Over a period of time, comments or descriptions of our school have been heard as that of being a school for children with ‘special needs’ or it being a remedial school. This is inaccurate and misleading.
Despite having a few learners who reveal ‘special needs’ as in being Downs Syndrome (3 learners), having Spectrum disorders (4 learners), being Diabetic (2 learners), being hard of hearing (1 learner), it does not qualify us as being a school for Special Needs. However, the term ‘INCLUSIVE’ is far more suitable because these few learners are INCLUDED in what is termed as ‘mainstream’. This is in line with White Paper 6 as laid down by Government. ALL government schools are obliged to accept ALL learners – regardless of disability.
The profile of the majority of our learners is that of being highly anxious in a large group environment, finding it difficult to focus within the large group because of high levels of activity or noise or needing the close attention of the teacher in order to complete tasks as well as learners not achieving to their full potential. These are common characteristics of normal to high functioning children.
Mountain View Academy is registered with the WCED as a very normal, ‘mainstream’ school and is not a special school, remedial school, special needs school or the like. Our teachers and the curriculum must comply with the criteria set out by the Department of Education. We are constantly moderated and have annual inspections by the appropriate officials from the WCED – ensuring that we are in line with their expectations. Thus far, we have received admirable feedback from these authorities regarding our academic standards and levels of competence.
Being a very small school, we have the privilege of being far more flexible and accommodating in presenting our learning material BUT always ensuring that we comply with standards set by the education authorities. At the same time, we are not obligated to try and work with learners who reveal anti-social behaviour that does not uphold the ethos of our school.
Most of our learners have the potential to achieve success within our nurturing and supportive academic environment, with some of them possibly needing a more practical field of study once they reach the age of 14. This means that some learners will not be able to pursue our academic High School where the goal is in obtaining the National Senior Certificate (Matric). Our school is also registered as an examination centre by the Department of Education. Our subject choice in the FET Phase (Grades 10 – 12) affords the learners access to University or other Tertiary Institutions. Once again, this is proven successful with the full co-operation of the Department of Education.
The advantage of being in a school like Mountain View Academy is that, because of the very small numbers in each class, every teacher is able to devote time and put in more effort into each and every learner. Individuality and uniqueness is celebrated because the learner and teacher have time to establish positive and healthy educational relationships where learning can be optimised. Learners are treated holistically and seen as individuals. Weekly staff meeting are held and the best options for each learner is discussed by the whole team of educators concerned. Creating a supportive environment allows the learner to feel safe and thus confident enough to set higher expectations for himself and to experience success in each day. thusreaching his or her full potential.