As several top universities, such as Stanford's Online High School, have now proven, the academic excellence of universities can be extended to high school learners, and create new opportunities for a diverse group of learners to join an aspirational school.
We asked the question: “what if we broke down the unnecessary silos between high school and university, and offer a solution where the high school experience sets our learners up for success in their university studies and careers?”
UCT has greater potential to innovate in teaching, research and social engagement than it is currently doing. The COVID-19 crisis has shown UCT’s capacity to lead with innovative responses and imagination. Bold innovations are required to bring more cohesion to our education sector, and more access for the next generation of leaders across Africa. In response to the education crisis currently facing our country, the time to lead is now - in this regard we are thrilled to launch the UCT Online High School.
UCT Online High School is a bold new initiative from the University of Cape Town and their partner, Valenture Institute, to enable high school learners throughout South Africa to choose an aspirational school. The UCT Online High School ecosystem has been designed to help learners unleash their potential and set them up for success in school, university and life.
Valenture Institute is an education company that partners with leading education institutions to offer aspirational high school experiences to learners around the world. Valenture's proprietary learning technology, analytics and learner support model is at the forefront of online education.
UCT has partnered with the Valenture Institute to create the UCT Online High School. By combining UCT’s research-driven excellence with Valenture’s proprietary learner support model, we’ve created something truly special at the UCT Online High School.
UCT and Valenture Institute have a shared governance structure to manage the UCT Online High School, with UCT’s Vice-Chancellor as Chair of the Oversight Committee, which is responsible for setting strategy and measuring the performance of the school. UCT and Valenture appoint members of the Operations and Governance committee, which is responsible for academic quality assurance, governance and overall management of the school. Valenture is responsible for the technology and day-to-day operations of the school - it’s a classic case of teamwork making the dream work!
Nope, UCT Online High School is a high school for Gr 8–12 learners; an incredible, cutting edge, online one at that! That said, the UCT Online High School leadership is currently engaging with the relevant authorities to introduce a range of credit-bearing undergraduate courses and career-focussed degrees to help high school learners to get ahead with their university studies while they’re still at high school!
In 2022 UCT Online High School will have one blended-learning micro-school, which unfortunately is already full. We hope to expand this exciting new model of schooling substantially in the future.
They are the remarkable group of individuals responsible for teaching, motivating and inspiring our learners. They’ve been hand-selected and are some of the best in the country.
Our teachers are passionate about making a lasting, positive impact in the world by enabling learners to reach their full potential. They know that the way to elicit the best from each learner is through excellent rapport, meaningful engagement and a sincere commitment to their success.
We can’t wait for you to meet them!
Not automatically. Getting into university requires good grades and hard work. We’ll champion them every step of the way though!
Under normal circumstances, yes, there will be an optional orientation at the UCT campus every January. Learners and their families have the opportunity to tour the UCT campus, meet with our UCT Online High School assigned admissions advisers and support coaches, and meet with other UCT Online High School learners and faculty. However, due to the current Covid restrictions, there will not be an orientation at UCT in January 2022.
UCT Online High School learners will enjoy access to a range of UCT facilities for scheduled events with adult supervision, but will not have general access to use the UCT campus facilities.
UCT Online High School hires dedicated school teachers, support coaches and educational professionals who are incredibly good at teaching high school learners all of the wonderful things that they need to know.
UCT and Valenture Institute have a shared governance structure to manage the UCT Online High School, with UCT’s Vice Chancellor as Chair of the Oversight Committee, and UCT faculty sitting on the Operations and Governance committee, which is responsible for academic quality assurance, governance and overall management of the school.
UCT Online High School learners also gain access to UCT faculty through our virtual bi-weekly fireside chat series, hosted by our Head of Culture, Kieno Kammies. In this series, Kieno will interview UCT faculty and industry experts on topics to help set learners up for success at school, university and life. In addition, UCT Online High School learners will benefit from access to the UCT Vice Chancellor’s Open Lecture Series, as well as faculty-led seminars on areas of research at UCT.
