Message from the head of school - 18 January 2019

Welcome back to school! To our new families, a warm welcome to St Mary’s.

It is always reassuring to begin the year with the knowledge that the matric results of the previous year were excellent. I congratulate the class of 2018 on their achievement both as a group and as individuals. The bar has been raised by the class of 2018.

There has been much review and discussion in the media since the release of matric results, with many attempts to identify the contributing factors that create an environment of excellence. Most educational experts will agree that it is the organisation and functionality of a school that creates a context of effective teaching and learning. At St Mary’s, our teachers pay attention to time on task, preparation, detailed feedback and high expectations. In addition, knowledge of the individual pupils and good relationships with pupils also adds to academic success. The girls at St Mary’s excel because all facets of education are valued. These aspects include: foundational literacies (the application of core skills to everyday tasks); competencies (the way in which the girls approach complex challenges) and character qualities (how the girls approach their changing environment).

The celebration of matric results often focuses on the top candidates and we certainly are very proud of the girls who achieve excellence and mentions as top candidates nationally. We are also in a privileged position as a school where all our girls achieve enviable results. The celebrations of teachers, however, are often about the achievements of individuals who despite personal difficulties and learning barriers have overcome challenges to achieve bachelor’s degree passes. Worthwhile achievements also include those girls who have been fully involved in the co-curricular programme, which has demanded significant time and commitment over and above their studies and yet they excel academically.

I welcome the following teachers to St Mary’s and I look forward to the unique contribution that they will bring to our academic programme: Learning Facilitator, Ms Simone Braude; Life Sciences, Mr Michael Harvey; and History, Dr Fabio Zoia. I also take this opportunity to welcome Ms Zimkhitha Raolane back from maternity leave. Mr Themba Ndimande also takes on a new role as a member of the Project-based Learning team.

Another academic year promises our teachers and pupils an opportunity to collaborate and create a significant time of learning and an exciting year of possibility.

Deanne King

Head of School