Office life arrives early for Grade 8s at Cape Town school

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Office life arrives early for Grade 8s at Cape Town school

A tech-oriented school that operates according to office hours is set to open in the CBD next week

Journalist


From the outside, it looks like a typical Cape Town city centre office building. But the people going in and out of 6 Jack Craig Street from next week will be a far cry from those in the tower blocks surrounding it.
That’s because they’ll be Grade 8 pupils at a new school that plans to offer private education with some key differences.
For starters, it will operate according to office hours, starting 8am and knocking off at 5.30pm.
More importantly, the education provided at Curro Foreshore is focused on producing youngsters who will emerge prepared for the digital future.
History isn’t on offer, for example, and neither is geography. Instead, there will be coding and robotics lessons and opportunities to learn advanced computer skills.
Because the school day is longer than normal, no homework will be given.
The school’s business manager, Jay Paul, said after-school activities such as sport would also be included within the school day.
Occupying office space above a Mercedes-Benz showroom, the school has been touted as an “ideal option” for parents working in the city centre, and for children who want to excel in maths, science, technology and entrepreneurship.
Paul said the school would also eschew traditional classrooms and instead offer co-working spaces where pupils could work alone on their laptops, or in groups.
Pupils will have certain set subject times, but will have the flexibility to work on different subjects in their own time at their own pace, and may go beyond the curriculum in their areas of interest. Staff will be available to help with questions and give guidance when pupils are struggling.
“Learning materials are predominantly digital and each learner will be supplied with a laptop computer, already loaded with the required software and textbooks,” he said.
The school’s executive head, Ross Hill, said it was “the culmination of years of research and development”.
“The idea behind this technology-driven, flexible approach comes from asking what skills learners will need for the workplace of 2030, and then working backwards to provide schooling that aims to teach those skills,” he said.
“We are building on international best practice and introducing approaches that are innovative within the South African context, while retaining some traditional teaching practices.”
Paul said Curro was building on successes with tech-driven flexible schooling in countries such as Australia, Denmark, the UK and the US, as well as the group’s “own advances in pioneering coding and robotics in the South African school environment”.
“The world has changed enormously in the last few centuries as technology has developed at an exponential rate. Yet, in many respects, change in education has lagged,” he said.
“In the information age, facts are easily available at the push of a button. Thus, instead of schools focusing on memorising facts, they need to help prepare learners of the workplace of 2030.”
Curro Foreshore has space for up to 150 Grade 8s this year, and within five years it will have classes ranging up to Grade 12.

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