About Us


Dainfern College is a forward thinking coeducational, independent school for Grade 0000 to Grade 12. Our ethos is Christian and we celebrate diversity.


After it first opened its doors in 1997, Dainfern College quickly established its reputation as a world-class educational institution and a leading independent school in Southern Africa. This is through the consistent demonstration of excellence in all areas of school life, a sound financial management structure, and responsible stewardship of the school’s assets.


Dainfern College is a place of learning where acceptance and belonging prevail, and character, competence and community are the foundations upon which we continue to build. Our motto is ‘Celebrate’ and we offer “A world of education. An education for the world.”


To be recognised as one of the leading educational institutions in the country.


Dainfern College develops the skills for life required to unlock unique personal potential and to nurture creative thinkers with the confidence to become leaders – through the provision of an innovative, relevant and quality education.


The ethos of Dainfern College is Christian, underpinned by our core values:

  • Fortitude: Showing courage and resilience in the face of challenge.
  • Integrity: Being honest and showing strong moral principles.
  • Self-discipline: Correcting and regulating one’s own behaviour.
  • Humanity: Showing compassion and consideration for others.
  • Accountability: Taking responsibility for one’s choices and actions.
  • Respect: Showing consideration for the feelings and rights of others.


Dainfern College fosters a learning environment in which all members of our diverse community are encouraged to understand, accept and respect each other.


By offering a holistic education, we strive to develop the social, emotional, intellectual and physical potential of each student by developing life skills and fostering the growth of the individual and the community – through the academic, extramural and other elements of the school curriculum.


Our learner-centred approach focuses on each individual’s needs, abilities and learning styles, and allows for the recognition of such diversity within a spirit of discipline and acceptance – without compromising the integrity of the school.


Our school community is one in which there is commitment to a shared vision, the school values, effective communication, mutual respect and courtesy to all. To give effect to these values and objectives, all staff, students and parents need to make a commitment to abide by and support the rules and policies of the school. This commitment in no way negates the individual’s rights as enshrined in our country’s constitution and all members of the Dainfern College community are entitled to due process as outlined in our policy documents.


Sustainability, strong leadership and transparent governance are key to our school. We cherish our independence as a private, stand-alone and registered non-profit school where all of our fees and consequently our resources are poured back into the school to maximise the benefits to our students.


The College is overseen by a Board of Governors which is responsible for the strategic planning of the College, in conjunction with the Executive Head of College. The Executive Head chairs the College Executive Commitee, who are responsible for the organisational management of the school on a day-to-day basis. Click here to find out more about the governance of the College.


  1. About Us 1

    Stella and Russell Upneck conceptualise and found Dainfern College, aiming to create a coeducational, independent school of excellence for children from Grade 0 to Grade 12

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    Johnnic Properties agrees to donate the land for the school

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    An innovative debenture system is introduced to fund the new school

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    Building commences in September 1996

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    Enrolments open on 12 October 1996

  2. About Us 6

    Dainfern College opens in the Junior Prep block on 15 January with only 35 students. The three teachers were Margaret Holleran, Linda Glass and Felicity Gower-Jackson

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    Tom Bourquin is the first College Principal

    About Us 8

    Russell Upneck is the first Chairman of the Board of Governors

    About Us 9

    Construction starts on the Senior Preparatory and High School sections

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    The Grade 0 block and first tennis courts are completed

  3. About Us 11

    The High School opens on 14 January

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    The Senior Prep and High School buildings are completed

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    The Opening Ceremony of the College is held on 18 September and the school is officially opened by Mark Henning

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    Founder staff and parents boards are unveiled

  4. About Us 15

    Mrs Sue Redelinghuys join the College in January as Principal of the Prep School

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    Grade 1-10 students are officially allocated into Houses for the first time on 25 February

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    The new 25m swimming pool is officially opened on 25 March

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    The first major production – The Wizard of Oz –  is held on 27 and 28 September

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    Mr Bourquin, Founder College Principal, retires in December

