The Ideal Place to Play

The Ideal Place to Play

Sport at Clifton

Barefoot Brave Hearts“Playing is our passion, winning is our aim, defeat is our inspiration, participation is the game.” – Sarvesh Parakh

Sport at Clifton is an important dimension in the broad scope of primary phase learning. The profile of sport will operate alongside academics and the arts; when managed in the fuller context of the curriculum, our prime motivation for offering sport is to provide opportunities for our children to grow.

The Barefoot Brave Hearts Philosophy commits to:

– Provide a safe, wholesome environment that inspires and grows children who love to be active; our Barefoot Brave Hearts.
– Playing matches against other schools provides our Brave Hearts an exciting opportunity to experience competition and to participate in a team.
– To do so through passionate, motivated coaches who execute a well-designed sports programme in a manner that is fun, uplifting and effective.

Clifton Cubs Physical Education

Grades 0 and 00

The Clifton Cubs start their introduction to sport at Clifton with a focus on free play. Equipment is set up to allow their imaginations to dictate their activities as they explore their personal capabilities.

During terms one and four, Physical Education includes water sense with a qualified swimming coach.

Junior Primary Physical Education 

Grades 1 to 3

The Junior Primary children have an hour per week of Physical Education lessons during the school day in addition to two hours a week for their afternoon sport. In terms one and four, the children swim and have the assistance of a qualified swimming coach.

In terms three and four, the Junior Primary children are out on the sports fields and explore different sets of skills and activities like balancing, ball skills, agility and team work.

Senior Primary Physical Education

Grades 4 to 7

The PE curriculum coincides with the sport for that term. In terms one and four, we spend our time in the swimming pool which is solar heated.  Having experienced swimming coaches, we are able to focus on the individual development of each child from their own level.

In terms two and three, we are on the fields. The focus is on improving balance, agility, hand-eye co-ordination, peripheral vision, decision making, foot-eye co-ordination, kinaesthetic awareness, core and fitness skills. By improving these we believe all sports and the well-being of every learner is improved.

The Clifton Sporting experience includes:


Clifton offers coaching during Physical Education in both field and track events. The annual Inter-House competition in the 3rd term is the highlight of the athletic calendar, when all events are fiercely contested. All children participate in the various track events and are coached in sprint techniques and relay etiquette. Long jump, high jump and shotput skills are taught to Senior Primary children. When satisfied with the techniques learned, coaches assess performance in each of the disciplines and the leading athletes in each house compete for points and top honours in the Inter-House competition. These athletes also participate in the annual Inter-Prep competitions held in the 3rd term.


Our Indoor Centre has boosted basketball at Clifton. We have three courts, ensuring our training sessions and matches continue unabated despite the rainy season. This incredibly beautiful facility has allowed the girls and boys to practise at their leisure and further their skills. Not only is basketball a rapidly growing sport in South Africa, but our Clifton children have developed a particular passion for the game. Although we do not offer formal boys’ basketball in our afternoon programme, it forms a part of our Physical Education programme, affording the boys the necessary grounding going into high school. Basketball is a fast-paced, exciting game which rounds off our year in the 4th term, bringing a balance to the sport offered at Clifton, in particular the hand-eye coordination required. Our girls are entered into the Midlands’ Basketball League in the 4th term.


A more picturesque setting will be hard to find in Southern Africa for our budding young cricketers. We also host the annual U10 Cricket Festival which has become a highlight for many Gauteng and KZN schools largely due to our wonderful campus and facilities, including 5 cricket fields along with indoor nets. The 1st XI participate in the annual Independent Schools’ Cricket Festival. Clifton provides up to 10 cricket teams on a weekly basis from U9 to Open, and our Grade 1 and 2s participate in fun Mini-Cricket festivals. David Miller, current Protea player and joint holder of the fastest International T20 century, spent his preparatory school days roaming the fields of Clifton.

Cross Country

Clifton boasts one of the most enjoyable and well-loved prep school cross country courses in the Midlands. Our Inter-Prep meet is supported by over 600 runners who compete along marked trails around the school campus and into the surrounding woods. Clifton’s cross country team trains twice a week and although team numbers for competition is restricted, all children may join the training. Internal coaching includes basic athletic techniques for running over rugged terrain and aerobic fitness in preparation for the weekly Inter-Prep meets, which take place in the 2nd term.


