14 December 2016 – The Saints Andrew’s boys are on holiday and most of the staff have left for their break too, but Headmaster Chris Thomas is yet to join his children for Christmas, so we sat down with him on Wednesday and asked him one thing: to give us his thoughts on 2016 at Saints.
He reviewed various aspects of the school, spoke about some of its successes, about staff, and also briefly looked ahead to 2017. His reply, in full, follows:
“Happy kids achieve”
“I think 2016 has been a very successful year. I’ll start by saying what I always say, I think the kids of this school are by and large happy. Happy kids achieve. One wants them to achieve academically first, but you want them to achieve in other fields too.”
“If one looks purely on results, we’ve had a very good academic year. Nobody in the high school failed. We hope that will be the case when the matric results come out as well.
“In sport, we more than held our own in local and national competition.
Saint Andrew’s Headmaster Chris Thomas delivers an address on Speech Day 2016
“Culturally, I think the school is in an incredibly good place. There are areas that we can improve, but the drama programme in both the senior and junior school is fantastic. The music programme has grown. I think there is still room for even more growth. Activities like chess are working really well, and debating, which is confined to the senior school, is doing very well. There are areas that can improve, but I am happy with matters.”
“I think the service initiatives in the school are particularly good too. We are going to have to examine what we are doing in various cases and see whether some of them don’t need rejigging or changing.
“For me, a highlight in terms of the community working together was the Spread the Love Sandwich Challenge. We made a whole lot of sarmies, but, perhaps more importantly, we had a whole lot of people involved in something who perhaps wouldn’t have been involved before this year. And the kids had a total blast and had a really good time making 30 000 sarmies.
“I am encouraged by the quality of staff that apply to the school. One doesn’t like to lose people, but that is an inevitability. For example, on one of the posts we could have appointed any one of the five on the shortlist quite comfortably. That’s encouraging. We are not scratching to find quality people to come into the school. We are getting good folk.
“I would say 95 percent of the children and their families in this school are very supportive and very committed and very involved.
Chaplain Deon Lombard and Headmaster Chris Thomas played an active role in supporting the CANSA Shavathon hosted by Saint Andrew’s in 2016
“There are a lot of things I would like to develop, but one of the things I would really like to look at developing next year would be the exchange [of pupils] with Ripley St Thomas. I would like to make that work. That’s a positive.
“Infrastructurally, I think that the Lindsay Tuckett High Performance Centre has been a revelation. It’s wonderful that we have a high performance centre that is completely paid for, and that’s in just over a year.
“If the Board of Governors decides that they want to build an articial turf for hockey, I think that’s a project we should embark on sooner rather than later.”