Academics at DHS

Academic education is one of the great challenges of the 21st Century. We live in a society that is changing with exponential rapidity. It is governed by shifting and blindingly quick technologies, environmental challenges and alarming conflict patterns. It is into this world that all school-leaving adults are launched. The boys, who are becoming men at DHS, are no exception.

Cognisant of the demands that will be made on the adults of tomorrow, DHS prepares its learners with the best possible education in this regard. Academic education is perhaps the most important component of this preparation and extends far beyond the achievement of exam results.

“May each and every one of them ever remember that as he is, so is his School.”

D C Thompson,
9th Head Master of Durban High School.

Year in and year out, DHS is one of the stellar performers when the province’s matric results are listed, with an 86% matric exemption rate over the past five years. The School frequently has learners in the top 10 candidate rating. A aggregates and subject distinctions are widely achieved on an annual basis and numerous successes have been notched up in the field of Olympiads and Science Expositions over the years.

These quantifiable successes are necessary if DHS is to be measured among the top academic institutions in South Africa. However, by its own standards, through a commitment to its “Heritage of Excellence” ethos, they are not always enough. The DHS holistic approach to education which incorporates a host of finely-tuned variables to prepare for the future prevails. This is an inclusive process for all boys, from average learners to top academics. It is underpinned by rock- solid support structures and a highly qualified, dedicated, responsive and committed staff who are passionate in their vocation and accomplished in their various fields. Classes are organised to be on average, less than 30-strong and boys are individually assisted through a goal setting system.

This individual support is augmented by a career guidance and a counselling infrastructure that encourages boys to assess critically their strengths and weaknesses. This practice assists them in their choice of subjects and potential career paths.

The successes of alumni in various academic pursuits bears testimony to the preparation provided by DHS during their vital senior school stage. This preparation is extended to encompass new options and possibilities for learners as we embark on an exciting journey in education, the National Senior Certificate (NSC) for Grade 12 learners.

DHS facilities are top-notch. Our Media Centre includes a contemporary library, state-of-the-art IT and audio-visual centres. The School is embarking on an extensive upgrade of existing classrooms and specialised facilities, such as laboratories and dramatic arts venues.

Subjects Offered at DHS

DHS offers the following subjects in the GET and FET phases:

Junior Phase (Grades 8 and 9):

  • English Home Language
  • Afrikaans First Additional Language
  • isiZulu First Additional Language
  • Economic Management Sciences
  • Arts and Culture
  • Technology
  • Geography
  • History
  • Natural Sciences
  • Life Orientation
  • Mathematics

Senior Phase (Grades 10 -12):

  • English Home Language
  • Afrikaans First Additional Language
  • isiZulu First Additional Language
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
  • Accounting
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Information Technology
  • Life Orientation
  • Physical Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Visual Arts
  • Dramatic Arts
  • Engineering Graphics & Design

Academic Information


Current class sizes in Grade 8 and 9 stand are a maximum of 28 learners per class. The philosophy behind this is to ensure that pupils in these two grades receive as much academic support as possible when they are making the transition from primary to high school. In certain subjects (ie, Mathematics and Languages) some classes are split even further to ensure that individual attention is provided to pupils who may experience difficulties in these specific subject areas. Class sizes in Grades 10 – 12 vary according to subject choice and may vary from 1:15 to 1:30 (maximum). In addition to a well structured mentorship programme, learner support department and counselling policy at the school, we also offer Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, English and Afrikaans Support Services to learners after hours should they wish to achieve additional expert tuition.

Academic Achievement

Durban High School is recognised as an educational institution of excellence and our results reflect this.

We frequently have learners in the top 10 in the province based on their National Senior certificate results and our pass and exemption rates over a number of years have been outstanding. The number of A aggregates and subject distinctions that are achieved on an annual basis makes DHS one of the top traditional boys school in KwaZulu Natal and one of the very best in South Africa. DHS also has an enviable reputation when it comes to academic achievements outside the classroom and numerous successes have been achieved in various Olympiads and Expositions that are held on an annual basis.

DHS has always prided itself on preparing ALL its learners for the future, whether it be the top academics or the average learner who might struggle with certain subjects. Our holistic approach to education, backed up by sound support structures and a committed, dedicated and well qualified staff ensure that DHS will continue to remain at the forefront of educational excellence in the years and decades to come.

Nonpareil Academy : Centre of Excellence


  • To develop our boys to a standard of excellence consistent with the highest levels in academics, sport and cultural initiatives.
  • To establish links between tertiary education and the Centre of Excellence.
  • To establish a challenging and structured academic programme, incorporating various skills for holistic development.
  • To provide an International Curriculum (Cambridge International Examination Board) in addition to the current National Educational Curriculum (NEC).
  • To inculcate through specialised philosophies, programmes and initiatives higher standards of excellence and performance within our boys.
  • To provide a suitable academic philosophy and programme for all age groups to develop at their own learning level to move boys from Excellence to Influence.

