NO PROBLEM TOO SMALL: The Learning Vine School in Parklands teaches learners from Grade R to 12 with learning, behavioural and other social issues.
Cape Town - Helping children who do not belong in the “one-size-fits-all” mainstream education system has been the motivation behind the establishment of the Learning Vine Impak Tutor Centre.

The centre accommodates 120 children with learning challenges, who come from as far as Gugulethu to its premises in Table View – across the road from the affluent independent CBC St John's Parklands school.

Cindy van den Heuvel, who has more than 30 years of teaching experience, said it all began as a remedial after-school programme run from her home in 2015.

“It grew and we finally moved to this space and I even had to sell my home to get funds, as we have 20 educators and other necessities.

"Our learners are from single-parent homes. Some have been abused and we try to help as many children as possible,” said Van den Heuvel.

The school ranges from Grade R to Grade 12 with some children on the autism spectrum, others with ADD, behavioural or substance-abuse related conditions.

Van den Heuvel said they have also opened their doors to drop-outs and expelled pupils with nowhere else to go.

She said the Department of Basic Education had informed her that in order to qualify for subsidies, she must register with the department, which may take some time.

Parents Anthony and Ulla Jackson said they were indebted to Van den Heuvel – and not just for accepting their son Eregon, who had been a victim of bullying at his former school.

They had also been provided a space to run their own business and they assist when needed by the school.

Angelique Aldridge said that after her husband was retrenched they had enrolled their three eldest children into the school and their youngest is soon to follow.

They were also permitted to run a tuck shop at the school to help their family.

Basic education spokesperson Jessica Shelver said the department was “willing and able” to assist and had encouraged Van den Heuvel to apply for independent school status in April.

She said the first step would be to submit the required documentation as all entities must comply with regulations.

Cape Times

* For more information on the Learning Vine Impak Tutor Centre, readers and interested parties may call 021 556 5863 or visit www.thelearnvine.com