Please read about our university and career guidance services here.
Speak to our friendly admissions team – they love answering questions. email@example.com
Admissions Counsellors are available to assist prospective learners and parents with any questions regarding our offering. They’re also there to provide you with step-by-step guidance on the admissions journey and application process.
The Admissions team would love to hear from you and assist with any questions that you may have. Please click here to request a call.
Our first day of school for Gr 8–11 will be on the 10th of January, 2022. Gr 12 will be offered in 2023.
By going to our application page. Our friendly admissions team is looking forward to hearing from you and supporting you step-by-step throughout the entire process.
Yes, a non-refundable application fee of R200 is payable upon application for all our grades. This fee is to cover the cost of any assessments that may be necessary to adhere to our admissions criteria.
To save you scanning and printing time upfront, we've streamlined our application process as much as possible. To start, we just need you to take 6 minutes and 33 seconds to complete the application form. You need to have the following key documents on hand: your identity document and your child's latest school report.
Once you've received a conditional offer and have accepted your placement at UCT Online High School, we will ask you to submit all of the documents referenced in the application process during the pre-orientation phase.
The entrance requirements for UCT Online High School are detailed in our admission policy.
No, we are not an open enrollment school. However we look at every application holistically and strive to be as inclusive as possible.
Yes, your child may need to complete an English and/or Mathematics assessment during the application process.
We take all applications seriously, each one is reviewed and assessed in-depth by our Admissions Counsellors and Head of Admissions.
Yes, there is. It is on the 15th of October 2021.
An email with an application outcome outlining whether you have been accepted or not will be sent to you once the process is complete.
If your child meets all of the basic requirements, you should receive feedback in a matter of hours.
If your child's application is submitted for academic review and they need to write an assessment, you should receive feedback on the outcome of your application within 10 to 14 days
Absolutely, we welcome learners from all around the world to join our global classroom. If you live in a time zone with a 6-hour (or greater) time difference to South Africa, please speak to our admissions counsellors. Please remember to consider whether the curriculum, which ends in year 12 with a South African National Senior Certificate, is best suited to your child. Please note that exams for grades 9 and 12 have to be written in South Africa.
No, these costs are all included in the R200 application fee.
We offer two payment options which parents/guardians are able to select for their convenience. These options include: Monthly payment: equal payments of R2095 are payable on the first day of every month, including holiday periods; and annual payment: when 12 months are paid upfront a 5% discount is applied.
To secure your child’s place at our school and accept the Conditional Offer, we require the first month’s tuition (R2095) to be paid in advance. This payment is non-refundable.
Once school has commenced, this payment will be used as the 1st month’s tuition. I.e. you’re simply paying for your first month of school in advance, nothing extra.
Life is better when it’s simple. We charge a flat monthly fee for all of our grades. These fees are inclusive of the minimum number of subjects. Any additional subjects will incur an additional cost. Please see our fees page for more info.
Yes, the more the merrier – please see our fees page.
Nope. No need to buy expensive uniforms that are outgrown every 2 years!
Gr 10, 11: R250 per annum (registration fee)
Gr 12: Exam fees depend on subject choices, and are subject to change, but will be approximately R9,000. We will confirm these matric exam costs 12 months prior to writing the exam. Parents are advised to budget accordingly.
Please see information here.
No. Please note, discounts are only applied to school fees. The full application and placement fee is payable on applying to UCT Online High School. After paying the placement fee, the discount will be applied to school fees going forward.
Please refer to our Fees handbook for detailed information about this.
We currently offer a CAPS-aligned, South African curriculum. You can find out more about CAPS over here.
English is the medium of instruction for UCT Online High School learners, and additional languages offered include Afrikaans and isiXhosa. UCT Online High School is planning to offer additional African languages in the near future – this will be communicated in due course.
Not currently, but our team is working in the background to make this possible in the near future.
Please refer to our academics page.
