Our Academy will allow learners who are studying independently or are enrolled in a full-time brick-and-mortar school to sign-up for specific subjects only, rather than following a full curriculum plan. Fees are based on whether the learner joins one of our small groups in that subject, or requires private, one-on-one tutoring.
Cambridge International is a British curriculum taught widely across the world, including South Africa. The high school equivalent consists of three levels: IGCSE, AS and A levels. The IGCSE (International Graduate Certificate of Secondary Education) is typically for ages 14-16 with the AS and A level for ages 16-19. We also offer a Pre-IGCSE program to younger learners from ages 11-14. (Learn more about the Cambridge system from the Cambridge International website.)
The Cambridge curriculum is offered in South Africa by a growing number of institutions. Several private and public schools are Cambridge-affiliated and offer their learners this option.
There are also a large number of online content providers locally and abroad who target home-schooled South Africans. Since Covid-19, online home-schooling has grown in popularity, and these service providers have rapidly increased their learner numbers into the tens of thousands, often without building the additional capacity required to support their learners. Private tutoring centres often fill these gaps.
The Chapel Lane Academy is a private tutor centre where home-schooled learners can enrol for a full course offering or individual subjects, without having to register with either a formal school or with an online curriculum content provider.
‘Bespoke’ means to be ‘highly personalised or customised’. It is a term that was originally used in the textile and fashion industries, where the finest clothes were cut to exact measurement and specification by the very best specialist tailors.
Our Academy limits our annual learner numbers to double digits, so that we may know each learner and their parents by name. Our individual class sizes per subject are further limited to no more than eight (8) learners in a group, taught live and online by PhDs, Ivy League graduates and other advanced academics with experience of the Cambridge curriculum. This class size and style allows plenty of opportunity for interesting discussions and questions. Even the most expensive private schools in the country run classes three- to four-fold this size.
We plan your child’s academic pathway and subjects together with you personally, based on various important insights shared among us. You can call us directly at any given time.
Your child will also have permanent and immediate access to each teacher, ready to assist any time of the day or night and any day of the week, rain or shine. When the learner needs guidance, we are there.
In short, we see the strength of the modern technology platforms that we use as offering an experience where your child can “put up a hand with a question anytime, wherever they are”. That is the kind of personal attention, the ‘bespoke’ service offered by our Academy.
Per definition, our Academy is a private tutoring centre and your child is home-schooled with our online tutoring support. Learners up to the age of 15 are required to be registered with the Department of Basic Education and we will advise parents about the process in their respective provinces.
Learners from ages 11 (Grade 6 equivalent) to 19 (Matric + 1 year equivalent) can complete all of their schooling required for university exemption locally and abroad through our program.
We also tutor learners registered at other schools or on other program who need support in specific subjects, or whose schools may not offer a particular subject.
We follow the Cambridge curriculum strictly and comprehensively, and our learners write their exams as private candidates at accredited CIE exam centres. We fully guide our learners’ families through this exam registration process, made easy by our close working relationship with such centres.
Accreditation is not a requirement to provide the Cambridge curriculum. Being accredited by CIE is more often the direction taken by mainstream, traditional schools who have switched to the Cambridge curriculum.
In the Sciences, our Academy offers:
- Biology (IGCSE, AS & A)
- Chemistry (IGCSE, AS & A)
- Computer Science (pre-IGCSE, IGCSE, AS Only)
- ICT (IGCSE, AS & A)*
- Mathematics (pre-IGCSE, IGCSE, AS & A)
- Natural Sciences (pre-IGCSE)
- Physics (IGCSE, AS & A)
In the Humanities and Social Sciences, course options include:
- Accounting (IGCSE, AS & A)
- Business Studies (IGCSE, AS & A)
- Economics (IGCSE, AS, A)
- Environmental Management (IGCSE & AS Only)
- Geography (IGCSE, AS & A)
- History (IGCSE, AS & A)
- Law (AS & A only)*
- Psychology (AS, A – but not offered at IGCSE)*
- Social Sciences (pre-IGCSE)
- Sociology (IGCSE, AS, A)*
- Travel and Tourism (IGCSE only)*
- Afrikaans (pre-IGCSE, IGCSE & AS)
- English Language (IGCSE, AS & A)
- English Literature (IGCSE, AS & A)*
- English Language & Literature (AS only)
- French (pre-IGCSE, IGCSE, AS & A)
- isiZulu (IGCSE Only)
* Courses examined by CIE but considered “ungrouped” for South African University exemption.
