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Tuesday, October 27, 2020


(Khanyiso Mbalane: Assistant Producer, DigiTV, DHS (at camera); Tony Pinheiro: Headmaster, DHS; Winston Owen: Business Development Manager, KZN DigiCentral & Lauren Jacquin: Business Head, Swales Online Academy (seated).)

Exploring a new way of learning, Durban High School (DHS) is collaborating with DigiCampus to launch Swales Online Academy, an innovative, contemporary educational platform, which will be ready to welcome fulltime students for the 2021 academic year.

Operating out of Durban’s prestigious DHS campus, Swales Academy will be a co-ed institution offering comprehensive CAPS curriculum based, holistic online education for learners from Grades 4 to 9 who can study from the comfort of their own homes.

A team of experienced educationalists from DHS - working together with national online education specialists, DigiCampus and independent consultants - have jointly creating a bespoke alternative to conventional teaching practices using innovative technology to provide an inclusive and holistic approach to education.

After generations of offering a basic one-size-fits-all approach to education, changing circumstances has taught education innovators that successful education models can take on different forms depending on the needs, temperament, personality and proficiently of the learner. Many children flourish in a classroom environment; however, some children are better suited to studying autonomously in a manner and at a pace of their own choosing.

As Durban’s oldest school, DHS continues to offer “a heritage of excellence” in education and has been doing so since 1866. Over the years, its campus has extended to include alternative educational approaches, namely the Nonpareil Academy which begun in 2018 exploring the modern approach of ‘autonomous learning’ which requires the learner to ‘manage’ his learning style. A facilitator and learner engage with the main concepts rather than the standard teacher only approach. This Academy covers two assessment programmes: The Cambridge International Assessment as well as an Extension of the Education Department’s syllabus. The Nonpareil Academy is designed for motivated and academically talented boys whose needs are not met adequately in the traditional high school set 

Swales Academy is a natural progression of the Nonpareil approach adapted to an online environment using a variety of lesson types and structures to support learning. The online portal has been designed to teach students using videos, digital media and live lessons. Swales will be headed by online educational specialist, Lauren Jacquin supported by six top educators who will be employed to teach on a full-time basis at Swales.

“CoViD has taught us many important life lessons,” considers DHS Head Master Tony Pinheiro, “One of them is the acceptance and viability of online education as a counterpoint for the tried and tested mainstream, classroom-based schooling model. Our experiences of responding to lockdown has affirmed our intuition that the educational landscape is ready for a home-based alternative. We have adapted what we have learned in our hugely successful Nonpareil Academy of integrated, blended learning, and taken it online.”

They currently cover grades 4-9 and use high standard assessments while taking a modern approach to exams and study. On offer is the CAPS Curriculum online subjects:

-Grades 4-6: English, Afrikaans, Mathematics, Natural Science and Technology, Social Sciences, Life Skills. Grades 7-9: English, Afrikaans, Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Sciences, Technology, Economic and Management Sciences, Sciences, Life Orientation and Creative Arts.

-Grades 10-12 will be phased in annually from 2022.

Through the DigiCampus network, Swales learners can access arts and culture, sports and extra-curricular programmes offered in approximately 50 schools countrywide (including DHS) to ensure that they benefit from peer engagement and social activity.

As a hive of educational activity, DHS campus is also home to Newbridge full-time and part time college.Swales Academy is named after DHS old boy, Major Edwin (Ted) Essery Swales VC DFC - a South African pilot and Second World War hero; a 'Master Bomber' who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross - and posthumously, the Victoria Cross - and is remembered for his extraordinary courage – he gave his life that his comrades might live.

For more information on Swales Academy visit 255 St Thomas Road or phone 031 277 1556 or email: