About US

About Us

LEAP Science & Maths Schools work in some of the most economically and socially marginalised communities in South Africa to positively impact them through the meaningful education of children who live there. Despite 22 years of democracy, South Africa is still failing to educate many of our children adequately.  Approximately 14% of learners who enter high school (Grade 8) obtain access to higher education.

We believe that any child, no matter how impoverished their background, is capable of graduating from school and qualifying for higher education study, if given the right educational opportunity and support. This opportunity and support is offered via LEAP’s programme of self-liberating learning.

LEAP Science and Maths School is a leading education organisation in South Africa providing quality high school education to economically disadvantaged young people from specific partner township communities.

LEAP’s approach to education is multi-faceted with interventions staged at different levels. Through initiatives aimed at different target groups we have created an education alliance that brings sustainable change. From learners to teachers to community leaders and education stakeholders we have a broad network of partners that form the LEAP learning community.

LEAP vision:

  • We strive for the positive transformation of communities through the meaningful education of  children from those communities.

LEAP mission:

LEAP schools provide student-centred, maths and science-focused education to economically disadvantaged students from grades 8 to 12. We focus on enabling the self-awareness necessary for each student’s growth to healthy adulthood, and to ensuring optimal academic results which will allow for choices for lifelong learning and a fulfilling future.

The LEAP learning community includes:

  • Six no-fee independent maths and science high schools offering an excellent education to young people from disadvantaged communities.
  • A teacher training programme – LEAP Future Leaders Programme
  • A learning centre providing tutoring for students from community schools
  • A community support and development programme
  • An active past students’ association – LEAPSA
  • Collaborations and partnerships that contribute to education development globally: LEAP shares its stories and model to create a new voice in youth leadership, proving its impact so that it can grow to reach more and more young people. As part of a global community, LEAP shares widely to build a social movement that will transform education and learning for all.

LEAP’s community includes intervention high schools,a teacher training programme, after-hours tuition and a movement to connect and collaborate with education stakeholders.

Our model of education is uniquely tailored to respond to the real-life challenges and situations our learners face.


LEAP learners consistently outperform national and provincial averages, and outperform cohorts from their home communities.



LEAP Science and Maths School - There is still time to give back

LEAP Science and Maths School have been hosting an Annual LEAP Easter Celebration for the past 17 years in the heart of Langa Township in Cape Town, South Africa.

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LEAP Science & Maths Schools - Mandela Day

LEAP Science & Maths Schools will be hosting our Annual Nelson Mandela Day campaign running from the 1st of June and culminating in a virtual online concert on the 18th of July 2021 in order to celebrate Tata Madiba!

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LEAP aims to address the educational deficit in South Africa’s under-resourced communities. To achieve this we have developed a community intervention model.  We draw our high school learners from the communities in which the schools operate and invest back into these communities through education, job creation and social upliftment activities.  Our educational intervention model has three main components:

  • Academic:  LEAP Schools have smaller classes to encourage accountability and help build relationships.  LEAP has an extended 9-hour school day, necessary to remedy primary school education deficits. Extra academic support is given during Saturday classes and holiday programmes.  All LEAP schools place heavy emphasis on English, mathematics and science. This combination of high-need subjects increases the choices learners have when accessing tertiary education.
  • Emotional:  Emotional skills are as important for career success as good academic results.  LEAP’s life orientation (LO) is a unique values-based personal development programme. It focuses empowering young people to become role models, leaders and agents of change in their communities. The LO programme increases students’ self-awareness as well as their capacity to reflect on their actions and make healthy life choices. It encourages the growth of personal resilience, integrity, open communication and confidence in any context.
  • Community: LEAP acts as an incubator for a number of community development programmes. In addition LEAP learners are not required to pay school fees. Instead they contribute R480.00 per year to a LEAP community development fund used for social upliftment projects in the school communities.  All learners and staff are required to work regularly with these projects.  In this way, learners become more conscious of social justice issues  the importance of giving back.


The first LEAP Science and Maths no-fee school was started by experienced school teacher and principal, John Gilmour, in January 2004. It was housed in rented premises in Mowbray, Cape Town. Seven qualified teachers and one administrator were employed and 72 high school learners were bussed in daily from the township of Langa.

Additional LEAP schools serving the communities of Gugulethu/Crossroads (Cape Town), Alexandra and Diepsloot (Johannesburg) were started in 2007, 2008 and 2011 respectively. Two more schools in Ga-Rankuwa (north of Pretoria) and Jane Furse (Limpopo) began in 2012, bringing the number of LEAP high schools nationally to six. The LEAP organisation now employs 200 teachers and staff, and serves 974 learners in total. It has an operating budget of over R50 million per year.

A Future Leaders Programme was started in 2007. This aims to recruit 10% of LEAP learners from each matric class to train as teachers and supports them during their distance learning degrees with finance, mentorship and classroom experience.

LEAP is a registered NPO and operations are overseen by an independent Board. Provincial education departments provide small subsidies to some LEAP schools but the majority of the operating costs are supported by committed funding partners.

Academic Results
In 2015 three LEAP schools achieved 100% pass rates. Three others obtained 97%, 94% and 78% pass rates.

