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Academic Policies

ACADEMIC MATTERS

We believe in the education of the whole child - the development of academic, cultural, spiritual and physical aspects, in order to prepare our pupils for the demands that society will make on them in the future.

In our school we have excellent facilities which enable our pupils to develop special interests and skills. It is our aim to provide a positive, calm working atmosphere at school and to achieve this, the home and school must work in close harmony and accord.

In order to meet the differing needs and levels of development of our pupil body, we divide the functional working of the school into a Foundation and Intermediate/Senior phase.

THE FOUNDATION PHASE


The guiding principal of the Foundation Phase is to develop a sound and balanced programme for all our pupils. We believe that each pupil is a unique individual, with special talents and needs.

The teachers strive to develop the full potential of their pupils through a wide range of experiences, which will extend their understanding of themselves and the world.

Emphasis is placed on group work, allowing pupils to progress at their own pace. Group work in literacy and numeracy is aimed at establishing the basic skills and work habits required for developing an enquiring mind and the capacity to reason and discriminate. Personal and social qualities such as tolerance, self-discipline and willingness to co-operate are fostered. Consequently the necessary values and attitudes that reflect their community are encouraged and developed.

Learning difficulties and specific areas of weakness are identified early in the Foundation Phase. Parents are offered advice and assistance with regard to remediation and corrective measures by a qualified team of experienced remedial teachers.

THE INTERMEDIATE PHASE


While the work ethic and basic work patterns are set in the child's formative (Pre-school and Foundation phase) years, in the intermediate phase time is spent on consolidation, extension and the building of a base on which the child can develop according to our mission.

In the Intermediate Phase we are guided by three distinct aims:

- to develop basic skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, natural and human sciences,
numeracy and information technology;
- to introduce our pupils to a broad range of concepts and interesting content spanning the
subjects of the curriculum;
- to promote positive attitudes to learning and by so doing, build on the foundation for future
learning.

HOMEWORK


FOUNDATION PHASE
In the Foundation Phase, the purpose of homework is primarily to re-enforce and consolidate the work done in the classroom. A secondary purpose is to develop responsibility and good learning habits in the children. It should also provide an opportunity for structured, quality time between parents and children.

All grades address the issue of homework at the parent orientation evenings held at the beginning of the school year. The requirements and expectations are stated clearly.

1. A period of 20 - 30 minutes must be set aside on a daily basis for the completion of homework.
2. Ideally, both parents are to be involved in the activity, where possible.
3. Parents must assume ultimate responsibility for the checking of homework, regardless of whether it has been done at aftercare.
4. Homework diaries are to be checked daily by parents and teachers, as the diaries are used as a communication method between home and school and vice versa.

Although there are a number of common elements across the phase, a typical day's homework for each grade, is outlined below.

Grade 1:
1. Reading
2. Flashcards
3. Activities to facilitate the development of phonic skills and maths concepts.

Grade 2:
1. Reading
2. Phonics
3. Memory sentence
4. Afrikaans vocabulary (oral only)
5. Maths activities (for very weak children)

Grade 3:
1. Reading
2. VAK (high frequency words)
3. Wordlist (phonic based words)
4. Maths (bonds and tables)
5. Afrikaans reading (from third term)

Untidy work, lacking in effort, is sometimes sent home to be re-done, by way of punishment.

Unfinished classwork is generally not sent home for completion, as this is evidence that the child is experiencing difficulty in some regard.

INTERMEDIATE PHASE

Homework is REVISION AND CONSOLIDATION OF WORK already covered in class.

The purpose of homework is :

1. to provide essential practice in strengthening required skills.
2. to develop independent study habits, responsibility and self-motivation.
3. to increase and extend the school experience.
4. to help the child manage his/her time.
5. to bring the child into contact with out-of-school resource material.

Parents can assist their child by :

1. providing reasonably good physical conditions for study, in good light and free from interference (e.g. at a desk in the bedroom away from others, radio and TV.)
2. a set routine. No excuses or procrastination should be permitted.
3. giving the child stimulation of sincere interest without nagging or extreme pressure (firm but reasonable).
4. making an effort to know the teacher and communicate regularly through the homework diary or personally.
5. helping the child obtain the necessary resource materials, such as reference books, information technology or access to a library.
6. NEVER doing the homework for the child. If he/she does not understand a Mathematics sum, don't do that sum, do a similar one.
7. checking that their child has done all the homework but don't correct it as the teacher may set a homework task in order to establish the level of understanding.

EVALUATION OF PUPILS
We currently use an evaluation system which combines a formal evaluation component with a continuous assessment (tests, projects and tasks) component. This combined evaluation of each pupil's progress throughout the year enables us to determine progression to the following grade by the end of the year.

Intermediate Phase pupils currently write formal examinations in June and December.

PLEASE NOTE:
Continuous assessment throughout the year forms the major part of the evaluation process. Children should thus be encouraged to work consistently throughout the year.

REPORTS


Foundation Phase
The children are assessed continuously, based on their performance in small groups on the mat, and formal tasks completed independently at their tables. A compulsory national rubric is applied for formal recording and reporting, where a pupil’s performance is rated on a scale of 1-4.

Reporting takes place towards the end of term when parents may be invited to an interview with the class teacher and the child's progress can be discussed.

Written reports are issued during the last fortnight of the second and third terms and on the last day of the fourth term.

Parents are welcome to request an interview at any stage of the term.

Intermediate Phase
The progress of each pupil is reported to parents at the end of :

The FIRST TERM - a general remark on the progress of each pupil.

The SECOND TERM - a formal report.

The THIRD TERM - only issued to those pupils whose progress is not yet at a satisfactory level.

The FOURTH TERM - a formal promotion report.