St Mary’s is an all-girls school, steeped in tradition and family values. Based in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, St Mary’s is found in a serene and nature-filled suburb.

Mr Jonathan Manley

Mr Jonathan Manley

Executive Principal
St Mary’s DSG

Welcome

St Mary’s is an all-girls school, steeped in tradition and family values. Based in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, St Mary’s is found in a serene and nature-filled suburb. Since 1906, we have been sparking curiosity in our girls and helping them become remarkable women in their communities.

Being a Christian school, we instill life-long Christian values in our girls, and an understanding of accountability and self. Our motto 'Service Before Self and God Before All' serves as a constant reminder of our roots and our responsibilities as educators to the future leaders of South Africa, and the world. Over time, we have embraced creativity, innovation, and a progressive approach to ensure that we stay up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape of education. This ensures that every girl who walks through our gates finds a place to belong and thrive – in school and in life.

We are passionate about encouraging our girls to always achieve their personal best – giving them a sense of self-worth and self-respect. St Mary’s is not just a place where she belongs, it is a start for a bright future and a beautiful journey ahead.

A warm welcome to the St Mary’s family.

Why all-girls?

In today’s world, girls’ schools have become more relevant than ever before. At St Mary’s, we believe that an all-girls school is best for girls.

Find out more

Vision, Mission and Values

Vision

To be the leading Christian school providing a holistic, values-based education that helps girls build character and equips them to thrive in life.

Mission

We strive to be a Christian school of excellence and distinction, founded in faith and providing a holistic education of the highest standard in all spheres. St Mary’s is a place where each girl can flourish and belong – cultivating her curiosity, embracing her successes and failures and developing the character and confidence to thrive in life. To be true to our school motto: ‘Service Before Self and God Before All‘.

Spirituality

Being a Christian-based school, we at St Mary’s pride ourselves in creating a nurturing environment for your daughter to grow spiritually. Staying true to our motto ‘Service Before Self and God Before All‘ we encourage our girls to cultivate a healthy spiritual life by participating in one or more of the following:

  • God Girls’ Bible Study Group every Tuesday
  • Bible Fun Club every Monday in Primary School
  • Boarders’ Weekly Fellowship
  • Chapel and assembly services for all grades throughout the week
  • Christian Fellowship (CF) every Thursday
  • Grades 10 and 11 Exploring Faith course
  • Holy Communion twice a term
  • Kids praises for Junior Primary
  • Weekly RE lessons in Primary School

Values

Belief

In God, in purpose, and in yourself

Respect

For yourself, and those around you – despite your differences

Curiosity

Cultivating the curiosity to explore the unknown and embrace diversity

Generosity

Being generous with your time, talents, words and in service to others

Kindness

Being compassionate, kind and caring - in words and actions

Integrity

Honoring what it means to be honest, sincere and principled

School map

From classrooms, boarding houses and even the Chapel, this easy to understand map will help you find your way through St Mary’s.

Download map

Staff

At St Mary’s, we are a team of talented, dedicated individuals.

We are passionate about developing girls’ potential and empowering them to believe that they hold their future in the palm of their hands.

Our philosophy is that our girls need to grow spiritually, intellectually, physically, culturally and socially – and we’ve been dedicated to inspiring girls and turning them into remarkable women since 1906.

To give her the best, we look for the best in our teaching staff, so if you’re passionate about teaching and want to educate girls who feel empowered and encouraged to bring their dreams to life, then St Mary’s is the school for you. St Mary’s is an equal opportunity employer.

Mr Jonathan Manley

Mr Jonathan Manley

Executive Principal

Mrs Wendy Ross

Mrs Wendy Ross

Head of Junior Primary

Ms Tracy Laubscher

Ms Tracy Laubscher

Head of Senior Primary

Mrs Jo Kinsey

Mrs Jo Kinsey

Head of High School

Intern Programme

At St Mary’s, we’re committed to developing future teachers who will have a positive impact on their students and communities. We welcome teacher trainees into the St Mary’s family every year through our Intern Programme.

Twelve candidates will receive a contract to be an intern with St Mary’s for a year. All interns are paid by the school. Interns get involved in all aspects of teaching and are given a sound educational experience which will allow them to survive and thrive in the ever-evolving field of education.

We also offer 3 of our interns positions as Boarding Assistants (availability dependent). Accommodation is provided in lieu of support duties required in the boarding houses and does include certain weekend duties. Enquire today!

Vacancies

There are no staff vacancies currently.

