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School days are the happiest days – Cilliers, school principal

South Africa-born Ronald Cilliers, 55, is the Principal of Greenwood House School. He has been living in Nigeria for over 11 years. He studied mechanical and electrical engineering before going into IT, conflict management and educational management. He speaks on the goals of his school.

•Ronald Cilliers

For how long have you been in the educational system and what inspired you to go into this field?

I have been in the education sector since 1993 and with approximately 17 years in management.

The education environment is quite stiff with competition. What makes Greenwood House School stand out?

GHS is a dynamic nursery and primary school with experienced and passionate teachers committed to exceptional education for every child.

In our primary school, we use the British curriculum and, in particular, the Cambridge primary curriculum for the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. The English National Curriculum (with suitable adaptations to reflect our international nature and Nigerian heritage and location) is the foundation for other subjects such as geography, history, music, PSHE (personal, social and health education). These and other factors are the sustaining elements for GHS.

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What are some of the subjects and extra-curricular offerings at GHS?

We follow the Cambridge CIE syllabus and, at the end of Primary 6, children write the Cambridge Checkpoint exam for entrance into secondary schools. We also have multiple activities in extra-curricular such as swimming, gymnastics, ballet, football Red-cross, golf, chess, arts & crafts…

Besides academics, in what other ways does GHS ensure an overall child development?

Every Wednesday, each class takes turns in a small performance to showcase an aspect of their learning activities. This is often related to a social responsibility or factual information pertinent to the general knowledge of children. We run and encourage a family approach to things whereby interaction with the children is very welcomed. In addition, we apply an open-door policy and, more importantly, take every child as if they were our own. Our focus continues to be on the needs and happiness of each individual child. We firmly believe that school days should be the happiest days of everyone’s life and we work hard to make sure that is true for all our students

How do you select your teachers, and do you have any program for teacher development/training?

A rigorous recruitment process is initiated through agencies where all due diligence is processed prior to the next stage of testing, school interviewing and selection. Qualifications are a necessity but personality and effectivity and skills in the field are paramount to selection.

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How do you run your Crèche program? In addition, what ages of children do you admit into the Crèche?

Our Crèche admits toddlers from 0-2years. We allow the children to develop and grow in a homely environment where new parents can feel comfortable to leave their little loved ones in our care. We assist with their basic functions and ensure they are happy inside and outside the classrooms. Parents constantly get feedback on their children’s progress and development directly from the trained teachers. We are also able to assist parents who come home late as we operate from 7AM to 7PM.

Is there a category of pupils that you do not admit into your school?

It’s always difficult with the limited facilities to cater for seriously physically handicapped children, but we try to apply an inclusive policy as reasonably possible throughout.

What is the success rate of your pupils at the common entrance exams?

I am proud to state that we have 100% success rate and that our children are successfully admitted to schools locally and abroad without any reservations.

What kind of technologies and infrastructure do you deploy to better educate your students?

We have recently purchased tablets for the library and are in the process of using CBT and e-learning in our senior classes. We hope to roll this out early in 2019. In addition, all members of staff are IT literate and use electronics very liberally in the classrooms with data-boards a common tool.

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How would you describe government regulations for setting up an educational institution?

There are quite tight regulations surrounding education, but we have seen minimal implementations of these regulations. We see schools pop up with very limited facilities and this weakens the purpose behind quality education.

What ages of children do you cater to at GHS?

We admit children from the 0 to 11year range.

Do you have any expansion plans?

Our immediate goals are to expand our physical resources to hopefully include a school hall, multipurpose facility for indoor activities, and therefore allow an even greater experience for the children to blossom. Our music department needs a drastic makeover and that is a priority.

What are the long-term sustainability strategies that GHS will be implementing to maintain its brand identity?

We are expanding our music department and building a hall and multi-purpose facility. In the meantime, we will continue academic successes of all our children.

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