In a recent open evening meeting at Pilling Primary School, parents of Year 5/6 pupils were given an insight into Secondary Attainment Testing (SATS) and in particular, how their children would be preparing for these tests.

Organised by Head Teacher, Elaine Benjamin and Year 5/6 Teacher, Carol Youde the evening began with a welcome from Elaine who spoke about the purpose of SATS exams and how parents can support their children in the lead up to the sitting of these tests. She then went on to discuss last year’s results and stressed the importance of working harder this year in aiming to reach the set targets.

Parents, accompanied by their children, were reminded of the utmost importance of working as a team (parents, teachers and children) in order to excel in their educational opportunities.

Parents (with the support of their child) were then set a challenge of a Mental Maths Test which required answers to be given in a set response time.

SATS EveningFollowing this, parents were then taken through the steps of a variety of sample papers – Reading, Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling and Maths. This year both the Reading and Maths papers will have slight changes to them.

A few parents expressed concerns about the pressure these tests put on 10-11 year old pupils. As a result, parents were given Maths Skills prompt sheets, enabling them to help their child at home. They were also given a SATS Maths paper as a homework task, allowing the parent and child to work together.

The evening was very successful and an eye opener for those parents in attendance.

Education and Employment Directorate


16 December 2013

Advent is a season in the Christian year that begins before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Each year, in celebration of Advent, Primary Schools on the Island hold traditional Advent Services for the public to attend.
On 4 December, St James’ Church saw its pews fill with parents, members of the public and invited guests to see Pilling Primary School’s retelling of a version of the Christmas story (the Birth of Jesus Christ).

St Paul's Primary Advent Service
St Paul’s Primary Advent Service

Pilling’s Advent Service began with an Orchestral piece entitled ‘Away in a Manger’ followed by ‘It’s a baby’, ‘Hallelujah We’ve come to see the baby’, and ‘2000 years ago’ sung by early years, nursery, reception and year 1 and 2 pupils.

The Nativity play ‘Off to Bethlehem’ was presented by Key Stage 2 pupils, highlighted with a few musical solo performers.

Pilling Primary Advent Service
Pilling Primary Advent Service

Father Dale Bowers closed the play with prayers, giving thanks to all involved in the production. Head Teacher, Miss Elaine Benjamin wished all in attendance a Merry Christmas, with pupils on stage singing a version of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ in Swedish – reflecting the celebration of Christmas for international students attending the school.
Father Dale commented that many parents know Christmas is approaching when household items go missing to be made into costumes for Christmas Nativity plays.

Harford Primary Advent Service
Harford Primary Advent Service

This could be seen on Sunday 8 December at St Pauls’ Cathedral, when St Pauls’ pupils wore their homemade costumes during presentation of their play ‘Grandma’s Special Birthday’. To a full congregation, the Bishop welcomed those in attendance, followed by a reading from Kyla Joshua. Songs included ‘Long Ago in A Stable’, ‘Close Your Eyes Little Baby Boy’ and ‘I Hear Angels’. Closing the performance, students sung ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas,’ with pupils displaying their language skills by singing a few verses in Spanish.

Rounding up the Primary School’s Advent Services was Harford’s ‘C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S spells Christmas’ – on Tuesday 10 December. The Deputy Head commented that during the performance the audience would be transported from the present to the past. The Bible reading was done by Oscar Smyth (whose parents were also present playing the piano). Reception children sung ‘I’m A Little Star’ and ‘Ten Little Angels,’ with years 1 & 2 singing ‘We’re Travelling to Bethlehem’. During the Nativity play, there were outstanding performances from several pupils, which saw a mixture of 21st century culture embedded within the play.

All Primary Schools saw well attended Advent Services where the committed efforts from pupils, parents and teachers really put across the Christmas Story.

11 December 2013

Councillor Tony Green today informed HE Governor Capes that he will resign from Legislative Council, with effect from Tuesday 17 December 2013.
Councillor Green explained to the Governor that his resignation was for family reasons and that he would shortly travel to the UK.
The Governor thanked Councillor Green for his years of service to St Helena as an Elected Member, and wished him well.

10 December 2013

The Property Division of the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate has recently started marketing three surplus Government properties, as part of SHG’s modernisation programme.

The properties being sold are:

  • Wranghams House, near Sandy Bay
  • Head O’ Wain Clinic
  • Former Public Works Store building, Jamestown.

The properties are all quite different, ranging from a small single story building with conversion potential, to a large prime building in Jamestown with substantial development potential.