School History

St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls is situated in the rolling hills of Kloof, KwaZulu Natal and was founded in 1906.

Established by the nuns of the Order of St John the Divine, an Anglican Sisterhood, the school was initially named St Elizabeth’s High School in honour of Elizabeth Field.

The Fields owned the land that stretched from Clermont in the South-East to Botha’s Hill in the West – typically where Kloof now resides. A portion of the Fields farm was donated for the establishment of a school for girls. It closed its doors in 1919 as St Elizabeth’s and re-opened as St Mary’s DSG.

The Honourable Frederick Samuel Baines, Bishop of Natal, opened St Mary’s DSG in Kloof on 3rd September 1919. The service was held in the Hall, a large barn-like construction, one of several wood and iron buildings on the property. The school chapel was also a wood and iron relic from the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), purchased from the Princess Christian Hospital at Sarnia and moved with the nuns from its original site on Field’s Hill.

St Mary’s welcomed 30 pupils in its first year, 2 of them boys too young to be enrolled in the local boys’ boarding school. For many years, St Mary’s DSG continued to enrol boys in classes I and II.

From humble beginnings, we take pride in the leading academic school that St Mary’s has become and are committed to our vision to be the leading Christian school providing a holistic, values-based education that helps girls build their character, curiosity for learning and equipping them to thrive in life.

Children walking through a school.

Parent life

At St Mary’s we encourage parents to be actively involved and stay up-to-date with their daughter’s school life.

Learn more
About

Frequently asked questions

Where is the school situated?

It is in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, situated 20 minutes from Durban and 40 minutes from King Shaka International Airport.

What is the current Matric pass rate?

100% Matric pass rate for the past 41 years.

What is the average class size?

24 or less in a class – depending on the subject and grade.

How does one apply to work at St Mary’s?

All vacancies are advertised on our website as well as on the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA) website.

Are there any intern opportunities available?

Yes we have an intern programme which people may apply for. For more info on Primary School Interns, email: Angie Hinchcliffe and Jeanette Thindisa – ahinchcliffe@stmarysdsg.co.za and JThindisa@stmarysdsg.co.za. For High School Interns: Mrs R Hansen – rhansen@stmarysdsg.co.za

What’s the student-teacher ratio?

It is 1:12.

What distinguishes St Mary’s from other schools?

Our caring, experienced teachers and our outstanding academic programme with a proven track record.

What does the school expect from the learners?

Each girl is encouraged to develop her own passions and reach her own goals, so she can follow her path in an environment that supports curiosity and a love of learning.

How much homework is there?

Homework is given to assist the girls in understanding and practising concepts. It is scheduled and monitored by staff to ensure that a reasonable amount of homework is given, so that girls can still have time to participate in the extramural programme offered by the school.

What are some of St Mary’s greatest accomplishments?

Over the decades, our passionate staff have worked to help our girls achieve balance in the classroom, on the sports field and in the Arts, so that every girl can accomplish something in their time at St Mary’s – whether it be personal or for the greater community. At St Mary’s we inspire our girls to become remarkable women in all spheres, no matter what path they choose in life. View Old Girls

Is aftercare available?

Yes. It is available daily until 17:00. On half-term and break-up day it is available till 15:00

What are the school times?

Grade R: Monday to Friday 07:20 to 12:25, Grade 1 and 2: 07:20 to 12:50, Grade 3: Monday to Thursday 07:20 to 13:50 and Friday 07:20 to 12:50

How many classes are there?

There are 3 classes of each Grade in the Junior Primary.

How many girls are in each class?

There are a maximum of 22 girls per class in Grade R and 24 girls per class in Grades 1 to 3.

What extra lessons are offered?

We have a wonderful SMART (St Mary‘s Accelerated Remedial and Therapy) Centre with qualified Remedial Specialists who are able to assist girls during the school day when required.

How does spirituality fit?

We say grace every day before snack time and the girls enjoy a scheduled lesson each week. The girls in the Junior Primary have a weekly Chapel service each Tuesday and Assembly on a Wednesday.

What facilities do Junior Primary girls use?

The Junior Primary girls are able to make use of all the facilities on campus including our world-class Creativity Centre.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and what are the benefits?

Emotional Intelligence (known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ‘ability to understand, use, and manage emotions in positive ways’. Focusing on building a high EQ in our girls at St Mary’s will help them to communicate better, bounce back when faced with challenges and adversity and work better and empathise with others.

What is a Growth Mindset?

