Sport is a key pillar of the all-round primary school education that we provide at Highbury.
Our prime motivation for offering sport is to provide a learning area that will give our boys an opportunity to:
Exercise and develop their mental and physical potential;
Participate with others within a structured programme in order to develop social skills;
Learn to cope with their emotions and manage their responses with a healthy competitive spirit;
Take advantage of and learn within a wide variety of sporting codes that are provided for the boys’ enjoyment and extension;
Develop certain basic skills that will encourage the boys to go on to further these particular disciplines in the future;
Learn to give of their best at all times and in all situations;
Recognise and make provision for the extension of boys who demonstrate special talent and flair in particular sporting codes.
Our approach to sport at Highbury is based on a few key principles:
At a primary school level, boys should be exposed to the widest variety of sports possible to enable them to find their talents, sometimes in unexpected places.
At Highbury, we will field as many teams as we have boys who want to play in each sport. Every team will be given a coach, practice sessions and competitive matches, against teams from other schools wherever possible so that every boy is able to experience belonging in a team.
Broad participation is valued and in many cases mandatory. Compulsory sport in Foundation Phase is one afternoon of mandatory sports practice every week and throughout Senior Primary boys must be engaged in two afternoons of sport every term, over and above weekly PE lessons.
We play in five national sporting festivals each year (such as the National Prep Schools Cricket Festival), plus two tennis national sporting festivals. These national sporting festivals include ten schools or more and are always the top private and model C schools in the country. We are proud to compete at the highest levels of primary school sport in South Africa.
Foundation Phase Sport
Our Foundation Phase sport policy is for mass participation in low-key competitive events with equal opportunities for every child in the school. Merit sides are only chosen from the start of Grade 3, with the exception of the Grade 2 Swimming team. At a Foundation Phase level, sport is important in the development of muscle-tone for posture, strength and stamina in children, both on the field as well as in daily (i.e. classroom) situations. Traditional strength training such as pull-ups is done alongside skills development in a wide variety of sporting codes.
Skills and values that are taught through FP sport include friendship, kindness, self-control, discipline, honesty, dedication and endurance. The goal is for them to win with humility, lose with a smile and still play for fun.
Athletics is a compulsory sport for Term 3 and the excitement begins as the boys see the track being marked up on the Harris fields after the last rugby matches of Term 2. Highbury boys start with track events in Grades R, 1 and 2 and from Grade 3 they learn a wide variety of field events including long jump, high jump, hurdles, triple jump, cricket ball throw, javelin, tug o’ war and shotput.
Our Inter-House Athletics include every boy in at least two events, with trophies awarded and careful records kept.
Since the Centenary Hall was built in 2003, Highbury has been practising Badminton in this venue in the second term.
Our Badminton teams are passionate and accomplished. Ten Highbury boys represented KZN in Badminton between 2018 and 2019. Our Senior team plays in the A-league and attended the SA Junior Schools Championships in 2019.
Basketball is a growing sport at Highbury, both in terms of the number of boys taking part and also in terms of our growing accomplishments. It is fast-paced and exciting and provides a new challenge at a Senior Primary level. From Grade 4, boys are able to select basketball as their 3rd Term sport and they enjoy practices inside our Centenary Hall as well as matches against a wide variety of opposition. Basketball is a wonderful platform for connecting cultures and our players benefit hugely from taking part in the Peace Players events.
Chess has been a long-standing tradition at Highbury; ever since Granny McMillan played chess as part of evening boarder activities in the early 1900s. Chess is classified as a ‘sport’ in order to allow Senior Primary boys who are not physically inclined to still take part in two afternoons of sport each week. Highbury competes in the Upper Highway League and also holds an annual Inter-House Chess competition within Highbury.
There is a long-standing tradition of cricket at Highbury and it was Highbury’s Director of Sport, Mr Rory Wood, who founded the Prep Schools’ Cricket Festival in 1995. Highbury’s MacMillan Oval is arguably the most beautiful primary school cricket oval in the country, with a turf pitch surrounded by tall trees and offering views over rolling blue hills. Our cricket pavilion, the Mike Procter Pavilion, is named after Highbury’s most successful cricket and our 1st XI cricket team compete each year for the Procter Trophy against traditional rival, Clifton. Key to our cricketing success is being able to practise indoors when the weather dictates, by moving our nets into the Centenary Hall. Our cricketing programme starts from Grade 1 with Dads and Lads cricket on Saturdays and builds through festive Inter-schools Mini-cricket events in Grade 2 to the start of competitive cricket in Grade 3. With three synthetic pitches, 13 outdoor nets and 4 indoor nets, Highbury’s facilities and reputation in cricket are both excellent. Most recently we are extremely proud of Lungi Ngidi’s performance with the Proteas.
