“Independent schools provide space and opportunity for choice, creativity, adaptability and pride of ownership among governors, teachers, parents and students. Independent schools contribute to educational biodiversity in South Africa and are a national asset.”
Graham Sayer is the fifth Head to lead Somerset College. Prior to his appointment, Mr Sayer was the school’s Academic Director. He has taught at the school for eleven years and has a deep affection for the institution. Graham believes firmly in the power of education to transform the world for the better, when it is guided by the right values and enabled by excellent learning environments.
Graham believes that the school’s values of Dignity, Aspiration, Creativity and Contribution offer that guidance. They encourage all members of the Somerset College community to promote the Dignity of ourselves and of those around us, to work to make it possible for both our Aspirations and those of others to be realised, and to develop our capacity to think and to act Creatively so that we can make profound Contributions to our society.
Thus, Graham values diversity highly because it is fundamental to the realisation of our nation’s democratic ideals; it positions us for the full acknowledgement of each other’s personhood, and it moves us closer to restitution. It also advances the pursuit of true excellence by supporting the attainment of key skills such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. The development of solutions to the complex problems that this generation, and coming generations, will face requires staff and students to be comfortable with a multiplicity of perspectives and diverse thinking. It requires us not to be put off or overwhelmed by difference, but to see it as a strength in developing solutions that are robust enough to operate in widely varying environments.
It is not only in the realm of academics that these principles must be realised and these skills honed, but also in the realms of sports, outdoor education, the arts and community engagement. All of these realms offer tremendous opportunities for our students to discover their strengths and to grow in every aspect of their lives.
Finally, our mission must be pervaded by the goal of realising all of our students’ potential by tapping into the power of intrinsic motivation. To this end our curriculum delivery must be informed by the motivational power of autonomy, mastery and purpose.