27 April 2018
Last September, the independent girls school, Manor House in Bookham, consigned its iconic green uniform to the past and ushered in a smart new business-like attire in navy, sky blue and minimal green.
The change was thanks to Headteacher, Tracey Fantham, in her drive to re-energise Manor House School. Since taking over the Headship in September 2016, she has updated the curriculum, extended partnerships, increased co-curricular opportunities, added events and formed a development committee to focus on future development plans for the school.
Ms Fantham and parents gave great consideration to what was to become of the old uniform – which is to be phased out completely by September 2018 – and how it might help others.
Through a staff member, Mrs Felicity Charles, Biology teacher, earnest talks began with Principal Mark Origa of St.Martin’s Oluti Mixed Secondary School located near Mawego Town, Karachuonyo Constituency in Homa Bay County, Kenya. Mr Origa was extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive a whole range of uniform and sports kit from which their pupils could benefit. Parents were asked to bring in their stocks of the old uniform to be sorted and bagged up accordingly.
Ms Tracey Fantham, Headteacher of Manor House School, commented: “The next challenge was how to get such a vast quantity of uniform to Kenya, bearing in mind the cost of shipping and the logistics of moving a large quantity of clothing across the world.”
“Fortunately a parent with friends in bordering Uganda helped with the logistics. After flying the consignment of fourteen large boxes of clothing, which weighed nearly half a tonne to Entebbe, the uniforms were taken to nearby Kampala.”
When Principal Mark Origa received the call to say that the uniforms were on their way, Mr Origa said “After the call from Kampala I found myself dancing full of excitement and happiness. Students that saw me dancing through the window asked what was so interesting to make the Principal dance in his office like that and I told them, just wait and see!”
Finally, the uniform was transported 15 hours by road across the border to the Kenyan town of Kisumu where Principal Origa collected the uniforms on the back of a large pick-up truck.
There are several photos attached of the students taken at the time of sorting and distributing the old Manor House School uniform. The white striped shirts were donated to boys at the school with the rest of the uniform going to girls.
Principal Mark Origa said “I have no words to express the happiness in the whole school now…every five to ten minutes I get calls from parents and guardians of our students passing on their gratitude. Some of the parents have come to my house to see me and thank Manor House School for donating the uniform to their children.”
“Our students look so smart now. They brought the local market to a standstill when they were going home as all the people left the market to come out to see them.”
Manor House School originated in 1920 in Sidmouth, Devon and the school will be celebrating its’ Centenary Year in 2020. Archives show the school had no uniform before 1922 when it introduced a brown uniform and hat. In 1929, the school moved to Surrey – temporarily to Mickleham Hall in Box Hill – when it introduced green pinafores with white blouses. Later, in 1937, the school moved to its current site in Manor House Lane, signalling the introduction of the traditional green uniform and striped blazer.
Manor House School girls support a variety of charities. There are three School Houses; Discovery, Victory and Endeavour. Each Manor House girl is assigned a House on joining the School and will support nominated charities throughout the academic year.
Manor House School’s next Open Morning is on Tuesday 1 May 2018 with the Welcome at 9.30am. For further information about the Open Morning, contact Manor House School, 01372 457077, http://www.manorhouseschool.org