The Pastoral aspect of our ethos aims to educate the whole person and build the emotional intelligence so vital for academic learning. It deals with the well-being of the girls by establishing boundaries, exploring attitudes and reinforcing values. The goal is to prepare the girls for a life in which they will be good citizens, make a contribution and take responsibility for their decisions. We want them to become leaders who are confident, resilient and mindful of their social responsibilities. We want good communication skills, the ability to resolve conflict and strong values to be part of their everyday lives.
There are around 12 girls per tutor group, and eight groups per grade. The girls meet with their tutors every morning and the relationships built in these small groups ensure that each of our girls is looked after. Pupils also find it easier to ask for emotional support from their teachers.
We acknowledge the fact that every girl learns differently and this quote by Albert Einstein informs the philosophy behind the support we provide: ‘ Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
Accordingly, we provide coaching and assistance on all aspects of academic life: including time management, learning styles, learning skills, study skills, exam technique and exam concessions. Every girl is welcome and encouraged to make an appointment with the Academic Support Teacher to chat about her personal academic journey.
The Counsellor’s core function at Herschel is to provide counselling and support to the girls. The aim is to create a safe, private space in the counselor’s office, where girls feel they can come and talk about their emotional lives and problems or difficulties they are experiencing. These problems or difficulties cover a range of issues from relational problems, stress, anxiety, feelings of depression or sadness, various traumas and many others. We look after the emotional lives of the girls and, where necessary, implement interventions. All interaction with the counselor is private and confidential.
The Careers counsellor helps girls to think about how they would like their careers to develop. She assists them with goal setting, planning their career journeys and provides them with information regarding subject choice and tertiary studies. The school arranges various events to facilitate career exploration, such as our in-house Careers Expo as well as a Universities Evening, hosting speakers form many local and international universities. There is wide range of reading material available containing information on possible careers.
Most of us remember the thrill of cheering for your team or your house until you are hoarse. Under a house system, more girls can participate in events such as galas, team sports, general knowledge quizzes or eisteddfods for house points.
The house system also gives girls the opportunity to build relationships with other girls who are not in their tutor classes and especially with older girls, who are house leaders.
At Herschel we have four houses, all named after the four eminent men who were present at the opening of Herschel in 1922.
Rolt is named after Reverend D Rolt, Dean of St George’s Cathedral. The house colour is yellow and the mascot is a rabbit.
Merriman is named after the Honourable J X Merriman, Minister of Education. The house colour is red and the mascot is a reindeer.
Jagger is named after our founder, the Honourable J W Jagger. The house colour is green and the mascot is a hippo.
Carter is named after William Marlborough Carter, who was Archbishop when the school was founded and a member of the first school Council. The house colour is blue and the mascot is a lemur.
Herschel is an Anglican School that provides our girls with spiritual guidance based on a strong value system. Pupils of all religious denominations, however, are warmly welcomed into an inclusive and caring environment where each girl can explore and develop her own spirituality. Pupils are also encouraged to develop an understanding of other cultures and religious groups.
There is a full-time ordained priest as Chaplain, who prepares pupils wishing to be confirmed and offers guidance in spiritual, moral and ethical issues. Religious instruction in the Anglican faith is provided and all pupils are expected to attend these lessons and chapel services are compulsory, too.
Learning to make a difference, is what we believe we give our girls here at Herschel. We hope that they will, through active involvement, learn that community service will not only make a difference to others’ lives, but also to their own. These are a number of activities the Herschel girls are involved in:
Pupils from Thandokhulu High School attend formal History lessons.
Grade 11 and 12 pupils from Langa High School and Herschel work together through old Mathematics examination papers once a week.
Catering, Drama and ICT peer tutoring sessions are very popular.
S.M.I.L.E. (St Mary’s Interactive Learning Experience) is a literacy and English programme run by Herschel girls in Grade 10 and higher for two primary schools.
JUMP HI (Junior Undiscovered Maths Prodigies – Herschel Initiative). This numeracy programme, involving primary schools from Athlone and Kewtown, is also run by our girls and is made possible by grants from the Ackerman Foundation.
Our Interact Club is run under the auspices of the Claremont Rotary Club.
Members of The Red Nose Chicken Club dress as clowns to entertain patients in children’s hospitals.
Habitat for Humanity, Stop Hunger Now and Reach for a Dream are part of our service programme.
Several social clubs, like Big Sisters and Helping Hands foster interaction between our girls and pupils from disadvantaged schools, making a difference to all parties involved.