  5. About Us 20

    Dr Paul Turner joins as College Principal in January

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    First Senior Prep camps are held

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    The inaugural Founders’ Day celebration is held on 23 September

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    The Parents’ Association is launched on 3 October, chaired by Lynn Gregory

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    First National College Golf Champs is hosted at Dainfern Country Club

  6. About Us 25

    The first Matric Dance is held

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    Head Boy Michael Nash receives the first Red Honours Blazer

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    The first Grade 12s, the Class of 2001, matriculate

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    Philip Parker is appointed Chairman

    About Us 29

    Concrete seating is installed on the banks of The Oval

    About Us 30

    Dr Turner leaves at the end of the year

  8. About Us 31

    The first overseas sports tour takes place – a combined Prep and High School swimming and rugby tour to Australia

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    The new Cultural Centre is opened by Stella Upneck at Founders’ Day on 28 June

    About Us 33

    Gordon Johnstone is appointed as the Principal of the High School from Term 3

    About Us 34

    Stella and Russell Upneck relocate to KwaZulu-Natal and are thanked for their immense contribution to Dainfern College

  9. About Us 35

    The Cricket Academy is opened by Dennis Tucker on 31 January 2004

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    Air conditioning is added to the Auditorium in June, installed by helicopter

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    Proudly South African day is introduced in to the school calendar

  10. About Us 38

    Mrs Redelinghuys is appointed Head of College on 22 July

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    The Alumni Association is established

    About Us 40

    The Grade 2 ‘Dinner for Two’ is introduced on 12 October

  11. About Us 41

    The College celebrates 10 years since its inception

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    Lipizzaners perform at the Founders’ Day celebration on 16 September

    About Us 43

    Mr Johnstone resigns

    About Us 44

    Darrel Webb and Stuart West are appointed heads of the Prep and Highs Schools respectively

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    Two High School tours take place – the Space Tour to the USA and the Arts & Culture Tour to New York & London

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    The inaugural Grade 10 Enyuka Challenge takes place in the Drakensburg

    About Us 47

    College Principal Mrs Redelinghuys resigns to take a up a post in Cape Town. Mr West becomes the new College Principal

  13. About Us 48

    The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is launched in the High School

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    The Sports Pavilion is built on the lower fields and officially opened at Founders’ Day

    About Us 50

    The Dainfern College BluPrints formula is launched on 2 October

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    A new sports uniform is introduced

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    The tuckshop and the paving area around it is upgraded

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    Dainfern College is accepted as a Regional Member of Round Square and a formal student exchange programme is instituted

    About Us 54

    The first founder students to have completed 13 years at Dainfern College matriculate as part of the Class of 2009

  15. About Us 55

    AYOBA! South Africa hosts the 2010 Soccer World Cup and school closes midyear for two and a half months to accommodate this.

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    The College has a World Cup Day and Proudly South Africa days are held every month in support of the Soccer World Cup

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    The Auditorium is revamped with new chairs and carpeting and the Media Centre is renovated and upgraded

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    A new Apple Mac lab is installed in the Media Centre and data projectors are installed in all classrooms

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    The innovative High School Leadership Programme is launched and leaders are appointed for 2010/2011

  16. About Us 60

    A new Senior Prep summer uniform is introduced

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    The first Alumni Association 10-year reunion dinner is held

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    There is an incredible aerobatic display at Founders’ Day

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    The PA establishes a new library at ReShomile Primary in Diepsloot

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    The innovative High School Leadership Programme is launched and leaders are appointed for 2010/2011

  17. About Us 65

    The Dainfern College Foundation is launched

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    Mr West resigns and moves back to Cape Town

    About Us 67

    The new classroom block is officially opened on Founders’ Day

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    The Parents’ Association funds new paving around the tuckshop area and new classroom block

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    We host a Junior Round Square Africa Regional Conference and become a Global Member of Round Square

  18. About Us 70

    The ‘Bring your own tablet’ initiative is launched for all students from Grade 6 to Grade 9

