The foundations of Gelvandale High School were laid in 1961 to coincide with the establishment of the township of Gelvandale, a direct result of the Group Areas Act. Families were forced from settled communities such as South End, North End, Fairview, Salisbury Park and Sidwell. In this area two primary schools were established in1961. They were Alpha Primary and Gelvandale Primary (called Gelvandale No.1), started by Mr T. Mackay and
Mr W. Yon respectively.
Gelvandale High School was opened in the beginning of the 2nd term of 1962 with 176 pupils enrolled for Std 6 and Std 7 and a staff of 5 teachers. In June 1962 the subjects offered were Afrikaans, English, General Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Woodwork for boys and Domestic Science for girls, but up to June 1962 the practical subjects had to be presented theoretically as no equipment was available. In addition to these subjects, time was allocated to the teaching of Physical Education, Religious Instruction, Vocational Guidance, Art and Music.
In 1963 the school entered its first candidates for the Junior Certificate Examinations. All the JC pupils therefore had received their previous instruction at other schools. The school reached its high school status in 1964 and in 1965 presented the first 7 candidates for the Senior Certificate Examinations.
In 1966 the newly appointed principal of the school could report that there was more than adequate space available and that the school was fully equipped with the necessary furniture for its tasks. Provision was made in the plans of the building for the construction of a gym and a hall, which to date has not been undertaken. It was felt that both these facilities should have been built at that stage in view of the fact that expansion was envisaged in the technical department. Cultural activities such as ballet and drama were being curbed by the lack of a hall. The urgent need for a school hall was underscored by the lack of a suitable community hall in the area. By August 1966 the administrative staff consisted of the principal and the janitor. There were 10 teachers with primary school qualifications, 4 had degrees, 18 were fully qualified. Four were qualified to teach special subjects – Physical Education, Woodwork and Domestic Science. Six teachers were temporary, 6 teachers had at most two years’ teaching experience.
The technical block was completed at the end of 1967 and put into use in 1968. This section consisted of large workshops, drawing room, woodworking, metalworking and toilet facilities.
In 1971 the school enrolment increased from 545 to 621. Space was at a premium and the result was that a nearby primary school was utilised to provide temporary classrooms. A hostel that could house 200 pupils was opened at the beginning of this year with an intake of
110 pupils. By 1973 the pupil enrolment had increased to 698 and thus the boys and girls changing rooms had to be utilised as classrooms.
After 1977 the enrolment became more or less constant and in 1980 a total of 1114 pupils were enrolled (564 boys and 550 girls). Gelvandale then had 21 graduates in a staff complement of 51 teachers.
Today the school has a total number of 1300 + learners and 44 educators.
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