Established in 1989, the mission of Sparrow Schools has always been to provide quality, holistic education to differently-abled youth. Despite Sparrow’s humble beginnings as a Saturday morning school with just four learners, operating from a church hall in Joubert Park, it had already cemented its place on Juta Street, Braamfontein by 1992, growing into a home for 550 learners and 20 teachers.
The unprecedented growth of the school necessitated the need to register the Sparrow Schools Educational Trust as a non-profit organisation, which would enable founder Jackie Gallagher to set up a board of trustees, assisting the school in growth mindset-based educational projects, and securing funding for the enrolment of learners in the future.
With the board and management at the helm, Sparrow Schools developed into a bridging school, catering for grades 1 to 9. The accelerated teaching methodologies used throughout Sparrow Schools’ history, and still being incorporated into the school’s educational approach today, empowers learners to realistically compete in mainstream schools, and plants the seeds of success for their future.
Now comprising three different, fully-equipped campuses, relentless fundraising was undertaken in order to upgrade and convert the school, and to equip it with desks, chairs and blackboards. Small state grants, after the school was registered with the Department of Education in 1993, further ensured the upkeep of the school, its facilities and its resources.
The support Sparrow now receives, both locally and internationally, has allowed Sparrow Schools to not only refurbish the buildings of the school and train its teachers, but to pay it forward by extending this support to Lerajabetsie Primary School in Sweetwaters – along with a number of other schools in informal settlements – since as early as 1991.
Sparrow School’s vision of endowing South African youth with educational resources to access future employment still forms the basis of our educational approach, and as the school continues to expand, we are reminded of the ways in which we have met, and will need to carry on meeting the needs of the communities in which we work, ultimately filling a much-needed gap for the education of learners with special needs and limited means.