Saluting a milestone

Belinda Petersen, principal, Methodist Primary School

Ottery Road Methodist Primary was established on the Methodist Church premises in 1903.

It was one of the first established Methodist schools. It started out as a bilingual school with most of the teachers belonging to the Methodist Church.

In the 1950s, when the state started taking over schools, Ottery Road Methodist School totally became a state school although the name remained the same. The pupil numbers (25 per class) were low, serving a rather affluent Wynberg coloured community under apartheid, with an enduring quality at the school being that it has always had a family-centred ethos, being such a tightly knit community back then.

Today it serves a wider demographic with pupils commuting daily from as far afield as Philippi, Khayelitsha and Hout Bay. Over 70% of the pupils have English as their second or third language. Many are either from single-parent households or refugees from war- torn African countries, understandably unable to pay school fees in their daily efforts to survive.

However, the dedicated staff has endeavoured to maintain the sense of family and security within the confines of the school despite all the current social and grave economic challenges faced by the school.

Southern Mail has always reported positively on the activities of the school throughout our association with the publication. From our Mother’s Day charity drives to our sports codes, athletics and fundraising events have been brought to the attention of its reading public and reflects well on the commendable relationship between school and community newspaper.