“At UCS we encourage learners to fulfil their dreams and aspirations. We equip them to become honourable citizens and leaders in their adult lives.” –
Situated in the heart of Yeoville, UCS is an integral part of Johannesburg’s urban community. The school has been in existence for almost three decades providing a safe, nurturing and positive environment for children to learn.
UCS nurtures and develops the potential of each individual because every learner is special and has the ability to overcome obstacles through education. We place emphasis on holistic development by encouraging both personal and academic growth in all our learners. We help to empower them through career and spiritual guidance. While academic excellence is nurtured we also recognise the importance of detecting learning disabilities early on and provide these learners with the proper support.
Most of our learners come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They experience many challenges in their young lives, which is why at UCS our learners are cherished. We provide a safe, loving and stable environment where we are able to help each child develop a strong self-esteem. We emphasise social responsibility in our curriculum and encourage discussions around relevant topics.
ACCREDITED & REPUTABLE
UCS is registered with the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE). We have been commended by the National Department of Education for our on-going success in the face of the severe socio-economic challenges affecting the lives of most of our learners. We consistently achieve Grade 12 pass rates of 100% and many of our Matriculants go on to study at universities.
UCS offers a “private school” standard of education at a cost that is affordable for lower income families. Thanks to a subsidy from the Gauteng Department of Education and support from our generous donors we are able to keep our school fees affordable for residents in the community. We are also successful in finding sponsorship for the school fees of a number of indigent and orphaned scholars every year.
CHEERFUL & SAFE PREMISES
UCS found an innovative solution to the challenge of providing affordable school premises. We have acquired a number of residential properties on Frances Street in Yeoville and improvised and adapted these to create our school. Two adjoining buildings accommodate our high school learners and a single residence across the road serves as our primary school. Our premises may be small but they offer a homely environment and the advantage of small class sizes. The buildings are clean, painted in cheerful colours and decorated with learners’ works of art, inspirational posters and photos of the learners.
STABILITY & STRUCTURE
UCS has adopted a disciplinary code which extends from strict rules regarding school uniforms to zero tolerance of disruptive behaviour, alcohol and drug abuse. School attendance and punctuality are imperative. The application of disciplinary measures is firm and fair and both the learners and their parents understand that the school’s discipline is in their best interests. The high standard of behaviour expected from our learners contributes significantly to the stability of the school. Learners at UCS are in a safe and caring environment where they are loved and respected, and have the freedom to learn and enjoy rewarding extra-mural activities. As a result, UCS learners love coming to school and they wear their uniform with pride.
During 2017 we plan to start on extensive upgrades to the school including rebuilding the primary school premises. We also plan to acquire additional premises in the near future in order to accommodate the growing demand for enrolment at UCS.
REAL ABOUT ISSUES
We endeavour to help our learners to stay free from the social problems that prevail in their communities. To achieve this, we work closely with SANCA which runs programmes with our learners’ anti-drug committee. All information from our engagements with SANCA is shared at our school assemblies, and these activities go a long way towards maintaining a drug free environment. We also encourage our parents to support their children and take an active part in the activities promoting awareness at the school. We regularly educate our learners on issues related to the prevention of HIV/Aids or living with the disease.
We Inspire and Celebrate
We regularly invite inspiring guest speakers to our assemblies to share their stories. These are either high-profile motivational speakers or ex-pupils who have returned to sponsor other learners at the school. Our assemblies have also become an open communication channel between pupils and the principal for addressing all issues. Our assemblies include lively singing and dancing sessions where all voices can be heard.
UCS first opened its doors in 1990 in the St George’s United Presbyterian Church Hall in Joubert Park, Johannesburg. Its purpose was to cater for township learners who could not get into the mainstream schools. At that time the national school system was undergoing changes during the transition from the apartheid regime to democracy and there was an urgent need for access to the “Model C” standard of education. The high-calibre education at UCS saw it quickly develop into a well-respected inner-city school accommodating over 500 learners from Grade R to Grade 12.
Our approach then was to admit leaners without requiring an entrance test – a policy we maintain to this day. We believe every child should be in school and that no learner should be excluded on the grounds of capability.
The school was initially founded as the United Church School. It has since evolved into a multi-denominational and multi-cultural institution serving the growing urban community of Yeoville and its surrounding precincts. Under the leadership of its founders, Rev Adamson (retired), Ms Christia Rossouw (retired) and Ms Helenne Ulster (current school principal), UCS has become a benchmark of education for disadvantaged children in South Africa.
EDUCATION STARTS WITH THE TEACHERS
UCS only employs qualified teachers who are committed to giving their absolute best while educating our learners. Despite the budget constraints which we face as an independent, low-fee paying school, we have a dedicated staff. This is partly thanks to how we guide our teachers using a professional system of teacher management and evaluation. We also provide high quality leadership, while giving them the support they need regarding any social, personal and career challenges.
PAYING IT FORWARD
At UCS we are very grateful for our donor support for without it, where would we be? In turn we extend outreach to the community by working with selected local associations and assisting indigent and homeless children wherever we can. Our school feeding scheme is a vital part of this endeavour and we are proud to be the school selected for learners from non-profit organisations like Nkosi’s Haven, The Gumboot Foundation, The Kadey Foundation, Mais Africa and Ikageng Itirileng.