From the beginning of 1951, the school was known as Sir John Adamson High School. A Governing Body was instituted in 1952, with Mr H Schwarz as Chairman. In the same year, the Governing Body instituted the first Governing Body prizes for bilingualism. It soon became apparent that the existing school grounds were far too small to accommodate a fully fledged high school. In the 1953 magazine, Mr Whiteford expressed a need for at least twenty acres of land.
1955 saw the purchase of 10 morgen in Winchester Hills. Plans of the new school, to accommodate 750 pupils, were drawn and approved. The first Matriculation examination was written at the school in this year. The new building for the Sir John Adamson High School was removed from the provincial priority list and put on a list of schools to be built at a later date when sufficient finance was available. However, through the persistent efforts of those who had the interests of the school at heart, building started towards the end of the following year. The land on which the present school buildings are housed was secured by the first Governing Body of the school, and in particular, Councillor Harry Schwarz, Chairperson of the Governing Body. As a tribute to Councillor Schwarz, the school hall – which is still in use today – was named after him.
A ceremony at which the first sod was turned was held on 7 September 1957. His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Max Goodman, performed the ceremony. In 1957 the school’s new badge was registered with the government and came into general use in 1958.
The Foundation Stone of the new building was laid on 7 June 1958, by Dr A H du Preez van Wyk, then Director of Education. It was on this occasion too that the school song, composed by Miss Weiss with words by Mr J H Whiteford, was heard for the first time. The black marble foundation stone which was originally located outside of the school’s main foyer was preserved during alterations to the administrative block in the 1990’s and can still be seen – in its original position – inside the new foyer.
In July 1959, moving operations began. The School Board provided a 5-ton truck and, on this, over 400 desks, tables, chairs, library books, Science, Industrial Arts, and Home Economics equipment, office furniture, piano and pictures had to be transported more than two miles.
The new school – “set on a hill above the town” – was officially opened on 31 October 1959, by the Administrator of the Transvaal, the Honourable Dr William Nicol. A new era in the history of the Sir John Adamson High School had begun.
With the move to the new building came many innovations. It was necessary to have a Scholar Patrol on duty each morning and afternoon. The School Cadet detachment changed into a Naval Unit, and the distinctive Prefects’s Blazers were introduced. For the first eighteen months, sporting activities were limited as the sports fields had not yet been completed. Interschool sports had to be played at other schools.
By the end of 1961 many of the additional facilities and amenities essential to the running of a high school had been completed: the playing fields, tennis courts and hall. 1962 saw the holding of the first sports meeting at the new school and the swimming bath was completed in 1963. In 1964, a new Science Laboratory and Art Room were added to the existing building.
During the third term of 1965, a Sir John Sports Committee was established. This committee was set up to control not only sporting activities at the school, but all extramural activities. Owing to the efforts of the committee, colour scrolls for Academic achievement (Pro Meritore), Debating (Ars Oratoris) and Drama (Pro Arte) were awarded from 1966, in addition to the scrolls for achievement in sport. Also, pupils with three colour-awards and/or Provincial colours are recommended for honours blazers. Special honours ties were introduced, and the first of these were presented to Mr D J Rees in August 1967. All prefects, and pupils with honours blazers, are entitled to wear these ties.
In 1973, a five-year plan focussing on the provision of future facilities was announced. By 1974 there was a pre-cast concrete fence in front of the school, the school owned four buses, a Basketball court had been erected and a six-bay garage for the school buses had been constructed. In 1975 and 1976, the main improvements included the grassing of the hockey field, the completion of concrete netball fields, precast fencing around the swimming pool, swimming change rooms, the first stages of a concrete pavilion and a language laboratory. The completion of the pavilion was planned for 1977 when the school would celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary but was completed a year in advance. In 1981 two new laboratories and two new practical centres were opened and taken into use.
The 1980’s were a very difficult period in terms of staffing. Mr Hankey, who assumed duty as Principal in 1981 remarked that the school’s “greatest liability was a shortage of teachers”. He went on to identify this as the “Biggest problem that our schools are facing today. The 1980’s could well become known as the decade of Crisis in Education”.
In 1991, as long-awaited political change swept through the country, the school opted to become a “Model B” school. Thus, in 1992, Sir John opened its doors to pupils of all races for the first time in its history. During the course of 1992, the Government changed the status of the school to that of “Model C”. The entire principle of “free” education changed and, with the exception of staff salaries, the parents became responsible for the financial needs of the school.
Amidst the changes of the early 1990’s, the school also took its first tentative steps into the information age. After many years of planning, a computer centre eventually became a reality. Initially 15 pupil workstations were installed and pupils were given the opportunity to use the centre once a cycle during school time. Unfortunately, the school was unable to keep abreast with the rapid advancements in technology and the centre was soon outdated. It was only in 2001 that a new state-of-the-art computer centre was opened. Computing was introduced as an examination subject at Grade 10 level and Junior pupils were given the opportunity to make use of the centre – under the guidance of Future Kids once a cycle.
In March 1996, all four Education Departments in Gauteng – products of the Apartheid Government – merged to form the Gauteng Department of Education. A new SA Schools Bill completely changed Education in South Africa. As a result of government rationalisation that accompanied the dramatic changes occurring in educational circles, many staff members opted for early retirement or voluntary severance packages. The sweeping changes included a teacher-pupil ration of 35:1. In order to maintain the standards of education that had characterised the long history of our school, it was decided to appoint additional staff on the Governing Body’s payroll.
In 1998, under the guidance of the current principal – R J de Beer – extensive alterations were completed on the administrative block which completely changed the physical face of the school.
2001 saw the re-organisation of the school to fall in line with the introduction of Outcomes Based Education with its eight Learning Areas: Language, Literacy and Communication; Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics and Mathematical Studies; Natural Sciences; Human and Social Sciences, Economic and Management Sciences; Technology, Life Orientation and Arts and Culture. The emphasis within the classroom shifted to the attainment of expected outcomes and continuous assessment.
Today, the school is one of the foremost institutions in the Southern Suburbs of Johannesburg, catering to the educational needs of a diverse and multi-faceted community. The unfailing commitment of a staff of over 50 teachers and the dedication of the majority of our pupils to academic achievement has resulted in matric results which – year after year – are the envy of many of our neighbouring schools. On the sports field the school has become a force to be reckoned with and our cultural achievements over recent years have done much to enhance the school’s reputation for providing an all-round education for all its pupils.
In 2004, the long awaited Utility hall was built and opened on 31 August 2004, by Mr Plessis, Chairman of the Governing Body. Ms de Beer, left the school at the end of 2004.