Growth Mindset is based on the belief that intelligence can be developed, we are constantly learning. The way in which we view failure and mistakes is important. Our girls are reminded that mistakes are not bad, but merely signposts that they are learning. We provide a safe environment in which they are able to challenge themselves without the fear of failure.

What is the Social Emotional Learning strategy?

Through developing Emotional Intelligence skills and understanding our school values, our girls refine their ability to function well socially and within themselves. Our teachers attend workshops around emotional growth and development and integrate these ideas into their programme. As a school, we follow research in this area as it is considered to be essential in the modern era, given the diverse workplaces and the impact that technology has had on society.

How do we integrate our new Grade R/Little Saints girls into the St Mary's family?

When the girls start at St Mary’s, each little girl becomes part of a ‘Saints Sisters‘ family group. These groups meet a few times during the year and this provides a wonderful opportunity for the girls to build relationships and for the older girls to mentor and nurture the younger girls.

Each Little Saints girl has a Grade 7 buddy. They meet for the first time at Orientation Day and then share special time together during the year. This helps to integrate the Little Saints girls into the life of St Mary’s and helps them feel welcome and a part of the family!

Each class has a Grade 7 and Grade 12 ‘Big Sister’, who spends time in the classrooms either in the morning before school or at snack time. The younger girls just love engaging with these ‘Big sisters’ and it’s heart-warming to see them connecting with one another.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and what are the benefits?

Emotional Intelligence (known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ‘ability to understand, use, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress’. Focusing on building a high EQ in our girls at St Mary’s will help them to communicate better, rise above challenges, work better and empathise with others.

How is technology introduced in this phase?

In Senior Primary, we regard technology as an integral part of the programme and not just as an add-on subject. Each girl from Grade 4 has her own iPad which is used to enhance the type of activities undertaken. The girls create their own movies, presentations, mindmaps, as well as do their research. Girls have weekly ICT lessons where they are taught digital skills, but the skills are integrated and augmented wherever possible in each subject. Coding and robotics have been introduced and will be taught through our integrated, enquiry-based learning curriculum as well as our Robotics Club.

How can girls in this phase express their creativity?

Not only do the girls have weekly Music, Drama and Art lessons, but they are able to join a wide variety of music ensembles and choir. We have a bi-annual Grade 6 and 7 play, alternating with a Speech and Drama festival as well as other cultural evenings. Every fortnight, each grade is able to spend a day in the Creativity Centre where the programme will focus on integrated learning with a variety of activities. This is always a highlight for each girl.

What facilities do the girls in the Senior Primary phase have access to?

How many subjects are offered?

What is the Matric pass rate at St Mary’s?

We have had 100% Bachelors pass rate for many years with an average of 3-4 distinctions per pupil.

What leadership and mentorship opportunities are available for High School girls?

In Matric, each girl has a leadership portfolio which is monitored and supported by a teacher. The girls receive feedback during the course of the year and are acknowledged accordingly at the completion of their Matric year. There are many leadership roles in each year of high school ranging from sports roles to cultural and Chapel roles.

How do we develop our girls’ character during this phase?

Teenager’s learn best about themselves through experiential learning. By having outdoor education programmes, community projects and outreach, leadership opportunities and high standards, our girls learn to plan, persevere and to take life one day at a time.

What is the 21-day Journey about?

Research underscores the importance of the skills, beliefs and behaviours that support achievement in the classroom and beyond. This set of traits includes perseverance, grit, problem-solving, social skills, efficacy beliefs and mind-sets which are not measured directly by traditional academic assessments. These play an enormous role in both academic and personal success. Outdoor adventure education enables the growth of these traits which cannot be developed effectively in a theoretical or traditional classroom environment.

Are extra lessons available? If so, what subjects are offered?

There are support lessons run every afternoon of the week and girls may sign up for these and request on specific areas. Different subjects are offered on different days to accommodate the sports and cultural programmes.

I’ve heard about an International Exchange Programme. Tell me more about this.

We have exchange programmes with schools in Australia and Germany. This is an area which we would like to grow.

How does a St Mary’s Matric pass differ from other schools?

Not many schools can say they have had 100% pass rate for almost 50 years and that for more than the past 10 years, a 100% Bachelors pass rate.

What pastoral opportunities are available to aid my daughter’s spiritual growth?

Confirmation classes from Grade 10. Christian fellowship meetings; God girls (Bible study group and prayer group); 3 Chapel services every week; Outreach and Community Projects. There are also Chaplain’s lessons for the Grade 8 – 10s.