A core value at Durban Preparatory High School is that every boy must have equal access to every learning opportunity. The fun and excitement of learning at DPHS goes beyond the classroom, where a world of sporting opportunities awaits the boys. Regardless of ability, all boys at DPHS, from Grade R through to Grade 7, are encouraged to take part in a wide range of sporting activities. While many schools encourage participation, what makes this century-old school unique is its commitment to boys’ schooling and a passion for sport. The school is able to draw on a large and committed family of DPHS parents, teachers, coaches and old boys to achieve the goal of giving every boy a chance to succeed as a member of a school team.
Headmaster Barry Wilson explains: “Every boy gets the benefit of qualified, top-notch coaching and all get the chance to participate in the school’s festivals and national tours. These are not ‘privileges’ reserved exclusively for our first teams. Here, everyone gets a fair sporting chance to don their school colours with pride, enjoy sport, find their niche and excel in their own right.”
From Grade R pupils are encouraged to take part in a comprehensive sport and physical education programme, which provides a foundation for proficiency and enjoyment in a wide variety of sports in the upper grades.
In Grades 1 and 2, the hugely successful “mini sport” programme ensures pupils are given a carefully controlled grounding in team sports, coached by an army of enthusiastic parents. This emphasis in the foundation phase on parental participation in the coaching process goes hand in hand with the school’s stand against parents, coaches and spectators who put unreasonable expectations on players or offer disparaging remarks against officials.
“For many years, the mini sport coaching has been a simple way to have parents and spectators appreciate that every DPHS boy, allowing for his individual talent or limitations as a sportsman or athlete, is doing his utmost not to let the team down,” says Wilson. “It’s a win-win solution that not only ensures a good coach-to-player ratio, but also allows parents to grasp just how difficult it is for young boys to fully succeed at games like cricket, rugby, hockey and water polo.
“We view sport as more than simply competition between two teams. It is a vehicle for education, life skills, good health, discipline and leadership – and the mini sport concept allows us to instil these values before they get involved in the more competitive inter-schools matches.”
In Grade 3 the boys are exposed, on a weekly basis, to fixtures against other schools.
Sport at DPHS is enriched throughout the year by an all-inclusive inter-house sport programme as well as individual sports such as golf, body boarding, surfing, athletics, tennis and cross country. The benefits of early coaching ensures good results, but more importantly, a large pool of confident boys keen to represent their school each weekend and enjoy sport with the right attitude.
The desire to develop a complete pupil has driven DPHS to enthusiastically pursue away fixtures, tours and festivals. Senior primary boys tour to top schools in other provinces to play cricket, golf, rugby, tennis and water polo. This year DPHS will again take all the U11, U12 and U13 rugby teams to Cape Town to play against Wynberg, Bishops and SACS. The U10 age group recently enjoyed a successful tour to Johannesburg. Our boys enjoy a biannual tour to St Stithians where close on 100 boys participate in cricket, tennis, water polo and golf matches.
“For a primary school, we undertake more trips than most – but we believe that this gives the learner more in return,” says Michael Dick, DPHS Director of Sport. “Travelling educates the players on a range of different levels. Not only do they benefit from the sporting experience, they also gain valuable life skills. It’s a great way to meet and learn about people and places, and it develops resilience in our boys, even at younger ages.”
The annual DPHS Primary Schools National Rugby Festival involves all senior primary rugby-playing boys in the school. A highlight on the calendar for the many participating schools, it has firmly established itself as one of the country’s top primary school sports festivals.
DPHS also has its own National U13 Cricket Festival where some of the tops cricket playing schools participate in this annual event.
The sport and health programme is under the leadership of specialists: Director of Sport, Michael Dick assisted by Shaun Carroll and Chad Fisher.
Participation in many off-campus activities such as lifesaving, surfing, mountain biking, open water swimming and the martial arts is also encouraged.
DPHS Sport has long been supported and assisted by Photonote across many sports and festivals that DPHS are involved with. We are most grateful and fortunate to enjoy a good relationship with our major sponsor, Photonote.
For more information contact our Director of Sport, Michael Dick on 031 312 2154 or 082 560 1224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org