A South African school making a world of difference

Dr Tim Nuttall. (Supplied)

Dr Tim Nuttall. (Supplied)

St Stithians College consists of five schools in one village; the campus spans 105 hectares within the leafy surrounds of Johannesburg. 

These schools include: Junior Preparatory, Boys’ Preparatory and Girls’ Preparatory; Boys’ College and Girls’ College, as well as the Kamoka Bush School situated in the Waterberg, which provides an outdoor education facility.

“Our five schools boast a strong and rich character that has inspired generations of pupils,” says Dr Tim Nuttall, rector of St Stithians. “Girls and boys interact socially and study together on certain programmes in our Synergy Model, which includes structured interactions and informal interactions on our campus. We believe this is critical in preparing our pupils for adult life.”

The school is one of the biggest in the country with more than 2600 students. It is a vibrant and exciting school and a significant player on the educational landscape, affording pupils, teachers and parents the opportunity to become actively engaged in giving back to the community.

“We strive to offer education that builds strong character and strong leadership focus,” says Nuttall. “We are a Methodist school with an emphasis on Christian spirituality as a basis for school life and this flows out into our engagement with the wider society. We embrace the philosophy of servant leadership and place a strong emphasis on holistic education.”

St Stithians has an impressive academic programme and is affiliated to the Independent Examinations Board. Students are offered the tools they need for a well-rounded education, including excellent sports and cultural programmes and a strong affiliation to the Round Square organisation, an international association of schools that make a commitment to personal development and responsibility.

Extending help to communities

One such commitment turned into a successful reality is the Thandulwazi Academy, which began as a Saturday school programme in the 1990s and evolved over the past six years to become an extraordinary platform for education and community support.

“We see this almost as our seventh school,” says Nuttall. “It attracts 1000 students onto the campus every Saturday from grade 10 to grade 12 and we invite applications from schools across the greater Johannesburg area. 

“The students register for enrichment classes in maths, science and English and are given access to an impressive programme that enhances their ability to succeed in their matric exams.”

The academy offers these additional lessons free of charge to more than 160 different schools in the community, keeping track of the students and celebrating their successes. The teachers at Thandulwazi Academy are sourced from both St Stithians and other independent schools around Johannesburg. 

The programme is available 33 Saturdays of the year and uses a well-established programme for maths, science and English. The college also hosts career days for the students providing opportunities for exploring a diverse range of careers.

“Many pupils attending this academy are from disadvantaged backgrounds and see this as a chance to gain an educational advantage,” says Nuttall. “We also have a teacher development programme called Thandulwazi Rokunda, which brings 1100 teachers from Foundation Phase to grade 9 onto the campus for 11 Saturdays of the year. 

“This provides teachers with education enrichment opportunities assisting the development of their abilities and talents.”

The St Stithians students are also required to engage with community programmes and significant partnerships exist with other schools, such as Ivory Park and the Vuleka Schools Programme. 

“St Stithians is a school focused on excellence in academic achievement as well as personal development, and ensures that the staff and students walk this talk and live the philosophy of ‘A South African School making a world of difference’.”

This article has been paid for by the Mail & Gaurdian’s advertisers. The contents of the supplement was developed in conjunction with and signed off by the Mail & Gaurdian’s advertisers.