Sans Souci Girls School
As Sans Souci is a smaller school for girls, it prides itself on knowing each girl individually, thus making it possible to foster the kinds of relationships which are so necessary for optimal development during the high school phase. The Principal and School Governing Body believe in quality education and have consciously embarked on an active policy to ensure that this is achieved. Our girls enjoy the benefits of being taught in smaller classes, receiving the personal attention of highly skilled and dedicated teachers.
Sans Souci believes that dreams can be achieved and thus develops each girl holistically to achieve her potential and to become an accountable and responsible adult. To this end, Sans Souci Girls’ High School is committed to the advancement of learning, personal development and responsible citizenship.
Sans Souci Girls’ High School prides itself on academic excellence which is reflected in the consistently high results achieved in the Final Matriculation Examination each year. An example of this is the excellent results attained by the 2013 Matriculants – a 100% Matric pass rate.
Sans Souci Girls’ High School, the hidden jewel of Newlands, is nestled at the foot of Table Mountain in beautiful surroundings. This school prides itself in providing a high quality relevant education and her alumni are eligible to apply for the prestiguous SACS Rhodes Scholarship.
Sans Souci is particularly renowned for her tradition of excellence in music. Almost one third of the school is enrolled in Subject Music and the Music Department offers instruction in an unusually wide variety of instruments. In 2013 her Choir, Wind Orchestra and Jazz Cats were all awarded Diplomas at the Cape Town Eisteddfod! The school is also known for its strong Drama and Visual Art Departments and hosts FACETS once a year; a Festival of Art, Culture, Exhibitions, Technology and Science. As a smaller school (presently under 500), with smaller classes, she is able to offer a well-rounded holistic education. A multi-faceted academic and extra-curricular programme fosters the development of confidence, self-discipline and integrity. Girls are professionally coached in Chess, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Hockey and Netball; and the school’s societies include Debating, Art, History, Green Girls, Interact and Science. A thriving One-Way Christian Union and Muslim Students’ Association bear testimony to the inculcation of respect for the beliefs, values and rights of others, and the acceptance that at Sans Souci responsibility and accountability are integral to freedom. In response to current trends, wise and responsible engagement with, and employment of, the global social media are promoted. These young women are encouraged to fulfil their potential and to make positive, caring contributions to a changing society. The school’s spirit is reflected in her motto in a multitude of ways: ‘Learn to be of Service’.
HISTORY OF SANS SOUCI
In 1835 the Sans Souci estate, after which our school was named, was sold by its then owner, Chief Justice Menzies, to the Honourable Mr Hamilton Ross. Ross was a colourful character who began his career in the Scots Guards that participated in the Battle of Muizenberg; resulting in the first British occupation of the Cape in 1795 — and raised the first Union Jack in the colony. After he resigned his commission, he became a respectable and prosperous merchant and importer and, in due course, a member of the Legislative Council of the Cape.
At Sans Souci, Ross built a spacious thatched country home, roughly where the tennis courts now lie, and extended the boundaries of the property until it stretched from the Liesbeeck River down to and over the railway line to where Claremont station now stands. He had a passion for gardening and developed the land into a model country estate which produced fruit and vegetables of every kind. It was also admired for its rolling lawns and magnificent views. In the fashion of the day, specimen trees from all over the empire were collected, some of which were still standing in the remains of an arboretum when the school was built. Ross provided cottages for his garden labourers, in what was called Rosscommon village; after which the present road in Claremont is named. He also established a school for his labourer’s children which eventually became part of the parish of St Saviours Church.
Ross became renowned for his generous hospitality at Sans Souci; the parties and banquets frequently held there were plentifully supplied with fresh produce from his estate. This hospitality was extended to many of the leading figures in the Cape Colonial Administration — including the Attorney General of the Cape, Mr William Porter, and Governors Sir Benjamin D’Urban and Sir Harry Smith. The latter once wrote to Ross declaring that he had “worn a bridle path between Westbrook and Sans Souci, riding over to seek your advice on governing the Cape of Good Hope”. Among other distinguished visitors from Europe and the East to visit Sans Souci was the Duke of Wellington, architect of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.
Following the death of Ross in 1853, the estate, in possession of the Ross family and others remained a gentleman’s country residence until the land was subdivided for further development. The last part of this grand old estate became Sans Souci School some one hundred years later when Mr Norman Henshilwood, then a member of the Provincial Council, persuaded the Cape Provincial Administration to provide a school to relieve the pressure on girls’ schools between Rondebosch and Wynberg.