Our heritage

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Founded in 1874 in response to the need for girls’ education, Collegiate Girls’ High School has evolved from its initial location in Bird Street to the current campus in Parsons Hill where it continues offering teaching and extra-curricular activities through nurturing engagement. As one of the oldest schools dedicated to girls’ education, Collegiate is a reputable educational institution known for its part in learners’ holistic upbringing.

From its inception, Collegiate has steered the changing world unerringly in its commitment to unlocking each learner’s potential for personal excellence, a continuing tradition handed down by those who have served the school. Its headmistresses, teachers and the young minds entrusted into their care, have shaped and will continue to shape the spirit of the school.

Collegiate interacts widely with the communities of Gqeberha. The annual carols service, which has been part of the city’s cultural heritage for over 100 years, is synonymous with Collegiate’s commitment to the Community Chest, an NPO that “believes in investing financial resources and training in the development of active citizenship across all sectors of society”. All learners, through school houses and, from 2022, all clubs and societies, actively support organisations via outreach initiatives. Living the spirit of Facta non verba, this social engagement and the annual Charity Bazaar afford learners opportunities to develop as responsible citizens through service to others.

The active involvement of parents and past pupils, epitomized in the Old Collegiate Girls’ Guild, has enriched the lives of present pupils in the form of facilities, awards and bursaries and the aesthetically beautiful school buildings in which they work and play. This support of the School has also made an invaluable contribution to the success of Collegiate and its ongoing commitment to holding the space for learners to succeed according to their individual potential.

Although the school’s traditions and ethos are based on Christian values and beliefs, there is a full acceptance of and a respect for other religious faiths. Furthermore, Collegiate is committed to creating a school environment that is conducive to each person claiming the right to feel loved and welcome. The five values: integrity, compassion, responsibility, respect and a good work ethic are promoted and ascribed to.

The main building, graceful and dignified, and ringed by gardens and playing fields, encompasses all the academic and boarding facilities in one compact unit. Classrooms are set out around a grassed quadrangle, adjoined by well-equipped laboratories and sound-proofed music rooms.

The renovated De Wet Gray Resource Centre incorporates the Library in a modern space. Two computer laboratories accommodate the subjects Computer Applications Technology and Information Technology. There is also a Consumer Studies lab, and Art and Music facilities. The modern Senior Science Laboratory, erected to mark the 125th Jubilee and named the Jubilee Lab, was made possible by a generous donation from Mrs Gill Gray (Collegiate Old Girl, Matric 1957) and the Allan Gray Charitable Trust, of which she is a founder. In 2017, Collegiate Girls’ High School officially opened its new state-of-the-art resource centre and this was also funded by Gill Gray.

The Ivy Leaf cafeteria with four classrooms above it was built in 2009 and is named the Pam Ellis Wing. The Games Club was opened in 2021 to serve parent functions and be a home for returning Old Girls. The former school shop, the College Girl, has been renovated into a meeting room with a digital audio-visual solution to facilitate virtual interviews and meetings.

While we remember with nostalgia and will celebrate our 150th year in 2024; we also acknowledge the year, 1991,  which can be seen as the secondfounding of Collegiate. It is the year that Collegiate’s Management team and then School Committee grasped the opportunity to open the doors to all children of South Africa, to act with integrity, one of our core values, and to start the new journey to becoming a united school of all races where all are comfortable in their skins.


Miss V L Isitt


Miss S E A Hall


Miss E M Molteno


Miss V L Pride


Miss E Stevenson


Miss W E Anderson



Miss E M Tilley

1929 – 1939

Miss M E Brock

1940 – 1958

Miss J A D Miller

1959 – 1961

Miss R G Waterfield

1962 – 1969

Mrs M F Watson (Acting)

1970 – June

Miss J A D Miller (Acting)

July – 1970

Mrs V Jenkins


Miss P Cameron Ellis

1983 – 2009

Mrs F Biggs (Acting)

2010 – June 2011

Mrs M Bagshaw

July 2011 – June 2020

Mrs L Erasmus (Acting)

July 2020 – Oct. 2020

Mrs L Erasmus

November 2020