A learner’s achievement in Grades 8 to 12 is reported on using the standard system in the CAPS curriculum. All final marks will be reported in percentages. A corresponding rating and level of competence are obtained using the following system:
100 - 80% - Outstanding achievement - 7
79 - 70% - Meritorious achievement - 6
69 - 60% - Substantial achievement - 5
59 - 50% - Adequate achievement - 4
49 - 40% - Moderate achievement - 3
39 - 30% - Elementary achievement - 2
29 - 0% - Not achieved - 1
No two learners are the same, neither are their days. Differentiated instruction is a key component of our teaching and learning model, and considers the different learning needs and styles of all students. Our Teachers and Tutors, therefore, do not make use of a one-size-fits-all teaching approach. Instead they actively seek to apply different teaching methods, which are fit for purpose, which may include small groups or 1:1 Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with learners. The learners’ timetables will, therefore, vary based on their educational needs.
Our support coaches help learners and parents choose the best individualised learning pace for their child, so each learner can progress through each subject at the pace that suits them. A parent then has to sign off on the final learning plan; between us we’ll keep your child on track.
There are no set classes as learners will be going through their modules individually, however there will be organised group sessions with other learners in their grade.
Individual learner progress is monitored very closely at UCT Online High School. Individuals or groups of learners will be called by their teachers into sessions to cover concepts where additional support is needed.
Synchronous means ‘occurring at the same time’. Our schedule is asynchronous as each learning plan is individualised for each learner. Learning content will be available online for learners to access based upon their agreed schedule.
UCT Online High School prioritises individual support over “teaching to the middle”. What does this mean? It means that learners can have as much contact time as they need with their teacher; either through small group sessions, 1:1 Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions, calls or chat. Teachers will also organise live sessions with groups of learners who have a common area of academic need.
Teacher: Focuses on academics. Brilliant at educating.
Tutor: Focuses on academics. Not as senior as a teacher but great at supporting.
Support Coach: Looks after your child’s holistic wellbeing. Is their biggest fan and personal champion.
Technical Support Officer: Provides technical support (online campus, online tools). Keeps things running smoothly.
Learners can book themselves into Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions on any school day. Learners are encouraged to use these sessions whenever they are needing assistance with concepts or for additional support. Teachers can also book AMA sessions with learners during the school day if they see that a learner is in need of additional support.
We acknowledge that this is a different type of learning and that it may take some time and perseverance for learners to adapt. If your child is not coping with the pre-recorded sessions, they can reach out to their dedicated Support Coach who will work with them to identify & build on the skills needed for successful online learning.
Differentiated instruction is a key aspect of our learning model as it allows us to meet the different learning needs and styles of all our learners. Our Teachers and Tutors, therefore, do not make use of a one-size-fits-all teaching approach. Instead they actively seek to apply different teaching methods, as they see fit, which may include small groups or 1:1 sessions with learners. The number of students in a session will thus vary and be determined by the learners’ needs.
UCT Online High School uses an integrated approach to delivering science practicals that utilises video demonstrations, online simulations and at-home practicals within a fun, safe and controlled environment. Learners will never be required to attend a physical venue to conduct science practicals nor acquire expensive and potentially dangerous equipment to use at home. All practicals to be conducted within the home environment will use materials listed in our stationery and equipment list, and/or cheap and easy-to-source materials from a local supermarket or online store. Additionally, learners will be briefed on the practicals they will be conducting during the Orientation Module at the beginning of the course, allowing the learner’s primary caregiver to source the required materials well in advance. The methods used to deliver science practicals adhere to the curriculum assessment policies statements (CAPS) outlined by the Department of Basic Education. We aim to equip learners with the practical skills required to prepare them for future studies in the sciences through the use of a fun, engaging, and safe environment.
