Port Elizabeth 8 September, 2016
Tosca Lab Investment Trust announced today that it had invested in St George’s College. In terms of this deal Tosca will assume management of the College component (Grades 8-12) of St Georges Schools while St Georges Preparatory and Pre-Primary will continue to operate as normal.
Commenting on the arrangement, St Georges Prep Headmaster, Alex Hall said, ‘We are excited about this new partnership with Tosca. St Georges Prep was founded in 1936 and has built a rich history. Building on this history, our College was founded in 2001 and we believe it has contributed positively in the Port Elizabeth community. However, after careful consideration our Board determined that our current leadership team should focus on our historical strength in pre-primary and primary education and look for a suitable partner to drive our College into the future. We believe we have found that partner in Tosca’.
In terms of the deal, Tosca will take over management of the College with plans of implementing some exciting innovations in the future which they believe will create a unique educational offering in the city. The school will continue to operate as St Georges College with the existing infrastructure and staff. The Tosca Leader, Mr Fredrik Eijbers commented, ‘We have put together a highly experienced and capable management team to lead St Georges College with Dr Leslie Boshoff as Executive Head. Dr Boshoff is highly qualified academically and also has a wealth of education and business experience. He will be supported by amongst others seasoned academic and leading future studies thinker, Professor Chris Adendorff and the rest of the Tosca team’.
The new St. George’s College Executive Head, Leslie Boshoff remarked, ‘With this strong leadership team, combined with the existing group of strong and dedicated academics at St Georges College, we are confident that we are able to better prepare students in for the future. The College will retain close ties with St Georges Prep, which will have continued and ongoing representation on the Board. We also have some exciting new ideas to add to the existing offerings at the College which we will communicate in due course’.
Given St George’s College’s progressive approach to education, the College Board made the decision to partner with an experienced management group, with the specialised skills needed to introduce the College into the future. The strategic group consists of three members. Fredrik Eijbers is an experienced business leader and entrepreneur, Eijbers’ strengths are in his ability to systematically approach problems and find structured solutions. Dr Leslie Boshoff holds a MBA from the NMMU. Boshoff also completed a Doctor of Business Administration at NMMU. The doctorate thesis focused on Christian faith and Entrepreneurship. He has done academic work in fields of Business Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Financial Managing and Operations at NMMU, CTI (University of Greenwich) and Varsity College degree programs. Prof Chris Adendorff’ holds a Doctor of Business Administration from NMMU, a Master of Philosophy in Future Studies from Stellenbosch, a Doctor of Philosophy and a Master of Commerce from Rhodes University and has a strong academic background in the fields of Business Strategy and Future Studies. The obvious combination of practical entrepreneurial know-how, entrepreneurial drive and strategic thinking has proved successful in business turnarounds the group has undertaken in the past.
St George’s College also has a group of strong, dedicated academics who are focused on providing quality education to the pupils. Teaching at the College follows a path balanced between educating for life and preparation to do well in the final exit examinations. The pupil teacher ratios are often lower than 1 teacher to 10 students. The Grade 12, bar the exception, always graduates with University acceptance. In the future, the leadership will focus in the following areas:
- A strong focus on Creativity and Thought. Focusing the school on Mathematics, Sciences and Creativity will stimulate an environment that is similar to the Universities these students will have to function in after Grade 12. The school will focus on the skills required to cope in a tertiary institution i.e. research, writing skills, academic discipline etc. The electronic library will be a strong area of focus in the school’s immediate future.
- Attracting strong pupils. A focused differentiated product offering will move the College into a space where the traditional schools cannot compete. The introduction of a class for special needs students class could possibly increase the differentiation, essentially smaller class, enabling the student to have a strong mentoring and hand held approach, which coaching through difficulties experienced
- A focused differentiated academic mix that will attract the top young minds to the school. The current academic mix is generic. As a focused differentiator the school must focus on creative, innovative subjects to equip the student for Universities or a life of self employment rather than just employability.
Practically, for the school to move into 2017, some ergonomics will be addressed. The Library will be refurnished and converted into an Internet based academic facility where students have access to proper journal and academic materials. Upgrades to the restaurant, common areas, the furniture in the classrooms and school hall including blinds, paint and some strategic lighting will be done in the next three months.
Phase one will also focus on the Grade 13 program for 2017. The leadership has a strong academic understanding of what is required to equip students for University readiness. The marketing materials and curriculum will be available before the end of September 2016. A career development program, for students not interested in a formal education will also be introduced, offering accredited career training in the areas of PADI SCUBA diving instruction, PADI Swimming Instructors, Hair and Beauty Academy, First Aid to EMS, Health and Safety practitioner and Civil engineering testers.
Phase Two will focus on the Short Learning Programs for 2017, each requiring between 6 and 12 months of training and apprenticeship to switch professions. Short Learning Programs for 2017 will include, Progress Green SLP’s, SETA and SEDA Accreditation Courses (Health and safety, Civil engineering testing etc), NHBRC SLP, African Leadership Program, Operations Management, Strategic Management, Understanding Finance and Accounting, Financial Management, Production Engineering Management, Sales Management, Civil Engineering Management, Business Environment, International Business, Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Project Management, Documentation and Contracts for Engineers, Leadership, Environmental management, Research Methodology, Human Resource Management, Future Studies and Christian Faith in Small Business.
Third phase is the introduction of an international University curriculum, specifically a business school for the 2018 Academic year.
Currently, the College lacks the ability to compete competitively in many team sports. A focused approach to team sports might get the school into a space where St George’s can compete with the popular schools. A few strong and strategically acquired students will go a long way to make the school’s soccer, netball and cricket teams competitive, combined with good coaching. Additionally, the opportunity to deliver a focused differentiated product should not be discounted. Individual coaching and other sporting activities are high on the priority list to be considered.
The Group has strong in-house skills in areas of SCUBA Diving from Open Water to and including Instructor, Swimming from learn to swim programs, stroke correction to Swim Instructor training, Moto X and Enduro riding, Triathlon training, Hiking, Surf Ski and Rowing on National Level.
Understandably, both the board and the new leadership are excited about St George’s College’s future. The College will both be a landmark and a progressive model for how education will be approached in the future.