MISSION AND GOALS:
We aim to educate each individual within an environment of respect, honesty and compassion. We aim to create a safe environment, in which each child is academically extended and stimulated in all areas of learning. It is important that each child becomes the best they can be. We strive to provide opportunities to become productive, integrated members of society. Skills to encourage independence are emphasised.
We actively promote each child to be the best he/she can be, through the use of Individual Development Plans. Within certain subjects the children work at their own level at their own pace, thereby no one child holding up another.
Our Senior Work Experience Programme actively looks at the integration aspects of where your child might ‘fit’ into society when they are ready to leave school. Our Life Orientation programme clearly sets out examples of what we feel our children should be able to competently achieve regarding independence. Productive implies that our children not only integrate into society but find a sense of purpose and add to the overall societal value by bringing their unique contribution to society.
At Unity, we need to strike a balance between promoting the child’s education and satisfying the requirements of work or further education, knowing that our learners need to acquire and apply knowledge and skills in ways that are meaningful to their own lives.
At a mainstream school, there are no guarantees that your child will end up with a matric or with an FET certificate, nor does a mainstream school guarantee acceptance to a further educational institution or into the work place. Unity, too, cannot guarantee any of these things, however, we aim to do the very best for each child.
Two streams are available within our senior phase.
- A life orientation stream. The curriculum consists of promoting skills from which the learner will benefit for life. The aim of this stream is the promotion of independence and supported work placement. Compulsory subjects include literacy, numeracy, life orientation, computers, cookery for independent living and social etiquette. The learner chooses one subject from each pair i.e. three subjects. The choices are more practical and lead to skills for independent living. The idea is that these skills could be practised in a work environment.
- Basic Horticulture (nursery work, garden service or farm work) or Basic Hospitality and Home Manager (working in a B & B, hotel)
- Merchandiser (packing, stock taking within a store / shop) or Essential Food Hygiene (placement within the food industry)
- Carer (working with young children, the elderly or animals) or Crafter (potentially making items to sell in a store/flea market etc.)
This is a skills based programme with minimal academic or theoretical components. Learners are not expected to write examinations.
- A vocational stream. The curriculum consists of compulsory core subjects being ABET Communication in English, ABET Mathematical Literacy and Life Orientation. Additional compulsory subjects are: computers, cookery for independent living, design and technology, career preparation, work experience and life orientation. The aim of this stream is for the child to be integrated and productive within society. Learners of this stream are prepared for examinations.
As part of this stream, seniors are offered a choice of vocational courses (some accredited and others pending accreditation).
Group A (Select 2)
- Educare (Introductory Crèche Assistant Course)
- Office Administration*
- Introductory Maintenance
- Chef’s Assistant
Group B (Select 1)
*Our recommendation would be that the child who opts for Office Administration should ideally choose computers as a Group B choice.
There is some flexibility of subjects between the Life Orientation and Vocational streams, to accommodate students’ needs, where possible.
At Unity, we recognise that each child has a unique set of abilities. There is some cross-over between the Life Orientation and Vocational streams, as determined by our assessment of the learner.
The Senior Phase consists of four classes :
v Senior 1
v Senior 2
v Senior 3
v Life Orientation class (this may include senior 1, 2 and 3 students)
Our Unity curriculum aims to:
- Equip our learners, irrespective of their socio-economic background, race, gender, physical ability or intellectual ability with the knowledge, skills and values necessary for self-fulfilment and meaningful participation in society as citizens of South Africa.
- Provide access to higher education and facilitate the transition of learners from educational institutions to the workplace (Vocational stream where possible).
- Provide employers with a profile of a learner’s competences.
Our curriculum creates a choice for your child’s future. It gives our learners an opportunity to learn knowledge, skills and values pertaining to different subject areas. We are laying the foundations that could lead to further training opportunities or work opportunities (in either a sheltered or regular environment), ultimately improving the quality of life and potential of each young person.
