One generation after the start of demographic government, many of our pupils are better educated than their parents and most are still the first in their families who have competed high school and have the opportunity to go to university. Our focus must stay on preparing pupils for success in education, in order for them to become global citizens who are active, contributing members of society. We have put much time, effort and resources into incorporating a high school so that we can now offer an integrated educational package for a child from age 3 in Gr 000 through to age 18 in Gr 12. Our pupils are part of a technological world and we need to ensure they have the tools and the access to it. The key risk here is the expense involved but this must be a focus area for funding. We also believe that education is not only about academic achievement but about being given the opportunity to discover one’s talent for sport, drama, music, art. We will:
Vuleka’s development has demonstrated clearly that with good teachers and sound leadership, any child from any background can succeed. Our key risk here is that there is fierce competition for talented academic staff in particular. We need to focus on teacher retention and provide an environment that attracts and nurtures members of staff especially as we are unable to offer top salaries. Staff selection, retention, training and development are therefore critical areas of focus. We will:
We have learned how powerful it is when pupil, parent and teacher work together, keeping the best interests of the child at heart. We will build on the work done in the last strategic plan to:
Vuleka is a low-fee school and we need to continue to address issues that may threaten the future viability of the school. As far as key risks are concerned, we have noted the decrease in the value of the state subsidy in real terms and the increase in time-consuming and excessively bureaucratic reporting and compliance requirements of the state. We operate in a community which is still overwhelmingly poor and yet who need a good education to escape the poverty trap. We have increasing competition from other for-profit low-fee schools. We pursue a difficult path in wanting to remain accessible to pupils from poorer communities, while operating in a squeezed financial environment where there is very little economic growth (current rate of 1.5%), much higher inflation (5.5%) and increasing unemployment. We will:
We have looked very carefully at our strategy map: assessing where we are, imagining where we want to be and determining our priorities for the next five years in order to plan what we need to do to achieve all we are setting out to do. Allied to this are some capital projects that we need to complete to position ourselves for reaching more pupils.
The St Joseph’s boy’s school opens in January 2016 with Grades 0, 1 & 2 and will grow naturally to Grade 7 by the start of 2021. However, the Grade 6 & 7 classrooms will have to be completed by the end of 2019 for the Grade 6s to start the following year (each of the four buildings around the quad has space for two classrooms. The one building is currently occupied by the Vuleka Central Office which must move before December 2018.
The Central Office will move as soon as funding is available to do the renovations needed to restore the old Boys House of the old St Joseph’s Home. So far, we have sourced R600 000 towards this. This gracious building, across the driveway from the boy’s school, has been badly neglected both by time and by the previous tenants. The Johannesburg Historical Foundation has given us the go-ahead, stipulating the materials to be used, what we can and cannot change, and guidelines to follow.
The Middle School joined the Matric Centre in Bordeaux and the Vuleka SSB High School was in place and fully operational from July 2015. The move gives us the opportunity to grow the high school to a more viable 400 pupils. The property costs of just under R7m are mostly but not quite fully funded by the sale of the Middle School, while the first phase of renovations for R1.7m have been fully funded. Our focus now is on finding the last million rand so we do not have to have a mortgage bond to service. We would like to increase the recreational space of the school and complete the capital investment by purchasing a strip of land owned by the Johannesburg Property Company, currently leased by the school. By doing these two things we would save R240 000 a year – money that would be better spent on teaching and learning.