Gender and Child Advancement Intl (GCA)
156 White Hart Lane, Romford, RM7 8LU, England, UK
Tel + (44) 7798 – 723423
Company number: 9150553
Background ~ how it started
The Oshwal Schools in Kenya are a popular group of private, international, co-educational, day schools (limited boarding) situated in Parklands (Nairobi) and Nyali (Mombasa). They cater for a total of almost 4,000 children from nursery through to sixth form (2 -18) and provide opportunities for students to follow the British curriculum in most subjects.
The Director of Education for the Oshwal Schools visited the GCA team at The Monarch Hotel in Kenya to discuss improvements he and the governors proposed for the Oshwal Schools in Nairobi and Mombasa, for the next three years. Their vision is to ensure students are well prepared for life as globalized, international students and citizens of the future. This turned into an exciting project for GCA in February – March 2015.
What GCA did
GCA’s vision is to work in partnership and develop schools of best practice in Africa for other schools to reference and visit. Consequently, we used bespoke Review Procedures to benchmark the Oshwal Schools. Our methodology is developed from education research carried out in the UK and US, to support the measuring of progress towards pre-established education standards.
This review scrutinized three major aspects of Oshwal Schools’ work namely, its:
- its organizational structure,
- appraisal systems and processes,
- pastoral care for students
The Review involved 1,621 parents (52.3%) who spoke to or responded to GCA’s questionnaires; all leaders and staff of the school; students and members of the governing body. The GCA team visited all schools in Nairobi and Mombasa and worked closely with stakeholders to reach positive outcomes. The final review report provided detailed qualitative and quantitative data on the schools’ current position and covered important areas like:
- structure of the school and its appraisal systems;
- progress of students in all phases – early years, Key Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 including 6th form;
- pastoral care provided by the schools including child protection, safeguarding and care for children with special needs;
- engagement of parents and carers;
- involvement of students in their learning.
Crucially, the report made clear recommendations which formed the basis of the school’s self-evaluation and future actions.
Benefits of the GCA Review to Oshwal Schools
GCA spent 7 days on Oshwal school sites. The organisation received:
- Practical solutions that helped them draw up action plans based on accurate self-evaluation;
- A comprehensive report including a letter for parents;
- School improvement training sessions for Governors and key members of staff in Nairobi and Mombasa.
The GCA Review Team are qualified, experienced professionals who engaged with the culture and ethos of the Oshwal Schools, carrying out the review of each school with integrity and transparency, to reach positive outcomes for the continued progress of Oshwal Schools in 21st century.
This review provided the opportunity for a large school community to discuss its values and vision, and was the basis for Continued Professional Development (CPD) regarding stakeholders ~ particularly staff with leadership roles and responsibilities, and Governors.
This review and its report enables Oshwal as an organisation to focus on identified areas for development and plan for the future. In addition, GCA, through its review process, prepared Oshwal further for an Ofsted inspection rating for British Schools Overseas. Read some testimonials from staff and Governors below.
Testimonials ~ from Oshwal Schools
Sensitisation to the changes needed to be adopted to meet the dynamic needs of the 21st century learner
~ O.O. Daniel, Head of Business Department
The best part was the light-bulb moment – that pastoral care and academics are inter-dependent and should not be treated as separate entities. The idea of a neutral body visiting and giving a balanced view of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. The advice on the best approach to assessment and tracking of pupils’ progress made the whole idea of levels/differentiated targets and tracking clear. The idea of triangulation before making a final judgement of the school was useful as it provided insight into the minds of our parents and students
~ J. Aming’a, Head Primary, Mombasa
The opportunity to examine practice in detail and confirm observations with information from documents and from meetings with school stakeholders
~ J. Stephenson, Assistant to Director of Education
Excellent delivery especially in the area of delivery of teaching and curriculum. Gave us a good insight into parent opinions. Very helpful to put together a comprehensive school improvement/development plan
~ K. Shah, Governor and Chairperson, Teaching and Learning
It was quite enlightening to know that we should know a little more than general knowledge concerning the Jain religion, its values and be able to explain this to anyone who would be interested in the basis of our vision, mission and core values
~ R. Koech, Nursery Co-ordinator
The emphasis on child-centred learning in a differentiated classroom. The importance of a pastoral care curriculum
~ E. Kangetie, Teacher and Level Co-ordinator
It enabled my understanding of what pastoral care is and how it can be implemented in the day to day teaching and learning experiences e.g. how we can incorporate our mission, vision statements and core values in our teaching and learning. Additional information about pastoral care in the early childhood set up would be very beneficial
~ V. Khaguli, Assistant Teachers’ Co-ordinator/Smart Board Teacher
The review was helpful in enabling us observe the learning environment through vistors’ eyes (in this case professional inspectors). The review also helped confirm some beliefs about outstanding practice that can now be animated with more confidence drawn from the feedback
~ D. Nwaura, Deputy Headteacher
The inter-connectedness of pastoral care. Positive way forward (review and not inspection). The review was rushed though they were able to see all our areas of concern in that short span of time. I found it very useful
~ Dr. Modak, Headteacher
I was enlightened more on how to apply the core values through pastoral care –program. This will enable me to realise more positive results in the learners especially in dealing with their pastoral needs. I felt that we need to have more of this kind of review though with more lengthy time
~ N. Luvandale, Teacher