The School of Achievement came into existence as a result of the shared vision and dedication of individuals and institutions that recognised that a special intervention was needed to assist children with learning impairments.
A former Minister of Education and Training, Dr. Cruywagen, envisaged a school dedicated to the provision of specialised remedial education for learners with specific learning needs. This vision initiated the establishment of the school. The School of Achievement was formally established in 1980, under the auspices of the Germiston Cripples Care Association - then chaired by Mr Tom Jones, who also chaired the Chaired, the first Governing Body of the school.
The first principal, Mr Ludie Heath, together with a team of dedicated staff and a highly committed Parent/Teachers Association under the chairmanship of Mr Denis Peens, worked tirelessly to secure their own school complex. After a trying period in the dilapidated buildings of the Goedehoop School and much hardship, the drive, tenacity and faith of these members produced results. The new school complex was officially inaugurated in 1990. Since then the school has grown rapidly in all respects.
Ludie Heath (1980-1995)
Mr Ludie Heath was appointed as the school principal of the first Government Remedial School in South Africa. The name of the school was School of Achievement. The school was situated on the grounds of the old Goede Hoop School at Railway Street, Germiston.
- The focus of the school was to assist learners with an average to above average cognitive intelligence who experienced barriers to learning in reading, writing, and maths.
- School of Achievement was the first school in the Department of Education that included a hotel course in their curriculum.
- The school's success in assisting learners with their learning barriers was based on three factors:
- Specialized support to learners was the focus point. The school was committed to quality intervention and education.
- Well-trained, skillful educators and educational support services worked as a dynamic multidisciplinary team.
- Consistency and routine formed the basis of discipline.
- The first learner, Craig Vaughan Kaplan, was admitted to the School of Achievement on 23 June 1980.
- Marthie Kok was appointed as the first staff member with 10 learners in her class ranging from standerd 1 to 3. The class consisted of English-speaking as well as Afrikaans-speaking learners.
- The number of learners increased to such extend that the school could not physically accommodate these individuals. A new school building with the remedial facilities was desperately needed. Stemming from this need, Mr Heath, the staff members, the parents and the learners started daily prayer groups. The Department of National Education only assisted in ?55% of the total cost. The balance was raised by the staff members, parents and learners through numerous fundraising schemes (such as the Spring ball in the Alberton Civic Hall, the selling of handmake cards, the selling of hot dogs at food stalls, etc.)
- The new school had a unique, inviting appearance. The five pilars symbolized strength with the triangular Pythagoras at the top. The school surroundings contributed to a special learning environment with the beautiful rose gardens (one of which is named after the school "Glowing Achievement"), peacocks, monkeys, squirrels, swans, ducks, fish, as well as the old farmyard with the goats, sheep, pigs, cows, the camel and the donkey. One year after the opening of the new school, a swimming pool, patio, and carports for the school busses were build from school funds. Additional classrooms and a new hotelarea were added in later years.
Lizette Matthews (1996-2003)
Mrs Lizette Matthews was appointed as the second principal in October 1996. Her leadership was focussed on democratic, participative management. 1996-2003 was a time of change and transformation in the education system. Empowerment and training of staff received attention to ensure professionalism and educational effectiveness.
- As part of the development of formal school policies and procedures, the first formal Code of Conduct was co-created by all role-players (parents, learners and staff), and the first formal Vision and Mission statement as well as strategies were executed.
- Invitational Teaching was implemented. In 2002, the School of Achievement was awarded the International Invitational Award.
- Sports grounds were developed for learners.
- Excellent Matric results were maintained.
- The learner's holistic development received through participation in sporting and cultural activities received attention.
- During the past decade, the School of Achievement had to redefine its purpose within the inclusive scholastic system and the growing need for learner support services.
Tinus du Preez (2003- Present)
Mr Tinus du Preez joined the staff of the School of Achievement in 1984 as a mathematics teacher in the High School. He formed part of the united bond of staff, parents and learners that placed the School of Achievement on the education map as the first school for specific learning disabled learners. Between 1990-2003 he worked as an educational psychologist within the education system.
- In October 2003, Mr du Preez was re-appointed at the School of Achievement as Principal. School of Achievement has been recognised by the Gauteng Department of Education (on district level as well as head office) as a resource centre that is willing to contribute to specialised education per se.
- Since 2003, the school has developed into a learning environment which focuses on diversity - diversity in terms of learners' needs, as well as cultural diversity. The growing individual needs if our learners have received primary attention. During the past few years, quality intervention programmes have been implemented to ensure that our learners' educational needs are met.
- Mr du Preez will be leading the School of Achievement into a new era of change in specialised education. In accordance with the Education White Paper 6 on Inclusive Education, the School of Achievement's role will change from a specialised school to a specialised school as a resource centre. The role of the School of Achievement in the broader school community will be extended in as much that the staff's expertise will be available to all schools in the area. The primary mission of the School of Achievement will still be to provide quality educational intervention for the learners enrolled at the school.