St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls, which was originally known as St Etheldreda’s, was founded by Bishop Bousfield, the first Bishop of Pretoria, in 1879. Initially it was situated at No 279 Skinner Street, but after about 40 years, it moved to its present site in Hillcrest.
Formal education for women was not considered important in the 1880s. What had started as a school for the Bishop’s six young daughters, who were privately tutored in his home, “Bishopscote,” by Miss Elizabeth Dowling, the first headmistress, soon became too small for the 20 pupils who were on the register by 1886. A move was made to a house in Koch Street, but even those facilities became inadequate for the 75 pupils of 1889. It was then that land was bought in Skinner Street and St Etheldreda’s was built. The cost of the building was £1,500, of which only £300 was immediately available; the rest was raised by the Bishop and other friends of the School. By 1895, there were 138 pupils and nine academic members of staff.
The growth of the School was sadly stunted by the onslaught of war: the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 – 1902. In 1902 Bishop Bousfield died and all seemed lost. The Headmistress resigned, staff returned to England and only 25 pupils remained at St Etheldreda’s. The Education Department suggested that the school buildings might be used as a hostel for the newly-established Pretoria High School for Girls.
When Bishop William Carter was appointed second Bishop of Pretoria (1903-1909), he fervently opposed the absorbing of Church schools by the government. It was his inspiration that saved our school: he invited the Community of St Mary the Virgin from Wantage in England to take it over – and the Community accepted. However, they were not able to send Sisters to South Africa until September 1903, so for nine months Miss Grenfell kept the school going. Finally, the great day came when the first four Sisters arrived at Pretoria Station: 7 September 1903. A new era dawned, during which the school developed into an efficient and highly-regarded institution under the capable and loving guidance of the Sisters. Tribute, however, must be paid to those gallant Headmistresses who, for the previous 23 years, kept St Etheldreda’s afloat on the storm-tossed seas of national and educational turbulence. The name “St Etheldreda’s” was not heard after the war, and in time the School became known as “St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls” or the “DSG.”
The years that followed were filled with stories of growth. The School at Skinner Street was full to overflowing, much to the delight but also consternation of the third Bishop of Pretoria, Bishop Furse, and Sister Alice, who together dreamed of a “Promised Land” – somewhere where there was space to move and grow. The purchase and development of such a site, formerly a portion of the farm Hartebeestepoort belonging to Mr Frank Struben, was a journey of faith; a vision realised. From 1921, when the “Promised Land” was purchased, to 1926 when the foundation stone was laid, to 1928 when the new building was ready for occupation, the school grew from strength to strength. Countless generations of little girls (and boys until the 1950s) passed through the gates of the DSG on their way in life, shepherded by the firm, but loving nurturing of the Sisters, assisted by dedicated lay staff.
Sadly, the day came when the era of the Sisters of the Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV) drew to a close. Sunday 30 November 1975 will be remembered as a day of great thanksgiving for the 72 years of devoted service offered to the school by these women of faith. The Rev Hugh Brown took up the reins as Headmaster and guided St Mary’s DSG into a new era of growth and development. The celebration of the School’s centenary in 1979 was a joyful reminder of the importance of the Christian ethos that has inspired the “hearts of those who teach and those who learn” (Part of the School Prayer). The role of the Chaplain and the central position of the Chapel continue to give focus and opportunities for spiritual formation.
The year 2004 gave the School a further opportunity to celebrate: 125 years of the best that a holistic education has to offer!“That is the wonderful thing about our School. We will not leave DSG behind completely. It is like home: you do not always have to be there, but the knowledge that it will always be there is what really matters.” Mieke Botes: Head Girl 2002
VALUES AT ST MARY’S DSG
RESPECT FOR GOD and the spiritual traditions of the school
RESPECT FOR SELF
RESPECT FOR OTHERS
Means we support justice for all people
Built on the Christian (Anglican) faith, shared values, holistic excellence, and deep tradition…
St Mary’s DSG aims to empower confident yet humble women of Integrity and character to serve our nation and the world.
The values embraced by the girls, parents and staff of St Mary’s DSG include:
The school has a three-term year. Term dates vary from year to year, but are approximately as follows:
Term 1 - mid-January to early April
Term 2 - early May to early August
Term 3 - early September to early December
The academic day starts at 07:30 for all pupils. Extra-mural and sporting activities take place in the afternoons and on some Saturday mornings.
The School is divided into four Houses - St Andrew, St George, St David and St Patrick. Inter-House competitions take place in all sports as well as in other activities such as music, drama, public speaking and quizzes.
The Christian ethics espoused by the Bishop and Sisters from the outset have been handed down over the years and remain at the heart of our teaching philosophy, with daily acts of worship and chapel services co-ordinated by our resident Chaplain.