Wranghams House was offered on the market in 2011, but the preferred bidder failed to complete the sale.

The sale of the former Public Works Store, located on the west side of the Grand Parade in lower Jamestown, is the first substantial Government asset to be openly marketed in five years. It has the potential to transform the area and possibly set the tone for other regeneration in the area.

The current marketing is aimed to take advantage of the large number of Saints who come home for the Christmas break. Time will tell whether any will make a bid, but the hope is that returning Saints will see that things are changing.

The exercise may also encourage a more open market for houses on the Island to develop. The marketing is an effort by the Property Division to lead the way in creating a more open and transparent property market. As a matter of principle, all surplus Government properties should be openly marketed, firstly on Island, before, if necessary, international marketing. This marketing exercise is the first step in what will be a long process to establish a base going forward.

The use of open tendering in this case is hoped to help establish a pricing level, which is an important element to establishing an effective property market.

The properties are being advertised locally in the Sentinel and Independent newspapers, as well as on the St Helena Government ( and Tourism websites.

Closing dates for offers have been set as follows:

Wranghams House – offers to be submitted by 5 February 2014

Head O’ Wain Clinic – offers to be submitted by 12 February 2014

Former Public Works Store – offers to be submitted by 26 February 2014.

Enquiries and requests for further information and viewing should be made to Crown Estates Assistant, Gina Henry, in Essex House, Jamestown on telephone 22270, or

by e-mail at


10 December 2013




‘School Spruce’ is a community based project aiming to visually and physically improve the Primary Schools play facilities.  


The project began in August this year and with the help of St Helena Government, the private sector, St Helena National Trust and Enterprise St Helena – parents, volunteers and children have all been working together to plan improvements, donate materials and conduct the physical work. 


Over the weekend of 7 and 8 December at Harford School, a team from Basil Read donated and installed jungle gym equipment drawn from their materials and suppliers.


The school had contacted Basil Read logistics team in Johannesburg hoping for advice on the most economical way of making Harford’s plans a reality.  Suppliers then contacted were Ohorongo Cement, Ash Resources and Meihuizens International who came back with a simple suggestion – ‘let us sponsor a piece of equipment’.


Paula McLeod, Chairperson of Harford’s PTA, commented:


“This is a fantastic show of generosity and kindness from Basil Read and is greatly appreciated by everyone at the school. The children were so excited to arrive at school on Monday and see the new addition to their playground. We would all like to say a big THANK YOU to Basil Read from Harford’s children, teachers, parents and friends, especially to the kind men who gave up their weekend to do something really special for the community.


“In the new year we will be asking for parents and friends of the Harford community to get together for a spruce day to give our littlest children a play environment as special as that of their bigger friends.”  


Deon De Jager, Basil Read’s Island Director, was gracious in his response:


“We are happy to help the Island whenever we can.”


The St Helena National Trust is encouraging children to understand the importance of St Helena’s natural resources and culture.  Plans for a “Bug Hotel”, outdoor musical instruments and companion planting tie together Harford’s biggest priorities – ‘our children, our environment and our culture’.


Two pictures are attached with this release



10 December 2013


On Friday 6 December a contract was signed between St Helena Government and Solomons for the procurement of 2 new Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCVs), expected to arrive on St Helena in April 2014. 

The RVCs are Nissan models, each with a rear loading 12 cubic metre rubbish compactor and each fitted with a high level bin lifter.  This mechanical bin lifter aids the emptying of a range of standard wheelie bins.    

Additional funding has also been identified for the procurement of 1600 x 240 litre wheelie bins for provision to households this financial year. 

With the total costing of the two RCVs at £179,660 and £72,500 for the 1600 x 240 litre wheelie bins (compatible with the bin lift equipment) – the total capital spend is £252,160.

Councillor Ian Rummery, Chair of the Health & Social Services Committee, commented:

 “For anyone who thinks that buying a garbage truck for the Island is a simple process, I can assure you that it is not.  For a long time it has been recognised that the current fleet is no longer fit for purpose and the public are all too aware of the problems that frequent breakdowns cause. 

“It is fantastic news that two trucks have been procured and this, along with the redevelopment of Horse Point Landfill, will result in significant improvements to the management of solid waste and environmental health on St Helena.”

Project Manager Mike Durnford Manager of Environmental Risk Management, working with Environmental Health, will devise a strategy with stakeholders for distribution of the new wheelie bins and the introduction of the new vehicles into the domestic waste collection and disposal service.