UCT Online High School utilises video demonstrations to deliver creative art practicals. Learners will never be required to attend a physical venue to conduct a Visual Art or Drama practical. Instead, learners are required to purchase the items listed in the stationery and equipment list (where possible, learners can substitute materials for what they have available). For Visual Art, learners will work in their art book using the materials from their kit and photograph their work according to our specifications using their smartphones or tablets. The photograph will be inserted by the learner into a document and uploaded for grading.For Drama, learners will use their smartphone or laptop to record their performances and upload them for grading. The methods used to deliver Creative Art practicals adhere to the curriculum assessment policies statements (CAPS) outlined by the Department of Basic Education. We aim to equip learners with the practical skills required to prepare them for future studies in the creative arts through the use of innovative and accessible tools.
Through Valenture Institute, UCT Online High School is proud to be a member of the ECIS Community. All team members who engage with learners have completed up to ECIS level two training on Child Protection. Learn more about the ECIS Community here.
We have a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of bullying. We know that learners learn best in a safe and calm environment that is free from disruption or intimidation. Key staff members that engage with learners during their learning journey complete intensive training to ensure that they are fully equipped to offer support as and if appropriate.
For more information on our safeguarding of children policy, please read here.
According to the Department of Education’s Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, the Physical Education (PE) component of Life Orientation aims to develop learners' physical well-being, knowledge of movement skills in traditional and non-traditional sport, and safety issues in physical activity.
During weekly PE lessons, learners will be encouraged to perform a range of engaging activities that aim to develop an active and healthy lifestyle. Learners will capture their physical activities through videos and photographs, and monitor their heart rates. This evidence will then be submitted on our Learning Management System, enabling our trained teachers to view these submissions on a weekly basis, provide feedback, and assign a participation mark. Activities that contribute towards formal grades will be awarded marks.
Through these fun, practical lessons, we help learners develop communication skills, creativity, and critical thinking, as well as find an appreciation of, and enjoyment in, regular physical activity.
We don’t just look for teachers that are experienced in their subject-area, we recruit highly passionate educators who believe in making a lasting, positive impact on the lives of the learners they engage with. All our teachers must strive to elicit the best from our learners through excellent rapport, meaningful engagement and a sincere commitment to their success.
Our teachers must have experience teaching the CAPS-aligned curriculum, and have demonstrated experience working effectively with young people to promote their individual academic potential.
When joining UCT Online High School, all teachers receive extensive training in digital pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching) and ongoing workshops. Using learning analytics and recorded sessions, we are able to provide direct coaching interventions with our teachers to help them refine and continually improve their teaching practices.
UCT Online High School takes the safeguarding of children very seriously. In fact, it is compulsory for our teachers to be registered with the South African Council of Educators (SACE). Educators, Support Coaches and other team members who engage directly with children are required to have an up-to-date, valid, clear background check and complete two levels of Child Protection training.
Support is directly offered by their teachers, support coaches, school counsellors and our highly responsive technical support team who are available to assist and support learners throughout their entire high school career.
Learners can contact their teachers and support coaches directly at any time; while our team is constantly monitoring their progress proactively, reaching out to them when they fall behind pace.
Support coaches are a learner’s biggest champion. These passionate individuals are deeply committed to helping learners succeed. They are the custodians of pastoral care, overseeing the holistic wellbeing of each learner. Dedicated support coaches are responsible for providing premium, personalised support and solutions to learners and their parents by building meaningful one-on-one relationships with learners; with a primary focus on exceptional coaching strategies, customer experience and retention.
UCT Online High School teachers are passionate content experts who are consistently monitoring and guiding the academic progress of every learner. Teachers are available for consultation in Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions whenever a learner needs academic assistance. They proactively engage learners in intervention when they observe that they have fallen behind; have not mastered a key concept; or failed a mastery checkpoint.
Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions is the term used for time spent interacting directly with a teacher. At UCT Online High School, teachers are available for an AMA session throughout the week and learners can easily book themselves into an AMA session on any school day. Learners are encouraged to use these sessions whenever they are needing assistance with concepts or for additional support.
