2013 Ruderman Prize in Inclusion Winner
Location: Capetown, South Africa
Herzlia is a Jewish community school that has served the Cape Town Jewish community for more than 70 years. The school was founded in 1940 with the aim of providing a Jewish and secular education to the Jewish youth of Cape Town. Today, Herzlia has more than 2000 pupils from play school through to Grade 12. Over the decades, Herzlia has become a leader in education in the Western Cape, having consistently attained a 100% pass rate, and is one of the top feeder schools to the University of Cape Town.
At Herzlia, we recognise that education means the development of the whole child – emotionally, socially, intellectually, physically and spiritually. We design our curriculum to include all these aspects and are constantly reflecting on how these attributes function both separately and together to fulfil our mandate. We aim to provide a child-centred and disciplined, but non-authoritarian environment that encourages a caring and friendly relationship between teachers and pupils which allow for active participation, the nurturing of a questioning spirit and freedom of thought.
Our Inclusion Program was adopted in 1997 and began with just five students and one Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO). It has evolved into a sophisticated, fully fledged program with 50 staff where support is offered at each stage of the child’s academic journey. We currently employ 21 full-time learning support teachers, 5 part-time, 6 full-time facilitators plus 7 remedial staff. This excludes another 20 teachers and staff that are paid directly by parents. The number of pupils requiring extensive learning support has grown from 5 in 1997 to 80 in 2013.
“I cannot begin to describe the elation I felt when I heard that Herzlia was a recipient of the Ruderman Foundation Prize. Herzlia School adopted an Inclusion philosophy in 1997 and today 17 years later in 2013 all our 10 campuses can proudly boast that we are inclusive schools that cater for all the children of the Cape Town Jewish community no matter what their academic, physical or financial situation may be.
The transformation of Herzlia into a school that offers a fully- fledged inclusion programme, has been the most important, rewarding aspect of my 33 years in education. It is so gratifying to know that our work in the area of Inclusive education has been recognized and we are humbled and honored to be a recipient of this most prestigious prize.”
Geoff Cohen- Director of Education
“The Inclusive Program at Herzlia gave our daughter the opportunity to be exposed to ‘real’ life experiences. In a supportive environment – a facilitator and an experienced, passionate and committed team of professional educators – she was embraced for her uniqueness. Her individual education program focused on what she could achieve rather than what she could not. Her strengths were nurtured and her confidence thrived. Whilst there were difficult challenges along the way, these were always addressed as a team with a positive mindset. Jodi had a place to go where she felt she belonged. We will forever be grateful that Jodi was able to experience the ‘equal’ welcome that other children are afforded at Herzlia. Her experience and the friendships she made, both with her peers and teachers are embedded in her heart forever.”
Wendy Schaffer – a parent