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Shea O’Connor, South Africa

St Peter’s is partnered with the Shea O’Connor Combined School in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Our partnership started in 2009 as part of the British Council’s International Inspiration programme and we surpassed our initial goal of improving the participation of girls in PE. 

Father Shea O’Connor was an Irish priest who worked at the school and was murdered during a burglary at his home. Staff and students' aim is to develop the school to make it the best place for education for local children possible. 

Since 2012 we have completed five Connecting Classroom projects and have established: an annual focus on the partnership for both schools for one school week (including assemblies to every year group and tutor reflection every day); an annual non-uniform day to boost funds from the Connecting Classrooms project; regular contact between schools including Skype calls (sometimes between classes) and emails; a variety of teachers involved to varying degrees in both schools; an International Co-ordinator at St Peter's School; an annual uniform donation drive to boost attendance from very low income families at Shea; an annual teacher exchange as part of the Connecting Classrooms projects; and a permanent display at St Peter's, showing up-to-date information and photos. Furthermore, we have embedded the partnership into the schemes of work for a growing number of subjects, where students across many year groups use the partnership in lessons. 

Partnership timeline


St Peter’s takes the first steps on the partnership journey with Shea O’Connor Combined School as part of the British Council’s “International Inspiration” programme. This programme was part of the legacy concept: one way that the UK’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games was different to other bids. Mrs Kilkenny-Browne and St Peter’s School Headteacher Mr McCaffery visit for the first time. 


Shea O'Connor's Headteacher, Protus Sokhela and Washington, his Deputy Headteacher, visit St Peter’s School and are warmly welcomed. They make a tremendous impression and Protus makes the most of the networking opportunities – he forges strong links with St Peter’s School.


St Peter's teachers, Mrs Kilkenny-Browne, Mr Egan and Mr Ridley visit for a week. Read an account of the visit here.


Both schools use Skype extensively and video call at least once a week to discuss school leadership and to develop further collaboration.


St Peter's PE teachers, Mrs Kilkenney-Browne and Mrs Thompson, visit Shea O’Connor School and teach classes. In return, Headteacher, Nicholas Nxamulo visits St Peter’s School and enjoys a week of intensive collaboration.


Science teacher, Mrs Nicholls, visits Shea O’Connor School and works there for one week – they had snow! St Peter’s School donates enough school textbooks to start a library at Shea O’Connor School.


Thirteen St Peter’s School Sixth Form students visit for one week and complete many projects in Shea O’Connor School. Also, Immaculate Nonhlanha, a Maths teacher from Shea, visits St Peter’s School for one week of intensive teacher training. 


St Peter’s School students donate over 2,000 items of school uniform for Shea O’Connor. 


The Partnership Week raises enough funds to help Shea O’Connor School run an e-Learning service to raise Maths results.


Teachers, Mr Ridley and Mrs Kilkenny-Browne, deliver 136kg of school uniform and use FaceTime to run assemblies live from South Africa. 


Drama teacher, Mrs Stanisstreet, visits Shea O’Connor School and delivers bags of uniform and teaches Grade 9 students about SLAM poetry. In return, Headteacher Nicholas Nxamulo spends a week at St Peter's School and celebrates 10 years of the partnership, taking centre stage in our celebration of our decade-long partnership. Sir Ciarán Devane officially opened the displays of Shea students' work, along with John Rolfe MBE, Governors, previous Headteachers and community friends. 


Successful installation of an adventure playground for Primary phase at Shea O’Connor School.


The partnership raises enough funds to employ an Eduhelper at Shea O’Connor School.


Students at St Peter’s School take part in a performing arts concert to raise funds to continue the employment of an Eduhelper at Shea O’Connor School.


Successful installation of solar panels at Shea O’Connor School, donated by the partnership.

We celebrated the partnership’s ten year Anniversary and are planning for many, many more examples of our collaboration!

If you would like to get involved in this exciting and growing partnership, please contact St Peter’s School for more information.