School’s History

3rd August 1937. The Kensington Ridge Primary School opened its doors to pupils, for the first time today.  If will provide for children of the Malvern – Kensington district ……….

Thus reads the first entry in the school journal made by Mr. Frank Braun who had been seconded from Twist Street as acting principal to open the school.

The enrolment on that day was 177 boys and 179 girls and catered for pupils from Std. Two to Std. Five. – but it is recorded that a measles epidemic in the district was keeping a large number of children away from school!

The staff on that first day numbered 12 persons; on third being men, - a rare thing today!

Mr. F. de Guigne was appointed as the first principal of the school in December 1937 and was at the helm of the school until his retirement in December 1948.  Other Principals appointed over the years include Mr. G.L. Edwards Jan 1949 – Jan 1953,
  • Mr. D.S. Van der Merwe Jan 1953 – May 1975
  • Mr. W.J.F. Drew Jan 1977 – July 1997
  • Mr. P.H. Ford July 1997 – Aug 2001
  • Mrs. J Downing March 2002

As is suggested by the name, Kensington Ridge School is situated on the upper northern slope of the Kensington Ridge, with a magnificent view across to Cyrildene, Bedfordview, South Kensington and Bezuidenhout Valley.

Over the years Parent – body takes a lively and active interest in school affairs.  Their loyal and generous support of all school functions has made possible the provision of many aids and facilities which has enriched the learning situation of the pupils of the school.

Because of the nature of the terrain,  (the grounds are understandably smallish, plus minus 2,8 Hectare in area) the playing area had to be created by the dumping of many square metres of filler in order to level out a sufficiently sizable area, suitable for the creation of playing fields.  The estimated cost to the province, had they borne the expense of the leveling and laying out, was approximately £20,.000. By making use of municipal refuse, which was dumped on the slopes of the ridge for a period of just on a year, much to the horror and accompanied by an unholy outcry and against fierce opposition by the local residents, the school saved the Province £18,000. As a reward, the money thus saved was used to provide a magnificent school hall and two additional classrooms in 1947.  The Hall, name after Mr. George Dawes, First Chairman of the School in this district and boasts a superb teak floor and an upstairs gallery – a feature to which, I think no other primary school can also lay claim.

The actual school was built of a clinker-type face brick, but looked so ugly that it was quickly decided to plaster the entire building – at a cost in excess of the original construction.

Today the school stands serenely amidst neat and attractive grounds, and inhabited by happy eager, healthy and spirited children and enthusiastic staff – a real credit to Kensington and the Ridge.

Written by W.J.F. Drew