A story of a passionate young student at Sparrow’s FET College.

“I want to start my own company one day…”

“This course has helped me gain knowledge and experience that I need to take my dreams forward one day.”

Here at Sparrow Schools we love hearing from past students.

So we were delighted to see Tenash (Kumbirai Murenje) is now working at Sparrow’s Foundation office as part of his 6 month work experience placement where he has the opportunity to enter the workplace and apply what he has learnt before completing his course. He started with the Bridging course at Sparrow’s Combined School last year and then progressed to Sparrow’s FET College in January 2016 to study Business Administration. There he spent the first 6 months of his course at the FET College learning about the theory of Business Administration.

Sparrow’s FET College strikes the balance between the classroom and work-based methods of learning. We are one of the few colleges in South Africa that have excelled in putting the vocational education model into practice.

Tenash, who has been working at Sparrow’s Foundation office to assist with the admin work since July said: “I am learning so much and gaining a lot from this experience at Sparrow Schools. I want to continue working here after I have finished my course and then gain a  further qualification in Business Studies.”

What inspired us the most was his optimism and passion despite having a troubled start to life. It involved moving to and from Zimbabwe and South Africa until he lost his parents in 2009. He now lives in Melville with his Aunty and sister. At 18 years of age, he has come so far as to complete the bridging course at Sparrow’s Combined School and excelling at Sparrow’s FET College which clinched  his placement at the Foundation School.

“I want to start my own company and set up a coffee shop, as I see lots of opportunities in this space. This course has helped me gain knowledge and experience that I need to take my dreams forward one day.”


What our principal’s have to say…

Leona Krishna, principal of the foundation school:  Sparrow Schools

Leona Krishna is the principal of Sparrow Schools´ foundation school, which caters for learners between Grade one and Grade three.   In her current role, Leona is responsible for aligning the school’s curriculum with the national CAPS curriculum, managing the daily activities of the school and maintaining critical relationships between the school, its supporters and stakeholders (both in terms of the Department of Education, the parents; learners and sponsors).

Having qualified as a teacher in 1993, Leona has dedicated most of her career to teaching vocational skills – mostly in the hospitality industry.  She has also worked in the private sector, as the owner of two Milky Lane franchises – both of which were recognised as national training stores.

She believes that Sparrow Schools chose her – rather than her choosing the school.  Leona was drawn to the partnership approach that exists between the school and the business world, in an effort to uplift skills development in our country.

Leona believes that everything about Sparrow School is driven by passion.  The passion to see growth, to make a tangible difference, and to see how learners’ lives can be changed.

“Each teacher at Sparrow Schools is called here to do this.  I am honoured to be part of this truly learner centric institution.”



Bio: Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Academic manager at Sparrow Schools

Jacques Janse van Rensburg joined the Sparrow Schools team in October 2012 primarily as the academic manager, although he does have some operational responsibilities for the High School.

A qualified teacher by trade, Jacques has more than 13 years experience in the education sector.  As the academic manager at Sparrow Schools, he focuses his time and energy on critically evaluating and developing the academic programmes and assessment practices for the institution, ensuring alignment between the requirements of the Department of Education, and those of the learners that attend the school.

He believes that his experience as a national trainer and co-ordinator for a large business-to-business solutions provider, and his time at a tertiary institution, developing content, and ensuring high quality delivery thereof, has more than equipped him to bring best of breed practices to Sparrow Schools.  He combines this experience with a strength in planning, and more critically, an ability to build high performing teams committed to getting the job done.

Jacques and his team share a vision of making Sparrow Schools the foremost institution  of choice for children with barriers to learning.  We want to be renowned for world class curricula, facilities, educators and therapists.

¨I love the limitlessness of what I do – I believe we are only bound by our passion, our education, imagination and initiative.


Sparrow FET College supports Skills Development in South Africa

According to the Financial Mail, the South African Marketing, Advertising & Communications industry is under pressure to help address black unemployment in the country by complying with the recently amended BBBEE codes.  One of the changes is that more points are now awarded to Advertising companies under the “skills development” element of BEE than for other sectors.