    About Us 71

    Matthew Davies joins Dainfern College as College Principal and Head of the High School

    About Us 72

    The new Multipurpose Hall is officially opened

    About Us 73

    Founding member of staff Felicity Gower-Jackson (Principal: Junior Preparatory) retires

  19. About Us 74

    Patti Blackhurst joins the College as the Junior Preparatory Principal

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    New College branding is launched and instituted across all College marketing and communication

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    The inaugural International Young Round Square Conference is hosted by Dainfern College

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    A new covered waiting area, new workshop and new function room are built

  20. About Us 78

    Mr Grant Wolpert joins the College Executive as the new Business Director

    About Us 79

    A new Junior Prep reception, staffroom and Learning Support Centre are built

    About Us 80

    A new combined Grade 0-3 staffroom is built

    About Us 81

    Dainfern College joins the ’67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela’ initiative

    About Us 82

    Mr Webb resigns to take up a new challenge as the Head of St Peter’s Girls’

  21. About Us 83

    Brendan Quinn is appointed the Senior Preparatory Principal

    About Us 84

    A permanent school chaplaincy is established at the College, headed up by Pastor Peter Stoffberg

    About Us 85

    The ‘Integrated day’ is introduced in Grades 0, 1 and 2

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    The new Hockey Astro facility opens on 30 March

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    The High School Marimba Band wins the overall silver medal in the NEA

  22. About Us 88

    The 20-year Founders’ Day service takes place on 28 January 2017

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    Founding Head of Dainfern College, Tom Bourquin, plants a commemorative tree

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    20-year T-shirts are worn on the 20th day of each month

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    The 20-year Cultural Celebration showcases talent from across the school

    About Us 92

    Founder support staff member Thobeka Ndziwa retires after 20 years at the College

  23. About Us 93

    The innovative cross-curricular Xtend-it programme is launched for Grades 8 and 9

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    Dainfern College becomes a registered Cambridge International Education school ahead of the launch of Cambridge Studies as a parallel offer for Grade 11s, to start in 2019

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    Mr Quinn resigns to move to head up St Benedict’s Boys’ Preparatory

  24. Ray Van Gass, New Principal Of The Senior Preparatory

    Ray van Gass is appointed Principal of the Senior Preparatory

    Cambridge Intake Jan 2019

    The first Cambridge intake of four students start AS Level in Grade 11

    Dainfern Old Lions Logo Options 2019

    The Alumni Association is relaunched as the Old Lions Association, chaired by Mr Stephen Pettitt, Class of 2014

    Rain Shelter 31 Oct 2019

    A new Rain Shelter is built alongside the pool, jointly financed by the Parents’ Association and the Dainfern College Foundation

    Sean Browne Term 3 2019

    Mr Sean Browne takes over as Chairman of the Board of Governors

  25. Addams 2020

    The High School stages a superb production of The Addams Family Musical

    Dainfern College Coronavirus Icons2

    The Coronavirus pandemic causes South Africa to go into lockdown from 27 March

    COVID March 2020

    Students return to campus in stages in a hybrid online/on-campus programme and masks must be worn by everyone

    In My Shoes 2020

    Whole College Outreach initiatives such as the ‘In my shoes’ collection of school shoes are generously supported by the community

    Jerusalema 2020

    We join in the worldwide ‘Jerusalema’ dance craze on Heritage Day

  26. Class Of 2020 Feb 2021

    The Class of 2020 produces superb Matric and A-Level results, despite much of the academic year being online

    Staff Vaxx July 2021

    The College staff are thrilled to be able to get the COVID-19 vaccination in July

    Grant Wolpert 2021

    Mr Grant Wolpert resigns as Business Director to emigrate to the UK

    Patti Retirement 2021

    Mrs Patti Blackhurst retires after eight years as Principal of the Junior Preparatory

    Christmas Carols 2021

    The end-of-year Carol Concert & Christmas Market is the first ‘whole Campus’ event since March 2020

