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Maths Diagnostics can uncover gaps

By | Career guidance, Maths, Tutoring | No Comments

Too often we meet with parents who lament that their child was an A-student in Grade 7, only to receive a 30% score on their maths test in Grade 8. They don’t believe the teachers. They complain that the high school is not teaching their kids properly. Or they simply feel helpless and at a loss to understand how this could happen. It’s incredibly frustrating for our parents.

Every year we see the same thing. It’s not the teachers, or the high school (at least not the ones we work with :-)). We have tested over 15,000 Grade 8 and 9 learners using our maths diagnostic assessments which have been designed to test three grades back and the results clearly demonstrate that basic fundamentals in maths are not properly mastered in primary school. An easy multiplication question 6×4 – Grade 3 level – scored an average of 44.5% across the learners tested. Our theory is that learners managed to pass in primary school through rote learning, memorising the answers without properly understanding the concepts.

But high school maths requires that you fully master the basics without needing to memorise them again. High school Grade 8 teachers don’t have time in the curriculum to teach learners their times tables, or what a fraction is. This should have been done from Grade 4 onwards.

And if a grade 8 learner doesn’t identify those gaps early on, ideally in Term 1 already, it becomes progressively harder to catch up as time passes. By the time September of Grade 9 comes along it’s far too late and most likely their and their parent’s dreams for their career as a doctor or engineer will be dashed as they’re forced to select Maths Literacy in Grade 10.

The value in diagnosing your maths gaps early on in the year doesn’t just apply to Grade 8, although it’s absolutely crucial in Grade 8 given the jump from primary to high schools. Every year teachers will cover more complicated maths concepts and so uncovering the gaps in specific maths topics from prior years and prior terms is valuable so that learners can target their efforts and find support options on the maths topics they need it most. This is even more true in the Covid-19 environment we are in today.

The Brighter Futures Maths Diagnostic Assessments are FREE and available for Grade 8-12. These are 1-1.5hr assessments that cover the maths concepts covered over the last few grades. Once completed, learners receive a detailed report in minutes via email that breaks down every maths section assessed with a corresponding percentage score. Parents, teachers and learners themselves can use this report to target their interventions and ensure no child falls behind.

For any questions about the Maths Diagnostic Assessments – please email us at info@brighterfuture.co.za

Good luck to our Maths learners this year – we are here to support you.

Some amazing FREE resources and webinars to join this month

By | Coding, Coronavirus, Diagnostic assessment, Maths, Microsoft MTA, South Africa shutdown, Tutoring | No Comments

Some amazing FREE resources and webinars to join this month

At Brighter Futures we are planning the following to help you keep abreast of the 4iR and your maths academics:

  1. Free maths diagnostic assessments

    Free maths diagnostic assessments with support resources for Grade 8-12 learners. A Term 1, Term 2 and Term 3 assessment will be available online from 13 April onwards so every learner can see if they are on track or where their weak areas are that need extra support. After completing the diagnostic, learners will receive a detailed report that breaks down (1) their mark for each maths section (2) where they need to improve (3) some additional free resources to support their next steps.

    Hopefully this information will keep our teens from their TV screens a little longer 🙂. To request access – click here.

  2. Free Excel Masterclass Webinar – Wed 22 Apr

    We will be hosting a free Excel Masterclass via Webinar on Wednesday 22 April from 2-4pm for those wanting to use the time at home to upskill themselves for their future work and career.

    We’ll be covering some of the following:

    • Manipulating worksheet data, searching worksheet data and modifying Rows and columns.
    • Using functions to calculate data in a worksheet.
    • Filtering, sorting and analysing data using slicers.
    • Presenting data using pivot tables and charts
    • Using and creating Macros and VBA
    • and more…

    Spaces are limited to 30. To book your spot – click here.

  3. Free Intro to Coding Masterclass – Sat 2 May

    We will be hosting a free Intro to Coding Masterclass via Webinar on Saturday 2 May from 2-4pm for those wanting to use the time at home to upskill themselves to be ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

    We’ll be covering some of the following:

    • How programming works, the logic and framework
    • Introduce the programming steps in order to create a basic mobile app
    • The benefits of programming and what it enables you to do…
    • and more…

    Spaces are limited to 30. To book your spot – click here.


We hope to see you (virtually) soon!

