HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMICS

HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMICS

Deputy Principal: Academics

ACADEMIC APPROACH

Dainfern College takes pride in being a leader in innovative, relevant curriculum development. Academic endeavour in the High School prepares students for life beyond the classroom and the academic focus is therefore intentional in its enhancement of the vital 21 st Century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, character building, research, and reflection. While not ignoring subject content, the spirit of curiosity is aroused and enquiry-based learning is encouraged through an innovative curriculum and progressive teaching praxis that favours the development of cross-curricular skills.

 

Although students’ committed pursuit of personal academic excellence is paramount, it is also acknowledged that the journey to excellence and fulfilment of academic potential differs for each student; thus, if additional support is required, it is facilitated professionally.

 

Academic excellence also cannot be achieved solely through focusing on the intellectual needs of students, so a thriving pastoral care programme exists to ensure their holistic development.

 

The Dainfern College High School academic programme creates students who are fully prepared to succeed in either of the exit examinations on offer: the IEB National Senior Certificate (‘Matric’) or Cambridge AS/A level. Furthermore, students leave the College as global citizens whose academic foundation equips them to further their studies at tertiary institutions and, subsequently, to continue their life-long journey of learning.

OUR CURRICULUM

The High School Academic programme at Dainfern College has traditionally followed the IEB National Senior Certificate curriculum where our students have a 100% pass rate since they first wrote matric in 2001, achieving considerable success. With the introduction of the optional Cambridge Studies programme this year, students may now choose between the traditional South African matric curriculum and the international Cambridge AS/A Level programme. The two programmes run in parallel from Grade 11.

 

We offer a comprehensive curriculum of traditional school subjects in the senior phase (Grades 8 and 9 in the High School) as well as our new, innovative cross-curricular Xtend-it programme. From Grade 10, students study four core subjects (English, a first additional language, Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy and Life Orientation) and three elective subjects, selected from a range of subjects covering science, technology, the humanities, the arts and commerce. From Grade 11 students then choose between the IEB and Cambridge programmes.

CAMBRIDGE STUDIES

2019 sees the introduction of our international educational offer of Cambridge Studies. This two-year programme offers our students the option of following the Cambridge International A Level curriculum from Grade 11. Students write AS Levels at the end of Grade 11 and A2 exams at the end of Grade 12, to give them the internationally recognised A Level qualification as their school exit qualification. Our Cambridge students study in parallel with our Grade 11 and 12 IEB students and all other aspects of their holistic education at the College remain the same.

XTEND-IT

Dainfern College embarked on a cutting-edge modular curriculum for the Grade 8 and 9 students last year. The ‘Xtend-it’ programme is unique to Dainfern College and was developed by our High School staff in response to international education trends that emphasise collaboration, creativity, collection of information, critical thinking, character development, reflection and communication.

 

The programme comprises three or four cross-curricular modules that focus on skills rather than knowledge. There is far less formal assessment in the Xtend-it modules as the emphasis is on learning skills rather than content. During the Xtend-it weeks, students follow a different timetable from their usual programme.

 

We are very excited about this new and innovative addition to our academic offer for our Grade 8s and 9s.

TECHNOLOGY & BYOD

Dainfern College embraces the latest technological trends and teaching methods to augment curriculum delivery to our students and equip them with vital 21st Century digital skills. From ‘flipped classroom’ activities to digitally streamed debates with other schools, Google Classroom file sharing and online extension and support programs, our students make use of a variety of technological and digital resources to assist and extend them in the classroom. Students have access to several well-resourced computer labs and are also expected to ‘bring their own device’ to school. In Grades 8 and 9 this device must be a tablet (either iPad or Android), but from Grade 10 students have the option of using their own laptop.

EXTENSION & SUPPORT

Our High School has strong extension and support programmes in place to help our students reach their full potential. These are deliberately structured to ensure that every student is supported both academically and emotionally:

 

The Growth Point Academic Extension & Support period gives students a daily opportunity to connect with teachers so as to consolidate or further investigate subject content.

 

Our Learning Support Centre is an important part of our overall student wellness programme, giving students both academic and pastoral support. Emotional counselling, psychometric testing, academic accommodations and organisational and homework support are all available through this centre.

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