Pretoria High School for Girls was started by Lord Milner in 1902 as part of his efforts to anglicise the Transvaal.
Miss Edith Aitken, the first headmistress, was a remarkable pioneer who fought for higher education for women and was determined to bring together the various cultural groups, as is reflected in the School Charter she formulated.
Having had relatively few headmistresses through the years, the school has been fortunate enough to maintain great stability of leadership. While various headmistresses have made changes to meet the challenge of changing times, the standards of excellence and caring have remained absolute.
Pretoria High School for Girls is known for the tremendous contribution it has made to the community and for the respect and admiration it draws from those who become acquainted with it. As a beacon of light in the world of education and innovative teaching, this school remains an institution of which all can be proud.
It is the aim of the School to produce well educated, balanced young women, who are adaptable, creative and independent, have integrity, social responsibility and respect, in an environment of inclusivity and equality.
Admission to the school is made in accordance with GDE regulations. The language of instruction is English and all learners admitted should be proficient in English if they are to benefit from the teaching offered.
Applications should be made by the end of September of the previous year for all day learners and by the end of May of the previous year for boarders. Prospective learners and their parents may be called for an interview.
In line with its policy of affording all girls equal opportunity for participation and success, learners of this school have excelled in Olympiads in a variety of subjects, in the sports arena and in cultural activities.
Academically, our learners achieve very well. There is a 100% pass rate at the end of Grade 12 with over 90% meeting the minimum requirements for admission to a Bachelor's degree or higher certificate as gazetted for admission to higher education. The average aggregate achieved by our girls for their best six subjects is regularly amongst the highest in the province. Most matriculants proceed to tertiary educational institutions where their secondary education is acknowledged to have given them an excellent grounding for a whole range of degrees and other courses.
The School Management
The School Governing Body, elected by parents, attempts to co-operate as closely as possible with parents and the academic staff. It is responsible for the appointment of all educating staff in conjunction with the GDE, for the determination of school policy, in consultation with the school executive and for the management of all movable and immovable property.
All parents of the school belong to the Parents Association. An enthusiastic and dedicated executive committee is elected annually to assist with functions, to plan and co-ordinate fund-raising activities, especially the highly successful Spring Fair.
The Academic Staff
In order to achieve the aims and objectives of the school, the staff are professional educators, who are dedicated and caring. Under the guidance of the school executive, consisting of the headmistress and deputy principals, they aim to educate the learners to be responsible citizens in the South African community. This includes providing the girls with the skills needed to contribute to society, and the moral courage, compassion and understanding needed to face the challenges of the future.
We believe the strength of the school lies in the diversity of its learners who come from a variety of socio-economic, religious and cultural backgrounds. Each girl is encouraged to achieve her individual potential. Learner office bearers, at every level, assist with the orderly running of the school and form an important link between the learners and the executive.
Learners are allocated to one of ten houses named after the Governors-General of the Union of South Africa: Athlone, Buxton, Clarendon, Connaught, Duncan, Gladstone, Selborne and van Zyl, and the first two headmistresses of the school: Aitken and McWilliam.
Inter-house competitions take place on academic, cultural, sport and fund-raising levels with the aim of encouraging camaraderie, social awareness and school spirit. A strongly supported Old Girlsâ€™ Association retains close ties with the school and fulfils an important role in ensuring that the ethos and traditions of the school are maintained and upheld
Learners and staff are required to be on the school property by 07:20 and the official academic school day ends at 13:50.
Extra-curricular activities start at 14:30 and are run for three sessions of 45 minutes each.
Learners who have no extra-curricular activities and who cannot be fetched by 14:30 are required to attend supervised study.
Positive discipline depends upon consistency in the application of, and the abiding by a given set of rules. A code of conduct for learners is instituted for the benefit of the whole school community. It is introduced to uphold standards and create norms of courtesy and consideration for the well being of the larger community. All girls are expected to fulfil their obligations at all times.
A strict dress code is in place. School uniform is to be worn proudly, never varying in time or place. Only regulation items of clothing and bags are permissible. No jewellery of any kind may be worn.
The Academic Curriculum
In an attempt to enable each girl to strive for self-awareness, self-discovery, self-realisation and self-fulfilment, a wide range of subjects is offered to all learners.
The medium of instruction is English.