In addition:

  • 92% of 2015 matriculants wrote pure maths and 71% wrote physical science. Eight science distinctions were obtained.
  • The mathematics average across all schools was above 50%, 12 distinctions were achieved and one student scored 97%.
  • Two students achieved distinctions in all seven subjects
  • There were thirteen history distinctions in Cape Town.
  • 62% of LEAP learners achieved bachelor passes (compared to 28.3% nationally average).
  • 87% of our learners passed with qualifications they need to access tertiary studies. 9.8% of learners obtained Higher Certificate passes (allowing them the option to pursue technical or vocational training at TVET centres). 
  • 3.9% of our learners failed compared to the 29% failure rate nationally. This represents an improvement on past years and most qualified to write supplementary exams.


LEAP Science and Maths Schools

Provide free education to students from high-need communities, and have mathematics, physical science and English as mandatory subjects.  Our school day is extended (9 hours), and we  have Saturday classes and formal holiday programmes. Every LEAP school is partnered with a more privileged school as well as township schools in the community the school serves. This three-way collaboration creates the opportunity to share excellence in all spheres.

All LEAP schools:

•Provide free education to students with potential from high-need communities
•Require that all students study mathematics, physical science and English
•Have an extended school day (9 hours), Saturday classes and formal holiday programmes
•Actively engage with students to develop self-awareness and confidence
•Engage students in community work and activities that affirm cultural identity
•Have smaller classes and schools to support accountability and help build relationships
•LEAP’s holistic approach includes engaging with the broader community and developing partnerships and collaboration that add shared value. Every LEAP school is partnered with a more privileged school as well as township schools in the community the school serves. This three-way collaboration makes for stronger, better-equipped schools and the opportunity to share excellence in all spheres.

The LEAP Future Leaders Programme

Works to make teaching aspirational and accessible for young graduates. We aim for 10% of each LEAP graduating class to study education at tertiary level. Future Leaders can study to become educators at a tertiary institution or by participating in LEAP’s own Leaders in Education internship.




The LEAP Learning Centre

Provides quality tutoring to learners in LEAP Science and Maths School’s partner communities in Cape Town. The learning centre is staffed by a diverse group of tutors drawn from qualified African refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Botswana and Zimbabwe, South African professionals and volunteers.



Social Development

Is one of our important pillars.  All students and staff work with a social development organisation in one of our partner communities. There are eight scheduled student visits during the year. Activities vary from games, story-telling, painting and singing with young children, to performances, singing, talking and listening to the tales and wisdom of the older seniors. LEAP staff also work with a selection of community organisations by providing mentoring and support in management and operations.


The LEAP Movement

Promotes sharing of lessons, good practice and advocacy. Aimed at bringing together education stakeholders, the movement to promote equal access to quality education in South Africa.







LEAP Science and Maths Schools deliberately choose to work in some of South Africa’s poorest communities in order to offer quality educational opportunities to promising children who would not otherwise have access to it.  LEAP is the only network of independent no-fee schools in South Africa. The need for such a network of interventionist schools is evident as completion and pass rates at most government schools is critically low in economically marginalised communities. The graph below compares the NSC national matric results to LEAP’s results, clearly showing the incredible impacts.

LEAP learners’text books, basic stationery and daily school meals are provided. School uniforms and sometimes transport are subsidised. Operational costs of each LEAP school are currently about R7 million per year and the LEAP national central support office around R11 million per year. The total educational intervention per annum costs R40,000 per student. These funds are raised annually from individual and corporate donors and foundations, mostly nationally but also internationally.

As LEAP is a registered NPO donations in South Africa qualify for tax relief. 100% of LEAP Science and Maths Schools’ beneficiaries are black, from socio-economically marginalised communities. Corporate entities that donate funds, resources and services to LEAP can claim Social Development and Enterprise Development points for their B-BBEE scorecards. Our in-house B-BBEE specialist can work with your company to identify how best you can claim B-BBEE points.


Support our Work



South Africa’s education system is in crisis. You can be part of the solution:

    * Give now by credit card or direct debit.
    * Donate by electronic transfer:
      LEAP Science & Maths School
      First National Bank
      Code: 200309
      Account no.: 6205 8709 365


Not much cash to spare? There are many ways to  support our work:

    * Make LEAP your My School beneficiary
    * Run a marathon, host a dinner, grow some crazy facial hair to raise funds for LEAP
    * Join the LEAP community
    * Sign up for our newsletter
    * Volunteer at LEAP
    * Adopt-a-Classroom


Help transform education by investing in LEAP’s proven model:

    * Make LEAP part of your corporate social responsibility programme
    * Contribute to LEAP’s endowment fund and be part of our future
    * Bring LEAP on as a BEE partner through the LEAP Education Trust


Where your money goes

LEAP provides real hope to hundreds of young people each year. Every donation, no matter the size, makes a difference.

    *     R50 pays for a student’s stationery for a year.
    *     R500 pays for family emergency support for a month.
    *     R2,000 pays a student teacher’s stipend for a month.
    *     R35,000 will fund a student at LEAP for a year, transforming a young person’s life.

Give with confidence: LEAP is an ISASA registered school, a Non Profit (061-261-NPO) and Public Benefit Organisation (930005342). We are independently audited each year.

Tax and BEE Points

Donations to LEAP qualify for tax relief in South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom and socio-economic development points on the B-BBEE scorecard.

Contact us to make a tax-efficient donation in the US or UK.