A brief history of Rhodes High School

On 31 March 1978, Rhodes High School was birthed out of an amalgamation of Observatory Boys High (founded in 1895), and Observatory Girls High (founded in 1903). The school, situated in Little Mowbray, stands in its beautiful setting on the slopes of Devils Peak, and along the banks of the Liesbeek River. It is flanked by the N2 highway, and in close proximity of rail and road commuter networks, which links the school with the greater Cape Town area.

When, in 1991, learner totals at Rhodes High School dwindled alarmingly, the school took to heart its motto to ‘Persevere’, and courageously triumphed through trying times. The doors of learning were then opened to learners from far reaching areas across the Cape Peninsula. Taking cognisance of the role of a School in a democratic South Africa, the school has become a microcosm of this, enrolling learners from previously disadvantaged areas and communities. Today, our school has a roll of 960 learners ¬†and is still growing.

To this end, the school building has in recent years, with WCED funding, been extended to accommodate the growing learner totals. In addition, the school has been included as a Dinaledi, Maths and Science Focus School. This has meant that extra emphasis has been placed on the challenges faced in teaching and learning in the areas of Mathematics, Physical Science and Life Sciences. The school has been fortunate to be part of projects such as MSEP (Maths and Science Education Project), which is bolstered by the University of Cape Town. Other projects involved in the life of Rhodes High School include the PREPARE project, which is focused on in the compulsory Life Orientation subject area. Here, learners are equipped to face the challenges of growing up in our modern life style, in order for them to become skilled, responsible adults who contribute positively in society. This project is presented by the Department of Justice and Crime Prevention, the South African Medical Research Council and the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

Our Principal is a member of CoLP (Community of Learning Principals), a project run by the University of the Western Cape. Here, he is given support in the challenges facing heads of schools in the day-to-day running of an institution of learning.

The current economic climate combined with the large enrolment of learners from across the Cape Flats, places the school under great – and increasing – financial pressure. However, the school maintains its aim to strive for excellence, and offers excellent opportunities in education to the community which it serves. The school does, however, need increasing financial support to meet this vision.

Rhodes High School serves the local community by offering the study of Information Technology at our facility to learners from other local schools such as Pinelands High, Camps Bay High and St. Georges Grammar School. In recent years, this has meant that greater investment has had to be made in the constant updating of our technological resources, which is also used to teach Mathematics, Geography and English, among other subjects.

Our school has always enjoyed a rich cultural diversity. In keeping with this, the school has for many years been an educational host to learners on exchange from overseas countries such as Germany and France. Today, the school also is an educational fort for no less than 20 learners from the Democratic Republic of Congo. These learners often arrive to the shores of our school with very little knowledge of the English language, and are given the opportunity to participate in a specialised programme of English learning.

The school plays an integral role in a society that is far from the dream of a peaceful, prosperous and multicultural, democratic society. At Rhodes High School, staff and learners are rich in exposure to integration when compared to other schools in the local schooling network and South Africa. This equips our learners to play an active and constructive role in our young democracy.

The spans of opportunities are vast at Rhodes High School. Learners are given the opportunity to be involved in sporting codes including Cricket, Soccer and Rugby, among others, as well as Music and Drama, debating, cultural exchanges and a host of other activities. Learners need only take the action to explore these opportunities.

Under the guidance of our Headmaster, our school is encouraged to be a family that embodies the continued transformation of our developing South Africa, to contribute positively to society, and be ambassadors of positivity beyond the gates of our school, remembering to ‘forever persevere’.

Recent Past Principals Mr. Spicer (1978 – 1988)
Mr. N. van Niekerk (1989 – 1998)
Current Principal Mr. K. W. Long (1999 – current)

Leave a Reply