The educational framework outlines the kind of education we need at our children’s level, to promote successful integration into society.
Over the past few years, we have seen that our students often cope very well with practical skills, but also need to practise their academic skills and to improve their general knowledge. Our programme offers a 50/50 split between academic and practical skills.
Both the Mathematics Literacy and Communication in English curricula we follow are ABET based. ABET is the ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING programme and is recognised and accredited throughout South Africa. It has four levels 1, 2, 3, and 4. We are registered with the IEB (INDEPENDENT EXAMINATIONS BOARD) and our examinations are marked externally.
When starting in the Senior Phase, the students are assessed using the IEB assessments which places them on a level appropriate to their ability. Assessments occur in Literacy and in Numeracy. Often when the student is assessed, it may appear as if he has been placed on a lower level than he was coping with in the Intermediate Phase. This is due to the fact that most students have areas where their performance is weaker (e.g. the child copes adequately with addition and subtraction but struggles with division).
The assessment looks at all skills necessary to complete each level, and thus complete the examination successfully. The Assessment is used as a diagnostic tool and gives us an indication in which areas require additional attention. .
When a student has completed an ABET level of work, we take them through a series of past examination papers to prepare them for the relevant exam. Once we feel a child is ready for the examination, we can then register them with the IEB and order the examination. Examinations take place in June and November, however, we can order examinations-on-request between the National exams. These examinations cost a little more than the June and November exams. The child is not held back from continuing onto the next level whilst in the process of writing these examinations.
We do have learners who do not cope with ABET and we have a bridging and a Functional Numeracy and Literacy programme. The aim of the bridging class is to promote skills necessary to go on to an ABET level. This is for learners whose assessment has revealed that they are not quite ready for the ABET levels.
1.3 Life Orientation Development Programme
The life skills development programme is a three year program aimed at equipping the learners with basic life skills to help obtain independence.
In the Life Orientation Stream, the first year covers the individual’s self-awareness and self-organisation as well as societal topics and ideas that they may be exposed to. The second year explores various specialised fields that will hold the learner in good stead for the future. This year also provides information on “what to do when faced with various situations”. Themes range from horticulture, self-employment, personal safety, basic first aid to using public transport. Year three concentrates on individual independence aspects such as personal hygiene, caring for clothes, shopping and obtaining a driver’s license to name but a few.
The Life Orientation class programme covers home management as well as some of the above.
B.2. Compulsory additional subjects:
All learners participate in the following subjects:
2.1 Computer Training (All learners)
Unity College has entered into a partnership with Knowledge Network for the development of learners in the field of information technology and integration of technology in the classroom. Knowledge Network, established in 1994, specialises in integrated technology solutions for schools, the development of teachers and learners in schools, IT Project Management for Schools and IT skills training for companies.Learners learn how to use a computer as a tool for life. Knowledge Network equips the learner with computer and life skills needed in the business world.
The Knowledge Network project / outcomes-based curriculum incorporates five key elements in every session:
- the application of technology to everyday life
- using technology tools for overall development – creativity, logical thinking, lateral thinking, listening skills, general knowledge and life skills
- personal achievement and growth for every learner
- The design, content and approach is highly successful in school classroom situations where there is often a difference in the knowledge and skill levels of the learners of the group.
- Sessions are project / outcomes-based and goal-oriented. Every Knowledge Network session has a purpose and every child can achieve.
- Sessions provide an integration of knowledge – learning is relevant and connected to real life situations. An example of a project is running a tuck shop for one week using Excel to calculate sales. Business scenarios include the release of new chocolate, weather, loss of stock through theft etc.
- There is a different curriculum per age group and skills level. A skills evaluation system forms part of the curriculum.
- Sessions are designed to provide learners with the skills they need for life in the real world – computer skills, life skills, logical thinking, lateral thinking and creative thinking.
- The curriculum is accredited internationally.