Skills development is vital if we are going to tackle SA’s high youth unemployment levels, which is the most pressing issue in the country today.

The good news is institutions like Sparrow FET College, can offer solutions across all angles to help your business comply and achieve BEE points for skills development. We are passionate about the issue and helping up skill SA youth so we would welcome the opportunity to chat with your company to see how we can help tackle youth unemployment together.

Have a look at our website or our Sparrow FET College’s Facebook page for more information.

To read the article: ‘BEE reality hits marketers’ click on the link: http://www.financialmail.co.za/mediaadvertising/2016/05/26/bee-reality-hits-marketers

LSU Manager shares his experiences at Sparrow Schools

Warren Thompson has been with Sparrow Schools team since 2012 and is currently the Manager of the Learner Support Unit (LSU)

He has vast experience in the support of individuals’ health and wellbeing, and the common thread throughout his career has been education. With qualifications in Child & Family Psychology, Social Work and assessment, he has worked at various educational institutions including the University of Johannesburg and Rosebank College, offering support and guidance to countless students.

In his role as the LSU Manager, Warren is best known for his calm and thoughtful leadership, and works with therapists across all three schools (Foundation, Combined and FET College), providing training, support and supervision to ensure that the learners and students receive the most beneficial educational experience.

Warren’s passion for ensuring students are given access to all the tools required to reach their full potential is what drives him in his daily work at Sparrow Schools.

“Seeing students change and succeed, and to be able to make a difference, not only in their lives but in the lives of their families, is an amazing journey.”


Warren Thompson – Learner Support Unit Manager, Sparrow Schools

From SPARROW SCHOOLS to SAPS: The rise of past student, Boitumelo Motaung

We were delighted to catch up with a past student, Boitumelo Motaung who had an incredible and unique journey with us at Sparrow Schools. This lovely, bright young man started his studies at Sparrow Schools in 1996 and has come so far to overcome many challenges in his early life…

Boitumelo was raised by his grandmother in the township, Thokoza and experienced challenges with his education because English was not his first language. Despite the challenges Boitumelo faced due to his learning difficulties and his unsettled home life, the school and Sparrow’s Learner Support Unit were able to support his remedial, emotional and psychological needs.

The school not only equipped Boitumelo with an immense amount of knowledge and skills but he also had opportunities that were not possible for most young people from his township. Boitumelo’s talent in the school’s choir meant he was selected to travel to the United Kingdom in 2002 and 2004 as part of the Sparrow Choir Tour.

In 2007, Boitumelo was employed by Sparrow Schools as a drama teacher and gained a great reputation at the school after he organised many successful drama productions at the Sparrow. Boitumelo is now working in Pretoria, for SAPS (South African Police Service) in the logistics department, which he finds both exciting and challenging,


however he is passionate about supporting children with learning difficulties, especially wanting to help those who come from townships and has expressed willingness to become an ambassador for Sparrow Schools in order to promote Educate-a-Child. This vital programme finds sponsors who will give financial support to disadvantaged children at Sparrow who cannot afford basic educational resources and remedial education they desperately require.

“I believe that parents and guardians need to be more aware of their children’s learning difficulties so their children can get specialised remedial assistance like the support I received at Sparrow… I am very thankful for the opportunities provided by Sparrow Schools.”

If you would like to support a child’s education, please email Carol, carolmckn@gmail.com for further information. 


It is important to refer a child to a Speech Therapist if you suspect that they may be developing a stutter. According to Yaruss (2007), “Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the forward flow of an individual’s speech may be characterized by the occurrence of disruptions, or disfluencies. These disfluencies generally take the form of repetitions of parts of words e.g. ‘li-li-like this”, prolongations of sounds e.g. ‘llllllike this’, or instances when no sound is produced at all, sometimes called blocks e.g ‘l –  -ike this’. We do not know the precise cause of stuttering, but current research suggests that a combination of factors such as one’s genetic predisposition, environment and attitudes and feelings about stuttering can increase one’s likelihood of developing a stutter. Children who stutter may also deal with teasing and bullying in the school or home environment and it is important for teasing and bullying to be addressed in order to promote a positive communicative environment.


