Pietersburg English Medium Primary School

English School Has a Long History

Records of an English school in Pietersburg date back to 23 January 1906, when the school was known as the Government Elementary School under the principalship of Mr William Bartlet.

The medium of instruction was discussed in October 1907. It was decided that "English would continue being spoken as far as it was necessary for purposes of explanation" (quote: school log, 17 October).

Later, in 1908, it was decided that "Taal" be allowed in the oral history lessons and in infant classes, and that "Taal" be allowed in object lessons.

The inspector's report of November 1907 described the school as follows:"This school consists of two pairs of wood and iron buildings, one pair being separated from the other by a distance of over a half a mile".

A Mr CC Hicks joined the staff in March 1910. He became principal in 1912 and steered the school through different premises until in 1932, the English children in the school that is Pietersburg Laerskool today, literally picked up their desks and marched up Voster Street to their new school premises, which Pemps occupies today.

Parents had a protest meeting because "the school was built so far out of town". Mr Hicks career ended on 14 March 1938 "owing to a serious accident".

On 2 August 1938 Mr JB Cosford was appointed principal. The log entry of 19 Octber 1938 reads:"Wrote a letter to Traffic-Department requesting immediate steps be taken to curb reckless driving, excessive speeding along Grobler Street, which endanger lives and limbs of pupils.

Of interest during Cosford's term of office was that so may trees were planted at the school. Although he led the school during the World War II years, not once is the war ever mentioned in the logbook.

A Miss M Kleinenberg who has been a teacher at the school since 1907, retired in 1941 (age limit).

Mr RW Butcher assumed duty as principal on 15 January 1946. The New Hostel, Ireland House, was opened in 1951. Of interest in the logbook is the entry on 2 December 1951:"School broken into and the following items were stolen: £5.00(school funds), five pairs of scissors, five yellow dusters, four towels and 25 doz TED lead pencils. The police are investigating."

On 29 July 1952, Mr John Harman assumed duty as the new principal. During this era, the school feeding scheme, three-penny meals, was encouraged. In July 1954, permission was given to introduce secondary classes from the beginning of 1955, and the school was allowed to eventually develop into an English Medium High School. When school opened in 1955, there were 140 high school children; - seven tents had been erected to accommodate them.

Alas, the logbook of 15 February notes that "due to five inches of rain during the weekend, three tents were blown down and the rest were water-logged".

On 28 July 1959, the swimming pool(situated on PCS grounds today) was filled and officially opened by Tom Naudé in 1960. The high school children moved to Capricorn High School during the third term in 1961. JB Harman remained at the Primary School until the end of the year when he became principal at Capricorn High.

Mr MC Edwards was appointed principal in January 1963. He will always be remembered for the outstanding operettas that he produced - The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, etc.

In 1965, the Lindare House girls' hostel was opened. During Mr Edwards' tenure, new school buildings were erected to replace those build in 1932. When Mr Edwards left at the end of 1973. Mr NJ Nel was appointed acting principal.

In 1974 Nel was appointed principal. He spends 23 years in the post. During this time the following changes took place: The old Moerdyk building was demolished and the new grades block was built. The sports fields were re-levelled as one side of the field was over on meter lower than the other. The media centre was enlarged and equipped and the computer centre was established.

The school grew in numbers to 960 pupils, with the largest primary school hostels in the then TED. Towards 1990, these numbers decreased and the two hostels were combined. Ireland House was changed into a school, which is Pietersburg Comprehensive School today. One of our teachers, Mrs Denise Claassen, became principal there. In 1985 we admitted the first children of varied races into the school, thus pre-empting the 'new South Africa' by some ten years. This move met with much opposition, but the parent community of the school voted 93 percent in favour of the move. Thus a whole new era was ushered in at Pemps. Mr Nel retired in 1996. Mr HE Hart, who had served the school as deputy principal since January 1985, was appointed acting principal.

Mr J Cranna, was appointed principal in 2000.

In August 2006 Mrs CL Reeves became principal.

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