Former deputy principal at Cedar House School in Ottery, JP le Roux has been appointed as the executive head at Curro Foreshore.
The appointment was announced alongside the school undergoing a revamp.
Curro Foreshore was the first school in the group to adopt the digital education model, providing a curriculum that focuses on mathematics, science, robotics and coding in addition to more traditional subjects.
Mr Le Roux said the growth of the school from about 50 pupils in January 2019, to more than 450 enrolled for 2021 speaks to the growing demand for progressive tech-driven schooling.
The growth required the campus to undergo a revamp and they now have what closely resembles a modern co-working space instead of traditional classrooms. More computers were also installed to allow each child to have a dedicated computer. The learning space boasts modern learning pods where pupils spend most of their day.
Mr Le Roux grew up in Alexander Bay in Northern Cape, and then moved to Johannesburg where he completed high school.
He said he discovered his knack for mathematics during his schooling career. “I realised that I could explain and approach complex arguments and abstract ideas from different angles and viewpoints and that I found it hugely rewarding when I could facilitate and guide a student or peer to find their ‘aha moment’.”
After school, he enrolled for an education degree at the University of Johannesburg. During holidays, he gave extra lessons to students at a secondary school in Diepsloot.
“This was by far the most challenging but also the most rewarding experience. It is also during this time that I realised how I, as a teacher, can have an impact on learners and that I can make or break them.”
In his second year of university, he was approached by an independent school in Johannesburg to teach students mathematics, and continued to teach mathematics during the day while attending lectures in the afternoons and evenings.
Mr Le Roux was previously the head of mathematics and the deputy principal at Cedar House School.
He said working with pupils and grappling together on abstract topics and problem solving activities is one of the most rewarding experiences. “To see how learners gain confidence to tackle the ‘unknown’, when they learn how to ‘poke in the dark’ when the immediate solution and ‘steps’ towards solving a problem is not apparent at first, is satisfying and fulfilling like nothing else on earth.
“For me, it is the approach towards learning – learning what to do when you get stuck, when things aren’t going your way and how to pick yourself up after failure.
“As a mathematics teacher, the lesson outcome ultimately is to support each learner to find and discover their magic.”
Mr Le Roux said he was committed to making Curro Foreshore an inclusive and innovative learning space, which is one of the most direct ways in which one can transform communities and the fabric of our society.
Another one of his goals this year, he said, was to get to know the pupils’ families. “My staff and I are looking forward to learning every one of our learners’ stories, and to mentor our learners so that when they leave school they have the skillset, mindset and heart to be impactful citizens.”
The school has already opened for the academic year, however, pupils are currently learning from home via Curro’s remote online offering.
Mr Le Roux said the DigiEd school is well positioned for remote learning given that the pupi lsare used to digitally delivered content – it is nothing unusual for them.
“The pandemic has created much uncertainty and we continue to monitor developments and recommendations from the Departments of health and basic education,” he said.