Public schools are the gate keepers of the future given the diversity of backgrounds and varying archetypes within these schools, and we firmly believe that the Public school sector in South Africa will be one of the most meaningful contributors to change. Education in South Africa faces many systemic challenges, as well as enormous pressure to deliver 21st century relevant skills to more children across the spectrum. The mass-based schooling system has been operating along the same lines for too long, and by their very nature are extremely vulnerable to policy initiatives that may have the consequence, intended or not, of destroying them. Department of Education pressures along with increased fee exemption rates make it difficult for schools to maintain adequate standards and long-term finical sustainability.
As such The Saville Foundation’s strategic imperative is to strengthen and empower selected schools, in order to improve their strategies and finances that will boost their confidence and output, and result in beacons of excellence for government and civil society to showcase.
There is great opportunity to build resilience in public schools through networks that share best practices in teaching, financial planning, curriculum development and learning. Drawing from 10 years’ experience working with King Edward School (KES) in Johannesburg and more recently Durban High School, we have found that public school students receive quality all round education, with a strong academic focus, a high standard of cultural activities and sporting codes – all of which contribute to the all-round development of scholars who can make a significant impact on society in their lives. Our intention is to evolve this space nationally, with experience gained and lessons learnt at KES being shared amongst other Public Schools in this vital sector.
Part of our focus is also on building sustainability for flagship schools within the sector through developing realistic long term strategic financial plans that include strong endowment and other innovative investment vehicles. This would include elements such as BBBEE Trust’s, endowments, special purpose trusts and bursary strategies through which Alumni or businesses are also able to invest and support the school. We are also passionate about personal development for management, teachers and learners alike, and have partnered with Tomorrows Leaders in Training (TLT) to deliver excellence in value based training.
Ultimately, our intention is to share the experience with other schools as this is arguably the most valuable sector that can make a discernible difference within the South African education landscape. TSF support networks and forums where schools share their planning and structural set-up that in turn will enable to schools to approach government as a unified group to meet the challenges and often onerous and draining demands currently being experienced.