holy cross convent maitland
The Holy Cross Sisters arrived in South Africa as a missionary order in 1883. Their first school was established in Umtata, providing education for the disadvantaged. Their work extended further into the local community with them not only founding schools all over South Africa, but also establishing and building orphanages, hospitals and homes for the elderly where the need for these facilities existed. Many of the Sisters are also nurses and social workers who are closely involved in working in and with communities.
The Sisters opened different schools in Cape Town as well as an orphanage and Teacher Training College (St. Augustine’s). Many of these are now classified as state schools on church property. The Teacher Training College had to close in 1974 due to the enforcement of the Group Areas Act and its orphanage moved into the Cape Flats.
In 1910 the Sisters decided to open a school in Maitland, starting their work in old farm buildings and developing the property over the years. The school offered boarding facilities and both primary and high school education up to 1974 when a new primary school was built in a nearby suburb. Thereafter the Maitland premises continued to function only as a high school for girls.
The school has, during its years in Maitland, faced many battles to survive. During the apartheid era, government funding was withdrawn from independent/private schools and to ensure the school’s survival, the school was financed by the Sisters. Holy Cross High School was one of the first “open” schools in Cape Town, not only as regards its learners, but also as regards its staff.
It was forced to close its boarding facilities in the 1980’s due to the decreasing numbers of Sisters. These rooms have subsequently been converted into classrooms as the school’s numbers increased. In 2009 the last Holy Cross Sister as principal of the school passed away and for the first time in its history, a lay principal was appointed. In 2010 the school celebrated its centenary year.
The school is committed to education that is based on Gospel values, the upliftment of communities, particularly women, upholding justice and the dignity of the person. It has also accepted the challenge of providing education for refugees and immigrants from other African countries.
The school has battled to continue to exist as an independent high school that charges fees that are set at an absolute minimum level to ensure that it is accessible to families who would normally not be able to afford private education and who value its particular ethos. The admission policy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or academic ability.
Holy Cross High School is committed to maintaining its proud heritage and traditions and contributing towards the provision of quality education in South Africa.