AMA sessions sessions are also used proactively by teachers. If a teacher sees that a learner is falling behind pace or needs additional support to pass a mastery checkpoint, teachers will book learners into compulsory AMA sessions to assist them.
Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions are held between 08h00 – 17H00 SAST, Monday to Friday, and are scheduled according to the teacher and the learner's respective timetables.
Parents will be able to log into our Learning Management System (LMS) at any time to track their child's progress. Progress is also closely monitored by our support coaches and teachers, who will support your child in reaching their academic goals.
Academic motivation is important in any learning environment. We use gamification (badges, points, leaderboards) to encourage academic excellence as well as to provide socio-emotional coaching and peer-to-peer support.
Engagement is key and we encourage learners and their parents to direct any questions directly to their dedicated Support Coach. Learners will also have access to their Teacher regarding academic queries. If the matter requires escalation then the Support Coach may refer the parent or learner to contact either the Student Experience Lead or Principal.
Our Support Coaches are dedicated to nurturing and developing our learners holistically. While our Support Coaches are equipped to provide excellent holistic socio-emotional support, they are not counsellors. When a learner is in need of emotional or mental health support that is outside the bounds of the Support Coaches purview, they will refer them to our School Counsellor. Our School Counsellor will supply a referral where matters exceed their duty of care. Costs for all external support are not covered by UCT Online High School.
Fear not, there need be no kicking of printers or throwing modems out of windows; learners get all the technical support they need. This includes troubleshooting any issues with their online campus, community portal, video chat, logins, access to course material, shared drives or any Google affiliated products.
Our technical support officers will also be on hand via email, telephone, or a live chat feature which lets the learner chat with the Technical support team in real time for quick assistance and turnaround time.
We do! UCT Online High School will register your child to write their exams.
The exam for grade 9 will at this stage, until the GEC (General Education Certificate) is available, be facilitated by us and will be conducted online under proctored conditions. The final exams for grade 12 are set by the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI), and need to be written at a physical examination venue in South Africa. UCT Online High School will organise these venues for our learners. All other exams will be conducted online under proctored conditions.
Typically there are two internal exams per grade.
Semester 1 - Term 1 - Module 10 Cycle Test (covering M1 - M10)
Semester 1 - Term 2 - Module 20 Cycle Test (covering M11 - M20)
Exam (internal) covering M1 to M20
Semester 2 - Term 3 - Module 10 Cycle Test (covering M1 - M10)
Semester 2 - Term 4 - Module 20 Cycle Test (covering M11 - M20)
Exam (internal) covering M1 to M20
In grade 12 (Matric) learners will write external exams in Semester 2, Term 4.
Formative assessments are an important part of any student's learning path as it provides the learner and teacher with feedback and a clear sense of how they are progressing through the course.
A mastery check is a formative or summative assessment (mainly formative – we’ll explain the difference in the next section) that assesses learners' mastery of the content. These mastery checks are points where both teachers and learners can see where gaps exist and where revision or remediation is needed. Learners will have to pass the mastery check before moving onto the next module.
Formative assessments are ongoing assessments that happen throughout the term. These assessments are a great source of feedback for teachers in recognising where gaps in learning may exist.
Summative assessments, which could take the form of a test, mastery check or examination, assess learners' overall understanding of the content taught during the term. These assessments usually assess a bulk of content and are more heavily weighted than formative assessments.
Mastery Checks take place at the end of each module. Modules usually last 1 week, but can be shorter or longer depending on the learner’s pace.
Learners who are enrolled with UCT Online High School will write the external exams for their subjects as set by the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI).
Digital textbooks will be provided and are already included in the tuition costs. Learning materials include all learning content; digital textbooks; tests and examinations (excluding grade 12). You may however need to purchase set work books for literature.
Please see our stationery and equipment list here.
We don’t currently have a trial period, however, our school fees are charged on a monthly basis. We’re fully committed to offering the best possible service to you and your child, but if you’d like to withdraw from our school, you will only be required to give a month’s notice, and will not be charged for any fees after completion of your notice period.
