School History

Miss Eva Joste founded a little school in her house in Elizabeth Place in January 1889 with just 5 pupils on the register. The house was called Helvetia, the old name for Switzerland because of the family’s Swiss ancestry. The school received its full name in 1896 when a traveller in school materials sent exercise books stamped with the gold impression ‘Helvetia House School’.

Mrs Annie Haines took over the school from her sister in 1905 and ran it successfully until 1939 when she retired in Helvetia’s Golden Jubilee year.

Miss Phyllis, her younger daughter became principal of Helvetia from the beginning of World War II and remained until she died in 1986. She devoted her life to Helvetia and was an inspiration to many.

Mrs Ann Atkinson had to take over Helvetia in Sept 1985 when Miss Phyllis suffered a severe stroke from which she never recovered. Mrs Atkinson joined the school staff when she returned to the island in 1976 and was Headmistress for 13 years. She was aided by her colleague Miss Ann Le Druillenec, who as head teacher shouldered many of the responsibilities of the day to day running of the school from 1998 to 2008.

Mrs Lindsey Woodward (Great-Granddaughter of Eva Joste, the founder) took over the reins in September 2008 and carries on many of the traditions that she experienced when she was a pupil. The school has a caring, warm spirited family ethos according to the UK inspector who visited the school. He was tremendously impressed with the teaching methods, standards achieved by all girls, discipline, behaviour and commitment to the school by the staff, pupils and parents. He also loved the community involvement and excellence in sporting achievement, performing arts and creative subjects.