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Miding the gap - Matric to international universities


South African matriculants who wish to study at universities overseas will be able to enroll in a bridging programme, for international universities, as of January 2021. Reddam House is the first and only local educational institution to offer the International Foundation Year (IFY) - a modular bridging course between a matric qualification and the first year of an international university. 

The partnership is between Inspired Education’s Reddam House and Northern Consortium UK (NCUK) – a consortium of leading UK universities dedicated to providing international students with guaranteed access to universities and helping them succeed when they get there. 

Other schools under the umbrella of Inspired Education in Africa offering the IFY, includes Brookhouse in Kenya having done so for over a decade.

The qualification is designed with university partners and students are taught in small classes, in their own country, before beginning their undergraduate course.

Sheena Crawford-Kempster, MD  of Reddam House says, ‘Even though we offer an internationally respected curriculum up to matric level, an additional foundation qualification affords students a valuable bridge during the seven months prior to studies in the northern hemisphere. Should a student pass the course, they are guaranteed a place at an NCUK affiliated university.

‘The cornerstone of our schools’ education is to ensure that students are adequately equipped to meet life’s challenges in a globally competitive world. We are proud to partner with NCUK to take that one step further by offering a syllabus to mind the gap between matric and the first year of university study.

‘The IFY bridging course will initially be offered on site at Reddam House Constantia in Cape Town and Waterfall in Gauteng. Both campuses are well-located to serve the main metropolitan population and we will welcome our first students in January 2021’.

To be accepted for the IFY course at Reddam, students require a National Senior School Certificate (Awarded by State or IEB).

The UK university year begins in September, which is ideal for South African matriculants who receive their matric results at the beginning of January. The IFY bridging course is seven months - from January to July, ending prior to commencing studies in the UK in September.

Successful candidates are guaranteed entry to a group of universities in the UK, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

NCUK’s CEO, Professor John Brewer says, ‘NCUK has been establishing education partnerships since 1987 and these have led to tens of thousands of success stories amongst our Alumni.  This partnership is an extension of NCUK’s provision within Africa, which has been in place for over 16 years and we are very much looking forward to welcoming ambitious and talented students from across South Africa onto our NCUK programmes and ultimately to our partner universities around the world.’

‘Reddam House demonstrates all of the crucial attributes that NCUK demands from any partnership: Quality education in an optimal learning environment for students which will guarantee access to over 4 000 degrees across the global NCUK University network.

‘We recruit students from over 100 nationalities each year and 90% get into their first choice university. Since 1987, NCUK has helped over 30 000 international students gain access to leading universities and we are extremely proud of our track record.’

NCUK offers excellent student integration support and prospective students are able to interact with current and previous students.  The list of student testimonials is long and from all over the world. Closer to home, two testimonials say it all.

Nigerian, Ayomikun Sonuga who studied a BA (Hons) in Communications and Media at the University of Leeds, says, ‘NCUK is fantastic! Studying abroad has exposed me to various types of cultures and enabled me to become more independent.’

Kenyan, James Kairu Kneya, MEng (Hons)  Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol.

‘The greatest achievement I’ve had would be receiving my NCUK results.  This opened doors for a whole new myriad of opportunities, beginning with university.’

rawford-Kempster says, ‘It’s our first year of offering NCUK and we anticipate an intake of around 20 students, which means subject modules will be limited. At this stage there is a great deal of flexibility, as NCUK  insists that there are minimum figures, per academic module, to enable students to enjoy a positive learning environment with good levels of peer-to-peer interaction.

‘The minimum requirement is score of 5.0 in The International English language Testing System (IELTS),’ explains Crawford- Kempster. ‘The vast majority of students will have achieved this so we are looking to implement English for Academic Purposes for Proficient Users (EAPPU) which will further develop a student’s academic English while providing  them with the proficiency in English Certificate required for visa purposes. Students can demonstrate this equivalency in a number of ways but an online test, taken at Reddam, can be used to determine this, giving students an almost immediate result and at a very low cost – this streamlining the enrolment process’.

Crawford-Kempster says there are ‘discussions to introduce a pure science route for Medicine and Medical Sciences’.

Teachers will be externally approved by NCUK, based on their academic qualifications and teaching experience. Training and support will be provided between NCUK academics and Reddam House colleagues, if required.

Scholarships are exclusively available for enrolled NCUK students across the network. Some are based on academic merit, others are automatic. Full guidance and support, with applications, will be provided by NCUK’s Student Support Team during a student’s time on the IFY.

Reddam will be hosting info-webinars for interested students, parents, school heads and counsellors. For further information contact: or go to

Reddam House is a proud member of Inspired, a leading global premium schools group operating in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, educating over

45 000 students across a global network of more than 64 schools. It is a co-educational, non-denominational, independent schools group designed to inspire students to achieve their maximum potential in a nurturing, progressive academic environment from ages 1 to 18. Reddam House offers a fresh and contemporary approach to education. A new partnership with NCUK, is a valuable extension to the current offering. It is open to students from any school to enroll in a seven-month bridging programme to facilitate a smooth transition to study at an International university. For more information go to: