About Us



For further detail on our school please read our GUIDELINE FOR PARENTS

Wendon Academy is an independent school for children who experience delayed and specific barriers to learning. In particular Wendon Academy caters for the holistic educational needs of children who have learning barriers and who are not able to flourish in alternate educational schooling systems. In this educational context many of these children may manifest academic, behaviour problems and a lack of social integration which results in their marginalization, both during their school career and beyond.

Wendon Academy was opened in January 2003 after its founders, Donald and Wendy Hicks took the initiative to set up a holistic, caring and high quality educational environment that would meet the specific needs of children with special needs. Their journey to 2003 had been one of personal experience and much research that was driven by their need to find a suitable educational context for the children that enter Wendon Academy.

Mission Statement

The aim of Wendon Academy is to develop happy, thinking, caring pupils who are equipped with the necessary knowledge and life skills to cope as balanced and confident individuals in their communities.

Where We Are Situated

Set in a beautiful garden in Westville with glorious views over Durban and beyond to the Indian Ocean. The sense of tranquillity that prevails adds to the relaxed atmosphere in both the buildings and the grounds. This personalized environment encourages learners to feel that they are at a "home away from home". Click here to see more

How it all Began

Our road to a school that grows from strength to strength.

When we looked down on our brand new little bundle of joy, all the love and expectations of her looked right back at us and formed in that instant, a moment unlike any other. So began, in the timeless wheel of life, our years of pride, anguish and love.

Our child progressed beautifully, she reached her milestones right on track and we began piling up all the wonderful memories parents cherish and re-live over and over again.

Like frames in time-lapse photography, the moments unfold in perfect clarity. There was Nursery School - she, an excited, enthusiastic child and we, inexplicably feeling like we weren't ready to let go. Then, as if in slow motion, we became aware that she couldn't remember nursery rhymes like the others in the class could. To us, her drawings and class participation seemed somewhat behind. "She's absolutely fine", the teachers would say and we put aside our fears. As time passed further matters started coming to light. Parties became a nightmare. While the other kids calmly consumed cake and sweets around the table, our child would be screaming around the garden, swinging from trees calling out, "Look Mom, no hands" and giving us heart failure! Everyone said we had an energetic daughter - she was indeed a handful, but she was and is the love of our lives.

She waved us off on her first day of big school with confidence and enthusiasm that was astounding. I cried all the way home wondering what would happen in the months ahead and what she'd get up to next.
Once again, the teacher assured us she was doing very well. But the next moment, we were told to visit Educational Psychologists, Speech and Occupational Therapists and more... it felt like everything was falling apart. I cried for weeks on end and every time our darling daughter flung her little arms around me asking, "What's wrong, Mommy", I'd cry even more.

The diagnosis finally arrived. Your daughter is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), with specific learning barriers. But count your blessings we were told, "she's not hyperactive". How confusing it was to us at the time. We were left wondering what the diagnosis would mean for her and for us. We were advised to put her on medication as it would solve all of her problems and allow her to better cope with the pressures of life at school.                                                                                                                                             

Next, the subtle ostracism began and we weren't prepared for it; it really hurt. Slowly, the invitations to parties stopped. Parents stopped talking to me in the car park at school and our daughter began to be excluded socially at school. I felt as if my heart would break and I just prayed everyday that she would just have a good day, for once. I watched as my bubbly, enthusiastic and confident child slowly started to withdraw from her peer group and the teachers started to become her best friends.
Situations flash with lightening clarity; like the time she was chosen to play goalie in the hockey team. We arrived with enthusiasm to support her team and had the camera to capture it all on film. At the rate she was swinging the hockey stick in all directions it made perfect sense that she be tasked to protect the goal posts. Then we heard her shout with glee as she scored a goal! She didn't understand what an own goal was and she had scored for the opposition. The reactions; Mothers sitting close by were furious that this child had been allowed into the team. Nothing short of a world war would put such an inexcusable tactical error into perspective. I wanted to shout in support of this enthusiastic spirited girl. "Well done - how about another". But it was all wrong as this wasn't the place for her. She never played hockey again and her dissappointment was palpable. I still cry just thinking about times like those.
The frustration and confusion threatening to overwhelm us at every turn. How were we to explain why she was different when no one could explain it to us.

I never stopped believing that mainstreaming our child in the present schooling system was the place for her to be. We couldn't understand why she was battling after we'd gone through so many years of remedial tutoring and extra lessons. Everyday became traumatic and we looked on in despair as our confident, joyous child broke down into an unhappy person whose confidence and self esteem was plummeting at every turn. How do we begin to explain the anguish and chaos just trying to provide our daughter with an education. Why wasn't there a way of achieving a happy school life for children who need a specific environment to supply their educational, social and emotional needs. One thing was certain. Whatever we were trying at that point, wasn't working.
Through our tears shed while sitting under a tree in turmoil over our sweet young girl approaching her adolescent years, we figured we'd just have to educate her ourselves. But how? A fair amount had become plain to us as to what kind of environment would provide special needs children with the support they needed. A new strength flooded through us as we contemplated opening a small, private class for our child and others suffering out there in the mainstream.
Wendon Academy was born and I knew then that I had the vision and passion to take our concept forward into an exciting new platform for adequately educating children with learning barriers. They may take longer to reach their potential but they are the lateral thinkers of the world and deserve as much credit for their achievements as anyone else. Not suited to the regular classes for mainstream children, we have reached out to make possible an environment specifically catering for the needs of children who require special education.