Clifton offers hockey for the girls in the 2nd term and the boys in the 3rd term. Hockey is compulsory from Grade 1, with coaches who are passionate about coaching structure and positional understanding, ensuring that our children begin their hockey journey with a solid grounding. Our aim is to develop an understanding and respect for each player’s contribution to the functioning of the team. Our boys benefit hugely from the Michaelhouse off-season, using the facility as a home base, while the girls are blessed with a magnificent grass field at Clifton, as well as playing numerous games on Astro in Pietermaritzburg and surrounds. Clifton is well renowned as a competitive hockey school. Our successes in the annual Wykeham Collegiate Hockey Festival for Open Girls speak of our ability and passion. We are well represented in the KZN provincial teams, with some children going on to represent U17 and U21 South African teams.


Although relatively small in size, Clifton Notties rugby is renowned for its style of play, passion and never-say-die attitude. This has gained us an invite to the legendary St John’s Easter Rugby Festival where our boys regularly take bigger teams by surprise. Perennially we field no fewer than nine rugby teams who are able to enjoy two full and two mini size rugby fields. Our beautiful Haworth Oval doubles up as the main rugby field in winter and is spoken of with envy by many visiting schools and parents. Our most recent Old Cliftonian playing international rugby is Sebastien Negri, who dons the number 6 jersey for Italy in the Six Nations Championship. A welcome addition has been the introduction of 7s Rugby. This has seen us participate in a few derby matches as well as us playing in the Michaelhouse 7s Rugby Festival. This is a highlight.


Girls’ soccer is growing in numbers and enthusiasm in the Midlands community and has been enjoyed for a number of years by our girls. Our focus on structure and width in the hockey season ensures that our players have an immediate understanding of positional play on the soccer field. Although we play regular derby days, we enter as many fun festivals as possible during the season, allowing the girls the opportunity to play various teams and adapt to the style of play needed. For fixtures we are able to provide no fewer than nine soccer teams ranging from 6-a-side to 8-a-side, and 11-a-side for the seniors. The girls ply their trade on two full, one half and four mini size fields. Boys are able to play soccer matches as an optional extra activity in the 3rd term.


School squash in the Midlands, as well as the greater KZN region, has long been dominated by Clifton boys and girls. Our players make up a large majority of the various KZN teams and do the province proud at the Inter-Provincial tournaments. At least four to five teams are entered into the league during the 4th term and our unbeaten record has been untarnished for a number of years. Squash is ably overseen by the effervescent duo of Brian and Liza Borgen, who continue to pour their hearts and souls into this much-loved sport. We are blessed with four spectacular glass-back courts and a viewing gallery attached to our Indoor Centre.


Clifton has three swimming squads and approximately 80 children swimming competitively for our school. Our enthusiastic and experienced coaches are benefiting from our new 8-lane heated swimming pool which has allowed us to elevate the level of training and pool-time for all of our children. Clifton prides itself in its invigorating Physical Education programme, which dedicates its time to training Grades 00 through to 7 in our wonderful facilities. The Clifton Boys’ Squad is ranked in the top 8 amongst schools in the Midlands, participating in the Inter-Schools’ A Gala this year, with our Girls’ Squad not far behind swimming in the Inter-School’s B Gala. Our 3rd swimming team, the Mixed Squad, participates in the Midlands Inter-Schools’ Galas, and we offer training in a development squad for those children wanting to improve and make the squads. Clifton swimming is growing at a rapid pace and we are very excited for the future of this sport at our school. We are privileged to have a specialist swimming coach assist us during the swimming season.


Clifton is blessed with five tennis courts, of which three are indoors, and we are therefore able to provide year-round opportunity for our players to hone their skills. Internal coaching is provided at all practice sessions and committed players have access to on-site private coaching from professional tennis coaches. Teams are selected using a ladder ranking system.

Girls’ Inter-School Tennis League is played in the 1st and 3rd terms by the Open and U11 teams. Younger and less developed players also attend weekly training sessions to improve their skills and challenge for a place in the teams.

Boys’ Open and U11 tennis teams participate in an Inter-Schools’ League in the 3rd term. Younger and less developed players are exposed to skills-based coaching during Physical Education lessons, and they are afforded the opportunity to challenge for team places.

Junior Primary Sport

Our little ones are exposed to a number of sporting codes before moving into competitive fixtures from Grade 3. It can be quite tricky to find a balance between generating an understanding of a sport and developing a passion through having fun. We therefore enter boys and girls teams into fun festivals throughout the year. The girls play basketball, hockey, soccer and tennis while the boys are involved in cricket, soccer and hockey.