Grades 8 & 9:
English Home language;
Afrikaans Home language or Afrikaans 1st additional language or Sepedi 1st additional language;
French 2nd additional language or German 2nd additional language
Arts & Culture; Economic & Management Sciences; Life Orientation; Mathematics; Natural Sciences; Social Sciences; Technology
Grades 10, 11 & 12:
To qualify for a National Senior Certificate (NSC), all learners must offer 7 subjects and meet minimum requirements with the following components.
4 compulsory subjects comprising:
Language of teaching: English Home Language
First Additional Language: Afrikaans or Sepedi or
Afrikaans Home Language.
*Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
3 of the following choice subjects:
Physical Sciences; Life Sciences; Computer Applications Technology; Geography; History; Visual Arts; Design; Music; German; French; Accounting; Consumer Studies.
The Media Centre
Pretoria High School for Girls has an excellent media centre with a well-stocked library. It houses DVD players and monitors and overhead projectors, together with all the necessary software for lesson enrichment.
Three Computer Centres house networked computers all with printer access. CD ROM hardware which enables learners to access, retrieve and print information from software packages such as National Geographic and Groliers Encyclopaedia is also used regularly.
A broad range of extra-curricular activities is offered to girls of all ages to cater for their varying interests.
Arts & Culture
Drama and public speaking play an important part in the life of the school with inter-house plays, debating and public speaking competitions, outings to the theatre and the Grahamstown English Festival proving very popular with learners. Our very popular musical productions give learners yet another opportunity to share their talents. The school newspaper, In the Limelight, published by the learners themselves, gives scope to those with journalistic aspirations. Other writing is encouraged by our Writers Competition, as well as outside writing competitions. Two choirs, ensemble groups and an orchestra meet regularly and entertain the school and the community on special occasions. In the well-equipped, modern pottery and sculpture studios and a fully equipped dark room, learners are taught by qualified educators who are artists in their own right.
Clubs and Societies
Amnesty International; Art Club; Bridge; Chess; Junior & Senior Choirs; Rhythmony; String Ensemble; Woodwind Ensemble; Orchestra; Contact Club; Debating; Students Intercultural Club; Museum; Newspaper; Peer Tutoring; Peer Counselling; Photography Club; Pottery Club; Science Club; SCA; Theatre Club and Yoga Club.
Outings and Tours
Curriculum orientated trips and tours enrich the syllabus.
Sport and Sports Facilities
Games are an integral part of the school curriculum with three to four sessions per afternoon allocated for coaching and participation. Day scholars in Grades 8 and 9 are required to attend three extra-curricular (sport or cultural) sessions per week, but extra-curricular activities are not compulsory for Grades 10 & 12. Learners are, however, encouraged to take part as frequently as they are able.
Sports offered are: Aerobics; Athletics; Basketball; Cross-Country; Diving; Equestrian; Golf; Hockey; Lifesaving; Netball; Power Walking; Squash; Swimming; Tennis; Volleyball; Water Aerobics and Waterpolo.
Sports facilities include a swimming pool, a warm-up pool, an Astro-turf hockey field shared with Boys' High, three grass hockey fields, tennis courts, two glass-backed squash courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, netball fields and a gymnasium.
Every learner is required to make an active contribution to the annual Spring Fair, bringing items for sale and assisting in the running of the stalls.
Because we believe that each girl should be sensitive to the needs of others, the school interacts with the community at large, serving in various ways giving of their talents and their time. Learners regularly visit créches, or homes for the elderly or less privileged. In addition, the school has a peer tutorship programme in place. Child Welfare is actively supported by fund-raising and, in keeping with the tradition started during the 2nd World War, each learner and staff member annually knits a jersey which is given to needy members of the community at the start of the winter
The Girls Boarding School
The Hostels are an integral part of the school with the boarders making a significant contribution to all aspects of school life.
Two hostels, School House and North Lodge on the school property, house a total of 142 boarders. The hostels fall under the supervision of senior Housemistresses who are members of the school teaching staff, as well as a number of supervisory educators and matrons. There is an active Boarder Parent Committee that serves as a liaison between parents and the school, assisting with fund raising for the hostels.
The girls go home each weekend on a Friday, although involvement in school sports matches, cultural contests or rehearsals may necessitate the hostels accommodating these participants on some Friday nights.
A particular feature of our boarding school is that each girl has her own cubicle which she may decorate as she pleases. She thus enjoys the luxury of privacy and the homeliness of individual taste.