The school celebrated its centenary in 2010, so Durban Prep is certainly a school steeped in tradition. For more than 100 years, DPHS has been ‘Preparing our Boys for Life’.
The history of the school dates back to the year 1910, when DHS headmaster AS Langley decided that the high school needed a preparatory section. This was established in the old St Thomas’ church hall. Harry Stubbs, the first headmaster, taught the older boys. Three years later, in 1913, the school was relocated to its present site in Gordon Road. There were 150 boys at school on the first day. The school consisted of a hall and ten classrooms. Today the original hall is our Media Centre and the classrooms are used for the Junior Primary section of the school.
1951 was the final year that DPHS offered standard one, then the standard sixes were phased out shortly before the new school hall and present senior primary classrooms were built in 1967. Today the hall is known as the Maurice Wilkinson Hall in memory of Maurice Wilkinson, who taught Woodwork at Prep for 57 years. Another noteworthy milestone was the building of the Jubilee Pool. This pool was built on the Gordon Road Girls’ School property as a joint venture between the two schools and is a shared facility.
Two of the most significant events in the history of the school were the introduction of the Junior Primary classes in 1988 and the establishment of our Reception Unit in Claribel Road in 1994. This means that a boy’s full career at Prep lasts eight years.
Fresh Ideas and Traditional Values are some of the key cornerstones to Durban Prep’s approach.
The well-mannered boys learn leadership and develop high levels of integrity, in an environment which provides a down-to-earth yet highly professional approach to education. In perfect balance are: sport and sportsmanship; academics; culture, and a cross-cultural understanding and acceptance, where anyone is welcome.
Improvements to the facilities of the school over the years include the building of the Mkhombiseni Zulu Functions Room named in memory of a long-serving staff member, the Music and Drama Room, the School Shop and the Refreshment Centre. This wing, officially opened as part of the Friends’ and Founders’ celebrations in 1998, marked the completion of Phase 1 of the Prep Beyond 2000 project, initiated jointly by the School and the DPHS Educational Trust. Phase 2 of the project was completed in 2002. At the Friends’ and Founders’ celebrations of that year, the Victor Daitz Science and Design Technology Centres, as well as four new classrooms were officially opened.
2015 saw the DPHS Educational Trust celebrating its 30th anniversary. To mark this anniversary, the School and Educational Trust did significant fundraising and completed the upgrade to the Memorial Gate and new stair access to the Walshaw Field. Another auspicious milestone in 2015 was the purchase of a school bus and the establishment of a DPHS bus service.
Further to the 3-stage physical resources plan, work is well under way on the extension to the Smith and Walshaw fields. It is hoped that this will complement the efforts of the Trust in their purchase, and resultant closure and development, of the lane between 9th and 10th Avenues.
Our school motto, which appears on our badge, “Debile principium melior fortuna sequetur,” means “From small beginnings better fortune follows.” On reflection, our history shows that we are fulfilling this vision in every way, as we continue to prepare our boys for life.