Thomas More College


Purpose. Belonging. Inspiration.

The college can trace its roots back to humble beginnings when we first opened our doors to 55 boy students  on February 1, 1962.

Co-education was not to come for another 14 years. Founders Robin Savory and Chris Hurley long had a dream of starting a Catholic school run by the Catholic laity. They had the support of Archbishop Denis Hurley. Thus, the school’s strong religious component was present from the beginning and was strengthened over time by a wider Christian foundation.

Between 1962 and 1992 the school was served by three headmasters: Robin Savory, Chris Hurley and Bill Pickering. Many successes were accomplished during this time, most notably the purchase of sizable land parcels, some of which contained structures that have remained a part of the school’s central core. However, numbers never rose above a maximum of 197 and in 1990 the school was facing closure. A vigorous campaign was launched and a major step was the establishment of a primary school based in the Farmhouse.

The Opening of the Primary School

In 1992 Peter Habberton was appointed as principal. In 1993 the junior primary school opened, based in the Farmhouse and led by Jacquie Habberton in her role as HOD. Deni Hornsey was appointed HOD of the foundation phase in 2002, head of pre-primary in 2007 and then in 2016, Foundation Phase Headmistress.

Hilton Stander joined as a primary school headmaster in 1993, followed by Greg Brooks in 1999, Nigel Sloane in 2005, Barbara Taljard in 2009 and Gary Balarin (senior primary headmaster) in 2021.

A great deal of expansion was carried out with regards to buildings and other facilities. Thanks to the generosity of Peter Savory, the Robin Savory Pavilion was erected above the Savory Field. Also thanks to the Ken Mackenzie Foundation, the Ken Mackenzie Centre was constructed on the opposite side of Savory Field.

Due to a significant decline in demand, the boarding facility closed at the end of 2002, and the rooms were turned into offices and specialised classrooms. In 2002 Shane Cuthbertson followed Peter Habberton as principal of the high school. In 2009, due to restructuring in the high school, Shane retained his position as executive principal of the whole school, and Allan Chandler, senior master at the time, was appointed as headmaster of the high school. After 20 years of dedicated service to Thomas More College, Allan Chandler retired at the end of 2015.

Dave Wiggett took the reins as our high school headmaster at the start of 2016. In the same year, as a result of additional classrooms and demands on the primary school, it was separated into a foundation phase led by Deni Hornsey, while the senior primary remained under Barbara Taljard.

After 16 years of service, our longest-serving principal, Shane Cuthbertson retired at the end of 2017.

During his tenure, Thomas More College grew exponentially and in stature, acquiring 39 new classrooms, the newly completed double-storey High School Classroom block, the Ken Garside Centre, the Ken Mackenzie Centre, new and improved primary school and high school library blocks, a full-size heated Akal pool, netball courts, a past pupils’ pavilion and coffee shop, an astroturf, a music school, and an upgraded and expanded Akal.

Both Mrs Taljard, our primary school headmistress, and Mrs Hornsey, our foundation phase headmistress, retired in 2020. Mrs Anny Breedt was then appointed junior primary headmistress, beginning her role in January 2021, while Mr Balarin who had already served as deputy head of senior primary, was appointed headmaster of senior primary beginning his role in January 2021.

Pioneering Modern Education

The college celebrated 60 years in 2022, making it a relatively young school when compared to the local monastic schools in the Upper Highway area. Thomas More College continues to be a pioneer in the educational sector.

Thomas More College is the largest independent co-educational school in KwaZulu-Natal

The college bade farewell to Mr Dave Wiggett, high school headmaster of six and a half years (2016-2022). Dave will be remembered for his forward-thinking leadership, energy and inspiring change within the college and across all phases.

We welcomed Mr Davies to the family on 1 September in the position of high school headmaster. Mr Davies brings with him a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience in the educational space.Thomas More College is the largest independent co-educational school in KwaZulu-Natal, with over 1160 students enrolled from Grades 0000 – 12.