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Herbert Hurd Primary School has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1954. Over the years, the school has grown and evolved, but its commitment to providing quality education has remained constant. Today, Herbert Hurd Primary School is a vibrant and inclusive community that continues to inspire and nurture young minds.

Mr Herbert Hurd felt there was a need for an English medium school in Newton Park. He pressed the School Board to accept his donation of a whole block of land for establishing the school. Mr Hurd passed away in 1953, so he was not to see the realization of his dream.

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The beginning of the school year, 1954 marked the official opening of our school.

Mr M.W. Emerick was appointed as the first principal of the school;

Mrs Lily Hurd turned the key in the front door and declared the school officially open and

474 boys and girls moved into their spacious classrooms in the attractive modern buildingl

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Plans for more changes at Herbert Hurd Primary School gained ground:

Builders moved in to begin work on the new wing comprising two classrooms, an Art Room and a Woodwork Room.;

There were so many new Sub As that the school was forced to hold double sessions to accommodate them;

The rugby field, cricket practice pitches, 2 tennis courts, 4 tennisette courts and a practice wall were officially opened;

The house names were changed to the names of the 1820 settler ships to associate  with the school badge. The houses subsequently became:  Chapman, Weymouth, Albury and Kennersley;

By the time of his retirement, Mr Emmerick had become the epitome of the school motto, "Be just, fear not";

The school song was composed by Mr Harry Owen, a musician and parent of the school;

The Martin  Emmerick Hall was officially opened and 

A thoroughbred Staffordshire terrier, Bruno, visited the school daily. A statue was sculpted to remind Hurdians of the legacy left by this proud  and loyal animal.

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Mr Colin Davies was appointed as the second principal of Herbert Hurd Primary School.

Mr L.V. Liss became the principal of Herbert Hurd Primary School. In this era four new Sub A classrooms were added to the school. A beautiful library was added. A double-storey section was added at the back of the school  comprising four classroooms, a new Art Room and a Science Room. The hall was also extended.

The school swimming-pool was opened.

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Besides the opening of the new tuck shop, "The Tuck Box", the following changes were effected:

The first computers were purchased by Herbert Hurd Primary School;

Various sports were offered, These included biathlon, badminton, cross-country, cricket, gymnastics, hockey, rugby, swimming and tennis;

After the sad passing away of Mr Liss, Mr Stuart Cranna was appointed as the new Headmaster of Herbert Hurd Primary School;

After Mr Cranna's promotion, Mr L Birkholtz was appointed as headmaster and 

The final touches were added to the new Birkholtz Sports Fields adjacent to the Wiliam Moffat Freeway.

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A new After Care facility was established in Willet Street across the road from the school.

Additional changes were: 

A significant upgrade of the Computer Centre;

The completion of building, renovation and the fencing around the school and 

A  bubble was erected over the swimming-pool.

The following events and developments deserve mention:

The new playing fields were put to use;

A new changeroom / tuckshop was constructed at the new sportsfields;

The After Care Centre was moved to 97 Willet Street and 

A science laboratory was established at the previously used After Care centre.

Mr G. Harris was appointed as principal of Herbert Hurd Primary School. His first full year as Headmaster saw Mr Harris’s skills already being put to the test. . Mr Harris had to guide a nervous and somewhat, skeptical staff as they navigated OBE an approach to education that was  very different to the norm.

In 1999 Mr Harris became concerned regarding the negative effect the larger class sizes were having on the education of the pupils and the well-being of the teachers. He decided to commit to a plan to ensure that Herbert Hurds class sizes would never exceed 35. This 4 year plan saw an additional classroom being added to each intermediate phase Grade. We said good-bye to a music room and science lab then construction began on the new computer room and two additional grade three classrooms, as well as a office. Thereby creating 4 new classrooms.


In 2001 OBE was running successfully throughout all grades in the school.  Mr Harris managed to keep staff spirits up by placing wonder bars in the teachers pigeon holes.  Staff are pleased that during his time as Headmaster his “I’m sorry” chocolates have been upgraded to 5 stars. After a few years of the Birkholz fields being confused for the school swimming pool, after heavy rainfalls, a much needed irrigation system was built.


The staff and pupils were very excited when heating was added to the pool and it was covered by a gazebo shade covering. This meant no more hypothermia during Winter Physcial Education sessions and no more sunstroke on the day of the interhouse gala.


In 2003 room the music department at Herbert Hurd flourished and the Wind band was introduced. It was also the year that Mr Harriis told all the pupils that, as a Founders day gift, he would be giving them the Monday off from school. However, he failed to mention that Monday was in fact a public holiday and the whole of South Africa would be enjoying the day off too. Mr Harris has become very fond of this joke and it has often been repeated during his time as Headmaster.


In 2004 Herbert Hurd celebrated their golden jubilee. The boys rugby and girls hockey teams went on an exciting sports tour to Cape Town.


The Hurdian was opened and this venue holds many happy memories for staff and pupils alike. It is especially dear to Mr Harris, who in 2013 donated his sports memorabilia to the school, to be displayed in the Hurdian. Although, this may have been influenced by Mrs Harris who was simply trying to move the man cave out of her house.  Just as the teachers had wrapped their heads around OBE, RNCS was introduced in the Foundation Phase.


The following year saw the RNCS introduced into the Intermediate Phase. This meant restructuring the timetable completely and operating on a 10 day cycle in order to accommodate new learning areas such as EMS, Technology and life skills. The Grade sevens must have been very good that year as they were rewarded will the gallery section in the hall. Carports were also built to keep the teachers cars safe, this may have been a special request from Mr Jenneker.



