The College can trace its origins to modest beginnings when on 1 February 1962, we opened our doors to only 55 pupils, all boys. 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. In this, they had the support of Archbishop Denis Hurley. So, from the start, the School had a strong religious element strengthened in later years with a broader Christian base. Between 1962 and 1992 the School was served by 3 Headmasters, Robin Savory, Chris Hurley and Bill Pickering. Much was achieved in that time, notably the acquisition of considerable tracts of land, some of which carried buildings which have remained part of the central core of the School. 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.
In 1992 Peter Habberton was appointed as Principal, and 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 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. Much expansion in terms of buildings and other facilities took place and, thanks to the generosity of Peter Savory, the Robin Savory Pavilion was erected above the Savory Field. The Ken Mackenzie Centre was also built on the other side of Savory Field, thanks to the Ken Mackenzie Foundation. The boarding facility closed at the end of 2002 due to a significant drop in demand, and the rooms which became available as a result were converted to offices and specialist 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 TMC, Allan Chandler retired at the end of 2015. Dave Wiggett took the reins as 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. Thomas More College benefitted immensely from his leadership strategies and the school grew both exponentially and in stature, also acquiring during his tenure 39 new classrooms, the newly completed double-storey High School Classroom block, Ken Garside Centre, the Ken Mackenzie Centre, new and improved PS and HS library blocks, a full-size heated Akal pool, netball courts, a Past Pupils’ pavilion and Coffee Shop, an Astroturf, Music school, upgraded and expanded AEU facilities, an expanded Pre-School programme from crèche to Grade 00 in addition to vastly improving our IEB matric results.
Primary School Headmistress, Mrs Taljard and Foundation Phase Headmistress, Mrs Hornsey both 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: Senior Primary, was appointed Headmaster: Senior Primary beginning his role in January 2021.
The College celebrated 60 years in 2022, a relatively young school when compared to the local monastic schools in the Upper Highway, Thomas More College continues to be pioneers in the educational sector.
The College bid farewell to Mr Dave Wiggett, High School Headmaster of 6 and a half years (2016-July 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.
Over recent years, pupil numbers have risen to above 1200, from Grade 0000 to Grade 12, making Thomas More College the largest independent co-educational school in KwaZulu-Natal.
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