One of the biggest challenges in schools across the world is ensuring that students in lower income communities have access to the same quality of teaching and learning as those from more affluent backgrounds.
EPG is working with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in South Africa in piloting a new model of public school to meet that challenge, known as ‘Collaboration Schools.’ The model is based on the UK academies but adapted for the local context.
Led by the WCED, the pilot project is testing a model of schooling that will strengthen the quality of teaching and learning in public schools, which will remain no-fee and non-selective, through the introduction of support from non-profit education organisations known as ‘school operating partners’ committed to increasing the quality of teaching as well as improving overall learning outcomes for children. The pilot is being supported by the Millennium Trust, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Zenex Foundation, FirstRand Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies, and DG Murray Trust.
The school operating partners will ensure intensive school-level support to teachers and principals through training, additional capacity, monitoring and regular feedback. The WCED will continue to hold the schools and school operating partners to account as part of the public education system, and existing teachers at Collaboration Schools will remain WCED employees. The pilot currently includes seven schools and the government has the ambition of Collaboration Schools eventually making up 10-15% of the public system.
Since 2015, EPG has worked with the Western Cape government and group of funders to implement Collaboration Schools. In the first year of the pilot, EPG played a critical role starting and building out the functionality of the pilot support office (PSO). Beginning in January 2017, EPG transitioned out of the PSO in order to focus on providing targeted support the SOPs to build their core function as high quality school network operators (see the School Operator Development Programme summary). EPG has, however, retained its role as a strategic advisor to and is member of the funder group.
The initial participating schools are:
- Forest Village Leadership Academy
- Happy Valley Primary School
- Langa High School
- Oranjekloof Primary School
- Silikamva High School
- Trevor Manuel Primary School
- Zwelethembe High School
The initial school operating partners are:
- Common Good Foundation
- Mellon Educate
- 2 Oceans Education Foundation
- School Turnaround Founcation
- Acorn Education