How to stay sane in the Covid-19 Lockdown

By | Business, Coronavirus, South Africa shutdown, Tutoring | No Comments

How to stay sane in the Covid-19 Lockdown

I assume you’re feeling just as worried and uncertain about how things will roll-out as I am. As a mother of 2 younger children – balancing running a company alongside keeping my kids fed, occupied and minimising screen-time – leaves me feeling frazzled at the end of the day. 

So what should we be doing? What’s going to happen? 

I don’t have the answers, but some things I feel fairly certain about: 

    • Shops should get their stock levels right again in a week or so, even if it means limiting people’s bulk buying. Once the shock of lockdown reduces – grocery stores will better predict their stock needs. We saw this happening after the initial shut-down. Let’s not panic.  
    • Schools are unlikely to go back on 14 April as announced last week. We’re thinking the best outcome is May or June, and June holidays will be used as catch-up time. This means finding solutions that keep your kids learning remotely while not requiring too much from you, the parent, is going to be key. A number of free resources and links are included below – each of them vetted by us as appropriate and enriching.  
    • Our kids will be bored at home – and that’s ok. If they have siblings, here is the time for collaborative projects around the house and innovative problem solving – building those 4iR skills we keep on hearing about. Screen-time can be the reward, not the entitlement. 
    • Screens are also ok, just try to limit them somewhat. We’re all stressed and feeling the looming cabin-fever that’s almost here. Some good ‘ol escapist tv or games is understandable.
    • Exercise will be tough to achieve. Why not do a group exercise class using Youtube every morning with your teenage kids? Google “20 minute workout” or “30 minute yoga” and you’ll be amazed at the choice. 




It’s not going to be easy, but this lockdown will become the new normal eventually. Let’s look for the silver linings – like more family time, less traffic and a general slowing down of life – so that we’re not drowning in the negatives. Bill Gates has some really great insights here to hopefully inspire you….read more

Stay safe and warm. 

Joanne – MD Brighter Futures

Free resources across the curriculum: 

  • This Google Doc has a really extensive list of maths, science, technology, music/arts, virtual tours (museums, zoos etc), mind/body links. It’s US based, so check the ages to make sure it’s the right level for your teenagers.  
  • Mindset Learn – is a great bank of SA aligned videos and resources for all subjects and grades.   
  • Google Arts and Culture – really amazing neverending educational videos on topics ranging from our universe to Kenyan superheroes. Check it out.
  • Ted-Ed – very inspiring videos on all subjects 

Free Maths resources 

  • Brighter Futures maths resources – past papers for all grades, worksheets, plus Gr10-12 videos on the entire curriculum, along with a maths book with tons of extra practice questions. 
  • www.siyavula.com – CAPS and IEB aligned with 1000’s of free exam-level questions for Gr8-12s, with immediate feedback whether your answer is correct or not, with a detailed memo
  • www.khanacademy.com – fantastic videos, worksheets and quizzes for all Grades R-12. The content is not SA curriculum aligned, but mostly US Maths and SA Maths is the same.
  • Math is fun: great interactive questions, with animations. 
  • iPractice maths: great worksheets and interactive questions for all grades

Free coding resources

  • https://code.org/ – why not get your kids to learn basic coding while they’re cooped up at home. This is a skill that will help them become more employable after high school. 
  • Minecraft education – really great way to learn block-based basic coding while solving problems along the way. 

Free STEM resources

  • Learn Genetics – if you’re interested in genetics and biology, this site lets you explore and learn via video and interactive lessons. 
  • STEM simulations: really great simulations in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). 


Covid-19 response

By | Business, Coronavirus, South Africa shutdown, Tutoring | No Comments

How to stay sane in Covid-19 times?

Parents are feeling scared and uncertain about what to do in this pandemic. In terms of Maslows Hierarchy of needs – we first want to ensure we can feed our families – hence the panic buying and stock-outs of non-perishables. That’s also our way of feeling a little more in control. One proactive thing we can do.

But the questions around our jobs and our kids schooling – those are much harder to manage with retail therapy.

