Profile: The remotest school in the world

Original Publication: TES, 24th March 2017

St. Mary's School

St. Mary’s School


Tristan Da Cunha is one of a set of islands in the South Atlantic, which form the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. The nearest populated land mass is the island of St. Helena, 1,200 kilometres away. St Mary’s School is located on Tristan’s only permanently inhabited locale, known as Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. Discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1506, the islands have been a British territory since 1816.

The school is perfect for those wishing to work within an open and sharing community. The great majority of working age locals are farmers, with land communally owned and measures to prevent any one individual gaining excess wealth. The total population of the island is 260, ensuring small class sizes and close personal connections between teacher and student. Students are taught between the ages of 3-16.

First opened in 1971, the school has operated from its current campus since 1975. Facilities include five classrooms, a library, a hall with stage, a computer suite, a cookery room, and a craft/science room. In 2011 St Mary’s received a visit from the crew of Volvo Ocean Race competitor Puma’s Mar Mostro, after the yacht ran aground on the island. School and community are located on the island’s only patch of arable land, the rest dominated by a volcano that last erupted in 1961.


Anne Green

Values and vision

St Mary’s School understands that in its role as a community’s sole educational facility, it has a great responsibility to provide an excellent learning experience for every child. The school is devoted in its mission to teach the British curriculum to a high standard, and its students often go on to study further education at some of the most prestigious boarding schools in the UK and South Africa.

Tristan Da Cunha long shot towards ocean
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, named for the Duke of Edinburgh who visited in 1867
Tristan da Cunha on map
Tristan da Cunha lies 1,500 miles from nearest continental land South Africa

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