SPARK Schools co-founder and CEO Stacey Brewer says the plan is to roll out 12 more primary schools over the next three years that will accommodate 20 000 learners.
The education group was established in 2013 and currently operates eight primary schools in Ferndale, Cresta, Maboneng, Bramley, Midrand, Rynfield (Ekurhuleni), Centurion and Lynedoch (Stellenbosch), with more schools to be launched in Randpark Ridge, Silver Lakes and Carlswald next year.
“The latest round of investment holds great significance for us. When we launched out first school three years ago, we committed to providing affordable education of the highest international quality for all South African children. This investment serves as recognition of the promise of our model, which has reached our 2 500 scholars and will now be poised to expand to exceptionally more South African,” Brewer says.
In a previous interview with DESTINY, Brewer said that the group’s distinguishing factor is its use of a blended learning model that combines direct instruction with technology.
After children are taught in class, they move to a learning lab where computers with adaptive software track and improve their grasp of concepts.
This data is then collected and used to custom-design a learning path for each child by providing micro-objectives on how they’re performing, she says.
Vineet Bewtra, Omidyar Network’s director of investments, says the group’s approach to investing in its teachers’ ongoing development was one of the factors that swayed its decision to fund the group.
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“The SPARK Schools team also recognises the crucial role of teachers. While data-led approaches and personalised learning technologies do play a powerful role, children are not merely vessels that need filing. They are unique flames that need kindling and teachers are key to this,” he says.
“We are confident that SPARK Schools’ quest to deliver elite, quality education much more affordably will provide the broader education ecosystem with valuable insights into ways of scaling effective education solutions in a more equitable way.”