From the head's desk: 26 November 2021

Deanne King

The uncertainty of the future is balanced by the certainty of the rhythm dictated by the school calendar and the seasons. The end of this school year has arrived with the successful completion of examinations, the sounds of the children preparing for carol services and the planning of final events for the year. We have endured a difficult year and the St Mary’s community has been acutely aware of the challenges of educational and health inequality in South Africa, social justice and psychological well-being. There is, however, a sense of gratitude in our community for our school environment and the education that our children receive.

The environment has a significant role to play in education and its influence is one of the pillars of the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy. For many years we have wanted to enhance the Pitt Block and upgrade what the building offers to learning and teaching at St Mary’s. Finally, these ideas and the project has found traction with the appointment of architects. I am pleased to announce that, after a lengthy and detailed process, the school has appointed Rebel Base Collective to design a new learning space for St Mary’s that will connect the Junior and Senior Schools physically and offer flexible learning spaces.

Financial planning to support this project has been ongoing for several years. I am grateful for the prudent way the Board, and specifically fincom and Maryanne Lansdown have managed the finances of the school. The Board bid farewell to Alan Pullinger this month as he stepped away from fincom and the St Mary’s Board after seven years of service to our school. Alan’s decision was made in the light of governance awareness given that FirstRand executives are well represented on our Board. We are grateful to Alan for sharing his time and expertise so generously to ensure that St Mary’s is in a sound financial position for the future.

Lovelyn Nwadeyi of L&N Advisors has completed her diversity learning programme for management, teachers and pupils at St Mary’s.Workshops and sessions have run throughout the year, including parent webinars. The L&N Advisors programme was step three in the process that began in 2020 with the Orleyn investigation and report, followed by the Mandate Molefi survey on transformation and diversity. I am expecting a report from L&N Advisors which will be shared with our community.

The school year will end with our first quad travelling to Port Alfred to participate in the annual South African Schools’ Boat Race. I wish them well as they tackle the challenge of the Kowie River against other competitive teams.

As we close for the festive season holiday, I wish all our families a blessed Christmas and treasured time with family and friends.


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