In 1989, founder Jackie Gallagher began teaching a small group of four learners on weekends. She offered them remedial lessons to help bridge the gap that had appeared between them and their peers when they opted to begin attending former model ‘C’ schools. Jackie then saw the need was immense and children with learning difficulties were not receiving the adequate support from government institutions.
The Saturday Morning School had grown immensely and the need for expansion became a priority as a response to the demand for specialised, learner-centered education for children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as those with remedial needs. The small group of 4 learners had now grown to include over 20 teachers and 550 learners. This unprecedented growth on a Saturday morning prompted her to register the non-profit organisation, and the Sparrow Schools Educational Trust was established in 1992. With a board of trustees to steer it, the Trust focused on establishing and supporting educational projects.
Sparrow Schools is unique as we cater for children from Grade 1 right through to our FET College, thus allowing learners to find a home at Sparrow. Our educational system is designed in an innovative way in order to ensure our learners do not slip through the cracks in a system that currently throughout South Africa fails learners with barriers to learning. Our programme is unique in this regard by ensuring that learners have a full pathway to access mainstream education with supportive measures should they be able to reach this potential. Our learners are given the tools from the Foundation School through the Sparrow Combined Technical Skills High School to the Sparrow FET College to grow and develop, thus reaching their full potential which reiterates our core values as an organisation.