Atholl Heights Primary School History

The original prefab classrooms at Atholl Heights Primary School

Atholl Heights Primary School first opened its doors in 1977 at 20 Kinloch Avenue, Westville. Not only was this a temporary venue which had been originally set aside for the building of a High School but even the name of the school was provisionally “Westville North Primary School”.

The school opened with four classes:-  two Class 1 with 26 and 27 pupils respectively and two Standard 2 classes with 21 and 22 pupils respectively, a total of 96 pupils on the roll.

Cardboard College

The pupils were housed in prefabricated buildings and the toilets were in caravans. The school was affectionately known as "CARDBOARD COLLEGE".


Mr Colin Horne was the first Headmaster and had five teachers ably assisting him (Mrs J. Burgess; Mrs J. Evans; Miss E. Sharp; Miss J. Graham). Mrs E. le Roux was the secretary.


By 1979 the school had added Class 2; Standard 2,3 & 4.

Standard 5 was added in 1980, allowing the school to cater for all Primary School ages.

In 1982 the school became a temporary parallel medium school with the addition of one Class 1 and one Class 2 Afrikaans medium classes. There were seventeen Afrikaans children enrolled.

1983 saw the addition of one Standard 1 Afrikaans class with an intake of eleven pupils.

Westville North Primary School became a Dual Medium School in 1985 and Mr Ludik was appointed Headmaster of the Afrikaans section and Mr Horne continued as Headmaster of the English section.

The New premises and 'Atholl Heights Primary School' is born!

21st October 1985 was a very exciting day in the history of the school as Mr Horne officially took over the keys of the new school that had finally been completed at 52 Methven Road.

ATHOLL HEIGHTS PRIMARY SCHOOL was born. The entire school, teachers and pupils formed a historic procession and marched to the new school!  Then on 28th November 1985 at 09h00 the first official school function was held in the new school hall – the Annual Prize Giving.

The new school year of 1986 opened in the new school premises with 355 pupils and 18 staff members, including Mr Horne as Principal. The school employed the first school committee-paid teacher. The tuck shop and the school shop were opened.

Expansion and Development

The parents had actively fund-raised enough money to allow the tennis courts and the swimming pool to be built before the move across to the new premises, so that the school opened with these wonderful facilities.  Previously tennis was played at Cowies Hill Tennis Club and there was no swimming instruction. Other sports played at Atholl Heights included rugby and cricket for the boys and hockey and netball for the girls. We excelled at Cross Country.

In 1987 we purchased eight computers and teachers were sent on a training course, as well as the Admin foyer being furnished. A second school committee –paid teacher was employed.

Growth - again...

More growth occurred in 1988 – our public address system was installed. We had six male caretakers and one female kitchen staff. Our drummie squad was formed .

Atholl Heights Primary School continued to grow in numbers:

  • 1989 – 345 pupils enrolled
  • 1990 – 366 pupils were admitted
  • 1991 – 389 pupils enrolled and the implementation of the 'Model B' system.

Sadly, ATHOLL the school cat was tragically killed. Atholl 'adopted' the school in 1987.

During the next few years the gardens were developed into the magnificent gardens they are today. The governance of schools was also changing, as School Governing Bodies were taking over from PTAs (Parent Teacher Association).

Principal changeovers- New staff and a new era

1992 saw Mr Horne retire on 10th October and Mrs Diana Warwick became Acting Principal for the following year (1993). Model ‘B’ schools became ‘Model C’ schools.

  • 1993 - The year opened with 434 pupils and 25 staff members.
  • 1994 was the start of a new era:-

Mrs Warwick officially became Principal.

Schooling became multi-racial. Our motto "Simply the Best" came into existence.

We had 548 pupils and 16 Department paid staff members and 8 Governing Body paid staff.

In the following years many projects were undertaken, namely:

  • Computer Centre
  • 'Goalpost' Tea Kiosk
  • Aftercare
  • Audio Visual Room
  • Boardroom                                                                                                            
  • Music Room
  • Cognitive Room
  • Zulu Hut
  • Staff Room & Kitchen
  • Readers are Leaders Laboratory
  • Storage Garage

Baseball (Strikers – run by the parents) and Steel Drums were offered to the 736 pupils for the first time.

We turned 21 years old in 1998 and the 788 pupils, in 28 classes, celebrated by forming AHPS on the top field. New additions to the extramural programme were chess, recorders and softball for girls.

The numbers continued to grow – 1999 to 774; 2002 to 706; 2003 to 729; 2004 to 744; 2005 to 805 and 2006 to 810.

Boy’s softball was introduced in 2003 with two teams.

The dedicated Sports Department came into being in 2005.

We celebrated another milestone in 2007 by turning 30 years old. This was done in grand style with a helicopter flying over the school to take an aerial shot of the entire school – pupils and staff – forming a big ‘30’ on the bottom field. The entire school was also treated to birthday cake.

And still the numbers grew: 2009 to 830; 2010 to 860; 2011 to 850; 2012 to 863.

And finally ending 2014 with 888, with 23 Department paid staff, 27 Governing Body paid staff (plus 10 Teacher Assistants), 7 Administration staff (1 Department paid and 6 Governing Body paid) and 13 Caretakers/ Kitchen staff (2 Department paid and 11 governing Body paid.).

Specialist Care

We have a special needs unit which has run for some years now. This includes the services of a Counsellor, a Speech Therapist, an Occupational Therapist, an Educational Psychologist and two remedial teachers.