How is SPARK Schools mitigating 2020 learning losses?

Learning at South African schools was disrupted throughout 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the country went into a national lockdown in March 2020, schools went into a complete shutdown.

Schools came up with alternative ways to continue learning for learners. While some schools were able to offer home learning, some schools didn’t have the resources to provide such learning opportunities. 

How SPARK Schools is helping struggling learners

“At the beginning of the 2021 academic year, handover-take- over for scholars who ended the previous year without meeting the Grade Level adequate requirements was done by teachers,” SPARK Schools Regional Manager Nkazimulo Zitha explains. 

The take-over handover ensures that educators are aware of the challenges that learners face from the previous year. 

“This helps teachers to plan and incorporate interventions in their daily teaching earlier in the year,”  Zitha says.

 Furthermore, SPARK Schools also tracked down and contacted learners who did not access remote learning the previous year. 

“Our online Maths and English programs that have open access from home is also another way in which our scholars can continue to learn anytime, anywhere, and at their own pace,” she says. 

The excellent news for SPARK scholars is the schools already has a program that supports struggling learners. The retention program provides scholars at risk of not meeting proficiency levels with the necessary support to progress to the next Grade. 

In the past, the program would kickoff at the end of the second school term; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has been rolled out from the first school term. 

Data for targeted intervention

SPARK Regional Manager Coralee van Schalkwyk explains that schools use data gathered from continuous assessments and online data to facilitate targeted interventions. 

Targeted interventions is through tutoring sessions conducted by SPARK Schools blended facilitators. 

Schools have to address the learning gaps that COVID-19 caused to ensure that no child is left behind.

“Our scholars receive targeted intervention earlier before the gaps grow too big,” Zitha adds.

The intervention includes a 20-minute small group tutoring by SPARK Schools Blended Learning Facilitators four times a week, and small group guided time with educators in the classroom. Parents are also encouraged to assist at home to facilitate learning. 

“We know that school closures and subsequent learning loss will dramatically change the prospects for this generation of learners in the future.

At SPARK Schools, we are aware of the important role we must play to ensure that the legacy of COVID-19 does not magnify inequality and contribute to inequity,” Van Schalkwyk says. 
To learn more about SPARK Schools curriculum, click here.

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