RATIONALE AND PURPOSE
Over 85% of South African children attend underperforming schools and only 40% will graduate from upper secondary school. The South African Extraordinary Schools Coalition (SAESC) is working to change that, one school at a time.
The South African Extraordinary Schools Coalition is a Community of Practice that is run by BRIDGE and is made up of school leaders and teachers from a group of 22 schools around South Africa that define themselves as ‘impact schools’. Impact schools are high-quality, achievement-orientated schools that provide disadvantaged learners across South Africa with affordable access (low fee or non-fee) to high-quality learning that prepares them for success in higher education and the world of work.
The SAESC was first formed in 2010 with seed funding from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. This Community of Practice defined its own set of themes and objectives, which have guided its activities over its early years.
The Coalition has made a number of significant gains, including the creation of an intern teacher programme, school leadership exchange programme and the school peer review and school improvement plan. All of these are open access resources which contribute to the development of Coalition schools and the sector more widely.
If you are interested in walking the journey with the Coalition, click here
UNDERSTANDING THE SAESC
The members of the SAESC share best practice, attend content-based workshops at each other’s schools, and regularly take part in assessment, monitoring and evaluation activities. Classroom practice and instructional leadership are its main focus areas, with the aim of sharing and integrating effective practices into broader national education policy decisions. Key activities include:
The Coalition meets once a quarter for structured interaction and learning within the context of the host Coalition school. The National meetings focus on sharing working classroom practice and instructional leadership ideas, as well as observing classrooms in action at the host school.
This Community of Practice has developed its own School Peer Review and School Improvement Plan. Peer reviews enable school leaders and their staff to observe each other’s schools in action. These are a good mechanism for schools to establish a process of self-reflection and continuous learning as well as to participate in and support each other’s school improvement initiatives in a non-judgemental and collaborative way. The School Improvement Plan is a tool developed by the Coalition to help schools formulate objectives for improvement and ways of monitoring these. Link to the SPR and SIP documents.
Link to the SAESC Knowledge Hub for meeting highlights, presentations, tools and documented working practice from this Community.
National Coalition Meetings
School Peer Reviews
In this short video clip, meet Devan Govender, a teacher at Inanda Seminary near Durban, South Africa. Here he shares his perspectives on the value of the Coalition and particularly the impact of the Coalition on Inanda Seminary.
In this video clip from August 2014, Hagan Nash, a teacher at Harvest High School describes the impact of the Coalition and School Peer Review on his practice. He emphasises the benefit of not only being on the receiving side of a School Peer Review, but also being part of a School Peer Review Team.