Dr Essex
Dr Essex

Former Corporate Procurement Director for St Helena Government, Dr Corinda Essex has recently retired from her post. 

Dr Essex’s career has spanned over 42 years, beginning with a teaching role in 1971 in where she progressed to co-coordinating Environmental Studies in the Middle School Sector after serving as a Senior Teacher at the Secondary Selective School until its closure. 

In the early 1990s, Dr Essex represented the Half Tree Hollow Constituency as an Elected Member of Legislative Council and remained with the Education Department as Pastoral Head (Lower School) and Assistant Education Officer. 

During her term in the UK from 1995 as St Helena’s Government Representative, Dr Essex’ work was formally commended in the House of Commons by Sir Nicholas Bonsor, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

On her return to St Helena, Dr Essex was promoted to the post of Education Officer (Training, Special Educational Needs and Resources) which she held until her appointment as Chief Development Officer in 1999.

As Chief Development Officer/Director of Corporate Procurement, Dr Essex chaired the European Union Monitoring Committee relating to St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, as well as chairing/serving on a number of Working Groups relating to her portfolio.  As Territorial Authorising Officer in relation to the European Union she formed part of the delegation representing St Helena and her sister Islands at EU/OCT Forums and headed the delegation in 2006.

From 1998, Dr Essex took on several significant acting roles within SHG which included Acting Chief Education Officer, Acting Head of Public Works and Services Department, Acting Financial Secretary and Acting Chief Secretary.  

She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Boards of St Helena Line, St Helena Development Agency and, St Helena Fisheries Corporation, the most recent being the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of which she remains a member and St Helena Government Air Access Core Group. 


Alongside her commitment towards SHG, Dr Essex has been heavily involved in the island’s community, serving as a Ranger Guide Leader for 8 years, becoming a member of the National Amateur Sports Association of St Helena and Jamestown Rifle Club Committee for several years, as well as being a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Committee.

On her time working within Government, Dr Essex commented:

“I thoroughly enjoyed all my varied roles within St Helena Government. Although there were moments of disappointment, hurt and frustration which are inevitable in a long career, these were far out-weighed by the highlights such as seeing most of my students achieve excellent results; raising the international profile of St Helena and opening new employment opportunities when we had lost British citizenship and unemployment was escalating; turning PWSD around following a management crisis; working with the European Union to obtain funding for St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha and writing associated programming documents which met EU requirements, thus enabling St Helena to be ahead of other Overseas Territories in the approval processes and last, but by no means least, leading Government business in Legislative Council Sessions when acting as Chief Secretary.

“I have been privileged to lead hard working, dedicated teams committed to developing their professional skills and meeting SHG’s key objectives. Many obtained internationally recognised qualifications that are testimony of their ability and competence. I will always remember and value their support, input and expertise.

I will also recall with deep appreciation the positive working relationship that was maintained with Legislative Councillors and with those involved in various project working groups.”

Gilly Francis, Deputy Chief Secretary commented:

“Dr Essex has made positive contributions to the Public Service in the many roles that she has held during her 42 years in office.  On behalf of SHG I extend thanks and appreciation to Dr Essex for her hard work, commitment and dedication throughout her time and wish her well for the future.” 


3 September 2013



Arriving on the RMS today is new Advisory Teacher for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Andy Day.

Andy Day, New ICT Advisory Teacher
Andy Day, New ICT Advisory Teacher

Based at Prince Andrew School Andy will teach ICT classes to students there but will also provide ICT curriculum leadership across the whole of the Education Directorate.

Andy joins the Directorate from a previous role as a senior teacher at a large rural Secondary School in the West of England.

Director of Education and Employment, Colin Moore said:

“We have recruited Andy to lead on 21st century learning. It is vital that our young people possess the skills to compete in an increasingly technologically driven global economy. With the coming of the airport more and more of our young people will need to have advanced skills in using information technology.

“Andy has worked successfully for a number of years in different schools in the West of England where he has introduced new teaching and learning styles and supported the introduction of a range of exciting learning resources. I have no doubt that he will help us take learning to new levels on St Helena.”

