10. March 2022

– Every child has the potential to become an agent of change

Every child, regardless of socio-economic background, ethnicity, gender, and religious belief, has the potential to become a creative, productive, problem-solving citizen. That is the belief of the South African organisation LEAP Science and Math Schools, which recently received £542 000 over the next two years from Kavli Trust.

All photos: Students at LEAP Science and Math Schools

The new agreement will cover the total costs of close to 170 young South Africans for a high-quality secondary school education in the years to come. All of these students come from deeply disadvantaged communities, and would normally never have access to this life-changing opportunity.

“We are pleased to announce the new agreement and look forward to another two years of close collaboration with LEAP, their students and their outstanding staff. I have had the privilege to follow LEAP for some years now, and my appreciation of the efforts, philosophy and achievements is steadily growing,” says general manager at Kavli Trust, Inger Elise Iversen.

1148 students

The LEAP Science and Maths Schools is an independent non-profit organisation. The primary goal is to get as many of its students to graduate from Grade 12 with academic results that qualify them to enter tertiary education institutions, and sustainable careers afterwards.

Since 2016, Kavli Trust has annually supported 120 LEAP students. For 2020 and 2021, as well as for 2022 & 2023, the number was increased to 167 students per year, which means that the total number of students supported by Kavli Trust will reach 1148 by the end of the new agreement.

“Receiving this level of financial support from Kavli Trust is fantastic, and the entire LEAP ‘family’ celebrates this wonderful gift”, says  founding chairman of the LEAP Science and Maths Schools, Anthony Galloway.

Read more: Stepping up for youth in South Africa

TOP STUDENT: One of LEAP’s top-achieving Matric (Grade 12) students of 2021 at the LEAP 1 School in Langa, Cape Town, proudly showing her Matric certificate with outstanding results. Photo: LEAP

Agents of change

Each LEAP school works closely with the public local schools, and the parties select motivated town-ship students based on good attitudes and a volunteering spirit, rather than on academic talent.

With the help of qualified and motivated teachers, students receive extra academic input to correct the serious deficiencies they bring to the school. This includes longer school days and a greater focus on key subjects, with the students being the central focus of a self-liberating learning and teaching approach. They also receive a great deal of support to develop their personal awareness and equip them to become agents of change in their local communities.

“We truly believe in LEAP’s education model where learners are met as individual human beings who both need the direct training and the holistic guidance in meeting life’s challenges and opportunities,” says Inger Elise Iversen.

Whole child development

The LEAP education model focuses on “whole child” development — “Head, Heart, & Hand” — with the goal of transforming the learners into both academically qualified students when they graduate from LEAP, as well as balanced, emotionally resilient, socially mature young adults who will become leaders in their communities in the future.

“The fact that Kavli Trust has approved its 4th consecutive 2-year commitment is evidence of the strength and power of the relationship that has developed between LEAP and Kavli Trust since 2016,” says Anthony Galloway.

HAPPY: A happy group of matric graduates at LEAP 4 School, Diepsloot, Johannesburg, celebrating the results of the examinations. Photo: LEAP

Teaching via WhatsApp

The pandemic was a challenging situation for LEAP and their students. In order to continue teaching, LEAP chose to develop and facilitate teaching via WhatsApp.

Most students had access to a mobile phone, but none of them had either WiFi or a laptop at home. The few students who did not have a mobile phone were assigned one by the school to be able to follow the teaching.

The school’s work and results using WhatsApp attracted a lot of attention. The measure is now being evaluated by the National Education Consortium Trust in South Africa for possible implementation and roll-out in the public school sector.

“We really appreciate the Kavli support through the pandemic. Because of your support we were able to advance the lives of the young people and the communities in which we serve through our ‘self-liberating learning’ education model. By being your agent of change — transformation through education — we were able to improve our social impact and achieve outstanding academic as well as social and emotional development results at our schools”, says Galloway.

Plant cultivation

LEAP continues its work to improve its existing programs as well as developing new ones. The school has recently established the Living Learning Laboratory to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of ecosystems.

One of the activities is to cultivate a plant called “Spekboom” which is unique to South Africa with very good properties for trapping carbon in the soil.

“Working together towards our shared purpose of social transformation through education is a true win-win partnership. Transforming young lives so that they become leaders in their community and actively contribute to social upliftment as they live the rest of their lives – that makes all the time, effort, hard work, dedication and financial investment entirely worthwhile,” says Anthony Galloway.

Outstanding results

  • The drop-out rate among students in public schools during the pandemic was as high as 40 percent, while the LEAP schools did not lose a single student.
  • At the same time, LEAP has managed to maintain the same excellent academic results, with all LEAP Students having Mathematics and Science in their subjects.
  • Results of the externally examined National Senior Certificate show that since its inception in 2005, an average of 94 per cent of LEAP students have completed five years of high school.
  • 65 per cent + have achieved Bachelor level passes (access to academic university) and a further 25 per cent + at diploma level (access to a university of technology).

This is LEAP

  • LEAP provides an interactive, participatory form of teaching with a focus on problem-solving, in contrast to the typical blackboard-based teaching in most township schools.
  • Extra time is spent on core subjects such as mathematics, natural and social sciences and English, and Life Orientation (personal growth, social & emotional development).
  • The classes are small, with less than 25 students in each class. (In most township classes, there are over 40 students per class).
  • The LEAP model can be replicated, as demonstrated by LEAP having six schools operating in three different provinces in South Africa – all of them achieving extraordinary results.

Read more: Zodwa’s plan

Read more: Leaping into the South African future


SINGING STUDENTS: Photo of the LEAP 1 School Choir in Cape Town, joyfully singing the praises of the 2021 matric students’ results. Photo: LEAP


MATRIC GIRLS: A group of 2021 matric girls receiving their matric certificates in late January this year. (At LEAP 1 School).

GRADUATION HUGS: Students hugging and congratulating each other with their matrics. Photo: LEAP