The Vine School - mission, vision, ethos, history, discipline
"I am the Vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
- John 15 : 5
The Vine School promises outstanding education, inspiring children to think, discover and grow, using the Ambleside teaching method in a Biblical Christian environment.
The purpose of this education is for children to grow in the knowledge of God, through engagement with His world and application of His Word, so as to live full, free and fruitful lives.
Our focus is growth and transformation, both for our children and for our school. In 2013 we started with just 62 pupils in 5 classes. We currently have 178 pupils, in 13 classes, including 2 classes for grades R,1,2 & 3 and single classes in grades 4,5,6 & 7. Plans include developing a separate Preschool and a Junior High facility. We will not become a large school but would prefer to plant several small schools. This is the best way to preserve our sense of family and avoid the alienating effects of a large institution.
The Vine School inspired the founding of a school with a similar ethos in Pinelands (2014) and in Gordons Bay (2015). Together with other Ambleside schools in Hout Bay, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg we are committed to renewal in education, through our life-transforming approach. We are founder members of Ambleside Schools International of Southern African (ASISA) which provides training, advice and curriculum-resources to schools affiliated with ASISA. One of our directors serves on the ASISA board whose aim is to extend Ambleside education throughout Southern Africa.
The ethos of the school is Bible based and Christ-centred. We seek to ground our faith and actions on truth found in God's Word, the Bible. We expect our teachers to be role models whose lives testify to a relationship with the Living Word - Jesus Christ.
God's Word tells us that every child is born a person, created in God's image. Therefore every child deserves an education filled with the best ideas, one that broadens the mind and enriches the soul. We believe every child is hungry to know and eager to grow and, when presented with these opportunities, will grasp them. We believe that every child is owed the respect his personhood demands.
Faith, respect and truth
Not every child at the school has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Not every child will, as this depends on the sovereign work of God's Spirit. Although we expect all children to show respect for the expression of Christian faith they encounter at school, we do not expect them to make false professions of faith.
Partnering with parents
Parents have primary responsibility for educating their children. The role of teachers is to assist, not replace, the parents. We seek to foster a strong relationship between the school and the home so that parents and teachers help one another in the rewarding but daunting task of education.
The school goes back to 1988 when John Wycliffe Christian School was established by a group of parents who wanted a school where Jesus Christ was acknowledged in every aspect of life, including education.
From small beginnings as a single Grade 1 class, John Wycliffe grew to extend from Preschool to Matric. The early Matric classes proved the effectiveness of Christian schooling as students achieved outstanding results. However, the small premises limited growth and restricted the development of the High School. In 2010 the Governing Body closed the High School and focused instead on strengthening the Primary School.
In 2012, the School began a process of dynamic change. From being an Association of Parents it became a Non Profit Company with a Board of Directors. Instead of following the state curriculum, it adopted an international curriculum adapted for South Africa. The Admissions Policy broadened to accept children from all faith backgrounds. These changes marked a new beginning and new direction for the school and it seemed appropriate to choose a new name.
The name "The Vine School" was chosen to acknowledge the centrality of Jesus Christ, the true Vine, and to emphasise growth and vitality in education. It also marked the "pruning" which the school underwent from 2010 to 2012 when the High School closed. However, the heritage of John Wycliffe remains. The great reformer was a man of courage, integrity and wisdom who lived and taught the plain truth of the Bible. He was influential in theology, politics and civil life in his generation and for centuries afterward. Likewise, we trust that, by God's grace, the children at The Vine School will become agents of positive change in the world.