Andy added:

“I am very much looking forward to this challenge, both professionally and personally. New technologies are important as they will open new doors and possibilities to the young people of St Helena.

“ICT is exciting because it is always changing and developing, a subject in which we are all lifelong learners, both students and staff. I am particularly interested in using ICT to promote independent learning and encourage thinking skills.

“The Internet, when used properly can be an amazing resource for learning, and I am keen to promote its safe and positive use for all students.”

Andy is accompanied by wife Lucy and sons, Toby (13) and Lawrence (9), all are looking forward to life on the Island and enjoying all it has to offer.

2 September 2013

Arriving on 9 September is the new Government Economist, Ian Smyth. Ian has entered a 2 year contract with St Helena Government and succeeds previous Government Economist, Owen James, who completed his contract earlier this year.

Ian brings to his new post a wealth of experience having previously worked as an Economist in three very different organisations; Inland Revenue, delivering economic impact assessments on budget measures, Essex County Council, where he was responsible for strategic planning and delivering closer integration between the corporate plan, budget and performance management, and more recently at the UK Financial Services Authority where he worked with the central economics team on major policy initiatives such as the Retail Distribution Review.

On Ian’s appointment, Director of Corporate Policy and Planning, Susan O’Bey said:

“We are looking forward to Ian joining us in the Corporate Policy and Planning Unit. His experience and advice will be invaluable during this crucial period as we work towards achieving sustainable economic growth as set out in the Sustainable Development Plan.”

Ian is very much looking forward to his new role and will be accompanied on Island by his wife and two children.

2 September 2013

Phillippe Prudhomme
Phillippe Prudhomme

Originally from France, Philippe Prudhomme is the first Advisory teacher to introduce French to Prince Andrew School’s curriculum, starting with Key Stage Three students this coming school year, and gradually expanding it to the whole school.

Having gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in the UK, Philippe set off to Nairobi to become a linguistic advisor for the French Embassy, developing French in the Nairobi area, and assisting in the training of Kenyan French teachers.

Philippe then progressed to Head of Modern Languages at the International School of South Africa. He moved on to Lagos (Nigeria) where he was part of the Pioneer Senior Management Team (Deputy Head Welfare) to set up the British International School of Lagos, Nigeria.  After working on Curriculum Development in the South of Nigeria with the help of the United Nations body, Philippe took a job in Switzerland for three years (2 years as Co-Head of Boarding and 1 year as a French teacher and Discipline Advisor)

Commenting on taking a job on St Helena, Philippe said:    

“After a return to Europe (Switzerland), where the standards of French are very high, I wanted to go back to similar work that I conducted in Kenya and South Africa, introducing French to students, to an adult audience unfamiliar with the language and making a positive contribution. St Helena offered this new and exciting opportunity.”

Philippe’s main role here will be to teach French at Prince Andrew School and then commence classes into the wider community, building on Judith Moore’s French adult evening classes.  

Director of Education, Colin Moore said:

“The arrival of Philippe Prudhomme, a qualified French teacher, represents a major step forward for education on St Helena. Introducing French to the curriculum will extend opportunity and widen the offer we have available to our young people. Philippe will also be aiming to equip the local business people and the developing tourism industry with the skills to converse in French.

“I would also like to thank the French Consul, Michel Martineau for helping us to establish the basis upon which we could bring the teaching of French to our schools.

“We are all pleased to welcome Philippe to St Helena and wish him well in his new post.”

As this is the first foreign language to be introduced to a young audience on St Helena, Philippe acknowledged the added pressure that students will experience when learning something completely new.  Philippe aims to trigger his classes’ interest with a variety of teaching techniques, setting clearly identified objectives, making the students aware of the importance of learning French and incorporating effective methods to help students cope with the stress of learning a foreign language.

Philippe commented:

“Over time I am confident that many school students and adults will be able to build up a wide range of French vocabulary that will help them in their social or professional life, building up links and facilitating the connection with the global village.” 

Following the introduction of French to Key Stage Three students Philippe hopes to reach younger students at Primary School level, allowing them to learn and develop a foreign language, and extend the teaching of the language to a wider adult audience particularly in the field of tourism and commerce.  

