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The History of Sir Pierre Van Ryneveld High School

In 1966 Kempton Park High School was established to cater for the needs of learners requiring English medium education. Prior to 1966 Kempton Park learners had to make use of Edenvale High School.  It first opened its doors in January 1966 as the new Kempton Park High School.  It was housed in a building where the post office stands today.  The pupil complement at that time was 195 with 10 staff members under the principal, Mr YS Veldhuizen.  Later that year the school moved to prefab buildings on the south-eastern boundary of the present grounds.  

Pierre_van_Ryneveld.jpgIn 1972 a decision was taken to change the name to Sir Pierre van Ryneveld High School. This was based on the fact that Atlas Aircraft Corporation was linked to the South African Air Force, an institution founded by Sir Pierre. Sir Pierre gained fame as a fighter pilot in World War I and started the SAAF as the Commander-in-chief of the Union Defence Force during World War II.  

The official name change took place on August 12, 1972 at an inauguration ceremony.  Sir Pierre attended the official ceremony to mark the official opening of the school named after him. Sadly, this was to be his last formal function as he died soon after.

In 1999, SAAF and Denel presented a Mirage III CZ jet figher to the school to mount in its front garden.  This serves as a reminder of the links between the school and Sir Pierre van Ryneveld.


During the past 3 decades thousands of learners have left the school and entered the adult world. Many have qualified at Universities and Technikons, some have returned to teach at their alma mater. Education history was made in the then Transvaal Education Department when Timothy Nicholson, in 1982 became the first learner to achieve 8 distinctions in his Matric exams.

We welcome you to our school and look forward to your contribution to the on-going progress of Sir Pierre van Ryneveld High School.


This school’s mission, as an essentially academic institution, is to unlock the treasures of knowledge and skill for each individual pupil in harmony with our calling to encourage all pupils in our care to social maturity and the fulfilment of their talents.
  • Ethos which respects each individual’s intrinsic dignity and richness of diversity
  • Work ethic which ensures optimal employment of the gifts of soul, mind and body.
  • An atmosphere conducive to order which leaves room for initiative and innovation
  • An education which provides each with sound mechanisms to respond critically to challenges relating to change and thus enshrine tolerance and excellence.


We are students of Sir Pierre
Sir Pierre van Ryneveld.
We are proud and know no fear-
In esteem our name is held.
We have come from far,
We have come from near,
But while at school we are Sir Pierre.
Our motto is achieve, achieve!
And success we will achieve.

Music: HA Röhrs    Words : HA Röhrs (adapted 1995/1998)

4. SCHOOL HYMN (Heavenward)

I love Thy way of freedom, Lord,
To serve Thee is my choice,
In Thy clear light of Truth I rise
And, listening for Thy voice,
I hear Thy promise old and new,
That bids all fear to cease:
My presence still shall go with Thee
And I will give Thee peace.

Though storm or discord cross my path
Thy power is still my stay
Though human will and woe would check
My upward soaring way:
All unafraid I wait, the while
Thy angels bring release,
For still thy presence is with me,
And Thou dost give me peace

I climb, with joy, the heights of Mind,
To soar o’er time and space:
I yet shall know as I am known
And see Thee face to face
Till time and space and fear are naught
My quest shall never cease,
Thy presence ever goes with me
And thou dost give me peace