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Northwood School (Durban North, South Africa)

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Title: Northwood School (Durban North, South Africa)  
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Northwood School (Durban North, South Africa)

Northwood School
Acquit ye Like Men and Quisque Sibi Verus
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Type Semi-Private, Boys
Established 1990
Locale Urban
Headmaster Mr P McAvoy
Current Headboy Gregory Slater
Grades 8 - 12
Number of students 1,200 boys
School color(s) Blue and Silver
Mascot Clive The Knight

Northwood School is a public high school for boys situated in the coastal city of Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


Along with their sister school, Northlands Girls’ High, Northwood celebrated 50 years of High School education in Durban North during 1999. Both schools trace their origins back to 1949, with the founding of the Durban North High School, a co- educational establishment, on the site of the present Northlands Girls’ High School. The school, which was soon to become known as Northlands High School, opened its doors on 29 September 1949 with a staff of twelve and a role of 215 pupils. The founder Headmaster was Mr. George J. Armstrong. By 1951 numbers had grown to a point where the Education Department had begun to prepare for the building of a second High School in Durban North. In March 1952 Mr. Armstrong was replaced by Mr. Percy Hardaker. It was Mr. Hardaker's task to launch the new school. The decision was taken to split the existing school into a boys’ school and a girls’ school.

The two were finally separated on 30 September 1953, when the boys marched out of the gates of the old campus and proceeded to the present Northwood campus in Kensington Drive, led by the school’s cadet band. Northlands Boys’ High school opened with an enrolment of 338 boys and a staff of seventeen. Under the leadership of Mr. Hardaker, the school made rapid progress in both academics and sport. Numbers continued to grow and it was not long before plans were afoot for the building of yet another boys’ school in the area. A site was acquired in Gleneagles Drive and by 1961 the building of the new “Durban North High School” had begun. By the time the school was ready to open in 1963, it had been decided to call the new school Beachwood Boys’ High. The founder Headmaster was Mr E.T. (Ted) Lewis and the school opened with a role of 135 boys and a staff of 7.

In the same year, Mr R.C. McFarquhar assumed Headmastership of Northlands Boys’ High following the retirement of Mr. Hardaker. Both schools continued to make fine progress, but while Mr. McFarquhar remained at Northlands, relations between the two schools became strained. The name of Beachwood was never mentioned at Northlands and the schools came to view each other as rivals for the enrolment of the best academics and sportsmen in Durban North. At the end of 1971, Mr. Lewis retired and was succeeded by Mr A.J.M. Wilkinson. In 1975 he was appointed as Headmaster of Northlands Boys’ High and at last Beachwood and Northlands began to compete against each other in the cultural arena and on the sports field. The thaw in the relationship between the two schools had begun, but the rivalry continued with a vengeance.

During 1989, it was proposed that the two boys’ schools in Durban North merge to form a single school. It was clear that the continued existence of two boys’ schools was no longer economically viable. As a result it was decided that it would be within the best interests of quality education in Durban North if the two schools became one. Feelings ran high in some quarters, but the two Headmasters wisely guided their respective communities towards the only sensible solution. As a result the “Impossible” happened and in 1990 Beachwood and Northlands merged to form Northwood. It was possible, with a little adjustment of colours, to merge the school badges as well retain both mottoes. During the course of 1990, Mr. Corbishley was confirmed as Headmaster of the combined school and Northwood continued to build on the sound achievement of its founder schools.

Early in 1996, Mr. Corbishley was seconded to a senior position at Head Office. In the absence of Mr Corbishley, Dr P. Hawkey acted as Headmaster and when he left Mr A.P. Jordan succeeded him in an acting capacity in May 1997, before being confirmed officially as headmaster in the latter half of 1998.

Academic Program

Northwood offers a varied academic programme through which all learners receive a general formative education based on a broad curriculum. During their first two years at Northwood learners study a range of subjects, enabling them to make informed choices for their final three years of schooling and their further education and careers. All subject combinations offered at Northwood qualify a learner for university admission.