Senior Environmental Health Officer, Georgina Young, added:

“We look forward to operating the refuse collection service with the two new  vehicles.  Not only will they contribute to a better service, but they also will aid better occupational health and safety standards for the workforce.”


10 December 2013





In late October/early November the Statistics Office conducted a Household Living Standards Survey. Two major goals of the survey were to enable an update to the basket of goods and services, monitored for the quarterly calculations of the Retail Price Index, and to be able to link this with information regarding household income. 

Once again, the Statistics Office wish to express their sincere appreciation to everyone who participated – we recognise the effort involved in completing the shopping diary and also the sensitive nature of a lot of the information which respondents provided. All who participated can feel proud of their efforts and be assured that the information will be of great use to their community – ensuring that households like theirs are fairly represented. The evidence provided will inform decisions effecting St Helenian households for many years to come. 

As a small incentive to taking part in the survey, a hamper of goods was offered as a prize to all households who returned completed diaries and questionnaires by Friday 15 November. The winner, drawn at random, was Myra Young of St Pauls. A pleased Myra received her prize on Tuesday 19 November.

Thanks are due to the many generous people who donated to the hamper, including Natalie at Bliss Salon, Joshua Brothers Production, Leo’s Planet, Jodie Mills, Mrs Ruth Pridham, Solomons & Company, Stevens’ Family Butchery, and the Rose and Crown.

In total 88 households participated, representing approximately 5% of St Helenian households. The participants were from all administrative areas and represented a range of household types (families, extended families, couples, and single person households) and income sources (employment, self-employment, pension and income related benefits). The Statistics Office staff are now busy collating results and a report of initial summary results will be available by April 2014.


10 December 2013

Morag Stevenson - Solicitor General
Morag Stevenson – Solicitor General

His Excellency Governor Capes has today appointed Morag Stevenson as the new Solicitor General, following Frank Wastell’s recent appointment to Attorney General.

Morag, previously Crown Counsel, takes up her new role with immediate effect.

Of her appointment, Morag said:

“I am delighted to accept the appointment as Solicitor General and I look forward to dealing with the challenges that will come with this new role. In addition to undertaking or supervising all Criminal prosecutions, I will now also be responsible for all Civil Court cases either by or against SHG. The remainder of my time will be spent providing my full support to the Attorney General in dealing with the variety of legal issues that require addressing, particularly in the lead up to certification of the Airport.”  

A photo of Morag is attached.


9 December 2013


Corporate Support would like to extend sincere thanks to all persons involved with the Remembrance Day Service on Sunday 10 November 2013.

Special thanks go to members of the public on Island and on the RMS St Helena who made generous contributions to the Poppy Appeal Fund, and to all the local outlets who continue each year to support the Poppy Appeal by selling poppies on Corporate Support’s behalf.

The sum of £1097.76 was raised this year and will be sent on behalf of St Helena to The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal in the UK.

Connie Johnson, organiser of the Poppy Appeal Fund and the Remembrance Day Service commented:

“This could not have been accomplished without the help of staff members Alton Isaac and Stephanie Crook who were involved with the preparation and distribution of the poppies and money boxes.  This year’s funds raised were considerably higher than in previous years and it was all down to those who kindly donated to this worthy cause.” 

The Royal British Legion has always been grateful and has previously congratulated St Helena for the amount of funds raised.  


9 December 2013  

Passers-by in Main Street, Jamestown, may have noticed the current works taking place at the Post Office building, where a hole is being knocked into the Veranda wall, adjacent to The Star.

Head of the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate, Paul McGinnety explained that this project had been in the pipeline for a long time, but these works – to provide wheelchair and pushchair access to the front of the Post Office – are now taking place.

Paul said:

“There is currently wheelchair and pushchair access to the Post Office building via the rear entrance. But members of the public have raised concerns that this access (which includes buzzing for help to lower the wheelchair ramp) is inconvenient and often time consuming.

“By providing wheelchair access to the front of the building, the more vulnerable members of society, plus parents, grandparents and visitors with push chairs are able to easily access the building, more quickly and conveniently.”

Councillor Les Baldwin, Chairman of the Social Community and Development Committee added:

“I think the major benefit will be that wheelchair and pushchair users will be able to more easily use the facility to watch parade events, beginning this Christmas season, from this major public vantage point. Improved accessibility for all, wherever feasible, will be supported by SHG.”


6 December 2013