Before the turn of this century, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Kokstad had a burning desire to both meet a need in the community and evangelise and disciple youngsters. The means God chose was to establish a Christian school that would meet the need for schooling children from low-income families while incorporating the Scriptures and the Gospel into every aspect of the school. That desire birthed Crystal Springs Christian Academy in January of 2002
The school struggled in a number of ways in those early days. Under new pastoral leadership the curriculum and methods of teaching changed in about 2006 to ACE. That helped the school to grow to the point of needing to increase our classroom capacity.
In 2009 an opportunity opened for the church to purchase a private school that was situated a few kilometres out of town. The school was named Rivermead Preparatory School, and it had ample classroom space as well as facilities to accommodate hostel children. There was also office space available and enough land to develop sporting facilities. That is the time that the school’s name changed to Rivermead Christian Academy.
An additional benefit of the school’s purchase by First Baptist Church is that many children were protected from false and ungodly teaching. Not long before the church’s purchase of the school, it had been bought by members of a false religion. They were not meeting their contractual obligations and were forced (by the Lord) to give up the school.
The combination of a more remote location and a curriculum that was difficult to market in the community eventually led to falling numbers of learners. In 2012 the decision was made to move the school back to the church property in town. The subsequent sale of the property allowed the school to acquire more buildings to provide for more learners. Shortly after the move we changed to the CAPS curriculum to align more closely with the government curriculum while still keeping Scripture and the Gospel central to everything taught. These actions allowed for more efficient access and marketing, and in the years since we have generally seen consistent growth in the number of learners.
Another area of growth that the Lord has brought about over the years is in the staff. In the early days of the school very few of the staff were qualified teachers and the number of staff was quite small. The school has always had people who loved the Lord and were dedicated to serving Him at the school, but as the years have passed the number of staff members has increased and the percentage of those with full qualifications or studying has also increased.