Knowledge Network SP Level 01 – ICDL (Intermediate 5 and Senior 1)
Knowledge Network SP Level 03 – MOUS Proficiency (Senior 2 & 3)
Teachers appointed to present the Knowledge Network IT Curriculum attended training in the Knowledge Network Integrated Learning and Mentoring Methodology and will attend ongoing training run by Knowledge Network. The strong business emphasis, development for life, IT and creative thinking skills, together with a sound educational base has proven highly successful in top independent and public schools.
2.2 Design and Technology (Vocational Stream)
In Design and Technology we aim to contribute towards learners technological literacy by giving them opportunities to:
- Develop and utilise specific practical skills to solve technological problems.
- Interact with each other when they develop technological solutions.
- Understand the concepts and knowledge used in technology and be able to use them responsibly, effectively and purposefully.
The Senior Phases students go through a set of reinforcement exercises which will include:
- Repetition of practical and theoretical skills and processes practised in the Intermediate Phase and at the same time encourage individual ethical and responsible application of the technological knowledge and practical skills attained.
- The ability to identify a problem or a need. At this stage the learner is expected to engage in a systematic approach that allows the development of solutions that will solve identified problems and needs.
- Demonstrating increasing accuracy and skill, better organisation and safer working practices – for after school they should be able to live as individuals and make good use of the technologies taught to them.
2.3 Cookery for Independent Living (All learners)
- Independent cooking
- Ability to follow any given / selected menu
- To manage a home and family in future
- Possible preparation for vocation if food industry
- Understanding health and balance.
Life Orientation Stream
- Independent cooking.
- Preparing of simple meals.
- To improve confidence.
- Inclusion of life skills e.g. shopping, socializing and etiquette.
- Graded skills through the Senior Phase.
- Reinforcement and learning through repetition over four terms.
Learners are encouraged to practise tasks at home to reinforce learning and provide a carry-over in real life.
2.4 Career Preparation (All learners)
The main aim of these theoretical lessons is to teach learners about appropriate work behaviour and ethics. Learners are required to complete a journal at the beginning of each lesson reflecting their experience at the work place, identifying any problems and areas of strength. Topics for theoretical lessons include personal and social presentation, following of instructions, task planning, organizing, executing and evaluating a task as well as decision making and motivation. In Senior 2 and 3 topics include completion of a C.V. as well as future orientation and possibilities. Learners interact in lessons as they bring valuable information for all learners regarding their experiences.
2.5 Work Experience
Our Work Experience Programme runs on a Tuesday. The programme starts with an introductory work skills development programme at Logwood Village and when ready the learners progress onto more independent work experience in the labour market.
Senior 1: Sheltered Workshop e.g.Logwood
Supervision is done full time by a teacher from school and supervisors from Logwood Village.
- Work ethics
- Subject: Career Preparation
- Job coaching and work visits by teachers
- Open semi-sheltered or labour market placement if competent and ready
Senior 2: Work placements in the sheltered, semi-sheltered or open market (from 08h00 to 14h00)
- Individual Placement or group placement
- Job coaching at the placement by the teachers if needed
- Work visits on a regular basis by the teachers
- Learners are encouraged to explore different areas during the first two years, until a definite interest is developed. During the third year a specialisation opportunity is researched.
- Placement for approximately 2 to 3 terms
- Subject: Career Preparation and work feedback in group discussions.
Senior 3: Voluntary Work (from 08h00 to 17h00).
- Continue work in fields of interest, if possible
- Work hours 8am – 5pm
- Subject: Career Preparation and work feedback
All senior learners have one hour allocated of sport per week. The sports are seasonal and coincide with the current sport seasons. Sports include swimming, athletics, cricket, soccer, basketball, ball skills and general fitness programmes.