Working from home with little or big kids self isolating is a challenge to say the least. Firstly, maintaining productivity and motivation without the connection and bouncing of ideas we get from colleagues. Virtual meeting rooms don’t quite give the same experience. A mix of group meetings via video platforms like Microsoft’s Teams, Google Meet or Cisco’s Webex combined with individual phone calls to get the deeper connections we need as humans seems to be working  for us at Brighter Futures. Combined with cloud-based working – so that all team members can work together on one document and see each other’s changes in real-time – feels more collaborative.

Secondly balancing home and kid demands along with work demands is a tight-rope walk for sure. Parents with teenagers are luckier – but you’re still likely asking yourself whether your kids are getting outside enough, connecting with friends enough, doing something productive enough besides just binge-watching TV or game-consols.

Schooling questions are tough. On the one hand it’s supposed to be holidays for most of us now anyway. But we’re not able to go away or go out – which means kids are home spending way too much time in front of screens, especially since many of us are balancing working from home along with parenting. For those who have moved onto virtual classrooms with your schools – the experience is obviously not as satisfying as the physical experience – leaving you feeling concerned about how kids will keep up.

Let’s give ourselves a break. It’s ok for your kids to escape a bit into the world of digital entertainment more than they should – quite frankly we’d all love to as well. If this shutdown continues – we’ll find our groove, our schedule, our mix of entertainment vs productivity. It’s more fluid. Not a definite start and end time to work or school like we’re used to. But we have time to figure it out, what works for our individual family.

As Bill Gates said in his lovely article – “this too shall pass”.

At Brighter Futures – we’ll be sending out a weekly digest with relevant resources (for your kids) and articles (for you) that our team have pulled together. Watch this space and hang in there. You’re doing all that you can.

The Future of Work – Alan Hosking of HR Future Magazine

By | Business, Career guidance, Coding, Computer Science, Programming, Tutoring | 3 Comments


According to the World Bank Report on Digital Skills in Sub Saharan Africa, the demand for ICT skills is expected to grow in the region at a faster rate than other global markets. They further cite socio-behavioural skills as a priority for a future workforce.

Joanne Brink, CEO of Brighter Futures interviews Alan Hosking on the scarcity of ICT skills in the South African workplace. A tech-savvy ex-teacher, with decades of experience in the human capital industry, Alan sheds light on the way forward to bridge the skills gap which is crippling businesses, with opportunities to tackle existing youth unemployment, and importantly protect the jobs of people who have a likely consequence of redundancy given rapidly evolving AI technology.


ALAN: As ICT industry commentator Adrian Schofield says, we have to fix the education system and provide education to build a foundation and open the eyes of the youth to the opportunities in the digital world. 

So, President Ramaphosa’s suggestion is indeed valid and a step in the right direction, but I predict the Department of Education’s solution will fall short of what industry really needs, and even if it addresses the gaps, it will take decades to implement across the system. Parents can therefore not afford to wait until government has a solution in place. They need to take responsibility for their children’s education by seeking out online and classroom tuition solutions that can give their children a head-start.

To address the existing problem in the workplace, companies should identify and “upskill” existing at-risk-employees who, with the emergence of AI and other technology, will very likely become redundant. Offering ICT skills to appropriately selected candidates can address the more pressing needs in the present as well as prepare employees for future career path shifts.


ALAN: Generally speaking, there’s not so much a shortage of jobs in the ICT sector as there is a shortage of skills – hence the “war for talent” of which people speak. It is suggested that 5 000 immigrants are taking up jobs in the ICT sector in South Africa and companies are finding themselves with inhibited economic growth as a result of the ICT skills shortage. We need programmes like the Brighter Futures Coding Cafe to fast-track our youth into the growing number of un-filled programming jobs across the globe. In the US alone over one million coding jobs are unfilled.  

There is also a significant opportunity for unemployed young graduates to become part of the ICT education solution. With little investment in upskilling, they can become ICT tutors and teachers in schools. Imagine the kick-start this could give to ICT education!

Because of the rapid pace of innovation and disruption, learning from the past is no longer enough. We now also need to learn from the future. This presents a further opportunity for youth to contribute to a world in which our youth, along with innovators and global forerunners, are the best source of future trends. Companies should therefore deliberately engage with the youth to uncover infinite unexplored possibilities for their businesses in the future. I have been encouraging forward thinking companies to introduce co-mentoring where seasoned mentors are paired with younger co-mentors. This facilitates a mutual exchange of ideas and insights, which leads to futuristic thinking.