(Picture attached)


30 August 2013








Steel Framed Home - Bottom Woods
Steel Framed Home – Bottom Woods

An Open Day was held on 27 August 2013 at one of the three new steel-framed homes on St Helena.

Located at Bottom Woods the new home is one of the first three Government landlord houses to be built in 10 years. Showcasing modern methods of construction the new home features an open plan layout with two large bedrooms, a bathroom, fully fitted kitchen area, utility room and outside patio. All three new homes are fitted with solar-powered water heating.

Andy Crowe, Housing Executive explained the reasoning behind these steel-framed homes:

“The steel-framed homes built at Bradleys Camp for the airport workers were built very quickly so this was a pilot project to see whether the same technique could be applied for homes to buy and rent on the Island.

“Steel frames are just one of the many modern methods of construction that have been exploited around the world moving to building techniques that can be faster and cost effective, warmer and more free from damp than the traditional forms.”

The purpose of the Open Day was to gather the public’s views on the new homes.

Andy said:

“We have our own views on how the new homes look and work, but the most important thing was for visitors to the home to give their ideas and recommendations.”

Over 150 visitors attended the Open Day and 66 took the time to comment on the house. 60 of these made positive comments such as “fantastic – when can I move in?” “love the space,” “ideal for a small family,” and “very lucky tenants”.

Importantly many commented favourably on the “good workmanship” and the fact that “you could never tell it has a metal frame”. The most common comment was that the home was warm and comfortable even though it was cold outside and the doors were open.

Visitors also took the time to make suggestions on how the new homes planned for Half Tree Hollow might differ – tiling rather than carpeting the floors, more privacy for the bathroom and toilet, some outside storage and fitted cupboards have all now been incorporated into the planning application for Half Tree Hollow, shortly to be submitted.

The three homes took approximately 8 months from start on site to completion and cost just over £50,000 each to build. Included in the cost are a fully fitted kitchen and bathroom, carpeting and tiling.

Andy explained:

“The time to build three houses was longer than anticipated, but we have to bear in mind that this is a learning process. I am sure we can get them completed faster. Equally, we expect the cost to fall now that builders on the Island are more familiar with the skills and materials needed.”

28 August 2013

DfID’s Overseas Territories Department’s Environment & Climate Adviser, Razi Latif (photo attached) will arrive on Island on 2 September.  Razi is new in post and this visit will be a familiarization one allowing him to become more familiar with the Island both from an environmental and sustainable development view.

Razi will undertake a programme of meetings and site visits with among others, staff from the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate, Enterprise St Helena and the St Helena National Trust. Razi is also keen to meet with the wider St Helena community and a session will be set aside for this.  If anyone is interested in meeting Razi please contact Cherilee Thomas on telephone 2270 or email cherilee-thomas@enrd.gov.sh.

Razi’s visit coincides with the Basil Read/ DfID airport visit and he will also be joining some of the environment related meetings and site visits to gain a general understanding of the airport project and associated environmental issues.    

Razi will depart St Helena on 10September.


28 August 2013



Good afternoon.

Executive Council met on Tuesday 27 August 2013 with four items on the agenda.

This was an open session of ExCo but no members of the public were in attendance.

The first item of business was the proposal to downgrade Wranghams from a Grade II to a Grade III Listed Building.  

The reasons put forward for the downgrading included that it was currently a Grade II listed building and as such would only be available for long term leasing, whereas downgrading to Grade III would permit sale of the property with fewer restrictions on future development.

Executive Council did not agree that the downgrading procedure was appropriate and rejected the proposal.  ExCo stated that in principle they did not wish to set a precedent for downgrading of properties for ease of sale.  Wranghams is a significant cultural asset for the Island; it is of historic interest and merit. ExCo members recommended that Wranghams should be re-advertised and put back on the market at Grade II for a long term lease and that a survey be done of the building.

The second agenda item was to amend the Medical Practitioners (Qualifications) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations, 2013, to include Guatemala on the schedule.  This was to enable the new surgeon due to arrive in September to practice medicine on St Helena.  ExCo agreed the amendment.

