It’s always so encouraging to receive such positive feedback from our parents. Being in the teaching profession is such a privilege and when our students thrive, it makes all the investment so rewarding. One such parent is Tania Scott, who shares their educational journey to Summerhill with their daughter, Suaney.
I think as parents we all just want to do the best we can for our kids. That’s the reason we started off kindergarten at a small school for our daughter, Suaney. Initially it was great. They really took good care of her and offered Ballet, Maths, Science and various other extra murals. However, this meant we had to pay thousands of rands over and above the monthly school fees. We did it, but continued to wonder when some of these extras would become part of the school syllabus.
When we reached the pre-school phase we were still convinced we were doing the best for our child. She was receiving individual attention in small classes and developed a close group of friends. We were promised that this school was aiming for an international standard of education. This was really a plus factor in the bigger scheme of things.
However, as the pre-school and school phases started, none of these promises materialised. Years passed with no further mention of this ‘ideal education’ nor was it ever implemented. My daughter was always the best student in her grade – that is out of 6 students. I started realizing that this isn’t how the real-world works. In the real-world you must compete with several students in each grade. You also have to compete with thousands of applicants to secure a position at a successful company.
Furthermore, because the classes were so small, students were taught Grade 1 and 2 in the same class. I could see the benefit if your child is in Grade 1 because he/she would get exposure to the work for the following year. However, for Grade 2’s to be in same class than Grade 1’s, these benefits were not realised.
My daughter also proved to be a good athlete in several sports. We were promised that sports fields would be built for training. By year four, there were still no sports fields in sight. Furthermore, certain activities, like music and poetry, were included in the school fees for the Grade 1’s of the previous year, which we now had to pay for in Grade 1. We started off as sixteen Grade R’s and only 6 remained in Grade 1.
I kept in touch with most of the parents that left and started realising that this school was scarcely on the CAPS level, never mind international level. Most of the kids that had moved on had to go for extra classes to keep up with their new schools. We changed school uniforms twice in 2.5 years because of manufacturers.
This was the last straw for us and we were so delighted to find Summerhill. Although we are Afrikaans, we immediately realized the benefit of educating our child in the world’s universal language – English. At Summerhill we don’t have to worry about teachers that resign and kids that must spend weeks in other kids’ classes. We don’t have to be concerned about the standard of education, as Summerhill’s teachers are highly educated and skilled. They have top facilities and a variety of sports and culture training – all offered for free. Summerhill’s academic standard is exceptionally high. They have independent experts that regularly monitor the standard to stay aligned with the Cambridge standard.
My child is now judged as the best of 20 in her class and 60 in her Grade. She has an opportunity to train with and compete against the best students in sport, academics and culture. We couldn’t be happier with our choice to go with a bigger and more established school with a credible track-record, rather than a small growing school.