We run a number of additional programmes at St Anne’s that enhance our holistic offering. These programmes are in line with our vision to nurture young women into Old Girls who make a positive impact on a 21st Century world.
The internationally-recognised President’s Award aligns with our focus on holistic education. To achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold level Award, a girl has to apply herself in several areas, stepping out of her comfort zone and empowering herself through the process. On average, around half of our girls enrol in the programme during their time at St Anne’s, challenging themselves to give more and go further.
Our girls have the opportunity to participate in the Pietermaritzburg Grade 8, junior or senior debating leagues, which follow the World Schools’ style. Girls who excel at league level are invited to represent Pietermaritzburg at the KwaZulu-Natal Schools Debating Association provincial debating tournament, where the team for the national event is chosen.
Debating offers many benefits – most notably, the opportunity for debaters to interact with and compete against boys and girls from a wide variety of schools and environments. Teamwork teaches conflict resolution skills, and the debating motions require research and critical thinking. Through debating, our girls learn argumentation skills and are encouraged to engage objectively with the world around them. They also gain confidence in public speaking. Whether at league, provincial or national level, debating has something to offer any girl.
At our Public Speaking club, girls learn about speaking not only confidently and eloquently, but meaningfully. Knowing how to deliver an engaging message in various public settings is one of the most important skills young women need to learn – for the workplaces of the future, and also as thoughtful citizens who wish to speak for themselves and others. We practise using games and light-hearted exercises to encourage risk-taking and collaboration. Girls also learn how to give constructive peer feedback. Seniors and juniors attend together so that senior girls can mentor junior girls. There are also occasions throughout the year for girls to speak with other schools and to enter public speaking competitions.
To allow girls to explore these skills further, our Coding Club encourages girls to explore their own projects or work through guided tutorials from our extensive print and digital libraries. Girls can work alone or in groups on projects that interest them, ranging from robotic cars to web development. We also have a number of in-house systems to which girls can contribute, such as the student portal, library system and the school inventory system, allowing them to experience a “production environment” with real end-users.
Our girls are actively involved in making meaningful change happen through our social responsibility programme, STEPP. Every week, girls travel out to partnerships to help with English literacy and pre-school skills. Along with educational benefits for the girls, the programme allows them to develop a real relationship with greater society – one that meets actual needs, creates opportunities to effect positive change in education within the community and allows our girls to grapple with the issues faced daily in South Africa.