25 Years of Challenge and Care:
A St George's Timeline
Over the past 25 years St George’s has gone from 12 students on the top floor of a small rented school building, to approximately 750 students representing over 50 countries in purpose-built accommodation in Hamm.
Upon celebrating 25 years of St George’s, we take a journey down memory lane...reminding ourselves how much this international school has thrived and developed in such a short time.
St George's English School was founded in 1990 by Anthony Barlow and John Jackson, who previously worked for the British School of Brussels. Mr Barlow, formally a Business Manager and Dr Jackson, an educationalist saw a strong demand from expatriate British parents to establish 'a school for children ages 3-11 that followed the English National Curriculum'. In 1987, they entered negotiations with the Grand Duchy and the Municipality to fill this void. And so, with much determination and faith, St George’s English School was established in September 1990 to fulfill the needs of a British Primary education in Luxembourg. Initially St George's was located in rented accommodation in Bonnevoie and opened its doors to 12 students and 3 staff. St George’s aim was to provide small classes with beneficial teacher-student ratios in a caring and welcoming environment.
First Class of St George's - Photo taken in 1991
St George’s Royal Encounter
In September 1993 St George's students had the privilege of meeting Princess Diana while she was visiting St George's stand at the 'Britain in Luxembourg' Exhibition.
Princess Diana in 1993 Dress up day in 1993.
Class of 1995 Computer Club 1996
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester opened the new site in Weimershof in 1997.
St George's experienced rapid expansion over the first six years due to the School's ability to cater for the varied needs of students between the ages of 2.5 and 11. In September 1996 St George’s moved to Luxembourg-Cents, allowing the school to have enough space to 'spread its wings'. St George's appointed a new Headteacher, Mr J.D. Boyce, and was able to operate a special needs programme in parallel with its mainstream classes for students with learning difficulties. This included intensive assistance for students who joined with little or no English.
Just one year later in September 1997, St George’s moved to a larger campus in Weimershof which was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. The couple spoke to the students and received a tour of the new facilities before planting a tree and unveiling a plaque to commemorate the event. At this time there were 9 teachers and 58 students enrolled, making the average class size approximately 12 students. Due to the increased space available and its growth in popularity, St George’s looked into extending their minimum age range.
8 years and 4 Headmasters after its foundation, St George’s flourished with over 60 students based in their own purpose-built school. The students attending St George’s were no longer exclusively British, with over 50 percent of the students representing 15 different nationalities - therefore 'St George's English School' quickly became 'St George's International School'. In September 1999, St George’s appointed a new headteacher, Mr Barry Dixon. The School also had the honour of a Royal visit - Princess Anne and Crown Princess Maria Theresa took the time to visit classrooms, speak with the students, parents and staff. To top off the lovely visitation, St George's had the privilege of Princess Anne planting a tree in the Early Years playground to commemorate her visit.
''St George’s is a small school where children are happy and standards of learning and behaviour are high. Many dragons have been slain over the years and today it stands on the threshold of a secure and successful future. It represents the best of the English Primary education in the heartland of Europe.'' --J. Jackson (founder of St George’s), 1999.
The School continued to develop its scope of activities, with its large range of clubs and societies. In October 2000, St George’s celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
During the academic year 2000-2001 the School's enrolment continued to grow rapidly. St George’s changed its legal status to an ASBL, this being the most usual legal entity for an independent school. Control of the School was entrusted to a newly appointed Board of Trustees (Conseil D’administration) which took over the management responsibilities. A new Chairman of the Board was also appointed externally as well as a new headmistress, Mrs Heather Duxbury – former head of an international school in Brussels.
It became evident during the year that with the continuing growth there was an urgent need to provide additional classrooms, so the first set of Portacabins were delivered to Weimershof. They became such a long-term fixture that it was eventually impossible to imagine the site without them. At the beginning of the school year 2003 St George’s was able to expand to include its first Year 7 class.
St George's Royal Visit
A major highlight of the 2003 school year was a visit from Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. He took the time to interact with the students and meet the staff.
Over the years the demand to extend into the Secondary cycle of education continued to increase. In order to provide more building space the Ville de Luxembourg granted a temporary campus for students in Beggen. These porta cabins provided additional accommodation from two classrooms for Years 7-9 plus a library and science facilities. Between 2003 and 2005 the student population doubled, from 122 students to 229 students. Recognising the need for a single campus rather than two separate sites, the Ville de Luxembourg secured a permanent site in Hamm to cater for the large expansion. The new site in Hamm eventually replaced the porta cabins in Weimershof and Beggen. The initial capacity in Hamm was designed to take on 450 students with the possibility of expanding its facilities in the future.
From September 2006 St George’s offered students the opportunity of studying the UK GCSE programme. St George’s also became a full member of the Council of British Independent schools in the European communities by meeting all the criteria for the provision of quality education, as determined by the Council. Staff levels grew exponentially from 17 in 2001 to 54 in 2007.
''One of the Most Exciting Days in the History of St George’s''
In April 2007 a selected few students along with the Head Teacher, Heather Duxbury, joined members of the school board, British Ambassador James Clark and Birgit Wachhorst from the Francoise Folmer & Associates architect bureau for a tour of the construction site for the new school in Hamm.
Emerging as the St George's campus we all know today, the new location in Hamm opened its doors to 379 students and 58 members of staff with the completion of the Hamilius building in 2008. The first GCSE exams were also taken on the premises. In the following years St George’s continued to expand; the Lentz building opened in 2009, offering much needed space for Secondary students.
In 2011 the construction of the Barthel Building was completed, providing spacious, well-equipped laboratories and classrooms that further enhanced the learning experience for students. The school flourished with 622 students and 125 staff members. In 2012, Luxembourgish was taught for the first time to years 5 and 6.
St George’s appointed its first Principal, Dr Christian Barkei, in September 2013. In 2014, after 13 years of dedication and hard work, Head Teacher of Primary Heather Duxbury retired.
''This past year was characterised by a number of milestones - more students than ever were enrolled; we introduced an amended school day and timetable and also a new website and newsletter...We believe at St George's that learning should be accessible to everyone, with every student able to achieve their full potential within an environment that is positive and supportive.'' - Dr Christian Barkei, Principal
Today St George’s is thriving more than ever. The School is an inclusive, vibrant international community, boasting over 720 students from ages 3-18 and more than 150 members of staff. A school inspection performed in 2015 by the Independent Schools Inspectorate rated the School as 'excellent' in terms of teaching, leadership, student achievement and many other areas; our graduates can be found at renowned universities and in successful careers all over the world.
In July 2015 construction commenced for our new 'Zinnen' building project which will be situated on our school site. The new site will add 10 general classrooms, a set of new music classrooms and practice rooms, a new library, a new and improved Sixth Form Common Room and finally a new theatre. The new 'Zinnen' building promises to be a great addition to our facilities. We are very grateful for the continued support of our parents, the Luxembourg government and the City of Luxembourg which allows for this project to be realised.
We look forward to the challenges of the future and are proud that we can celebrate 25 years of "achieving potential through challenge and care"!