With a beautiful 11 hectare estate, we are able to mark up a cross country course in Term 2 that weaves across fields, between trees, up down and around our campus for a full 2kms. Senior Primary boys run the course twice for a 4km route. Cross Country is a Term 2 sport and the boys get to compete at our Inter-House events from Grade R through to Grade 7, as well as taking part in the Inter-Schools Cross Country races and our fun family Fun Run annually in June. Highbury has a long history of being a powerhouse in cross country in the Upper Highway area.
Cycling Club at Highbury happens on Friday afternoons and is enthusiastically supported by boys from Grade R through to Grade 7. Our estate boasts an off-road cycle track complete with rock garden, ramps and drop-offs. Our Grade Rs have a dedicated cycle track on the Dauncey Field. Parents visiting the coffee shop on Friday for lunch know to walk carefully as our boys love nothing more than to challenge themselves to ride their bikes down our wide outdoor stairs. As long as you have your bike and your helmet, you can take part. Boys love cycling in the different conditions over the course of the year, from dealing with dusty sand to cycling through mud and water to learning to jump or to wheelie across the field, there is always something new to try and a lovely mixtures of ages and abilities to learn from or coach.
Golf is a wonderful life sport and certainly one to be encouraged when there are boys who want to play or learn to play. The golf programme is based around Friday lessons at Kloof Country Club with an external coach at an extra fee that is made as affordable as possible. Beyond these core lessons, boys can compete in a monthly 9-hole golf competition and in both 2018 and 2019 Highbury’s golf team was selected to play at the Ernie Els National Primary Schools’ Golf Tournament. With Highbury situated on the ‘golf belt’ and surrounded by many beautiful golf course estates, this is a life sport that boys can enjoy with friends and family too.
Hockey is played in the 3rd Term at Highbury and is very popular. We are fortunate to be able to use Kearsney’s world-class hockey astro facilities as their hockey season is in a different term. While our Grade 1s and 2s learn hockey skills on our grass fields, from Grade 3 we increasingly have matches and even practices on Kearsney’s astro, making the game incredibly fast and exciting.
Hockey is a great sport for learning teamwork and to hold different positions on the field and it is so rewarding to watch how these skills develop through the end of Grade 3 and into Grade 4. We are proud that the current captain of South Africa’s Hockey team, Tim Drummond, is a Highbury Old Boy and a number of Highbury Old Boys have gone on to become professional hockey players not only locally but also abroad.
Judo and Karate
Judo and Karate are available at Highbury from Grade R onwards as a paid extra. Budo Karate-do South Africa Highbury Dojo is a traditional karate school teaching the benefits of an ancient art of self defence. We offer classes for all ages from beginners to advanced students on Monday and Wednesday evenings in the Centenary Hall. Your instructor will be Sensei Kelvin Daniels (6th Dan) who is the chief instructor for BKDSA. Sensei Kelvin holds Protea colours and has been teaching karate for over 26 years. Learning karate has many benefits, it helps build character, builds self awareness, develops discipline, gives you general fitness, teaches social skills and the ability for handling peer pressure. Judo at Highbury is led by Sensei George Carter who can be contacted on 082 893 3359.
Rugby at Highbury began in 1914 and the first Highbury boy to represent the Springboks was Walter Clarkson (in 1921 and 1924) whose Springbok tie is displayed in our Highburian museum. Bob Skinstad, Springbok player and captain, was a Highbury boy and he is remembered for always having a rugby ball in his hands around school as well as for being a kind friend and team player.
