A St Andrew’s College education is a transformative experience

St Andrew's College is an Anglican boys’ boarding school in Makhanda

St Andrew’s College creates a space where every boy will be able to find and celebrate his own giftedness, and flourish.
St Andrew’s College creates a space where every boy will be able to find and celebrate his own giftedness, and flourish.
Image: Supplied/St Andrew’s College

Lockdown created an opportunity for St Andrew’s College staff and pupils to develop online methodologies and fully use IT as a tool of learning. It took commitment from the St Andrew’s College and DSG academic staff to make such a success of it. 

“Great schools are not about things (not even computers), they are about people, and we acknowledge the incredible people who make up the staff of the college. We acknowledge the academic staff, the house staff, the cleaners and gardeners, the chefs and kitchen staff, drivers, admin staff and maintenance staff, who together give so much to create a positive learning environment where our boys may find their giftedness and flourish,” says the headmaster Alan Thompson.

St Andrew’s College is an Anglican boys’ boarding school that enjoys a close relationship with its sister school, the Diocesan School for Girls, making Makhanda (former Grahamstown) an ideal family boarding school environment.

The school provides an outstanding educational experience with a richness to its curriculum that allows boys to grow academically through the IEB (Independent Examinations Board) and Cambridge A-level curriculum in an inclusive, supportive environment. 

With a legacy of more than 165 years, its strong sense of tradition anchors the school to the vision and values of its founders. While respecting that heritage, the school is a distinctly modern, progressive and innovative space where boys are continually challenged to give of their best.

As a leading school in the field of positive education, St Andrew’s College works hard to create a space where every boy will be able to find and celebrate his own giftedness, and flourish. The competitive sporting curriculum and rich cultural and musical experience are all informed by the principles of giving of one’s best, incremental growth, and enjoying the moment. 

The boys are passionate about their school and their love for the college is genuine and noticeable. The school works hard to create an environment that is free from a sense of entitlement and pretension. The school motto Nec Aspera Terrent (Difficulties Do Not Dismay Us) is written into the heart of each boy, and the character traits of tenacity, perseverance and endurance.

St Andrew’s College is a proudly SA Christian school. The school is engaged and active in the community to ensure that its learner gain an understanding of the complexities of SA.

As a leading boys’ boarding school, intake is from the Eastern Cape and the rest of SA, as well as other countries including Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, the UK and Hong Kong. 

St Andrew’s College headmaster’s 2020 Speech Day report

One of my favourite drives is the route from Graaff-Reinet to Bedford in the Eastern Cape. I am struck by its vastness, its beautiful vistas of quintessential terrain. Aloe-dotted, rolling hills of incredible biodiversity provide a multitude of changing vistas as one transitions from the dusty Karoo towards Bedford and then on to the pristine coastline. Most striking of all for me are the big skies and wide, open spaces.

And how odd that when we think of landscapes we tend to imagine them as places of nothingness, as if the richness of nature and the beauty of God’s creation has no meaning without clustered humanity being the centre of attention. And so, rather than imagining a landscape as an empty vista, I imagine it as rich and full. Not simply a thing of beauty, but of function and meaning. If we stop to listen to it, it has many lessons to teach. 

And, similarly, if we were to imagine 2020 as a year of missed opportunity where so much never happened, we would lose the chance to reflect on how much actually has happened, what an incredible year it has been and what we have been able to achieve. These are our times and these are our moments – we chose not our place in history, history has chosen us. 

And when times are easy we have the privilege of being able to take it easy and enjoy the ride. But it is in the tough times that the true mettle of a person’s character is tested, and I can say without any doubt that the community of St Andrew’s College can hold its head up high and celebrate that which we have been able to make from that which we had.  

Far from an empty landscape, 2020 has provided some incredible opportunities for learning and growth. It has, if nothing else, been a teacher of many lessons. I have learned from 2020 that, while self-reliance is a good thing, being able to rely on others and having a strong team of support is better. 

I have learned that routine is comfortable, but in disruption comes great opportunity to try new things, to discover different ways of doing things, and not be scared of failure. 

I have learned that, however bad I think I have it, there are many others who suffer more than I do, and I am called to find ways of being a positive contributor to my community,

I have learned that, when events seem too complex to manage, a focus on the small things will carry you through. And that in the absence of a guiding precedent, turning to core values provides the guidance we need to get to the other side. 

And I have learned to never take anything for granted - to savour each moment that I have the privilege of living the Andrean life.”

For more information, visit the St Andrew's College website.

This article was paid for by St Andrew's College.


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