SA's oldest schools: Readers respond

Facebook/Selborne College, East London founded in 1872
Facebook/Selborne College, East London founded in 1872
Selborne College

Since publishing an extensive list of some of South Africa's oldest schools – we've received a flood of readers’ responses, from our social networks to our feedback email inbox

Most of these were from readers sending schools to add to the list (which we’ve done below the original research), and others utterly confused by the “year established” info for their specific schools. This is because we published only the oldest dates discovered and provided to the Parent24 team by Ms Sigi Howes, principal and primary researcher for the Centre for Conservation Education in Wynberg, Cape Town. 

Her original data include a list of previous names for each school (up to 5 for some schools) – many old schools changed ownership from church to state, moved premises and/or were renamed for various reasons throughout the years. All this information could not be included in Parent24's table due to a lack of space – we’re talking 10 years of research here!

So this might explain why some schools, who today are celebrating their 150th year, are actually much older than that. To read the full description of what Sigi has based her research on, check out This list with 200 of South Africa's oldest schools may surprise you.

Here’s what some of our readers had to say: 

Maitland Primary and Maitland High in Cape Town

"I read the article about the oldest SA schools.

"The list provided of 200 oldest schools shows that Maitland High School was established in 1899.

"During my childhood, I lived in Maitland and attended the Afrikaans primary school (Oranje Laerskool now Koeberg Primary, corner of Koeberg/Royal street) and the bilingual Maitland High School until 1978. There is/was also a Maitland Primary School on the corner of Coronation/Oxford/Royal roads nearby the Maitland High School. 

"As a child, I walked all the streets of Maitland. I recall a sign on Maitland Primary that it was established in 1899.

"Maitland High School on the corner of Royal/Station roads was established 1936. I have a coffee mug printed with "1936 – 1986" to celebrate the 50th year of the school.

"Why I am now concentrating on Maitland High school is because our matric class of 1978 is having a 40-year reunion next month."

Kind Regards, Anton 

Great memories! – Ed.

Selborne College, East London, was founded in 1872 

"I found the details regarding the oldest shools in South Africa to be very interesting but was most surprised to see my old school, Selborne College, wasn’t on the list!

"Selborne College was founded in 1872, albeit under the name of Panmure Public School and the first cricket match took place in 1880 against one of the biggest rivals in school sports, Dale College.

"In 1907 the name was changed from Panmure Public School to Selborne College so I’d assume this is the reason why it’s not listed among the oldest schools in South Africa." 

– Kind regards, Richard 

Thank you, Richard! We've added Panmure Public School/Selborne College to the list – Ed. 

School pride: A brief history of St Andrew's in Bloemfontein

"I attended St Andrew's School in Bloemfontein. 

"St Andrew's was founded on 16 November 1863 by Bishop Edward Twells as the Diocesan Grammar School, and was located in a building now known as the Old Raadsaal in St George's Street, Bloemfontein. The first headmaster was George Clegg.

"In 1874 the school was renamed St Andrew's School when it moved to new buildings on the corner of St George's Street and Church Street. The headmaster at this time was Reverend Douglas McKenzie. The foundation stone of the first St Andrew's is preserved alongside the current chapel.

"In March 1899 new buildings were built for the school; these were however only occupied for a few months before being requisitioned by the British Army during the South African War and the school closed.

"At the conclusion of hostilities in 1902, the facilities were appropriated for use by the new Oranje Meisiesskool, which still occupies the premises.

"Bishop Arthur Chandler worked for a number of years to reinstate the school, and the school reopened in January 1916 on its present site on General Dan Pienaar Drive. Canon E. Ford served as headmaster until the end of 1916." 

– Kind regards, Michael 

Wonderful information, thank you Michael! We added St Andrew's to the list too – Ed.

Is your school missing from our list of South Africa's oldest schools? Send the name and founding date to and we'll add the names and dates to our list. 

Read more: 

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