The next two agenda items were for ExCo to consider and advise if two bills should be tabled as Government Business at the next formal meeting of Legislative Council.

One related to the Commissioner of Oaths Amendment Bill, 2013 to enable qualified lawyers to act as Commissioners of Oaths on St Helena.  This will increase the number of Commissioners of Oaths available to the public and follows UK practice. ExCo agreed for the bill to be tabled at the next formal LegCo.

The second bill related to the Welfare of Children Amendment Ordinance, 2013.  At present children who are to be adopted can only be placed for adoption on St Helena.  The purpose of this amendment is to allow a Supreme Court Judge to place a child for adoption outside of St Helena if it is in the child’s best interests.  For example if a child living on St Helena was orphaned and the nearest relative was in the UK then the child could be placed with their relative overseas.  ExCo agreed for the bill to be tabled at the next formal LegCo.

The final item of business was a discussion about the need to have an open agenda in future ExCo meetings where appropriate.  It was agreed that there would be a presumption in favour of openness but that certain matters, particularly those concerning individuals, would be discussed under a closed agenda.

The meeting finished around 10.30am.                  

Thank you for listening.   


27 August 2013


Results of this year’s examinations have been received bringing with them lots of individual stories of success and celebration.

All over St Helena there are families who are very proud that the hard work of their young people has resulted in some outstanding examination successes.  The good news for the Island’s economy is that almost a half of this year’s school leavers have now achieved GCSE ‘C’ grades in English and Maths.

Director of Education, Colin Moore said:

“Two years ago no students achieved a C grade or better in Maths.  This year almost half of the year group achieved a Grade C or better in Maths. This highly impressive performance reflects the hard work of the students and their teachers.

“In English Language all of the pupils entered for GCSE level achieved a C grade or better. The Directorate’s target was for 30% of students to gain 5 GCSEs A*-C, including English and Maths, and I am pleased to say that this target has been achieved.

“It is important to also recognise the achievement of our young people who follow vocational courses and once again we have some individual success stories that we should all be proud of. The economic developments related to the airport mean that we have an immediate need for a highly skilled workforce. This year’s achievements are just what the Island’s developing economy needs. In some respects this represents ‘Lift Off’.

We now have the evidence that our young people really can take advantage of the opportunities they have ahead of them.

“I am sure all of the Island’s community will want to join me in saying a very big well done to all of the young people and their teachers who have worked so hard over the past couple of years.”

Chairperson of the Education Committee, Councillor Christine Scipio-O’Dean added:

“We all know that Education is one of the highest priorities for the Island. I am delighted to offer my congratulations to all of the students who have worked so hard and achieved these excellent results. This represents real progress for the Island and means that any future investors can have confidence that St Helena has young people with the talent, skills and qualifications to succeed.”

Headteacher of Prince Andrew School, Paul Starkie said:

“We are delighted with the results our students have gained. They have worked very hard and their efforts have been rewarded. There have been some excellent individual successes and all our students have proved what is possible with effort and commitment to study.  I know I speak for every member of staff here at Prince Andrew School when I say how extremely proud we are of each and every one of our students. Vanessa Tissington, Secondary Raising Attainment Partner was thrilled to see the results prior to her departure and asked me to personally convey her congratulations.

“To those former students who are entering work related opportunities, we wish them all the very best in the future. We are also absolutely delighted by the number of students returning to Prince Andrew School to continue their journey with us. Our dedicated and committed team of teachers and support staff are very much looking forward to welcoming them back in September.”

Primary Schools are too receiving their results for the Primary School end of Year 6 assessments, also known as Key Stage 2 SATs.

Compared to last year the overall results show a slight fall in the number of children achieving level 4+.  Level 4+ is the benchmark set for children leaving Primary Schools in England.  This slight fall was not unexpected since the actual tests are different from those that were administered in 2012.

This year, new assessments were introduced in Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation. 

Commenting on the Key Stage 2 SATs results, Colin said:

“The Year 6 children worked very hard throughout the year and there are some examples of really high achievement.

“Making comparisons with last year is quite tricky because new tests have been introduced.  At this stage we do not know what the overall trend is in terms of how schools in England have performed and so we have further analysis to undertake.  There are some indications that our experience of a slight dip in performance reflects what is happening in parts of England but it really is too soon to draw any conclusions.