In 2006 Mr Harris retired the green wire fencing around the perimeter of the school and replaced it with the palisade fencing. The front office and Mr Harris’s office received a much needed  revamp. The pupils bathrooms received an upgrade and the staffroom was refurbished. South Africa also quietly shelved OBE this year.


In 2007  the Foundation Phase playground received an upgrade and we had our first ever talent show. Mr Harris attended the 8th world convention of principals in New Zealand. Staff may have sneaked off home a bit earlier during this time, sorry sir. This was also the year that Mr Harris installed the CCTV system, Now ofcouse this system has been invaluable in assisting in discipline issues and clearing up misuderstandings, but my personal highlight of this system was when Mr Harris popped up on the intercom one day and called out  a grade seven pupil he had just seen on the cameras, eating in class.

In 2008 the sms sytem was put into place. This was also the year That Mr Harris felt that he wanted to recognise learners for their service to the school and others and thus the Ambasadorial student programme and the Hurdian of the week came into being. Although our Monitor system had shown its success in the number of highschool head and deputy students it produced, Mr Harris felt that we needed something more to motivate pupils. Many of our Ambassadorial students have gone on to become leaders in their highschools, or even junior city council mayors.


In 2009 Mr Harris helped to propel our swimming into a different league when he created the aquatics centre, an indoor swimming pool. This really made Herbert Hurd stand out as a school and we are extremely proud of this facility. Our own staff even made use of the pool, with early morning swimming sessions,


In 2010, while south Africa was celebrating the soccer world cup, Mr Harris was being very productive. In this year he built the new tuckshop, bandroom, the adult bathrooms by the hall, and the hall entrance was upgraded. There are few schools in Port Elizabeth that are lucky enough to have the facilities that we do.

2011 saw the introduction of the Maths enrichment class in Grade 6 and seven. this also gave Mr Harris the opportunity to return to one of his biggest passions, teaching Maths. I will never know how he managed to juggle the duties of being headmaster and being a maths teacher. The school shop was built and all the computers in the computer lab were upgraded and a computer was placed into each classroom.

2012 was the first year that Mr Harris donned his paper heart to show us how proud he was of Herbert hurd. At times his paper heart has faced some trauma but more often than not I know that he has been very proud of his Hurdians. Teachers worked harder than ever as Interactive whiteboards and the new CAPS curriculum were both introduced this year.  Learners were thrilled when Mr Harris lost a bet with the entire school and he had to shave off all his hair during assembly

Evan though Mr Harris’s love of hand written notes is well known among his staff, In 2013 he was able to put aside his own aprehensions about technology and begin the journey of transforming Herbert Hurd into a school that valued the role technology would playing in our pupils futures, and thus, the E learning programme was introduced. Grade 2 became the pilot grade for the introduction of ipads with 8 ipads per class and three banks that could be booked out by the rest of the school. Mr Harris has gotten much better with technology although he is still prone to misplacing his phone. Class Dojo was also introduced. This sytem strived to reward pupils for positive behaviour as opposed to punishing negative behaviours. 


In 2014 Mr Harris became concerned about the number of pupils who were being fetched in the evening. He began the process of building the waiting area by the Grade 2 classrooms. During that  year, the school celebrated their 60th year.

In 2015 Mr Harris started construction on a lecture theatre that could seat an entire grade at once. This lecture theatre came equiped with an interactive whiteboard, projector and even air-conditioning.

2016 saw Mr Harris creating the support services department; a department consisting of a psychologist, and Occupatinal Therapist, speech practitioner, and three remedial teachers - a rare find in schools. Mr Harris strived to make Herbert Hurd a truly inclusive school.

In 2017 we began our one-to-one ipad roll out in the Intermediate Phase. Our investment in technology started to pay off and Herbert Hurd placed third in the I-school Press Teams’ Think ahead excellence in education awards. 


In 2018 Herbert hurd won the glass recycling competition and won R30 000. 


 As it became clear that the lockdown was going to be much longer than initially anticipated he arranged for teachers to start posting work on Google Classroom. It was education like we had never seen it before. We returned to school in June, initially only opening up the doors to the Grade sevens. All work was done on ipads. Gradually the rest of the school returned to school, but social distancing meant that we could only accommodate half our pupils. Thus, blended learning was born at Herbert Hurd. By the time examinations rolled around, a plan had already been made to make the examination process as safe as possible

2021 saw all our pupils returning to school full time. We were one of the few schools who were able to achieve this impressive feat. The Grade sevens received their own quad. Mr Harris tried as far as possible to create a sense of normalcy. We once again had prize givings and the fun started to return.\


In 2022 Mr Harris decided to end his time as the Headmaster of Herbert Hurd. 2022 also saw us finally remove our masks. 

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Besides ensuring that swimming becomes a life skill, the following achievements deserve mention:

Repairs were completed to  the school buildings and roofing;

Computer systems were upgraded;

The swimming pool was enclosed with permanent structures;

New adult toilets were built near the hall;

The hall entrance was upgraded;

A new wing was added to the hall with a band room, a music classroom, a new tuck shop and a ticket office;

Two boreholes were sunk for irrigation of both fields;

A new perimeter wall was built around the Aquatic Centre;

The tuck-shop was converted into a new school shop;

The schools boreholes were upgraded to be fully functional and

Interactive projectors were rolled out.

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