Building a Future on Tradition
Oldest Girls' Boarding School in Africa
Founded in 1874, The Diocesan School for Girls (DSG) is one of the oldest girls’ schools in South Africa. Our tradition of excellence is built on five pillars: academic, cultural, sporting, spiritual and community. Whilst cherishing our tradition, we recognise the need to be at the cutting edge of educational trends.
Our aim is to develop girls who are forward thinking, transformative in their world-view and critical, independent problem-solvers, who can make sound ethical judgments with a keen sense of their social responsibilities. Ultimately, a DSG girl will be a confident, strong young woman who is able to lead and play a meaningful role as a global citizen.
W hen DSG opened its doors in 1874 under the guidance of the first headmistress, Mrs Dorothy Espin, there were approximately 20 pupils. The current DSG has grown to a student body of of over 500 girls, 80% of whom are boarders. It has been a long and interesting road to success, with many challenges along the way.
A Potted History
The Diocesan School for Girls was modelled on an English Public School, with particular influence arising from Cheltenham Ladies’ College, whose headmistress, Miss Dorothy Beale, was an assertive activist for girls’ education. The first four headmistresses of the DSG – Mrs Espin, Miss Battey, Miss Strong and Miss Burt – were Cheltenham Ladies’ College Old Girls, as was the much-loved ninth headmistress, Miss Fowler. Up to the present day, the relationship between the two schools remains strong. It was through these early headmistresses that Miss Beale’s educational aims and ideals to instill a desire for knowledge that would guide a woman throughout her lifetime and to introduce more rigorous academic subjects, were injected into the ethos of the DSG.
The story from 1874 to the present day is one of challenges met and turned into opportunities and advantages. The attributes of foresight, a reasonable amount of calculated risk-taking and innovation, combined with robust management, a committed staff and a responsible Council remaining true to the school’s mission statement and Anglican orientation, have ensured that the school has survived and flourished. DSG continues in the same spirit that motivated its founders so long ago. Our motto ‘En Avant’ has inculcated in generations of girls the virtues of leadership, resilience and determination.
As an international girls’ boarding school of choice in South Africa and beyond, DSG promotes unpretentious attitudes to ensure that the girls remain anchored in and committed to making a difference in their own lives and in the world around them.