Are Small Classes at a Private School Enough Support for the Remedial Learner?

Can private schools benefit the remedial learner? There are many benefits to attending a private primary school. Many challenges are facing the public schooling system in South Africa. Considering these challenges, it makes a lot of sense to send your child to an independent school. A mainstream student can do very well attending the average private primary school.

For the remedial student, however, it is not enough to send them to a private school. Students facing specific barriers to learning need even more than what most independent schools offer. They need specialised instruction from teachers with specific training and skills. If they do not receive this input, they are liable to struggle even while attending a private primary school.

The Challenges facing South African public schools

We know that not all public schools are floundering as much as the statistics tell us. There are public primary schools which do very well in educating their scholars. We commend all the committed teachers that have made their learning environments effective.

But there can be no denying that there are problems. Studies have shown that 78% of the Grade 4s in South Africa cannot read for understanding. There are Grade 6 maths teachers in this country who cannot do the maths they are teaching the students. Time after time South Africa ranks amongst the lowest with regards to maths and science. This is based on international assessments of these subjects.

On average there are well over thirty students to every one teacher in the country. Basic resources are also often lacking in the classrooms.

For these reasons and more, many parents seek out private schools.

Benefits of Private Schooling

Smaller classes are just about guaranteed in independent schools. This equates to a more personalised environment, with individual attention. It also means that the school is less intimidating for learners. When children’s attendance is negatively affected due to sickness, a private school is often better able to accommodate this than a public school. A child suffering from illness is less likely to be lost through the cracks if attending an independent school and receives better support when catching up on their studies.

It is also possible to find a private school that has the same values as your family. The ethos of the private school can reflect your beliefs as a parent.

The standards of independent schooling are most often higher than public schools. This can be seen in the better matric results that private schools achieve at the end of each year.

A few years ago, the top performing public schools could boast an average of 90% of their students passing. This is certainly excellent. However, schools with these results are the exception, not the rule. Looking at the top performing private schools, the pass rate was significantly better. They had a pass rate of 98%.2021 saw a 98.39% pass rate for independent schools. It is also important to note that 89.2% of private school leavers received a pass that would allow them to apply to study at university.

This tracks with the results seen over the last five years or so from independent schooling. In comparison, public schools saw a 76.4% pass rate. Only 36.4% achieved a bachelor’s pass.

The basis for performance in matric is laid in the Foundation and Intermediate Phases of schooling. This is during the primary school years of education. This is why parents opt to send their children to private primary schools if possible. The numbers suggest that this is of great benefit to the children.

Remedial learner learning support

Why the Needs of the Remedial Learner often remain unaddressed

Looking at the challenges facing South African public schooling is very disheartening. Think now, for a moment, of a child with ADHD and dyslexia in such an environment. It is not an exaggeration to say that they have little to no chance of being able to learn at such a school.

A private school should offer more personalised interaction with the learners. This is because of the smaller classes. And this is wonderful. A remedial learner needs to have individualised input. They benefit from small classes. But small classes are not enough.

Consider the specific needs that arise from different learning challenges. Dyslexia and ADHD, just to use the example above, require very different input from a teacher. Their combination means even more specific demands. And each child is an individual as well.

The average independent school addresses the needs of the average, mainstream student. They remove the problems that we see in most public schools. This means that the student with common abilities will get a quality education with proficient teachers on their level.

But the remedial learner will often still struggle in such an environment. There is also still ongoing stigma often associated with remedial learning. For this reason alone, these remedial students can find social anxiety to be a continuing problem as well. Even having a dedicated remedial class in a mainstream learning environment doesn’t always best serve these learners.

What the remedial learner needs from their private schooling

For these and other reasons, a private school specialising in remedial learning will in almost all cases be best for the remedial student. The remedial learner needs teachers that have been trained to address specific barriers to learning. The remedial student needs to be taught by a remedial teacher.

When we consider all the possible challenges that could be impeding learning in the remedial student, this makes sense. Students needing this support have needs that span quite a gamut of learning challenges.

These can be emotional challenges. There are even levels of anxiousness particular to children with learning challenges. These difficulties often stem from and are compounded by the difficulties in learning.

Learning difficulties also often present in various combinations. Links between ADHD and dyslexia have been observed, in boys especially. And this is not even considering dyscalculia, dysgraphia and other barriers to learning.

Consider Japari’s Private Primary Schooling for the Remedial Learner

Japari has over half a century of experience teaching remedial students. We have a stellar track record of success. We ensure that we have no more than 15 students per class. Most of our graduates are equipped to flourish at a mainstream high school. We do not just focus on getting our children to pass tests. We teach them to be independent, and prepared for life. We enable them for success with the tools they need to deal with the challenges they will face in life. This means both in and out of school.

We have passionate, expert teachers that are qualified to teach remedial students. On our multi-disciplinary staff, we have dedicated experts in their field. We have professionals who specialise in occupational and speech therapy as well as physiotherapy. We also have dedicated and ongoing learning support. By providing this assistance for our remedial learners, they learn to thrive.

Our holistic approach to the needs of students with learning barriers yields very positive results. We have robust arts and culture programmes, sporting activities and offer aftercare facilities.

We recognise that all our children are imbued with innate strength and resilience. They are capable of so much. We teach them to cope with their limitations while developing their strengths.

At Japari the remedial learner’s needs will be met, while we nourish them as individuals. Let us do the same for your child.


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