been paid for by the Mail & Gaurdian’s advertisers. The contents of the supplement was developed in conjunction with and signed off by the Mail & Gaurdian’s advertisers.