Johannesburg - School Report Question and Answers
What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
I would rate it a B or B-. Pros: -Diverse and inclusive environment. -Good curriculum, similar performance to other IB schools my child has attended. -Excellent infrastructure, particularly the sports facilities. Cons: -In our experience, disorganized and confusing communications: Too many places to go to in search of information, which is related to: -Excessive use of technology: Everything done through computers, websites, and phones. Then in a contradictory message, the school affirms it wants the kids to spend less time in front of screens. -Good transport fleet, terrible transport routes. We live in Pretoria, and my child spends 1.5 hours in the school bus every morning. Pick up is a bit after 6 am, and gets to school gate at 7.30 am to start classes at 7.40. The school seems to have enough buses to make the trip shorter, but their routes seem poorly planned. My kid literally rides through at least five neighborhoods from the East to the West side of Pretoria before finally taking the main road towards the school. Finding alternate means of transport has been difficult and expensive. Similarly, communicating with the driver or the Transport Office when students are sick is a problem. Frequently, drivers' buses are not working and/or Transport Office will nor rely messages to them. -The new school mission emphasizes it wants to foster students' independence and being their true selves. Then, in another contradictory message, goes as far as assigning seats to watch a theater performance, limits the time given to all students to go to the bathroom (because apparently some students go to the bathroom to vape), and has something called Eagle Forum, where students are separated from their friends and pushed into making friends with other students with whom they have little in common. My child has said many times that the best way to let him be himself is to let him choose his friends and not push him into situations he dislikes. There is also talk about pushing kids "out of their comfort zone," without the school realizing that most of its students are expatriates who are constantly being pushed out of their comfort zone every three years or so by having to change countries, schools, language, cultures. They are already experts at adapting to new environments and circumstances. They do not need their comfort zones pushed any further. If he has made a few friends at this school, my child sees no reason for the school to push him to make other new friends. He believes he is good enough at knowing who he can be friends with. -Erratic, poor response to covid. When we first arrived in August 2021, in the middle of a covid outbreak, measures in place seemed adequate (compulsory use of masks, parents not allowed in campus, reduced number of children in school buses, etc.). The school also notified parents of the number of covid new cases and published a weekly matrix with data for the Gauteng Province, where the school is located, and for the school. At one point, when the number of students with covid reached a threshold, the school resorted to online classes. However, as cases started going down, the meticulously planned protective measures seemed to disappear. All of a sudden, it was no longer clear at what point the school would revert to online classes. At the beginning of the 2022-2023 year, masks were optional and the use of the data matrix was discontinued. The school then organized "Class Without Walls" trips at two different locations for all students of grades 9 and 10 (grade 11 students camped at school). There were absolutely no precautions taken to avoid the spread of covid. As a result, a considerable number of children were infected but, since there is no longer any reporting in place, the school is not informing parents on the magnitude of the situation. If we had to choose again, we would probably look for another IB school in Pretoria (not Johannesburg) due to the long commute time, or would just not bid to come to Pretoria. - Sep 2022
I will give the school a B+. My expectations were high. I'm disappointed at the bullying and poor response to remedy it. And I think there should be more consciousness and targeted skills in at least the counseling staff! - Mar 2021