As an Anglican school, St Mary's aims to deepen an awareness of the love of God and to encourage spiritual growth. While girls of other denominations and faiths are welcome at St Mary's, all pupils are required to attend Divinity classes, daily acts of worship and certain other compulsory chapel services.
Voluntary services, including Mass, are celebrated regularly; these provide ample opportunity for girls to further their worship. The Sunday services are compulsory for boarders, but daygirls and parents are always welcome to attend.
The Chaplain prepares girls for confirmation. Girls are encouraged to participate actively in the worship. Many serve in other ways as sacristans, servers or choir members.
The School Prayer
Lord Jesus, Child of Bethlehem,
bless our school and all its members, past and present.
Be with us in our worship,
in our work and in our play.
Inspire the hearts of those who teach
and of those who learn;
train those who rule and those who obey,
that all may offer Thee the perfect service
which is worthy of Thy Love.
Who livest and reignest with the Father
and the Holy Spirit, ever one God,
world without end.
The Governing Body of St Mary's DSG (Pretoria), elected according to the Constitution of St Mary's DSG, is responsible for overall policy and strategy of the School, ensuring sound financial management which will further the objectives of the school as set out in the Constitution.
The Constitution is approved by the Synod of the Diocese of Pretoria of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
High priority is given to sound governance in accordance with the principles outlined in the King Reports.
The Governing Body meets 5 or 6 times a year. An Executive of the Governing Body is elected to manage the school on a daily basis and includes members responsible for Finance, Lands and Buildings, Marketing, Risk Management, Legal issues etc. Constitutionally the Governor's Executive, chaired by the duly elected Vice Chair of the Governing Body, is required to meet 8 times a year.
GOVERNING BODY 2021
|Chairman:||The Rt Revd Allan Kannemeyer|
|Vice-Chairman:||Mr Dion Shango|
|Governors:||Mrs Helen Buhrs|
|Mrs Ntsiki Gumbe|
|Rev Julian Kok|
|Mrs Zimasa Mabuse|
|Mr Tumisho Makofane|
|Mr Shawn Maphalla|
|Adv Lisle Mboweni|
|Mr Clayson Monyela|
|Mrs Olive Ndebele|
|Mrs Adelaide Ranape|
|Mr Mark Randall|
|Ms Vere Shaba|
|Ms Tiffany van Tonder|
Support and Counselling
The focus of our Wellness Centre is to oversee the emotional, physical, spiritual, health and therapeutic care of all our learners and teachers (Junior and Senior School). The group of professionals work closely together to provide a comprehensive counselling, referral and advisory service to the DSG community as a whole in order to create an optimal learning environment to our learners. As such we are dedicated to helping each individual, group or family who approaches us for support.
The Educational Psychology department consists of three educational psychologists, Mrs Seago Maapola, Mrs Riandie Marais and Ms Lesley King. We work closely together with parents, teachers and outside professionals to render an effective multi-disciplinary service. Mrs Christa de Villiers (as head of Life Orientation) supports the team with career guidance and university applications.
|Mrs Seago Maapolafirstname.lastname@example.org (Senior School)|
|Mrs Riandie Maraisemail@example.com (Junior School)|
|Ms Lesley Kingfirstname.lastname@example.org (Junior School)|
The Sanatorium is a very warm and cosy environment where our two qualified nursing sisters, Sr Lizl du Plessis and Sr Annika Scholtz, take care of the sick or injured girls. The girls are assessed and given medication with the appropriate consent from the parents. We take care of minor ailments like coughs and colds as well as more serious injuries such as broken arms.
We also work closely with parents, teachers and other professionals such as doctors, dentists, hospitals etc.
|Sr Lizl du Plessisemail@example.com|
|Sr Annika Scholtzfirstname.lastname@example.org|
St Mary's DSG is a Christian school of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) within the Diocese of Pretoria. The school aims to deepen an awareness of the love of God and to encourage spiritual growth. Faith is important in the life of the school and this is symbolised by the centrality of the chapel on the school campus.
Although St Mary's DSG is an Anglican school, girls from other denominations and faiths are welcomed and their convictions respected. Chapel attendance remains compulsory, with the Junior School girls attending Chapel Services on Wednesdays and Fridays and Senior School girls on Tuesdays and every second Thursday. Voluntary services including mass are celebrated regularly; these provide ample opportunity for girls and staff to further their worship. The Sunday services are compulsory for boarders but day girls and parents are welcomed to attend.
The two chaplain are:
Fr Leonard Nyakale. Email: email@example.com (Senior School)
Fr Vernon Foster. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Junior School)