Please note: some course levels are limited for private candidates (a restriction imposed either by Cambridge International or by local examination centres) or are simply not offered.
As a private academy we currently cannot accommodate any Cambridge classes that include a studio practical, such as Art or Music. Our learners pursue these interests privately as extra-curricular activities.
The Cambridge curriculum allows private students the option to write exam papers that offer an alternative to lab practicals at IGCSE level, where a theoretical understanding of the laboratory equipment and practice is examined. Should a learner prefer the practical experience, or when they reach AS/A level, we collaborate with centres that offer such sessions.
Learners meet for live, online class sessions once per week in each subject. Meeting times are finalised after consultation between the group members and teacher, commencing either between 08h30-16h00 or between 17h00-19h00, in consideration of teenagers’ body clocks and our learners’ extra-mural commitments.
A highly structured weekly work plan, with required readings, exercises and assignments are posted via a Google Classroom for each subject, on average requiring three to five hours of self-study weekly per subject.
The grading of key assignments allows teachers, parents and learners to continuously gauge academic progress via the learner’s profile on Google Classroom at every step along the way.
It is recommended that learners create a personal learning schedule of setting their mornings aside for academic work and using their afternoons for the pursuit and enjoyment of other interests. Some senior classes are scheduled early evenings.
The real strength of our programme is the highly personal involvement with each learner, so we never have more than eight learners in a group. More often, classes only have three or four learners, given our learners’ diverse interests.
Teenagers seem to find this small group format comforting, compared to facing a tutor one-on-one and feeling somewhat exposed or vulnerable. Our intimate class size allows us to offer the 24/7 level of personal support via Whatsapp that our leaners value highly. There is not another school in this country where a learner has this level of direct access to all of his or her teachers personally at all hours.
Our learners tell us that they greatly value our 24/7 Whatsapp support. That means that when the learner is busy working on a subject and encounters difficulty, they can get immediate, personal help from the teacher who is directly responsible for this class.
Too often, at brick-and-mortar schools, the learner has to wait until they next see a teacher. With most online programs, learners have to wait until some impersonal customer service centre returns emailed answers, and so the learning opportunity is often missed. With our immediate help, this is where we most often see those “aha” moments when learners make a breakthrough in their understanding.
Cambridge International Education (CIE) issues formal certificates recording the results of external IGCSE, AS and A level exams.
All our students turn in regular assignments, which also include graded, formal assessments. These results, with feedback, are posted on the learner’s Google Classroom profile and we recommend that parents monitor progress regularly. We will notify you personally should we observe your child not meeting the required standard of attendance or submission of assignments.
For candidates in their final year of study who are applying to university, we can assist with mock exams for predictive grades.
Pre-IGCSE learners receive an annual report documenting their academic progress in each of their subjects.
Learners enrolled with private institutions such as The Chapel Lane Academy are classified as home-schooled according to the educational authorities. That means that parents accept final responsibility for their child’s progress. Our Academy guides and supports you through this process. This involves choosing subjects, obtaining textbooks, teaching the curriculum live online, assessing your child’s progress, getting registered for exams, and helping with exam preparation. We unequivocally consider parental involvement and support to be an integral part of our learners’ success.
Your child will need a gmail account plus laptop/pc (ideally, but an iPad could work) and smartphone, with high-speed, unlimited wi-fi access. For Math, Chemistry, Physics and Economics, classes seem to work best when learners have touchscreen-enabled devices so that our teachers and learners can work together on-screen.
