Rylands High was officially opened on 20 April 1976, then named Rylands Indian State High School, by the Department of Indian Education of the apartheid government. It was a very important year in the anti-apartheid struggle in the history of our country.
Much of the school’s early history was directly shaped by the apartheid state’s policies of divide and rule. Hence it was, strictly speaking, an Indian school, for Indian learners, taught by Indian teachers.
The school then had only 10 members of staff and a roll of 124 learners. Class sizes ranged from 9 and 8 learners for Class 1 and 2 respectively to 23 and 9 for Standards 1 and 7 respectively. Standard 7 (Grade 5) was the highest grade offered at the school that year. The grades advanced incrementally year on year until the first matric class (Standard 10 or Grade 12) was offered in 1979. The total roll of the school thus grew to 761 learners in 1990.
The opening of other Indian schools facilitated the migration of Rylands High to an exclusively secondary school for Grades 8 to 12 (Standards 6 to 10). Thus Cravenby Primary and High opened on 1 January 1977 and Starling Primary on 1 January 1979.