Consumer Studies pupils visit Agterplaas B&B

The Combined School’s Bridging Year Creative Textiles and Consumer Studies class recently visited Agterplaas guesthouse in Melville. After weeks of learning about the hospitality industry from books, the glossy magazine pictures in the classroom finally came to life.

Consumer studies outing

The General manager Santie, took the group on a guided tour of the establishment. She explained all aspects of the business, from having to be a people’s person to being meticulous in ensuring that everything is clean and in working order.

The first leg of the tour was of the homely kitchen where chef Badia prepares the famous Agterplaas breakfasts. All the baking is done daily on the premises.


Next the pupils got to see the inside of the perfect rooms. They were shown the wheelchair-friendly room and how safety deposit boxes work. Management has to be prepared for an array of guests’ needs and try to think of everything. From candles, solar lamps and gas in the event of power failures to keeping garden furniture freshly painted, the establishment is run like a super machine.


They also had a glimpse of the administrative side of the business. Suddenly the section of Consumer Studies that many found boring made sense and seemed much less complicated.

The tour was a magical glimpse into both what guests experience as well as the machine that keeps it running smoothly. Learners took selfies against the gorgeous view of the Melville Koppies and were amazed by the beautiful garden.


To end the tour of Agterplaas, the class was treated to very special Belgian honey waffles, specially prepared for the group by chef Marc. They sat in the dining room like grown-up guests, absorbing the cosy atmosphere while enjoying our delicious treats.

“It’s the small things that make a difference. From gorgeous smells of coffee and crisp linen to jars of fresh flowers and honey coloured wood, the ambience left us feeling excited about our journey in school and life,” says Consumer Studies teacher, Jana O’Grady.

She continues, “We are grateful for the experience granted by the wonderful people in our community who respect and treat our children as the future of our beautiful country. Thank you very much to Rita, Jannie, Santie, Badia, Loet, Marc, John, Walter and everyone else who made this outing possible.”

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Taking chess a step further

For the longest time, society has viewed the ability to play chess as a measure of intellectual ability and high IQ. Evidence of that has been rather sparse. Although our learners at the Sparrow Combined School face various learning challenges, we have introduced a chess club and are now taking it a step further. The Combined School caters for grades 8, 9 and also offers an Adaptive Skills Program. The program aims to design a suitable environment for learners with learning difficulties.

Chess club

The school has introduced the pupils to online chess. The purpose of this class is to allow pupils to build on their mathematical capacity; it promotes strategic thinking, which in turn helps them in their daily activities of making decisions. This includes developing their concentration, planning and analysis skills.

Chess clu

“Having a chess club is a fun way to practice essential decision-making skills. Children at our school face various learning barriers and chess is a great tool to enhance their learning experience. The chess club aims to unite learners through this intellectual art,” explains Sparrow Combined School teacher, Noval Peterson.


Since the establishment of the chess club, the change has been evident in the attitudes of the learners; they are more positive and have shown confidence in their ability to overcome challenges. In addition, they have been introduced to an international platform where they challenge chess players from across the globe.

If you would like to challenge our students to a game of chess, contact Noval Peterson on 011 673 3558.

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As children across South Africa prepared to go back to School in January, there were plenty of other children who were and still are frustrated by school. If your child is not geared for mainstream, what are your options? Do we, parents and students alike, just have to grin and bear the pain of grade 1 to 12? talks to parents who’ve found systems that are working for their kids and is also joined by Sparrow Schools’ Academic Manager, Jacques van Rensburg.

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