Assignments frequently include written work that needs to be turned in, and the ability to either print worksheets or convert them to open electronic files will be required. The free suite of Google docs, worksheets and slides plus the Google drive that come with a Google account is sufficient. A good printer and scanner (or a smartphone that can scan completed assignments) is essential.
All classes are presented via Zoom, and course schedules, milestones, assignments, and deadlines are posted via Google Classroom.
We encourage parents to become familiar with the technology and to monitor their children’s Google Classrooms.
Our main platform for communicating academic work-plans, posting assignments, and recording grades is Google Classroom. Our parents log in to this platform with their children to ensure their child is up to date, to monitor performance, and to retrieve specific helpful comments. You will also receive personal communication if we observe any cause for concern with your child’s progress, as and when required.
Our calendar broadly follows the WCED calendar. Most courses kick-off in January or in July, working towards either May/June or Oct/Nov exams. We regularly take on learners through the course of each term who ambitiously started independent self-study only to realise they need help.
If a learner decides to join our program outside of regular dates, we consult with the parents and propose a course of action. This might require individual sessions to help the learner catch up to a group or the creation of a new group if there are enough students simultaneously interested in starting the course.
Learners write exams as and when they feel adequately prepared, either during May/June or October/November each year. Some subject exams can only be sat during the Oct/Nov period, notably Afrikaans AS.
Our Academy has a close working relationship with several Cambridge International affiliated high schools that are examination centres for private students such as ours.
In Cape Town, our learners write either at the International School of Cape Town (ISCT) campus or at Somerset College.
Learners register directly with the centres for exams. We facilitate this process for parents to make sure all is in place, and parents pay the fees directly to the centre. Grading happens in the UK according to very structured marking schemes, and results are returned about 6-8 weeks later.
Cambridge International supports inclusive learning, and special arrangements for those with disabilities who need access, require extra time, readers or scribes can be made.
South Africa falls within Cambridge International’s Zone 3. This is relevant when consulting exam series timetables or when you need to verify whether a particular course is examined locally.
Learners can join The Chapel Lane Academy any time of the year. Ideally, learners register at the beginning or middle of the year to be fully synchronised with current subject groups. We will either create a new group if there are sufficient learners keen on starting the subject at a later stage, or work with your child one-on-one to help them catch up to an existing group.
Once you have expressed interest, we will set up a virtual consultation with you and your child. We will request information on past academic performance, behavioural aspects, and special learning needs. The purpose is to determine your family’s long-term and immediate ambitions for your child’s learning. We will then present you with a suggested selection of courses and a proposed annual schedule of classes to make a final determination on your side.
We work on a good faith basis and do not expect you to read through long, restrictive or punitive legal documents. You can withdraw your child from our Academy by way of email or written notification and your financial obligations expire at the end of the term within which you withdraw.
There is so much information to consider, so herewith the critical elements you may want summarised:
- Our program is a comprehensive alternative to attending your local brick-and-mortar school from ages 11-19. You can also register your child for individual subjects only.
- Your child works from home, connected online with our Academy.
- We will personally advise your family on your child’s subject choices, grade level milestones, and proposed exam dates.
- Online classes are taught live, with a maximum of eight learners in a group and the teacher will know your child’s name and face and monitor their progress personally.
- There is daily class contact Monday to Friday, and a weekly schedule of work.
- Your child will have free time on hand to pursue other interests. You will know immediately if your child is falling behind. Your child can contact each teacher personally 24/7 for immediate help.
- Course work and exam preparation are geared towards high achievement, yet your family decides where you set your child’s goals.
- Cambridge exams can be sat twice per year, and learners need not complete all their IGCSE subjects before they commence their AS studies.
- Cambridge qualifications lead to local and international university exemption when specific subject combinations and grades are achieved.
- Our fees can be compared to quality public school fees and are less than 50% of private schools, despite the low teacher-learner ratio and high quality, personal support.
The journey starts with a phone call to us where you can ask all the questions you still have and share with us as much as what you deem fit about your child. This will be the first of many discussions through the next couple of years, as we stay in close contact with all learners’ parents. We see you as an integral part of your child’s success.