About Dr John Brebner

The History of Dr John Brebner

Brebner started before the Anglo Boer War in 1899 as a so-called Railway Camp School. The school was formally renamed Brebner School on 2nd July 1906. The name Brebner was in honour of Dr John Brebner who’s bearded portrait hangs in the foyer of the Primary School. During this period the school catered for Afrikaans, Dutch and English pupils mainly from deprived backgrounds.

Community service

In 1912 Brebner began to assume its present form as an English School and to develop its special character. A character epified by a tradition of service to the community. The spirit of Brebner has never been founded in its historical traditions but rather that spirit which drives its teachers and its learners to give meaning to life.

The integration of pupils

The uniqueness of Brebner was illustrated in the early 1990’s when Brebner had the courage and vision to become the first public school in Bloemfontein to accommodate pupils of other race groups in significant numbers.

The importance of individuals

Brebner could never be seen as a so-called “traditional” school but rather as a progressive school in its time with an ethos of strong emphasis being placed on the value of the individual and of the individuals right to develop his/her full potential and thus to serve their community.

A balanced education

In 1994 Brebner developed into an English medium co-ed school specializing in multi-cultural education in which each child was treated as an individual in his own right. It was always the aim of this school to provide a well balanced education for every pupil in a disciplined and orderly environment.

The formation of two schools

This policy and also the fact that Brebner opened its doors to an educationally deprived section of the community led to an incredible increase in numbers and consequently the management of the school became an immense task. It was decided on 1 July 1994 to separate Brebner into two autonomous schools, each with its own headmaster.

Images on this page are courtesy National Museum Bloemfontein.

The National Museum – a natural history, cultural history and art museum – was established in 1877 and is a Declared Cultural Institution, which resorts under the Department of Arts and Culture and is governed by a council.

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