UCT Online High School

UCT Online High School: South African mom details their schooling choice: Image: Supplied

South African mom details her schooling choice

‘‘Online schooling is not a fit for every child, but for us it has been the perfect fit – Our school’s Cambridge International IGCSE curriculum develops critical thinking for our daughter, setting her up for success in later life.’’

UCT Online High School

UCT Online High School: South African mom details their schooling choice: Image: Supplied

When we enrolled our daughter in Primary School, we never dreamt that we would one day be exploring other schooling options and most certainly would not have been able to comprehend online schooling as a viable option, but life does not always follow the path that you envisioned. 

Our daughter has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and being in a brick and mortar classroom was proving very challenging for her. When school went online for Covid-19 we saw that there was an alternative that gave her more freedom to structure her day differently, miss less school and have substantially less pain.

As our daughter was transitioning across to online learning at the start of her High School career, it also gave us the opportunity to investigate different Curricula. We were interested in an International Curriculum as we felt it would leave her with more options for her tertiary education. When we heard that UCT Online High School (UCT OHS) would be offering the Cambridge International Curriculum for 2023 we decided to move her across to UCT OHS Cambridge International. When transitioning across to online learning we made sure that we had everything in place to ensure that our daughter could be physically comfortable learning at home, as well as a stable, reliable internet connection and backup power to ensure uninterrupted learning. The transition was an easy one as our daughter had been missing a lot of school while in a traditional school and was already accustomed to doing a large amount of work at home. The big difference though, is that now she can have complete control of her learning and has all her school work upfront for the week without having to worry about missing work and finding out what she has to catch up later on.

The Flipped-Classroom approach

At UCT Online High School (UCT OHS), the Flipped-Classroom approach has been fantastic for our daughter and having all the work for each module available from the beginning of the week has meant that she can plan her week as it suits her, allowing more flexibility for her physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and more time for relaxation. This has meant that she is in considerably less pain and that she is getting much stronger.

As our daughter is now completely in charge of her work, she has become extremely diligent and motivated to succeed. The continuous feedback and auto-graded assessments have helped her to put in continuous effort and know when to reach out for assistance. Gaps in her understanding can be quickly identified and addressed and as a result she is thriving academically. The skills she is learning in terms of planning and time management are skills that are often only acquired in University.

As parents, we no longer have to worry about getting work that has been missed, teaching our child over the weekend or forcing our child to do work when she is feeling unwell. We have a happy daughter and as a result a happier family. Our weekends are no longer filled with teaching schoolwork but are rather free to spend family time together, strengthening our relationships.

Parent mobile app and learning support

UCT Online High School’s ‘ConnectEd’ Mobile app has meant that we can have a snapshot of where our daughter is with her learning at any time. The weekly mastery checks and assessments mean that we can see how she is progressing week by week and that we can timeously identify if she is having any difficulty and give her any assistance, as she needs it.  

As a parent of a child who is learning online it is essential that you are involved in your child’s education. I set aside about half an hour twice a week to go through that week’s work with my daughter and see if there are any areas that she needs assistance with. Luckily with my background in the Sciences it is easy for me to assist with any queries or work that she doesn’t understand or to guide her to find the answers in her learning material. I also prompt her to reach out to her Learning Facilitators in the live ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions or on the discussion forum when needed.

The Support Coaches are there as mentors to support the learners emotionally, motivate them and help them to solve any problems they may have. They build the connections and help the learners not to feel isolated. They are always readily available at the morning check-ins, via email or WhatsApp. The support coach also assisted us in getting the necessary typing concessions and extra time for cycle tests and exams put in place, in conjunction with the Academic Support Team.

Affordability and high quality education

UCT OHS Cambridge International is a very affordable option for getting a top quality, private, international education. It is much cheaper than traditional private education so the money can be saved for tertiary education.

The quality of the educational content at UCT OHS Cambridge International is of a very high standard. The content covers each topic comprehensively as it is pre-planned and there is no risk of running out of time to complete the syllabus due to loss of school hours. I love the mastery-based approach and flipped-classroom methodology as it promotes active recall of work and formation of long-term memory and understanding. The online content is a mix between online videos, reading material, interactive notes and quizzes meaning that the learner is engaging fully and actively with the work rather than sitting mindlessly listening to a teacher or reading from a textbook.

The live ‘Ask Me Anything ‘ sessions allow the learning facilitators to delve deeper into the topics as the learners already have a firm grasp of the material from the week’s module work and the weekly Mastery checks allow the learner to show that they have understood the work, often with instantaneous feedback. Mastery boot camps are then available to those that demonstrate that they do not have sufficient understanding of a module so that gaps are addressed as they occur, giving the learner a firm foundation on which to build the next block. The Cambridge Curriculum assesses the child’s understanding of a topic and develops critical thinking, setting them up for success in later life.

We were a bit apprehensive about the social aspect of online schooling but social engagement is encouraged in the morning check-ins and there is a wide array of online clubs to join to meet other people with similar interests. Our daughter also has much more free time now, as she can cover her school work quicker, which leaves a lot more time for her to see her friends and focus on other areas of interest.

Any problems that we have encountered have always been taken seriously, responded to timeously and resolved fully. UCT OHS shows continued effort to improve and adapt its offering to the needs of its learners and the results we have seen in our daughter are proof of the success of this model for us.

UCT Online High School allows our daughter the flexibility she needs while still enabling her to get a world-class education. If your child is not happy with the traditional school model there are so many other options available, you just need to look to find which will suit them best. Online schooling is not a fit for every child, but for us it has been the perfect fit.

*Disclaimer: Mrs Allana Hemus is not directly affiliated with UCT Online High School or Valenture Institute, other than being a parent of a learner currently enrolled at the online high school. Mrs Hemus has volunteered her time and written experience in order to submit this parent testimonial on UCT Online High School’s behalf. She has not received any form of remuneration or advantage for this factual account. Mrs Allana Hemus is a Clinical Trial Investigator.

Parenting comes with endless decisions

Online versus in-person schooling. CAPS versus Cambridge. Local versus international university study. Parenting comes with endless decisions. But with these choices comes the chance to match a child with the educational experience that suits them best. It’s a big decision, but there are options and access to top guidance and insights on the many pathways on offer.

One of the top contenders is Cambridge International schooling. Synonymous with Cambridge University – one of the world’s leading universities – the Cambridge International curriculum is renowned for its academic excellence and holistic approach to learning and development.

Being internationally renowned, the Cambridge curriculum is often referred to as the passport to success in education, university and employment. But with its international outlook, is it a viable option for local families? UCT Online High School unpacks the Cambridge International curriculum with a new informative guide, available for download here

If parents still have questions, or need some more guidance, they can contact one of UCT Online High School’s friendly Admissions Consultants at +27 21 140 1792 or email admissions@uctohs.valentureonline.com. To see how it all works, watch the video below: 

UCT Online High School join the school of the future: YouTube video: Supplied

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