The Senior 3 learners run and operate the school tuck shop. The tuck shop is open every Wednesday during first break. A variety of prepared food such as hot dogs, toasted sandwiches, macaroni cheese, pizza, cheese and salad rolls as well as sweets, cold drinks and chips are sold. The tuck shop is run as a business venture and the learners are encouraged to be responsible for their portfolios. At the end of the year, a third of the profits go to Unity College as rental, a third goes to a worthy cause and the other third is divided amongst the learners as employees.
The senior phase learners also run the Craft Coffee Shop. Crafters make the products to sell and on the day the Craft Shop is open they are responsible to serve in the shop. Other earners run the Coffee Shop. Waitrons take orders and serve whilst other learners prepare orders.
At the end of every year we have our Senior Dance. All senior learners participate in this matric-dance like event and it is usually eagerly anticipated.
- The objective of homework is to:
- Provide learners the opportunity to work independently
- Enhance self-growth, time management and responsibility
- Consolidate any work that has been covered.
- From Monday to Thursday, learners are expected to do at least an hour a day of each mathematics and literacy tasks, at the discretion of each teacher. Other tasks may also be required. In literacy this comprises reading and language exercises (ABET and / or other exercises) and in mathematics, ABET and / or other exercises.
- Learners should read daily.
- Learners will need to research topics related to “Life Orientation” themes.
- Teachers will inform students when work is expected in for marking and how to pace themselves. Corrections should be completed over and above given tasks. Should students have neglected their homework, it will need to be completed during break on Fridays.
- Some students will write examinations during the course of the year for which examination fees will apply. Homework will then be comprised of revision exercises and the completion of past papers.
- The learners must wear the correct school uniform to school every day, unless otherwise stipulated in a newsletter i.e Casual Day, Valentines’ Day etc.
- Attention to appropriate grooming and wearing of the correct uniform is part of Life Orientation Skills. It shows self- respect and discipline.
- On Mondays and Wednesdays, all children to come to school dressed in the school sports uniform (blue shorts / tracksuit with sports T-shirt in child’s house colour, sports shoes).
- On Tuesdays, all seniors wear casual clothes for work experience even if working at school e.g. office work.
- On Thursdays and Fridays, all children come to school dressed in their school uniform.
- Parents of learners receive weekly newsletters via the e-mail.
- Homework diaries are to be used for any form of communication.
- Open communication is essential. If a problem occurs it is important for the parents to discuss the issue with the teacher. If the problem is unresolved, the HOD is then the next step, followed, if need be, by a discussion with the principal.
- We are a dedicated group of staff and aim to, at all times, do what is in the best interest of your child and their education. There may, however, be times when a misunderstanding will occur. It is important that these issues be resolved immediately so as to alleviate any unpleasantness or acrimony.
A school camp is arranged for all Senior learners. They are away for three nights. The aims are to:
- foster independence
- encourage friendships and camaraderie
- encourage learners to attempt tasks outside their usual comfort zones
- have fun
Once a term, a Cake and Candy sale is hosted by a class. The money raised will be used for the Senior Phase as to what the teachers deem necessary for the learners’ needs.
- Any money that is sent to school must be placed in an envelope with your child`s name, class and what the money is for, written on the envelope.
- Tuck shop is on a Wednesday – do not send large amounts of money to school. This money should be in a purse / wallet.
- Maintaining good discipline (including punctuality) is a fundamental principle behind good education outcomes.
- Consistency in discipline is important and will be adhered to.
- A system of credits (ubucks) is used to motivate learners.
- Learners are made aware that misdemeanours have a consequence.
- Cell-phones, if bought to school, may be handed in at the office or switched off during the course of the school day (and kept in a safe place). The school will not be held liable for any cell phone stolen on school property. Any cell phone ringing or used during class or break time will be confiscated. Cell phones used prior to school and after school on the school property will also be confiscated. The use of a cell phone is encouraged on Tuesdays (work experience) for emergencies only. If a problem arises the senior learners are encouraged to use the school phone.