SPARK Schools
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SPARK Schools Employee Reviews

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South Africa23 reviews
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2,0
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Not for the faint hearted
When I first started I was blown away by the professional development that teachers receive as well as the support from management. I didn't have anything like that at my last school so I was impressed.

As time has gone on, and I'm in my third year now, I am still doing the exact same professional development sessions as I did when I started out, so it's a bit boring to say the least and time I could be using to do prep for my lessons.


Since starting I have no time for my personal life, We work very hard until 16:00 every day with no real prep/admin time during the school day. Our break in Flex (Grade 4-7) is 25 minutes long so I have to breath food down before my group comes back from break. It's not fair the kids either as this is their only break for the whole day.


Lessons are very short in Flex (40 minutes) with a lot of content that needs to be covered in a short period of time as well as making sure your struggling learners are being tended to as well. I need to do extra lessons after school just so that we can keep up with the work and so that I can make sure my kids actually understand it.The scripted lesson are a bonus, we don't have to spend time we don't have doing them but it leaves little room for creativity as a teacher. People from SPARK support will come into your class randomly, they don't greet you, they check books and leave and complain about them later because you haven't stuck exactly to the lesson plan or you forgot to put that 1 poster on the wall.


Classrooms are expected to look a certain way with certain things that HAVE to be up on the
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2,0
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Fun Work Place
Got Promoted 3 times but salary didnt change personal agendas between the managers and should have focused on on the companies goals and loyal to their staff
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5,0
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Great working environment
Gained a lot of working experience. Management is very involved in making sure that you are suitable for the position that you are placed in and that you are doing what makes you happy.
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3,0
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SPARK Schools
Thrown into the deep end when starting the job at SPARK Schools. Management not friendly. Some management not qualified for their positions.

Friendly teachers and facility management.
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4,0
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Excellent
Great company and a lot of work
You have to be dedicated in order for you to work in this company, you have to love kids make sure that they are safe at all times.
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1,0
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Stressful
SPARK Schools is very stressful environment to work in. Teachers are not treated fairly and the hours are too long for the work load. The curriculum changes every year and class sizes keep getting bigger and unmanageable. I would not recommend SPARK Schools to any teacher or parent. Your children will have a better school experience at any other school.
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3,0
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Fun workplace too competitive team wise
I love being at SPARK I would just like a more effective and fair working environment in terms of the team part of it.
I feel i could be paid more as my job is the face of Spark Schools.
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Unrealistic Expectations
There is a big expectation for excellence, however, the means to achieve this are often not provided. The assessment standards are all over the place and do not correlate with what is being taught in the scripted out lesson plans. For example - the assessments are set by a 'Learning Model' team, the Assistant Principals of each school are expected to 'moderate', however, when teachers receive assessments it is laden with numerous mistakes and content that was covered in example term 2 is being tested in term 3 - why cover all the content for term 3 if it is not being tested then? On top of that, the deadlines to conclude with marking are unrealistic. There is a big emphasis on writing (especially in English) and no focus whatsoever on grammar. Reading is to be taught in small groups - however, the timetable does not allow for the teacher to see each group to teach reading and often times scholars are left without being taught any reading skills.

SPARK Support - which acts kind of like the network's head office rarely provides support. The management is still juvenile and I am sure there will be a difference in 10 - 15 years. A lot of systems are not yet in place, and small irregularities make for a very unpleasant working environment Leadership (which are all young, inexperience, millennial leaders) clearly displays favouritism, and often times they have a very childish approach to handling things and even conducting meetings. There is little to no empathy shown for one's personal life and support is very little.
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1,0
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Unrealistic expectations and long hours
SPARK Schools is a great way to get involved as a new graduate that has no experience teaching, to hone your skills and teaching strategies to suit the SPARK model. Experienced teachers who want to teach to their own methodologies cannot shape to their own standards, but need to always be in line with the SPARK model, thus individuality is dismissed.
The hours are very long - for teachers and for scholars.The school day ends at 4pm for all teaching staff; excluding prep after hours for the next day. Expectations for teachers are overwhelmingly unrealistic and the curriculum is never stagnant. Spark schools has no culture relevant to embracing South African culture and is somewhat neutral - instead SPARKS Fly is required every day where children dance and presume to say their Daily Creed, without any prayer as most schools do; which I think is unfortunate, because I don't believe our cultures should be celebrated only on Heritage Day. Teachers are not supported by the "Support" provided and parents are constantly in the dark. I do not think SPARK Schools is a great place to enroll children because the model does not cater for all learners. Struggling scholars will continue to struggle because the curriculum is too difficult. SPARK does not have any academic assistance such as class assistants or educational professionals i.e. educational psychologists, speech therapists, psychologists, etc. to guide them, and class sizes are too large for the academic rigor placed on teachers to perform successful teaching; neither are scholar assessments done for for any scholar being enrolled
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Pros
Learning a unique class culture
Cons
Long hours, excess workload
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5,0
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Friendly staff and nice enviroment
I'm loving this company. One feels at home and always fun and I love the interaction by management to staff. I would not work anywhsre else this is the best. Company I've worked for
Pros
Popcorn on friday
Cons
None so far
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4,0
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Major growth opportunities
Amazing learning and growth opportunities
Great support from team

