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Education Incorporated Boutique School

| September 4, 2017 | 0 Comments


“What is boutique education?” is a question we are frequently asked, and the answer is simple.

It is exactly what you would expect from any boutique experience: personalised attention and a quality, customised experience. Add to that a value system where every action is motivated by what is in the child’s best interests and you have Education Incorporated (Edu Inc.) in Fourways, Johannesburg, in Gauteng. Edu Inc. is distinct in that we fill a niche that has grown significantly over the past decade, and this distinction comprises two groups of children.

Sport stars

The first group is the super-achieving sports star, who spends a significant amount of the academic year defending provincial and national titles. These are students who need a fair amount of flexibility if they are to maintain academic demands and their rigorous training and competition schedules. Make no mistake, the same academic rigour required at any other ISASA school is expected of these students, but our very small classes (10 students per class), coupled with an incredibly supportive and dedicated academic staff, allow for a flexibility that larger schools are simply not nimble enough to accommodate. Our expectations of these students are high – we have found that in most cases, when their academics are managed appropriately, these are students who learn how to apply the same mental discipline required to be successful in their sporting discipline to their academics. This is an imperative for students whose ultimate goal is to turn professional in their chosen sport. They need a suitable academic backing, ensuring their eligibility for international universities that will award appropriate scholarships and further their sporting ambitions.

Small classes

The second group fitting our niche is expanding rapidly. It comprises students who need personal attention. These are students who, while not remedial candidates, are also not performing to their level of potential as a direct result of having previously been in a class that had more than 20 students in it. Until recently, the only alternative for students who were overwhelmed by large classes, but without learning barriers, was remedial or special needs schools. The result of this is remedial schools that are overwhelmed, overcrowded and catering to a growing percentage of students who need not be there. At Edu Inc., we have found that the simple act of moving such a child into a class where there are no more than 10 students can be the difference between mainstream academic success and failure. Students such as these need the mentorship that is inherent in such a small classroom environment. They thrive due to the interest that is taken in them, as well as the investment in their daily progress.

Talking it all through

We believe that one of the most important values we can teach our students is that almost any problem can be overcome through critical and informed discourse. In other words, at Edu Inc. we talk about things. At a small school like ours, important issues cannot remain hidden for long, and perhaps this is something that contributes to our uniqueness. Here, the principal’s office is the venue for as many positive, uplifting, teaching conversations (we call those the “sit-down” conversations) as opposed to the “rap-over-the-knuckles” conversations (or the “stand-up” conversations). Too many parents and students still enter our office and comment on how intimidated they feel about “being called to the principal’s office”. Our objective is to have them leave us without such fears, be able to speak confidently and appropriately in any situation, and have the ability to think on their feet, solving problems critically as they arise.

Happiness and pride predominate

Ed Inc. is an ISASA three-term school. Term time sees an intense focus on academics and sport amidst peaceful gardens. Laughter is frequently heard across the grounds and all students, grades 4–12, mingle comfortably at break times. Students and teachers participate in House Challenges with the same seriousness as Olympic events, and wear their house colours with a fierce pride. White honours shirts are dotted among the blue uniform shirts, and students move seamlessly between classes without the artificial reminder of a school bell. This is a school where the whole child grows; where potential can be recognised, nurtured and actualised, culminating in a citizen ready to face whatever future they choose.

Jacqueline Aitchison is director of Education Incorporated Boutique School. Turn to page 70 to read her review entitled: “The real debate about 13 Reasons Why”.

Category: Spring 2017

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