It is not an easy task to designate the country’s best sports schools. After all, sport largely ensures a school’s prestige and South Africans are very passionate about school sport.
However, SA School Sport has once again taken on this difficult task and this week published its latest ranking of the country’s top sports schools for boys.
Moreover, more than half of the schools on this prestigious ranking are Afrikaans (single, double or parallel medium) schools.
At the very top of the list is Hilton College in KwaZulu-Natal followed by Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch and then King Edward School (KES) in Johannesburg. The full ranking is available here.
Around 114 of the 210 schools on the list are schools where learners can go to school in Afrikaans.
Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies) in Pretoria appears 17th on the ranking list, Garsfontein High School in Pretoria in 26th place and Paarl Gymnasium in the Western Cape in 27th.
Bobby McLeod, executive director of the NWU Super 16 school sports series, says the reason why learners, former learners and parents are so fanatical about school sports is because sports differentiate schools from each other.
“It is also the case that we South Africans like to win. A guy wants his child to be better than the neighbor’s child.”
He says that African schools in particular are good at academics, therefore it is sport that separates the wheat from the chaff.
“A guy also reads a school’s matric results once a year, but throughout the year the school’s sports results. Especially rugby results. South Africans are fanatical about rugby.”
SA Schools Sport says the ranking – which has been drawn up annually for a decade – is exclusively based on six sports namely rugby, cricket, hockey, water polo, football and basketball.
Other popular sports, including athletics, tennis and rowing, were not considered for the compilation of the rankings, simply because of the absence of established criteria for evaluation.
Several schools would therefore possibly achieve higher positions in the ranking, if these sports were also considered.
This is how the ranking is set up
The ranking process involved a thorough evaluation of each school’s performance in the final first team ranking.
SA Schools Sport says a “rigorous analysis and a nuanced ranking methodology” was applied to draw up the rankings.
“Recognizing the varying popularity and importance of certain sports, we have implemented a deliberate weighting system to ensure a fair representation of each school’s overall athletic ability.”
Rugby is recognized as the most popular and most played boys’ school sport and therefore enjoyed double weight in the rankings, proof of its significant impact on a school’s reputation.
Due to the considerable participation and interest in cricket, hockey and football, a weight of 1.5 has been applied to these sports.
Although there is a growing interest in basketball and water polo, these sports have retained their original values as many schools do not participate in these sports or have limited facilities.
SA Skolesport says the compilation of this list was undertaken with the utmost seriousness “with an emphasis on our commitment to offer a reliable guide for parents, learners and sports enthusiasts”.
“However, it is essential to recognize that our rankings favor schools that have shown consistency across all designated sports, rather than those that excel in a single discipline. Some schools have excelled greatly in a specific sport, but may not have generally achieved comparable success.”
Is bigger better?
McLeod says every boy longs to become a Springbok. Every parent also believes in his heart that his child is the best and can make it. “However, the reality of the matter is that the bottleneck is so small and that in the end there are very few children who can really make a living from sport.”
He says that in the past even small schools produced Springbok rugby players. However, he believes that the so-called big schools that young players are already in gr. 8 attract, going forward will finally be the so-called sources of nutrition for South Africa’s national teams.
“Each parent tries to position himself these days so that his child is in the best possible school and is offered the best possible chance to participate provincially. However, I believe that if a guy is good enough, he can make it from anywhere.”
McLeod says it is also not guaranteed that a learner in a so-called big sports school will eventually become a Springbok or Protea. “Nor is it going to guarantee that your child is happy,” he explains.
“I always say that a happy child is a child who feels safe in his parents’ home and that is why I believe you should go to the school closest to your home. If that school doesn’t offer you anything, you can look elsewhere.”
These Afrikaans (single, double or parallel medium schools) made the top 110:
|School||Ranking position||Average bonus points:|
|Paul Roos Gymnasium||2||104.391|
|Afrikaans High School for Boys||17||84.538|
|Garsfontein High School||26||73.388|
|Paarl Boys High School||31||63,695|
|Waterkloof High School||32||62,891|
|Outeniqua High School||37||53.107|
|Durbanville High School||38||52.378|
|Noordheuwel High School||39||52.205|
|The Menlopark High School||41||51,853|
|Monument High School||42||50,665|
|Stellenberg High School||43||48.449|
|Boland Higher School of Agriculture||44||47.627|
|Eldoraigne High School||45||47,574|
|Marais Viljoen High School||49||36,487|
|Pearl Valley High School||50||36.245|
|Charlie Hofmeyr High School||53||35,998|
|Framesby High School||54||35,600|
|Kempton Park High School||58||34.153|
|Bellville High School||59||33.703|
|Nelspruit High School||60||33,570|
|The DF Malan High School||62||32.424|
|Nico Malan High School||64||30.173|
|Dr. High School EG Jansen||65||28,864|
|The Rustenburg High School||68||28.642|
|Fichardtpark High School||73||27.170|
|Goudveld High School||74||26,896|
|Oakdale Agricultural High School||75||26,734|
|Centurion High School||76||26.337|
|Strand High School||77||26.328|
|Pietersburg High School||78||26.170|
|Bethlehem Voortrekker High School||79||25,090|
|Middelburg High School||80||24.322|
|Secunda High School||81||23,828|
|High School Trio||82||23.416|
|Marlow Agricultural School||84||23.134|
|Jim Fouché High School||86||22,698|
|Higher Technical School Daniel Pienaar||88||22.333|
|Diamantveld High School||91||21,696|
|Transvalia High School||92||21.546|
|Randburg High School||94||20.340|
|Labori High School||96||19.952|
|High School Heidelberg||97||19,944|
|Light Source Academy of Technology||99||19,590|
|Linden High School||100||19.544|
|Hopefield High School||101||19.106|
|Montana High School||102||19.029|
|Huguenot High School||103||18,966|
|Point High School||105||18.336|
|Zwartkop High School||106||18.302|
|Witteberg High School||107||17,970|