FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
A small school for 3 preschool pupils was founded by Mrs. Liz Jarvis in her garden in Schoemansville in 1994. During 1995 Mrs. Lesley Pugh joined and started a Foundation Phase class. As the cottage had become too small the school moved to larger premises in James Street in Schoemansville. By year end the school was again expanding and the pre-primary class had an assistant teacher.
At the beginning of 1996 the school opened again on a larger piece of ground in Melodie and became known as “The Cottage School.” Mrs. Louise Marshall joined the staff to start the Grade 4 and Grade 6 class with 10 pupils. These were fun days. The Pre-Primary was housed in the lounge/dining room, the Foundation Phase was in the barn where the mice had their babies and carried them around during lessons and the Grade 4s and 6s were in the double garage. We had wonderful mums with VW combis who transported us on an almost weekly basis on educational outings i.e. dairy farm, beef farm, air force museum and transport museum, etc.
By the next year the Foundation Phase had to be split into a Grade 1 and 2 and Grade 3 and 4 classes and this time a container made do for the Grade 3 and 4 classes. A lengthy process ensued as the directors were determined we would become affiliated to ISASA.
THE MOUNTAIN COTTAGE SCHOOL
Mr. and Mrs. Woods joined the parent body and were interested in investing to buy land and build a school. Our present land was acquired in 1999 and the original school buildings were available from February 2001. Our move was put off twice and finally moving took place with no tarred drive and a weekend of incessant rain. At the end of Sunday Mrs. Pugh, dressed in her black raincoat, hat and gumboots, was pushing the staff cars through the mud to get them home. Dr Jane Hofmeyer, the Director of ISASA, opened the school on the 28 September 2001.
Mrs. Jarvis left the school at the end of 2001 as her husband was taking up a position in Vienna. New classrooms were again built as the school expanded and the amphitheater was added while the church buildings were used for Admin, Grade 7 and computer classes.
Mrs. Pugh continued running the school until 2004 when she decided to retire to the coast. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor bought out Mrs. Pugh’s share of the school. 2005 saw the advent of Mr. Kevin Holman, as the principal. By year end Mr. Holman decided to live closer to home and in 2006 Mrs. Louise Marshall took over the running of the school with Mrs. Erica Göhre and Mrs. Sandra Kuisis. Separate classes were introduced for each grade. The Pre-Primary was bulging at the seams and the directors made the decision to build the PP classroom and the old PP became the administration offices.
THE MOUNTAIN CAMBRIDGE SCHOOL
The need for a High School had been continually discussed and was a sore point with many of the parents as they had no continuation of education for their children. During 2009 Mr and Mrs Woods decided they wanted to sell their investment and return to Australia. Mrs Taylor approached Mrs Carolina van Heerden who became the new investor and a High School was born. The High School opened their doors on the 13th of January 2010 with 23 students.
Mrs van Heerden began her stint, as principal/co- owner in 2010 with a name change to Mountain Cambridge School. Our school made the bold change to implement the Cambridge Curriculum from Grade 1 – 12 with the vision of opening an A – level college in 2017. The school became affiliated with Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) that enables us to give our learners the opportunity to get an internationally recognized qualification. Specialized subject teachers were also introduced from Grade 4 – 12. The school has grown from 180 to 333 learners and a staff compliment of 12 to 33.
New High School buildings were needed for the start of 2010 and again for 2011. These new buildings included four additional classrooms, Science and Biology laboratories, a high school computer centre, high school bathrooms, an Art classroom and a canteen area for our learners. Mrs Patti Borman from CIE officially opened our High School on the 30th of September 2011 and we officially celebrated 10 years of the school being at the Beethoven campus.
In 2012 we completed our long-awaited swimming pool and saw the opening of our library. The directors leased sport fields, a teacher’s residence and a house for the MCS toddler school from the Anglican Church next door. We opened a boarding facility for grade 7 – AS learners in January 2016 at Ha Phorora Youth Centre in Meerhof. We opened an A-level lane in 2017 and built a music class room on the school premises and completed 2 more netball courts.
Mrs C van Heerden moved into an Executive Head position from the 1st of October 2017. This will allow Mrs C van Heerden to free herself more up to focus as Director of Academics on the further development of our school’s curriculum and ensuring and monitoring ongoing quality across the board. Mr Dino Arraiol has been appointed as acting Operational Head for Mountain Cambridge School from the 1st of October 2017. He will be responsible for the effective overall management and organisation of the daily running of the school.
The Board of Directors announced in September 2017 that Cambridge has selected our school to start up a pilot virtual learning school from 2018. We are extremely proud to announce that after a rigorous and thorough review of evidences delivered, we received feedback form Cambridge UK that our International Virtual School application was successful. Cambridge will register only 6 virtual learning pilot centres in the world where IGCSE & AS/A level students can complete their studies in a digital environment and we will be ONE of them. Mrs C van Heerden will also head up the virtual learning centre. We are really looking forward to being part of this wonderful learning opportunity.
Mountain Cambridge School has the potential to grow in the next five years and we hope that it will enable us to build a High School on a separate site.
The Mountain Cambridge School endeavours to be a school where we are guided by our faith, our ongoing traditions and our ambitions for the future when we determine our approach to education. Real and valuable learning will take place when we all have the same goals and share good relationships. A happy learning environment is beneficial for all.
We are a small school and thus we know each and every learner as an individual. We nurture their uniqueness and allow them the space to explore their own future possibilities. We celebrate our children as the wonderfully single individuals that they are.
The school continues to grow from strength to strength with the vision of becoming a top quality academic school, consistently achieving above world average results in all subject areas.