Academy defends its societal role

2019-07-16 06:00

Peak Academy in Fish Hoek central business district has come under scrutiny following allegations made by some residents that the organisation is operating illegally.

“I have recently become aware of an awful, illegal ‘private school’ that sometimes advertises itself as a ‘tutor centre’, which has around 50 to 70 full-time students (08:00 to 14:00, Monday to Friday), and which all students and parents have been misled to believe is a private school under the Cambridge International Curriculum,” expressed Robert Short, a resident.

While the website does claim to assist learners to write their Cambridge International curriculum exams, they also attach a proviso which reads: “Please note that Peak Academy is a PRIVATE STUDY RESOURCE CENTRE and not a Cambridge School approved by Cambridge International to teach or offer Cambridge International qualifications.”

Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) spokesperson, Jessica Shelver explained that tutor centres are not regulated under any legislation and therefore have no requirements for monitoring purposes.

She added: “However, these centres may not provide teaching and learning to a group of learners covering a full curriculum from Monday to Friday. If they do, they are functioning as a school and should register as an independent school. The WCED will only visit these centres if we receive complaints that they are functioning as a school.”

She said that Peak Academy only attempted to register with the district on 18 June and they are not currently registered as an independent school.

Short also claimed that the building from which the academy operates is not up to code and accused the principal of nepotism. “The ‘teachers’ are friends or family of the principal,” he said.

Marc Yates Huxham, principal at the academy, responded saying that he is in agreement that the previous building was in poor condition, but they have since moved to Fish Hoek CBD.

“We have been in the new building for about eight months and it has taken us eight months to get our documents in order and become compliant with the City’s health and safety regulations.”

Huxham echoed Shelver, saying they had recently submitted their application to become a registered educational institute and are currently waiting on the results of that application. Responding to the allegations of nepotism he explained that he opened the academy with his wife. He added that they had opened a Boland trial campus to test if the tutoring model could be used elsewhere, but it was shut down earlier this year.

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