Creative and innovative

Changing the face of Education in South Africa

Work-life balance can become a challenge
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1,0
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Unhealthy working environment
This company does not care about the well being of their employees, to them it's about getting as many learners as possible, and making money, even if the resources and facilities do not accommodate the learners. The only people whose voices are heard are those with head office positions, nobody else matters. Their 'so-called American curriculum' is non-existent. Teachers have to source out a lot of their learning and teaching material which is not included in a teacher's salary. Teachers are not given time during working hours to prepare any work, therefore it means that a teacher must work outside of 9 hours as well as on weekends and school holidays which is unfair and unhealthy. They do not care about the future of South African children, this is just a money-making scheme. Many of these schools shouldn't even be operating based on health and safety standards. It's organisations like SPARK Schools that destroy our youth and kill the passion within our teachers.
Pros
None
Cons
Many
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1,0
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Challenging work place
Fast growing organization with young inexperienced management and immature, ineffective systems. Policies are not consistently adhered to leading to the perception that management shows favouritism. Emphasis on affordability means constant budget issues that leads to immense frustrations - especially regarding teaching supplies, safety, security and maintenance. Employees are expected to work hard with little reward and and even less support.
Pros
Core values and Social emotional learning
Cons
Long hours, frustration due to lack of support, low salary
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3,0
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Fun working environment
Design, write and utilize lesson plans conforming to school’s curriculum. I learned the importance of administration work and structured work formats The hardest part daily afternoon review meetings . Enjoyed most was seeing the joy in a child's face when they understand what you are teaching
Pros
family environment
Cons
Long hours
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3,0
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Change is the only constant
As a developing network of schools, SPARK was constantly changing and adapting while I was there. In some ways this was fun and exciting but in others it was highly frustrating. One thing I can compliment SPARK on was the curriculum, I taught Mathematics and we followed the PRIME textbook.
Pros
Great salary
Cons
long hours, no school counselor.
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3,0
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It was a Good job but most management used favoritism
Kind hard working easy to adpat love to learn new things accept my mistakes and fix them I can work immediately and Im good with communication hence I want a job that I can be more contact with people
Pros
Free lunches
Cons
Long hours
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4,0
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Interesting
I only recently started so there isn't much to say. But it is an enjoyable place to work. They are lively and actively trying to change the educational industry in the country, on the continent and across the globe.
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4,0
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A growing, nurturing but sometimes demanding school network
Working at Spark is generally positive and you'll find the positive attitudes infectious. The schools strive to implement a unique blend of flipped classroom models, learning modalities and professional development.
The culture and focus on emotional growth is superb, however the schools are structured more to serve learners than teachers.

Striking that balance is something they should work on for the future to address the quick turnover rates of teachers who cannot cope with the adjustment.
Pros
Excellent opportunities for growth and learning, high energy and nurturing environment, clear and involved management teams
Cons
Hours longer than usual for primary schools, work/life balance may be difficult to attain, lots of change to adapt to very quickly
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1,0
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Exhausting and Draining workplace
Mondays teachers work till 4pm and are given a 20 minute lunch break. During their lunch break, they have to drop their learners on the playground and then fetch them, so the 20 minute break is then only 10 minutes. No free time whatsoever for the teacher on Monday. The expectations get higher by management but salaries remain the same. Favoritism is high and the staff are disunited and do not collaborate as they have groups and each group or individual as their own agendas.The learners best interest is not really taken into consideration. The staff shows apathy and discourage others from working hard. The motto from the Principal is do not work hard but work smart.
Pros
Fridays leave at 3pm.
Cons
Long hours. Ridiculous expectations. Unprofessional and under qualified staff.
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4,0
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Productive and Fun Working Place
Spark schools in an amazing place to work where you are provided with opportunities to grow, great work culture and lively environment, It is a wonderful place for ambitious people.
Pros
Opportunity for growth
Cons
Salary could improve
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4,0
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Great workplace
Start the day with SPARKs fly (morning assesmbly) then transition to the first class at 8 which runs for an hour and 40 minutesthen a break for 20 minutes. Second class starts at 10 till 11.30 then the next class at 11.30 to 12.
Then it is LUNCH TIME for 40 minutes

After that I have the class I had before lunch for the next 40 minutes then another 30 minute break.

Last class starts at 2 until 3.30pm then it is dismissal where kids are sent home.

4pm it is prep time till 4.30pm.


I have learned to be productive and consistent during the course of the long day, the hardest part was to stay focused especially when I just started. The working environment was great,communication has always been amazing.
Pros
2 breaks
Cons
Long hours
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