Generation Education schools are designed to give our students the tools to succeed in a world that is constantly changing. We understand that education is multidimensional: we provide not only an academic and cultural environment but also focus on nurturing the critical thinking capabilities, soft skills, resilience and flexibility that are required to meet the demands of society and the professional world. Now, more than ever, our future-focused approach is proving to be critical to the success of our students when they leave school.
This philosophy underpins our educational programmes at all levels – from pre-school and primary school all the way through high school and beyond. Generation Education now has seven fully operational “bricks and mortar” campuses which provide a globally competitive 21st century education. Our campuses are located in Sunningdale, Sandown, Melkbos, Hermanus, Imhoff (Kommetjie) – pre-primary and primary, Imhoff – middle and high, Blue Moon (Bergvliet) and Somerset West (to be opened in 2021).
In the younger classes our programmes are based on Montessori principles, which focus on enabling understanding and cognitive thought instead of “parrot-fashioned” learning. Children are given the freedom and support to question, to probe deeply and to make connections by engaging in interactive, real-life activities. They are placed into three-year vertical grouping bands (0 – 3, 3 – 6, 6 – 9 and so forth), which allow the children to learn from their peers of different age groups and encourages social development.
The curriculum at our middle and high schools is based on the programmes of the University of Cambridge International Examinations group, starting with Cambridge Primary and moving through to IGCSE, AS and A Levels in the senior years. These integrated international programmes ensure a smooth transition through the years of schooling and provide multiple paths to self-actualisation and employment, opening doors to universities all over the world. From 2021, IEB will be offered as an additional option.
Our rapidly maturing online offering allows us to leverage the educational expertise in our group to transcend geographic boundaries and educate students of all ages on a global scale. By partnering with UK-based universities we have been able to offer students various exciting qualifications such as an MBA, a Sales and Marketing Diploma and so forth. These courses have been accredited by the Awards for Training and Higher Education (“ATHE”).
Revenue grew to R86.5 million (2019: R71.8 million) which is a 21% increase on the prior year. EBITDA decreased slightly to R4.2 million (2019: R4.7 million). The current-year EBITDA figure is after an IFRS 15 adjustment of R4.9 million. IFRS 15 dictates that non-refundable deposits and administration fees paid by students on admission must be recognised over the students’ expected time to be spent at the school. This adjustment has had a negative effect on revenue. If the above IFRS 15 adjustment is excluded, Generation Education’s EBITDA, which consists mostly of cash earnings, would have been R9.1 million. This profit was achieved in spite of 2020 being the most challenging year in Generation Education’s five-year history due to the effects of Covid-19.
Generation Education experienced lost revenue due to students having to leave due to financial difficulties and health risks, as well as an increase in expenses to ensure compliance with all the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols. Despite the above challenges Generation Education has managed to retain and grow student numbers post lockdown, avoid further debt and establish the Generation Schools brand as a credible alternative, especially in the middle and high school segments.
Year-on-year student numbers grew from 1 252 to 1 514 (a 21% increase) and the staff complement grew from 261 to 313 (a 20% increase). Generation Education’s capacity in terms of completed buildings at year-end is 2 165 students which equates to a current occupancy of 70%. Most of the vacancy is found in the high schools, which are forecasted to optimise by 2024 as students move from the middle schools into the high school campuses.
The 2020 school year began with the opening of our bespoke high school campus in Sandown – Generation Sandown
Institute. This school, housed in a modern, space-ship inspired building, offers a full Cambridge high school education as well as a post-matric programme. In December 2020 we will be opening the first pump track of its kind in the Western Cape at our Sandown high school campus. This will form part of our new sports complex which will be completed in early 2021, and will include football, action hockey and a student-run restaurant.
We also completed Imhoff phase 2 (middle and high school campus) in time for the start of the 2020 school year. Generation Imhoff, which opened in January 2019, has grown in size and popularity, and is now our largest campus, hosting students from 18 months to exit.
Further strides have also been made in the online space, by investing additional cash resources into GenEx, which
houses the online learning experience. GenEx will be developing Generation Education’s Learner Management System (“LMS”) that will allow learning to transition between campus and online as well as provide much-needed operational automation within the school group. The LMS will be a saleable technology in its own regard but, more importantly, will be the wrapper for on-selling our digital content (created by school staff) and the Professional Development Qualification (“PDQ”) to other schools and teachers. This educational offering becomes more attractive when we leverage our ability to Cambridge accredit other schools through Generation Education’s Cambridge Associate agreement. We are in the process of expanding the scope of this agreement from South Africa to incorporate the rest of Africa. GenEx will look to grow its customer base from five schools writing 21 papers to many more as it is capacitated and reconfigured from crisis management mode under the lockdown environment in assisting Generation Education’s to realising its own commercial vision.
2021 is likely to continue to show growth with several new projects in the pipeline. Generation Education’s recently signed a lease to take over the magnificent Reddam House campus in Somerset West. This campus will be completely rebranded as a Generation school, opening in January 2021. This beautiful modern campus, which is only four years old, can accommodate approximately 700 students and is ideally located in the Helderberg basin against a stunning mountain backdrop. It includes a fully equipped aquatic centre, a ballet room, art and science facilities, tennis courts, large sports fields and a nearby boarding facility. Generation Somerset West will offer a dual teaching approach that includes Generation Education’s multi-curricular approach as well as the IEB syllabus. The majority of Reddam teachers and over 80% of students will remain at the campus.
Chief Executive Officer
Jevron has been the managing director of Generation Education since 2015. He was instrumental in founding and developing the Generation brand as a whole. He recently attended the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit in DC for young African leaders and will be spearheading the expansion of Generation Education.
Nic is a qualified chartered accountant with 5 years of audit experience and has spent 5 years lecturing at university level. He has been with Generation Schools since its first year of operation and dedicated himself to realise the vision of Generation Education.