oakley house principal

It is probable that no school suits every individual, but in spite of this, as the demand for special needs education continues to grow, we are excited at Oakley House High School to be intent on becoming the school of choice in the Western Cape for individuals with specific learning difficulties – be it emotional (e.g., depression, anxiety) social (e.g., ASD) or cognitive (e.g., ADD/ADHD, dyslexia). In keeping with this vision, 2017 saw us proud to be celebrating 10 years of the Oakley House brand and a 100% pass rate from our inaugural Matric class. The 100% pass was repeated last year by the subsequent matric cohort. This year the High School is in its fifth year of growth.

What can you expect to get at Oakley House High? Firstly, you would be coming to a small school – currently 85 learners  – so there is no such thing as individuals going under the radar; every child is indeed special. Small classes and individualised attention are essential in a special needs context, thus you will find a maximum class size of 12 in Grade 7 (our starting year) and 15 in the remaining Grades. We are cognisant of being part of a greater school community and, to allow students to transition from mainstream schools into Oakley and hopefully also vice versa, we follow the CAPS curriculum and write the National examination. We have a uniform, code of conduct, extra mural activities, a growing leadership system and many other features of mainstream schools that make transitioning in either direction as seamless as possible. In 2018, we were able to offer sport, courtesy of nearby Bergvliet High School. As you would expect, our staff are seasoned in special needs education, and committed to approachability, professionalism and regular communication. Some of our learners could benefit from more time in a subject and these students are catered to by our afternoon Supplementary Lesson programme, while those who prefer to work on their own, but need a more structured environment, can make use of the Supervised Homework programme. Lastly, we cater for certain students with even greater cognitive challenges, in the form of our ASDAN class. This class operates in parallel to the rest of the school and follows a UK-based curriculum in which qualitative feedback and skills are important; marks are not.

Special needs education means different things to different people. At Oakley, we believe that the window of remediation, addressed in our Primary school, is past, and so in the High School our approach is perhaps best seen as one of ‘just enough support’. We do this to necessarily prepare our young men and women for the life of independence that awaits them just over the horizon. I sometimes use the analogy of what we do to be that of an adult helping a child to ride a bicycle, hands hovering to prevent the big falls but restrained just enough to allow the wobbles and minor grazes that accompany learning, with as much patience as it takes. In 2019, our theme is ‘#Plus1’ – a theme that encourages self-reflection and personal ownership in all aspects of each learner’s school experience.

Please enjoy the rest of the website and do contact us with any questions. We look forward to welcoming you into the Oakley House family.


MrBuchanan Principal