  27. 25 Years

    2022 is Dainfern College’s Silver Jubilee year, marking 25 years of excellence in independent education

    Nicky Jansen Van Vuuren 2022

    Mrs Nicky Jansen van Vuuren is appointed Principal of the Junior Preparatory

    Nadine Brown 2022

    Mrs Nadine Brown takes over as the College Business Director

    Lucretia Khumalo 2022

    Mrs Lucretia Khumalo takes over as Chair of the Board of Governors

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    Mr Matthew Davies moves to KZN after 9 loyal years as College Principal. Mr JC Engelbrecht is appointed Executive Head of College

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    The Major Production returns after Covid-19 as the Senior Preparatory put on Annie.

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    The Imaginarium is opened in the Junior Preparatory to create a stimulating environment space to explore, experiment and learn.


    A new makerspace is unveiled called the Garage to provide a cutting edge facility to develop the ‘maker’ philosophy of Design, Make, Test, Iterate and Sell.


    ‘Ubambiswano’, meaning ‘teamwork’ in isiZulu, launched as a versatile, multi-functional space not only houses the library for both the Senior Preparatory and the High School, but also serves as an exhibition and community space.

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    Erin Ryan achieves some of the best matric Results in the history of the College with 10 distinctions receiving a certificate from IEB for Outstanding Achievement after ranking in the top 5% of IEB in 6 or more subjects. She was ranked in the top 1% in five of her subjects.


Our holistic education offering is driven by our passionate, committed and progressive staff. What and how children learn is continually challenged to ensure that your child receives the best, most relevant education to prepare her or him for an unknown future. New teaching methods, constant curriculum review and development, even changes to the look and feel of the traditional classroom, all work towards the development of the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers.

About Us 96


A world of education … an education for the world. As a proudly South African school we are also aware of the importance of exposing our students to international experiences, realities and opportunities. Our partnerships with Round Square and Cambridge International extend our local offering to ensure that we deliver a truly well-rounded education.

About Us 97


We believe that every child has unique insight and ability. Our mission is to give our students the skills to unlock this potential and develop young, creative thinkers with the confidence to become leaders. Through our innovative and structured leadership programme we strive to produce confident yet humble leaders who are respectful, have integrity and who embrace challenges with passion and purpose.

About Us 98


Dainfern College is a global member of Round Square, one of over 200 schools worldwide that take a holistic approach to education and encourage students through experiential learning. Based on the teachings of visionary educator Kurt Hahn, Round Square schools seek to instil in students “an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial and above all, compassion”.

About Us 99


Our structured emotional wellness, pastoral care and academic support programme works to ensure all our students are happy, engaged, productive and inspired. Our caring staff place a large emphasis on student wellness as we believe that if a student is not in a healthy psycho-social space a student cannot learn.

About Us 100


Sustainability, strong leadership and transparent governance are key to our school. We cherish our independence as a private, stand-alone, non-profit school where all of our fees and consequently our resources are poured back into the school to maximise the benefits to our students.

About Us 101
  • About Us 102
    Junior Prep
    Junior Prep
    Grades 0-3
    Grades 0-3
    Progressive teaching methods and a holistic approach enable your child to build a rich educational foundation for future, lifelong learning in a stimulating, happy and nurturing environment.
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    Senior Prep
    Grades 4-7
    Senior Prep
    Grades 4-7
    An inspiring space that encourages exploration and develops critical thinking and independence through innovative, character-based learning and a wealth of extramural opportunities.
  • About Us 104
    High School
    High School
    Grades 8-12
    Grades 8-12
    Acquire the knowledge, skills and values to become a positive, engaged and confident young leader through our exciting, world-class educational approach and comprehensive sports and cultural offer.


We continue to maintain links with our old boys and girls as we celebrate their successes and share their special life moments.


Find out how you can help our Parents’ Association in fundraising for the school and driving special school events.


Our Foundation aims to multiply our impact on the world around us by supporting our community, our campus and our continuity.