Not yet, but we’re working on it!
Our customised Moodle platform – it’s fantastic!
Videos are uploaded to our YouTube channel so no need to worry about any pesky format issues.
Good question, learners will have the opportunity to build community and make friends from all over the country through participation in learner-led virtual clubs, weekly assemblies, bi-weekly fireside chats, group academic sessions and learner-led study groups.
Beyond that, learners will meet with their dedicated Support Coach and fellow learners for Homeroom and Learning Compass sessions every week. The Support Coach conducts these weekly sessions to help learners develop the skills required to be successful in an online learning environment.
Yes, learners can meet face-to-face at their discretion, and with permission from their parents. Learners will get to know their peers who live geographically close to them, through engagement on the online campus, which will afford them the opportunity to organise learner-led hangouts.
Please see our extracurriculars page.
Please read about our clubs here.
Clubs do not contribute to a learner’s overall grade and are not compulsory – but they are a lot of fun! If a learner does sign-up for a club that piques their interest, they need to ensure that they attend the meetings as often as possible.
Okay, let’s separate substance from legality.
In substance, UCT Online High School is very different to most ‘homeschools’. Your child will be joining a fully-fledged online high school, with a community of friends, teachers and support coaches.
Legally, in South Africa, online schools currently fall into the category of homeschooling.
What does this mean for you?
Homeschooling regulations only apply to the compulsory schooling phase (from Grade 1 - Grade 9). At this age, parents are required to register their children as homeschoolers with their Provincial Education Department. Please visit the Home Education page for more info or alternatively reach out to our admissions team if you need help: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Gr 10 - 12 learners, parents do not have to register their children with their Provincial Education Department.
Parents are integral in the educational journey of their children, whether it be in a brick and mortar school, online school or homeschooling context. Parental guidance, interest, support and motivation is critical to ensuring that a child develops holistically.
There is, however, a big difference between homeschooling and UCT Online High School. In the homeschooling context, the parent is expected to be curriculum and content creator, as well as teacher and assessor. Whereas in an online school environment, learners are provided with all the learning materials they require and a learning path to guide their progression. They have access to Teachers, Tutors and Support Coaches who will monitor their progress and help them achieve their academic goals.
All that’s left for you to do is keep encouraging them.
For learners based in South Africa who are entering Grade 8 or Grade 9 (younger than 15 years), the responsibility will lie with the parents/ guardians to apply to the head of their Provincial Education Department to register their child/ children for home education. This is not necessary if the learner is over the age of 15.
In order to get this process going, parents may click here to gain more insight into the government home schooling registration requirements.
While this is something parents will be required to do, we’ll be here to guide you!
Requirements for homeschooling vary from country to country. Please consult the resources from your country's Education Ministry to gain clarity on the requirements that you will need to adhere to.
UCT Online High School has a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of bullying. We know that learners learn best in a safe and calm environment that is free from disruption. We take the following steps to address this matter: Learners, staff and parents are required to accept the rules of engagement set out by the institution. These rules set out clear responsibilities, boundaries and expectations for all parties. These rules outline the procedures that are followed where instances of bullying are reported as well as the sanctions imposed if our rules are found to have been breached.
Key staff members that engage with learners during the learning journey complete intensive training that ensures they are fully equipped to offer support in so far as is appropriate. Dialogue regarding the issue of bullying is an ongoing part of the learning community in an effort to further educate each member, and strengthen their will to be an advocate for inclusion. Engagements between individuals on the Online Campus are all held by the system and are monitored.
Where members of the learning community encounter engagement which is not appropriate, they are able to report the exact piece of engagement immediately.
UCT Online High School is committed to working with a wider community of social services and local authorities where it is necessitated.
A resounding yes. UCT Online High School is strongly committed to offering an inclusive learning experience. We celebrate the uniqueness of individuality. Our policies and rules are there to support and uphold these principles.
The learner code of conduct document can be accessed via the website.