Parents whose child is diagnosed by an Educational Psychologist with learning barriers need to understand the road ahead.

1) Some children only require extra lessons on various subjects, speech therapy and occupational therapy but can still manage the pressures of our present schooling environment.

2) Other children require short-term remedial schooling (2-3 years) and are then able to integrate back into the present schooling system.

3) Some children will cope with long-term remedial schooling and still achieve a Grade12 certificate.

4) Special Education is for children who have persevered with the above and still find it extremely difficult to cope with the pressures in the the schooling system both academically, emotionally and socially.

The children accepted into Wendon Academy are very normal children with the same expectations and dreams of any other child. They require smaller classes, individual attention and an environment which permits them to work on their own level and at their own pace.

The Wendon Academy Environment

Seeing the students flourish academically and emotionally with returning confidence and self esteem brings immense pride and joy to the child, parents and staff of Wendon Academy.

There's no question in my mind that we're on the right track. As long as we, the parents and children keep reaching for the same goals, Wendon Academy will provide an education that will equip each child for life after school leaving age.
The Learning process
Learning is both natural and magical.
Constant feedback between parents and teachers ensure that Wendon children are encouraged and guided to reach their full potential. An open door policy is crucial in securing an understanding between management and parents. 
Contact Us, we can HELP!
Wendon Academy is registered with the Department of Education as a Special Needs School. Wendon is an English medium school, focusing on a high academic standard for special needs children, addressing learning needs on their level and at their own pace. We are equipped with computers and an informative resource centre. In addition, we develop the child’s creative ability through activities such as cookery, art and various handcrafts, woodwork and metalwork.
While some children diagnosed with special educational barriers, may take some time to reach their full potential, we believe at Wendon Academy everyone thrives when achievements are recognized and contributions are appreciated. Our pupils are made to look at their world in a different way. They are supported by showing them how to overcome the sense of helplessness, how to value themselves and to turn conflict to success both in the classroom and in their lives. Life skills are developed, where fun and laughter are encouraged; this plays a large role in building self-esteem. This aspect of Wendon Academy helps pupils to discover their abilities and thereby reach their full potential.
The school caters for 88 children with a maximum of 10 to 12 pupils per class. Wendon Academy believes that the pupils should be placed into classes that best suit their learning capabilities. They are then able to progress through the grading system at a rate comfortable to each child.
After completing school at Wendon Academy, through work experience from Grade 10 to 12, there is place to establish contacts in the business community offering a broad range of career opportunities to our young men and women who are ready to take that next step. The sense of self-worth and confidence that pupils develop at Wendon Academy will stand them in good stead in any career choice on their own level.
While our learners are having fun and learning they are acquiring the invaluable skill of becoming computer literate. The confidence to use a computer is important in today’s society.
Our Educators
The Wendon Academy teaching staff are fully qualified and are members of the South African Council of Education (SACE). We are justifiably proud of the teaching prowess we offer our learners. Our staff come from varied Educational backgrounds, General Mainstream, Remedial and Special Education. Our staff are well trained in all phases of the Educational Syllabus. We pride ourselves that we accommodate children with varying Special Learning needs.
Each educator has a maximum of 10-12 learners per class. You can be sure that your special child will be our special child too!
Successful learning is the combination of feeling, thinking and doing. There are no ‘quick fixes’ for our learners. The teachers have a strong belief  in our learner’s ability to learn in this environment and to unlock success, enjoyment and personal fulfilment.
Our goal at Wendon Academy is to adopt a holistic approach to education. Breaking the barriers to learning we encourage our learners to use their emotional intelligence and by so doing, empower themselves to succeed. We believe that we can help each child to look at their world in a different way. We can teach them to overcome a sense of helplessness, how to value themselves, develop relationships with their families and peer groups and above all, to show them how they can love themselves for who they are.
By addressing the emotional issues of each child, we believe we will uncover our strong belief that each child has the ability to learn.
Learning is both natural and magical.
Constant feedback between parents and teachers ensure that Wendon children are encouraged and guided to reach their full potential. An open door policy is crucial in securing an understanding between management and parents, creating a future where Wendon Academy will fulfil and exceed the expectations placed upon them and the magic of learning will be available for every student and every teacher.
Email this pageBookmark this pagePrint this Page Login