The Diocesan School for Girls - Preparing Women for the 21st Century

Private Property South Africa
Claire Fraser

"I loved going to school at DSG. I got to mix with people from all sorts of different backgrounds – there was never a dull moment. I was always busy, having fun and learning new things." Poppy Ntshongwana, 5FM DJ and DSG Old Girl.

The small town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape is the home of the DSG. Its wide streets, beautiful architecture and majestic cathedral all embody the deep sense of history and cultural significance so important to the atmosphere of this academic town.

Women in the 21st century have choices and options available to them that no other generation has had. At the DSG, we acknowledge these changes and recognize that the modern school needs to prepare girls for a rapidly changing society. Our aim is to develop dynamic women who have the ambition to play a meaningful role in society.

The DSG is an Anglican school and strives to provide a framework within which our girls are supported, guided and counselled during the process of maturing into adults. Our ‘safety net of care’ envelops all the girls and prevents any from ‘falling through the gaps’ in an increasingly challenging modern society.

DSG enjoys a unique relationship with its contiguous brother school, St Andrew’s College, and with the nearby St Andrew’s Preparatory School. The proximity of the Schools helps facilitate close cooperation and an energetic synergy. Girls are accepted, along with boys, at the pre-primary school from the age of three, after which they move to St Andrew’s Prep for the foundation phase of their education (Grade 1 to 3). At the start of their Grade 4 year, the girls transfer to the DSG campus where they remain for the duration of their schooling.

From Grade 10, DSG girls and St Andrew’s College boys share all academic classes and there is also co-operation across the full spectrum of extra-curricular activities. The main advantage of this structure is that all aspects of developmental, social and educational needs are considered and our girls can experience the advantages of both single-sex and co-educational systems.

Our proud record of academic achievement, spanning over 130 years, gives credence to our determination to provide the best possible education. Our teachers, energetic, enthusiastic and highly qualified, are at the cutting edge of new developments in all fields of education. Every girl is allowed to develop to her full potential in small classes with a favourable teacher to pupil ratio.

The DSG and St Andrew’s College were among the first schools in the country to incorporate Design and Technology into the academic curriculum. The schools share a magnificent Design and Technology Centre which is recognised as one of the finest in the Southern Hemisphere. Projects undertaken include architecture, interior design, fashion and jewellery design, electronics, robotics and technological and product design. Students also explore the intricacies of metalwork and welding, woodwork, plastics, graphics, photography and ceramics.

DSG and St Andrew’s College recently developed a Mathematics Centre to give pupils all the tools needed to understand Mathematics. It is a welcoming place in which mental blocks so often associated with the subject are overcome.

The DSG, with St Andrew’s College, is one of only four South African schools which offers the prestigious Rhodes scholarship for post-graduate study at Oxford University.

Sport plays a key role in the lives of girls at the DSG. Modern women take sport seriously and those DSG girls who aspire to the highest levels of achievement are given every opportunity to realize their goals. We are always competitive at inter-school level and our girls are regularly selected for Provincial teams.

The fine art, music, drama and dance departments are busy, vibrant centres with an atmosphere where freedom of creative expression is encouraged. Music concerts are held regularly, House and School theatrical productions are staged at least once a year and participation in Eisteddfods and festivals is encouraged. Grahamstown is, of course, also home to the National Arts and Jazz festivals and SciFest.

At the DSG, we focus extensively on enriching the lives of our girls with activities that exceed the accepted boundaries of a school’s responsibility. Highly enjoyable Outdoor Educational programmes are organised for all grades and are designed to challenge the girls both physically and mentally.

DSG Junior

While all facilities are available to the Junior School girls, The DSG Junior School operates largely autonomously and is tucked away in its own corner of the DSG campus.

Small classes enable teachers to interact closely with the girls to lay solid foundations in an environment that fosters creative thinking and enthusiasm. In addition to the all-important core subjects, girls also have lessons in a broader range of topics such as Art, Design and Technology and Information Technology. Most potential learning difficulties are easily rectified if detected early and thus a qualified remedial teacher is part of the full-time staff.

The Junior School has a full sports and cultural programme. Girls participate in a broad range of activities and DSG Junior girls are regular members of provincial teams. Music plays an important cultural role and many children learn to play instruments.

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