New facilities a reality for LEAP school in Diepsloot

Monday, 26 February 2018

Aveng, through the Aveng Community Investment Trust, has begun with the building of a new R14 million-facility for the LEAP 4 School in Diepsloot, Gauteng. For many years, Aveng has been the sole funding partner of the LEAP 4 School, one of the best performing centres in Diepsloot. 

In 2016, Aveng undertook to build a new facility which would optimise the learning and teaching experience at the school. The company has committed R8 million to this new facility. The Methodist Church and key co-sponsors, Afrisam, Brickor, Total South Africa and the Roy McAlpine Foundation, have also all contributed significantly to this building project.

The new facility, which will be housed in the Methodist Church precinct in Diepsloot, will be approximately 3 000m2 and will include amenities such as a staff and administration block, 12 classrooms to accommodate 250 learners, a community hall, a library, a meeting centre, a learning centre, ablution blocks and an amphitheatre. 

James Malope, principal of the LEAP 4 School, said: “Our current building has insufficient classrooms to accommodate the learners currently enrolled at the school. Learners often have to attend classes in the surrounding gardens and under trees, which is not a conducive learning environment.”  

The construction of the building uses a hybrid technique which incorporates the traditional brick and mortar method as well as the rammed earth building technique, using natural materials from the earth, such as soil and gravel, mixed with cement, to construct the foundation, floors and walls of the building. This allows the structure to maintain heat on colder days and keeps the classrooms cooler on hot summer days. The new low-carbon footprint building will have added environmental benefits, including temperature control and thermal mass capacity, with a significant reduction in water usage during the construction process. 

“The technique is labour intensive but it is also relatively simple to train, which means that we can easily employ local community members,” says Dr Poobie Pillay, Group Transformation & Procurement Executive at Aveng. “This project has a multi-faceted social impact, from providing a new school for educators and learners, to accredited technical training as well as access to small entrepreneurial guidance and opportunities for 31 residents of Diepsloot, many of whom have children at the school.” 

Community members have been trained, upskilled and empowered with CETA-accredited training in bricklaying, carpentry, glazing, electrical and business acumen skills through Aveng’s enterprise development and supplier development initiatives. The business training will provide the individuals with the skills and qualifications to possibly start their own small businesses once the school building project has been completed.

Earthworks to clear the site started in July 2017, followed by fencing of the site. Foundations were surveyed, then marked and dug. Manufacturing of reinforcing cages and pouring of the foundations are 90% complete. The team has completed its training schedule and is focused on bricklaying as well as the ramming process. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by November 2018. 

The LEAP school model concentrates on whole learner development and rigorous academic training from Grades 8 to 12. LEAP selects children from a specific community who have not had access to schooling outside of township schools. Learners are given the opportunity to advance maths, science and English skills. Presently, LEAP has six schools across the country. The LEAP 4 school in Diepsloot, which has been supported by the Aveng Community Investment Trust for a number of years, has been the top performer in the Diepsloot area for the past two years. The matric class of 2017 achieved 100% pass rate for the first time and all the Grade 12 learners qualified for university/tertiary studies.

“We have witnessed first-hand the success of the LEAP programme and are excited to be able to build a facility so that more learners from the Diepsloot community can benefit from this focused learning,” concluded Dr Pillay. “We are also grateful for the support of co-sponsors who have helped to make sure that this project comes to fruition alongside Aveng.”

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