Today, Highbury’s first rugby team participate in pre-season training, two tours each year and many hours of quality coaching and match-play against the top KZN and national opposition. We start tackle rugby young at Highbury, playing non-competitively from Grade 1 level in mixed ability teams. Many boys thrive on the physicality of the sport and rugby season is a much-anticipated highlight of the year for many boys and their parents who gather in our LEAP Pavilion overlooking the Harris field to watch their sons play.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the catalyst for Highbury to start offering soccer as a seasonal sport in Term 2. It was a big move as it meant splitting the coaching and splitting most of the boys between rugby and soccer. We have slightly fewer rugby teams, but the standard of our competitive rugby has not dropped and boys who are passionate about soccer are delighted to be able to represent their school rather than only playing at a club level. Most of Highbury’s traditional rivals do not play soccer, but our coaches have found alternative schools to compete against and we welcome the diversity of experience this brings. We have an annual soccer tour to Camp Discovery which is north of Pretoria in the second term and our 1st, 2nd and U11 teams attend. It is a game reserve with sports facilities and it creates an opportunity to play soccer against Gauteng and Mpumalanga schools.
Our big brother school, Kearsney, allows us to use their squash courts and a small group of Senior Primary boys thoroughly enjoy taking part in this sport, mainly socially. Some years we organise competitive matches but other years the boys just enjoy learning skills and playing against one another. Squash is a year-round sport option for Senior Primary boys.
Our heated swimming pool is well used for nine months of the year at Highbury, from mid August through to mid May. Swimming is a great sport for all ages and one that can become the foundation for many other sports like surfing, lifesaving, canoeing and triathlon to name a few. We were so proud to have Highbury Old Boy, Myles Brown, swimming in the Rio Olympics. How exciting to imagine which of our current Highbury boys may compete in the Olympics one day!
Our Senior Primary swimming squad can be seen doing early morning training in the build up to the D&D Gala. All through the day, the Highbury pool is full of boys enjoying swimming in PE lessons or, on the hottest days, a ‘secret swim’ which is one of Highbury’s great traditions. In the afternoons, there are extra-mural swimming lessons, from ‘Learn to Swim’ classes for our Weavers’ Nest pre primary children through to paid-extra lessons for Grades R to 3 and then inclusive swimming coaching and/or recreational swimming for the Senior Primary boys.
Our Highbury swimming team is selected on a merit basis from Grade 2 onwards and boys compete in PE lessons to earn their place in the Inter-Schools Galas. Our Inter-House swimming galas are highlights of the school year, with mixed ability races for our Grade R and Grade 1 events and then a progressively more competitive approach. Our best swimmers compete for trophies while every single boy takes part and the mixed relay which is certainly the most festive event. We are intentional in giving the boys a break from May through August to enjoy other sporting disciplines.
Tennis at Highbury takes part all year round and boys can start from just five years old. We have four courts and two tennis walls so there is plenty of space to play. Bruce Young and Rowena Sanders are the owners of the ProTennis Academy at Highbury and have been coaching together for the past 30 years. They don’t just run the ProTennis Academy at Highbury, they actually do the coaching themselves. In this way, they ensure that all the boys are being taught by the best, all the way from Grade 00 through to Elite Player Management.
Rowena is a fully qualified remedial teacher and started coaching tennis at the age of 23 after playing International Tennis for 4 years. She played on Centre Court at Wimbledon, in the US Open, French Open and in fact in all the Grand Slam Events. Bruce is playing tennis at the highest levels today and is currently ranked #1 and #2 in the world for Mixed Doubles by SATA and ITF World Tennis respectively in the Mens 45-50 age group. Bruce’s professional tennis career included six years of coaching and playing German league tennis in Hamburg and he has personally coached International players at tournaments ranging from Wimbledon to many ITF Tournaments.
Tennis is an outstanding foundation for all other sports, as well as being a life sport, and we are privileged to have such outstanding and passionate tennis coaches right here at Highbury. Tennis starts as a paid extra from Grade 00 onwards and then from Grade 3, boys who are selected for the Tennis Team start to get weekly coaching within their fees. From Grade 4 onwards, tennis is offered both at a recreational level taught by Highbury staff, as well as at a competitive level taught by a combination of Highbury staff and Bruce and Rowena. Our tennis team competes in two National tournaments each year.
Water polo was introduced at Highbury in 1995 and has grown tremendously since. While it used to only be a high school sport, there are a growing number of primary schools offering water polo at a Senior Primary level which means that we are able to enjoy competitive matches in Term 1 and Term 4. As the Highbury pool is graded from shallow to deep, we are unable to host water polo home games and are thankful to Kearsney for the use of their pool on these occasions. Deeping our existing Highbury pool and adding a shallow warm-up / Learn to Swim pool alongside it is high on our estate development wish list!