Yaruss, J.S. (2007). Application of ICF in Fluency Disorders, Seminars in Speech and Language,           28, 312 – 322.

Written by: Candice Tu, Speech Therapist at Sparrow Schools Educational Trust.

The Gentle Approach

As a teacher you have a very important job, one of the most important aspects of being a teacher is being a good role model. The learners in your class look up to you and they watch your behavior very closely.

If the learners trust and respect you then they are more likely to behave better and more effective teaching can take place. The learners may not always like you when you are disciplining them but if you do it in a fair and kind manner they will respect you for it. If you develop a good rapport with your learners they will be more likely to listen to you and try to please you.

Many of the children who enter your class may be coming from very chaotic home circumstances and at school they are looking for a consistent and calming environment. Having an overall gentle presence in your classroom will help to alleviate stress and anxiety and lead to a happier more productive classroom.

Gentleness is a calm, reassuring approach to managing your classroom that communicates to every learner that you’re in control and they can relax and focus on their responsibilities.

Show your learners that you are a leader worth following.

Written by: Samantha Bolton – Remedial Therapist (LSU)

The woman of the last three decades… #WomensMonth

Jackie now

Jackie Gallagher founded Sparrow Schools a little over 27 years ago, out of a need expressed by a circle of friends and acquaintances for help with extra lessons and assistance for their children.  A qualified teacher, with a love for fixing things, she established the school, with the aim of helping learners reach their full potential.

Aside from her love of education and empowerment, Jackie is passionate about marketing, and networking and uses these passions to drive funding and corporate partnerships for Sparrow Schools.   She says of herself that she is a dreamer at heart, and loves to come up with crazy ideas.

She believes that the next five years will be about succession planning at Sparrow Schools, and laying the foundation for the future of this pillar in the community.  She feels strongly that the future of Sparrow Schools will depend on maintaining the collaborative approach in place at the moment, and finding a general manager that is not only passionate about the school, but also about the team involved, the learners in its care, and the community that it serves.

¨I am part of a wonderful team – made up of family, friends, teachers and other employees at Sparrow Schools and am humbled by the difference we make.¨


Staff from FNB donate stationary to support children with learning difficulties.

On Friday 11th August, Sparrow Schools were delighted to welcome two ladies from First National Bank. Their visit included a tour of the Foundation School and afterwards the FNB volunteers handed over stationary, which was generously donated by the FNB Consumer department.

The stationary, which included items such as pens, exercise books and calculators, was donated to the Learner Support Unit (LSU). Sparrow’s LSU comprises of Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Remedial therapy, a Psychologist and Social Workers. This department is dedicated to supporting learners with their various social and learning difficulties and it all takes place on the school premises to support their education. The LSU plays a significant role in supporting children with learning difficulties and are always in need of more resources to help with therapy sessions.

FNB staff’s generous donation will play a vital role in assisting in the sessions the children have with the different therapists. Once again, Thank You to all the FNB staff members who donated their time and money for stationary to our Learner Support Unit at Sparrow Schools.

If you would like to support children with learning difficulties who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, please get in touch or sign up to our ‘Educate A Child Programme’.


How to make your own toys

Parents today often find it difficult to be constantly buying new toys for their little ones, as they feel their children are easily bored, and may play with toy once before discarding it. As parents, it is difficult to find a balance between keeping your child sufficiently stimulated and making sure that you are not spending too much money on toys.

“I love home made games and toys, because kids are often drawn to how unique they are and parents can continuously make new toys as your child grows and develops.”

Tools that work well for making home made toys can include toilet paper rolls, paper for discarding, polystyrene containers, plastic bottles, cans and much more.

Here are some amazing ideas for homemade toys, and they offer amazing opportunities for age-appropriate development and stimulation,

http://happyhooligans.ca/70-awesome-toys-make-kids/ https://www.buzzfeed.com/twopoodles/toys-you-can-make- yourself?utm_term=.bspwn6Mrm#.ydJ1yARrZ

http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Toys/ http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/toys-you-can-make

Homemade toys

Written by Kate Delmont, Sparrow Foundation School Occupational Therapist.