“It does show however that the Directorate still has a lot of work to do to improve standards in Primary Education. We have a very dedicated team of teachers and support staff who will rise to the challenge and I am delighted that we have a dynamic and enthusiastic Primary Education Adviser, Victoria Stapleton, who is busy supporting our Head and Class teachers.”

Victoria added:

“Our 2013 SATs results show we still have some way to go to improve the children’s progress and attainment but I feel confident that the schools, education team and community will work hard together to achieve this.”

The overall figures of the Primary Schools’ exams along with the full analysis of this year’s public examinations will be reported to the Education Committee in October.

Education and Employment Directorate


27 August 2013


Following Executive Council’s decision on 6 August to redevelop the Sundale site into a prison, a public meeting was arranged at Half Tree Hollow Community Centre for all interested persons to discuss the reasons behind ExCo’s recommendations. Councillors agreed at the meeting that the planning conditions subject to which the development permission has been granted should be published.

The conditions (as recommended by the Land Planning Development Control Board to the Governor in Council) are set out below.

1. Development permission relates to the revised drawings submitted on 25 April 2013 and the development shall be carried out in accordance with those drawings apart from any minor amendment submitted subsequently and approved in writing by the Planning Officer. Reason: To define the permission.

2. Roof water is to be collected in storage tanks, not less than 450 litres capacity for re use, with overflows fed into landscaped areas; Reason: To encourage use of natural resources, and planning policy W.2, H.9 g)

3. No roof water or site water is to be fed into, or directed to any foul sewer system. Reason: To avoid unsettling the effective operation of the sewer system.

4. No external lighting shall be used to illuminate the perimeter walls. Reason: In the interest of residential amenity, to minimize light pollution and in accordance with planning policy E.8

5. All drainage pipe work shall be laid underground; Reason: In accordance with planning policy SD.7

6. Insulation shall be incorporated in all new roof spaces. Reason: To ensure energy efficiency in accordance with planning policy E.4

7. No development shall be commenced until a scheme of landscaping in the areas where the height of perimeter walls is to be increased, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Planning Officer. The landscaping proposal shall be carried out within six months of the development being commissioned and thereafter maintained. Reason: To blend the development into its setting and in accordance with planning policy IZ 1 h)

8. No development shall be commenced until details of wall rendering and finishes has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Planning Officer. Reason: In accordance with planning policy IZ 1 a)

9. The entrance gates shall be of heavy wooden or cast iron materials, details of which shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Planning Officer. Reason: In the interest of security, to be symbolic of their purpose and in accordance with planning policy IZ 1 a)

10. No development shall be commenced until a Construction Management Plan has been submitted to the Planning Officer and approved in writing to demonstrate that the impact of construction work on nearby residents is to be minimized in respect of dust, noise, traffic, hours of working and the handling and disposal of waste materials. Reason: to protect residential amenity in accordance with planning policy IZ.1.

11. The development shall not be brought in to use until the septic tank and its soakaway system have been examined and reported upon to the Planning Officer together with proposals for refurbishment to ensure their effectiveness in dealing with foul sewage from the development. Reason: to ensure avoidance of pollution in compliance with planning policy SD.4.

12. The specification and details of the means of support of all security mesh shall be submitted to the Planning Officer and shall have been approved in writing prior to its installation. Reason: In the interest of security in accordance with planning policies SI.1 and SI.3.


27 August 2013

Open to the Public from 9.30am

Executive Council will meet on Tuesday 27 August 2013 in the Council Chamber. 

Commencing at 9.30am, the meeting will be open to the public & agenda items are:

The Downgrading of Wranghams from II to III Listed Building, Medical Practitioners (Qualifications) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations, 2013, Commissioner of Oaths Amendment Bill, 2013 and the Welfare of Children Amendment Ordinance, 2013.

Executive Council Members are: Nigel Dollery, Lawson Henry, Ian Rummery, Christine Scipio-O’Dean and Wilson Duncan in Cyril George’s absence.  


23 August 2013