Values, Ethos and Traditions

Values, Ethos and Traditions

Founding Statement

St Andrew’s College is an innovative independent school dating back 166 years, embracing new frontiers and education for life. Situated in the historic town of Makhanda
(Grahamstown) in the heart of the Eastern Cape, this top Anglican boarding school caters to 450 pupils across the globe. From Grade 8 to Matric, pupils experiences a school culture entrenched with a rich history and deep traditions, while modern and progressive learning fosters their journey to discovering their individual talent.

As each boy navigates through their life at St Andrew’s College, we are passionate about preparing them for their future by developing character and ensuring they strive to reach
their full potential. The school motto, “Nec Aspera Terrent”, (Difficulties do not dismay us), builds on the ideal of the fearless acceptance of challenges, summing up just what this school aims to instil in our pupils as we set them up for life.

Our unique partnership with our neighbouring sister school, the Diocesan School for Girls (DSG), sets us apart amongst the other independent boarding schools in South Africa. From Grade 10-12, the boys and girls share classes and move across the beautiful campuses in Grahamstown, experiencing healthy co-operation and social interaction while retaining the distinctive features of life in an all boys’ school and all girls’ school. The Boy in You.
‘I hope you will always be true to the boy in you.’ With these words Jan Hofmeyr, one of South Africa’s most gifted political leaders, summed up his address at St Andrew’s College Speech Day in 1929 and identified the theme that has run like an unbroken thread through the life of the school during the century and a half of its existence. Be true to yourself and remember that who you are springs from the boy within you.

Dr Marguerite Poland, Author of “The Boy in You: A Biography of St Andrew’s College, 1855 –

School Motto

“NEC ASPERA TERRENT”, means ‘Difficulties do not dismay us’, or ‘Nothing daunts us’. This ideal of fearless acceptance of challenge sums up what St Andrew’s College hopes to instil in its pupils as preparation for future life.


The Pipe Band

Established in 1934, the St Andrew’s College Pipe Band is one of seven registered school pipe bands in the country. There can be few sounds more evocative than the sound of the great Highland bagpipe which conjures memories and romantic visions of Old Andreans nostalgic school days.

The Pipe Band and Drill Squad perform at ceremonies and parades including the Review Parade, the Retreat Parade, the Remembrance Day Parade and the Memorial Service at the Clock Tower during Old Andrean Tide.

A pipe band consists of three sections:
> the sides which is made up of a core of snare drummers,
> the bass section, made up of a bass drum and tenor drums
> and finally, the pipe core, consisting of pipers playing the great Highland bagpipe.

The bagpipe and the Pipe Band has deep seeded roots in the culture of College, where the band performs at a number of ceremonies and parades throughout the school year.
The Pipe Band also competes at the National Highlands Gathering where school and senior bands from all over the country gather to compete against one another.


The Rite of Passage

The tradition of celebrating the end of each year’s Matric pupils began in 2014 on the eve of the 160th birthday of St Andrew’s College when the ‘rite of passage’ ceremony was introduced.

Traditionally the Matric boys attend their final school Assembly, thereafter the Grade 12 pupils are ceremoniously led from Centenary Hall by two school Pipers, and Head of School, through a tunnel made up of staff and boys. The tunnel weaves its way through the iconic College campus past the historic Clock Tower, the beautiful Sir Herbert Baker Chapel, and finally into the Antony Clark Andrean Resource Centre where each boy signs his name in a leather-bound register, recording the end of their College journey. The ceremony culminates in
each boy receiving his Old Andrean tie, and being welcomed into a new chapter
of their St Andrew’s College story.

After the ceremony the boys are hosted to lunch at The Highlander where they meet as Old Andreans and an emphasis is made on what it means to be an honourable man.

“Today you have passed through a rite of passage to become something you will be for the rest of your life, an Old Andrean. From now on, every decision or action you make, you do so as a man and as an Old Andrean. You will be judged against those high standards. Not by the staff of the school, but by the thousands of fellow Old Andreans out there. Make them all count. You now have the honour of calling yourself an Old Andrean, something you will be until the day that the Clock Tower flag flies at half-mast, in your honour”. – Mr Peter Allanson (OA, Upper 1984)

A similar ceremony takes place for the new boys entering their school career at St Andrew’s College in Grade 8 where they sign their names into the leather-bound register, recording the start of their journey at College.