Thabile Smilo Duma

The Sycamore Tree Academy

What does your company do?

We are a private school that is a home to 120 students from different backgrounds. Our school focuses on creating an environment where all students, regardless of their background, abilities, or needs, feel valued and supported by: 1. **Diverse and Inclusive Community**: Fostering a school culture that celebrates diversity and promotes mutual respect among students from various cultural, socio-economic, and ethnic backgrounds. 2. **Equitable Access**: Ensuring all students have equal access to educational resources, opportunities, and support services, including those with disabilities or special needs. 3. **Inclusive Curriculum**: Developing a curriculum that reflects diverse perspectives and experiences, helping students appreciate and understand different cultures and viewpoints. 4. **Professional Development**: Providing ongoing training for teachers and staff on inclusive teaching practices and cultural competency to better support all students. 5. **Support Systems**: Implementing robust support systems, such as counseling, special education services, and language assistance programs, to address the individual needs of students. 6. **Anti-Discrimination Policies**: Enforcing policies that prevent discrimination and bullying, ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for every student. 7. **Family and Community Engagement**: Actively involving families and the wider community in school activities to create a supportive network for students and foster a sense of belonging. By focusing on the above mentioned points help ensure that every student feels included, respected, and empowered to succeed in their educational journey.

What is your biggest success?

The number of enrolments, we started with only 24 learners and 2 teachers in 2020. Today we are a home to 120 learners and 10 teachers and 5 other employees. Creating jobs for teachers and other community members.Seeing children who were struggling academically, emotionally and socially blossoming and becoming best versions of themselves.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Our biggest hurdle is finance, lots of parents lost their jobs due to COVID. This does affect the school as we need money for every day running of the school.