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A SHORT HISTORY OF OUR SCHOOL FROM 1914 TO PRESENT DAY

Empangeni Government School was established on 1 April 1914, when 15 English speaking pupils commenced their education in a 2-room, corrugated iron building. Mr John B. Hudson was the Headmaster, and Miss M.M. Chamberlain his assistant teacher.  The pupils, ranging from Std 1 to Std 4, attended school between 08h00 and 13h00.  The girls wore dresses covered by white pinafores, and laced boots.  Boys wore the very popular sailor suits, knickerbockers, braces and long hose.

The first year saw a change of teachers every term, Miss E.R. Barday replaced Miss Chamberlain, only to hand over to Mr P.J. Calitz in the third term.  The fourth term lessons were undertaken by Miss M.A. Hash.The Inspectors report on the first year read:

The headmaster must be content to make haste slowly and to devote his time chiefly to the essentials. The pupils academic work needed serious attention because their only interest lay in the cultivation of sugar cane!

Mr Hudson was transferred to Gingindlovu after an eighteen month term of office.  Mr R.Y. Harle acted as headmaster for 3 months, after which time Mr H.J. McCarthy was appointed Headmaster.  In 1918 the school consisted of 26 pupils and Mrs E.C. English was the headmistress.By 1920 there were 56 pupils registered at the school.  The School Transport System was founded, and the pupils were duly transported to and from school in a donkey-cart.During 1921 the school was temporarily housed in the Town Hall while the school buildings and grounds were fumigated. Lessons took place on the verandah of the Town Hall. 

The new school was a magnificent building with wooden floors, sash windows and brass doorknobs placed within easy reach of the youngest pupils.  (This new school of 4 classrooms is at present the staff room, kitchen and the SP Computer Room of Empangeni Preparatory School.)

Mr Tooley, appointed as Headmaster during 1924, was a capable organizer whose enthusiasm inspired the pupils and staff to greater achievements.  The school flourished. The classes were divided into the following groups:  Stds 4, 5 and 6, Stds 1, 2 and 3, and Classes i and ii.In 1924 Afrikaans was introduced as a subject for the first time.  In 1927 the school was once more too small with on 89 pupils.In 1929 the school had been in existence for 15 years, and was over populated with 121 registered pupils. 

In 1950 the school re-opened with 332 registered pupils.  In 1955 the school had grown to such an extent that a new secondary school had to be opened on the premises.  This secondary school consisted of pupils from Std 5 to matric, with a total of 172 pupils.  The first principal to be appointed at this secondary school was Mr F.G.J. Burger.The name of our school changed to Empangeni Junior School.At the beginning of 1968 the Junior Primary School opened at new premises with Mrs H.J. Corbett as principal. 

Our school again changed its name and became known as Empangeni Senior Primary School with Mr P.A.R. Kay as principal.In 1975 the school functioned as two separate schools. Empangeni Senior Primary with a total of 676 registered pupils, under the guidance of Mr D. Voster, as principal.  Mr G.J. Smith was the principal of the newly established school,  Weightmanstreet AfrikaansPrimary School which was later officially reopened as Heuwelland Primary School. In July 1975 Mr H Venter was appointed head of the school.

In 1989 the Junior Primary School came back to our premises after an absence of 20 years and our name changed to Empangeni Primary School. Mrs Rudling as deputy head and in charge of the Junior Primary, and Mr H Venter as head of the Senior Primary Phase.At the beginning of 1994 our name changed to Empangeni Preparatory School and we became a rainbow school.

In 2014 we celebrated 100 years. A wonderful milestone and we celebrated in style. Thank you to all present and past educators and students who have made our school what it is today... an institution dedicated to beginning and furthering the education of young children.

Empangeni Prep continues to educate young people to excel in our ever changing society and to become true and productive citizens of South Africa.



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