Each learner must study English First Language and either Afrikaans or Zulu First Additional Language, and Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy. The balance of the subject package is made up by choosing one subject from each of the following rows:

Line 1 Line 2 Line 3
Life Science (Biology) Accounting Business Studies
Physical Science Engineering Graphics and Design Geography
Geography History
History Information Technology
Life Sciences (Biology)
Visual Art
Engineering Graphics and Design

Sporting Activities and Facilities

Northwood has many sporting facilities, maintained by a dedicated estates manager. These include many rugby union, soccer and cricket fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, two rock climbing walls and a number of other specialised sporting centres.

Northwood was the first school in the country to install an Olympic standard water-based Poligras astro turf hockey pitch. The benefits of this facility were felt in its first year, when a record nineteen Northwood players were chosen for KZN hockey sides.

Northwood's four lane indoor cricket facility is equipped with two bowling machines and is currently under the management of KZN Dolphins wicket keeper Darren Smit. All teams have weekly access to this indoor facility which is situated on the Lower Campus near the Astro turf.

The Knights High Performance Centre, a multi-disciplinary clinic situated alongside the Cricket Academy, offers sports chiropractic, physical therapy and rehabilitation therapy. Whilst it is equipped to deal with sports injuries, it places an emphasis on the education of athletes and coaches to reduce the incidence of injury. The facilities are available to Northwood sportsmen and the public, and are presently run by old boy Dr Garrick Haswell, M Tech:Chiro, MCASA.

Northwood has a fully equipped gymnasium alongside the swimming pool. This facility, which is also open to the public, is currently under the supervision of Trevor Groves, an old boy, boarder master and teacher at the school. It is open before and after school and is used extensively by individuals and teams for strength and fitness training.

Northwood's Olympic standard water polo pool and its surroundings are the centre of a thriving water polo community at Northwood.


Clubs and Societies

Northwood has a varied cultural programme, and their annual fashion show, musical and cultural evenings are well known in the local community. All activities are run by schoolboy committees assisted by mentors, and they provide an opportunity for learners to develop life skills and leadership abilities. These societies play a major role in school life at Northwood.

List of Clubs & Societies

Notable Old Boys

John Ellis of Tree63 (Northwood Old Boy) accepting an award from The Knights

Northwood has many international representatives:

  • Shaun Pollock (cricket)
  • Neil Tovey (soccer)
  • Hugh Reece-Edwards (rugby)
  • Andy Marinos (Wales rugby)
  • Warren Brosnihan (rugby)
  • Craig Davidson (rugby)
  • Craig Bond, (hockey)
  • Wayne Phillips (hockey)
  • Greg Clarke (hockey)
  • Jean Oosthuisen (waterpolo)
  • Paul Blackbeard (swimming)
  • Simon Gray (swimming)
  • Andrew Gray (swimming)
  • Nicky Gray (swimming)
  • Jacques Marias (swimming)
  • Sean Gossmann (surfing)
  • Robin Smith (England cricket)
  • Chris Smith (England cricket)
  • Steven Wu (Basketball)
  • Kurt Kin(Chess)
  • Brian Whitfield (Cricket)
  • Keith Thorrison (Rugby) Natal
  • Lloyd Clark (Mind Sports)
  • Attilla Molnar (Mind Sports)

Bruyns House

The Northwood boarding establishment, Bruyns House, can house ninety-one boarders and five housemasters. It is a private boarding facility established to attract boys from outside the immediate North Durban Community. The facilities, which are situated on the Upper Campus next to the gymnasium and swimming pool, are spacious and modern. They overlook the sports fields and have sea views from all rooms. The establishment is run by a full-time Housemaster assisted by a young team of boarder masters. Catering, cleaning and laundry are outsourced to specialist companies.

The Knights

The Knights, an association for the old boys and supporters of Northwood, Northlands and Beachwood was launched to provide a forum for old boys to meet and share on a regular basis, and provide support for the school. All past and present teachers and parents of the school, local businesses and the community at large are encouraged to support the Knights. It is run on a business model and closely aligns its activities with those of the school. Annual highlights are the Reunion Weekend and Old Boys VS 1st team sports matches. The Knights Office is situated on the Northwood Lower Campus.[1]


  1. ^ The Knights contact details

External links

  • Northwood School official site
  • Old Boys' Association official site
  • SuperSchools Article - David Campese Appointment
  • Facebook Group

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