Top Schools in South Africa
(The Most Innovative High Schools in the Country)
Update: I have now created a survey which you can take to see how innovative your school is. It is also accompanied by a reading list to help you to improve your score. Here's the link:
I've wanted a list like this for a few years now. I couldn't find one, so I compiled my own. This list represents the top 1% of the most innovative, child-centred, forward-looking high schools in the country. Many of South Africa's 'elite' traditional schools did not make the list. If the foregoing is more your cup of tea, you may prefer this list.
A few things:
First: This is a subjective list based on my own research into and visits to some of these schools. (Please see the criteria I use to decide on whether a school qualifies for this list below.)
Second: This is an open list and I will be modifying it over time. If you know of a high school that meets the criteria listed below, please contact me with the details and a short justification. If you have an objection or correction, please also let me know. I have included a link to a Google Form for this purpose here:
SUBMIT A SUGGESTION / CORRECTION / OBJECTION
(Note: Please provide as much detail and as many examples as possible. Short, acerbic suggestions are dismissed as spam.)
Third: I am very much Johannesburg biased simply because this is where I live. I am looking for more schools (especially in the Western Cape). If you know of any truly innovative schools in Gauteng, the Western Cape, or any other province, please let me know.
Fourth: The list is very 'private school heavy'. I would love to add more innovative state schools. Give me a shout if you know of any.
Last: I will not add your school purely on the basis of your 'traditions', 'long history', 'outstanding sports results', or on how well your school performs academically. I will also not debate the 'importance of traditional methodologies and values' with you… if your school does not look to future as much as it dwells in the past, there is no room on this list for you.
Criteria for being listed as an innovative high school:
Any meaningful combination of…
- A sincere child-centered approach which puts students needs above the curriculum.
- Innovative approaches to pedagogy.
- An emphasis on personalised / individualised learning.
- The building of independent reasoning and critical thinking skills.
- The nurturing of creativity (in a meaningful sense), as well as a focus on discovery based learning and problem-solving.
- A different take on learning spaces.
- A rethinking of timetables.
- Questioning and debating the role of standardized testing, assignments and homework.
- Rethinking the role of parents, teachers and students.
- The meaningful use of technology.
- How happy the students are.
- The emphasis on life-long learning.
- Structures which allow staff to try new things.
- Social upliftment and environmental awareness initiatives.
- A real and clear inclusion of students' ideas, opinions and concerns.
But of course, a truly innovative school creates its own contextualised mixture of these criteria and more.