SDU’s Covid-19 Statement of Support

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are aware that school closures, loss of income, food insecurity, confinement and psychological distress will have serious consequences for all South Africans. As a university-based unit and education stakeholder, the SDU has a significant role to play in supporting our partners across the sector, particularly within the under-resourced and under-served communities in which we work. 

To this end, we at the Schools Development Unit, have undertaken to focus our plans and strategies on providing context-relevant psychosocial and educational support as we endeavour to assist principals and teachers in their efforts to deliver quality education.  

The Schools Development Unit was established in 2000 with the goal of improving teaching and learning in the South African school system. As a unit in the University’s School of Education it draws on academic teaching and research expertise to help tackle the systemic and structural challenges that blight our education landscape, and manifest in poor or inadequate teaching and learning. Through teacher development, schools-based interventions, professional consulting services and dynamic materials, the SDU works to close the achievement gap between well-resourced and disadvantaged schools.

While based in the Cape Town Metropole, we work across all eight education districts in the Western Cape as well as in the Northern Cape. Our reach extends to work across all grades and phases of formal schooling and a range of interventions which vary from working in individual schools to spanning the entire Western Cape.

Our guiding principles

  • What happens in schools can and does make a difference
  • Teachers have the most significant positive impact on schooling outcomes, especially in poor communities
  • Developing teacher expertise means sustainable learner development over generations
  • School leadership & management is crucial to learner and school success

 Schools Wellness Centre, Schools Improvement Initiative. A longer, more detailed clip can be viewed on YouTube. Credit: Prof Martin Hall,;