Programme Aims:

  • To identify and recruit the talented and gifted boys within the school for the Centre of Excellence.
  • To provide a quality education using alternative educational philosophies and welfare for age groups and within the Centre of Excellence.
  • To enhance academic development and performance by the incorporation of the principles of holistic development.
  • To provide individuals with technical, physiological, psychological and social knowledge to achieve their full potential.
  • To be advocates for academic advancement and excellence.
  • To obtain national and international recognition through the Centre of Excellence.
  • To have boys participate in various national and international academic award programmes.

The Nonpareil Academy is designed for motivated and academically talented or gifted boys whose needs are not met in the traditional high school setting. The Academy is a magnet school. The learner selection is based solely on the order of application among those who meet the basic requirements for admission, above average intelligence, high EQ and self-discipline. Learners who are selected for the programme are expected to function and perform at a higher level of excellence. The Academy will serve as an instrument for future development and progression within the Durban High School context.

The programme will be supported by parents and the community itself on its family-like environment. This environment affords the opportunity for individual tutoring, counselling, and mentoring by coaches and staff. It also provides a uniquely supportive transition between secondary and post-secondary education. It aids young men with academic competencies to further explore their unique giftings for higher achievement or in the creation of future developments that will bring influence to society.

The Academy Centre will provide the most up to date, comprehensive and high quality training for those wishing to break into the Academic Arena. The benefits include:

  • Daily individual training and development by qualified facilitators
  • Organised programmes and excursions that would enhance
  • Nationally and internationally recognized qualifications that can lead directly to entrance into further study on University degree programmes and qualify boys for scholarships and bursaries.

We are proud to be an approved selected school to offer the Cambridge International Curriculum. This unique opportunity to provide learners with up to date, quality education of the highest international standards. On completion of the selected course the learner will have a University of Cambridge International qualification. DHS offers three international qualifications ie. IGCSE, AS Level and A Level Programs. Students write examinations set and marked by the University of Cambridge International Examinations board in the UK and have continuous support throughout the year from the highly experienced and successful DHS Educators/Facilitators who have undergone Professional Development Qualification to ensure quality teaching and learning is achieved. These qualifications are recognized by all universities throughout the world.

In addition to the academic programme, we also provide the following extension programmes that help in the development of the holistic education structure that the programme offers:

  • Leadership/Mentorship/Community Development/Social Awareness/Etiquette/Renaissance Classical Teaching/Life Skills/Time Management/Conflict Management/Self- actualization/Public Speaking/Current Affairs/Presentation Skills/Personal Portfolio Development
  • The autonomous learning environment to which the boys are exposed allows them to take responsibility for their own learning and increase their levels of performance.

For further information, please contact Mrs Dickinson:

International Studies Programme

What is the purpose of the International Studies Programme?

While the benefits of the ISP are many and varied, our core aim is to provide an opportunity for DHS learners to gain an international perspective, establish cross-cultural and interpersonal skills which will insure their success in the global environment of the 21st century.

  • This programme encourages learners to connect with each other by completing specific academically driven assignments via “live” internet discussion using technologies such as Skype, Facebook and email. Each learner establishes a relationship with one particular student in the corresponding nation. This programme is an opportunity for students to expand their cultural understanding, reflect upon their own cultural and national heritage and develop skills in working with international students on specific academic assignments.
  • This is an Independent Study course. Learners are expected to:
  • communicate with their international partner about once a week,
  • attend monthly classes and,
  • meet with their teacher twice a month.
  • There are eight assignments which are placed throughout the year including topics which require comparison of cultures, school systems, economies, challenges facing their nations and personal family history.
  • Students who have success in the programme receive a letter with their final Grade 11 report detailing their participation and core competencies mastered.
  • We are placing learners with international partners who speak English and have committed to continual communication. Participating countries are:  USA and Portugal. Plans are underway to partner with a school in Kenya, Ghana and India.
  • It is our hope that students will develop a lasting relationship with their partner. Correspondent students from the USA and Portugal will be visiting DHS in 2017 and 2018 and we will be travelling to some of these locations in the course of 2018.
  • The ISP is run by two teachers in the DHS History Department. Questions can be directed to:

Ms Goring at

“Ours is a world of 24-hour-news cycles, global markets, and high-speed Internet. We need to look no further than our morning paper to see that our future, and the future of our children, is inextricably linked to the complex challenges of the global community. And for our children to be prepared to take their place in that world and rise to those challenges, they must first understand it.”

Roderick Paige, Former US Secretary of Education

For further information, please download the following document:

International Studies Programme

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