The legacy of the Sisters of East Grinstead
The Sisters, through their discipline and frugality, manage to resuscitate the school. From the outset they make it known that the school will “suit the pockets of parents of limited means”, and yet they are not averse to appealing to these same parents for donations – “a pound weight of any food stuffs”, for instance.
To cut down on the costs of tuition, subjects so beloved of past generations become extra-curricular activities for which extra payment is required. These subjects include music, dancing, painting, (the well-known artist and sculptress, Irma Stern, teaches this for a time), Latin (a “dead” language) and Dutch (no longer considered very important in this British dominion). Many public schools in Great Britain still focus on the classics, particularly Greek and Latin, and the teaching of Science is forward-looking.
Despite the rather drab appearance of the classrooms, with their heavy wooden desks and grim monochrome walls, the girls are happy and secure and the education is of a high standard. Sister Geraldine, the headmistress for much of the time, has an MA from Oxford and the teachers are all (or nearly all) women with degrees.