ALAN: Online learning has a valuable role to play in terms of just-in-time, anywhere/anytime learning, but it is largely limited to providing information only. Classroom learning, however, particularly with regard to young people, offers much more in terms of an emotional connection between the learners and the facilitator. Collaboration, critical thinking, decision making, leadership, teamwork, reflection and problem solving are cited as critical skills for the future. These so-called “soft skills” cannot however be learned as effectively online. In addition, classroom tuition facilitates socialisation, which can be used to create focus and nurture collective consciousness. The same can be said for adult learning.

In conclusion; the eternal, universal methods of teaching children that have worked for thousands of years should not be abandoned in the quest to expedite ICT skills development, but what, how and when we learn has to evolve to the next level. The tragedy is that it is unlikely that the education system will get there early enough. 

Joanne Brink is the founder and CEO of Brighter Futures (www.brighterfuture.co.za). Together with university students & graduates employed as tutors and centre managers, Brighter Futures offers Microsoft certified programmes at their Coding Cafes in 25+ school centres in the Gauteng region with a growing footprint. The Coding Cafe offering has emerged as a result of their success in maths tuition, with parents, teachers and learners in awe of the difference they have made in the lives of those they have engaged with.

Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine (www.hrfuture.net), which prepares people and companies for the future of work. He is a leadership development expert who specialises in developing leaders of all ages to reboot their leadership skills for the future. His company, Osgard, is an authorised reseller for a world-first Artificial Intelligence technology that digitises human expertise. In 2018, Alan was named by US web site Disruptordaily.com as one of the “Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter”.  

You gave our children reason to dream..

By | Computer Science, Microsoft MTA, Programming, Tutoring | No Comments

From Monica Kenneth, parent of Masechaba (Gr 8) and Thabo (Gr 9) at Uitsig High School

“Morning, my deepest and sincere appreciation to you Agi, you’ve been everything we’ve never been to our children, u gave our children reason to dream and to achieve those dreams, you really empowered our kids and we are really grateful. They’ve made it to the next grade and thanks to you, all your hard work and dedication didn’t go in vain. Looking forward to start a new year with a bañg and having you by their side, we are certain that victory is ours. Have a blessed , merry and prosperous Xmas and New year in advance. Monica”

Thanks to Pie City for their Spring School sponsorship!

By | Holiday programmes, Maths, Tutoring | No Comments


Big shout out to Pie City for sponsoring their yummy protein-packed pie lunches each day at our recent #SpringSchool2019.

We had more than 150 learners from over 150 different schools attending. Learners wrote a pre- and -post diagnostic test and showed an average improvement of 17.5%! Well done to all our tutors and participants for showing us how much fun maths can be!

Thanks also to our partner schools for hosting: McAuley House SchoolHoerskool BirchleighCurro Thatchfield Independent SchoolSt Francis College, Benoni 

Maths Spring School – 23-27 September

By | Holiday programmes, Maths, Tutoring | No Comments


#Springschool2019 was AMAZING!! we had motivational talks, exam tips, leadership activities and of course tons and tons of #maths.

Our motivational discussions allowed learners to share what #success means to them. Such #motivational insights from our Gr8-12 learners. @Lesedi Kekana from Hoërskool Birchleigh says “I feel mentally ready” to write my exams now! Thanks to Chicks Radise for a confidence-building session.

Big shout out to Pie City for sponsoring their yummy protein-packed pie lunches each day!
Thanks also to our partner schools for hosting: McAuley House SchoolHoerskool BirchleighCurro Thatchfield Independent SchoolSt Francis College, Benoni 

Maths Winter School – 18-21 June

By | Holiday programmes, Maths, Tutoring | No Comments

It is that exciting time again when Brighter Futures offer pure maths kids a comprehensive holiday programme designed to prepare them for the 21st century. We want to help you achieve your maths dream mark in a fun way – we know we can!

The details:
The Winter School will address term 1-2 key topics. A consolidation of term 1-2 content will lay the necessary foundation for term 3 work. Remember, the build up to the year end mark has already begun! Should you be in need of more information, email us on info@brighterfuture.co.za. Alternatively you can reach us on 087 805 2600 or whatsapp 063 692 2483.

Be part of the 21st Century success by joining this maths Winter School. Not to be missed!