Dainfern College is a forward thinking coeducational, independent school for Grade 0 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 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 College Principal. The College Principal and College executive 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. 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

    Johnnic Properties agrees to donate the land for the school

    An innovative debenture system is introduced to fund the new school

    Building commences in September 1996

    Enrolments open on 12 October 1996

  2. 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

    Tom Bourquin is the first College Principal

    Russell Upneck is the first Chairman of the Board of Governors

    Construction starts on the Senior Preparatory and High School sections

    The Grade 0 block and first tennis courts are completed

  3. The High School opens on 14 January

    The Senior Prep and High School buildings are completed

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

    Founder staff and parents boards are unveiled

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

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

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

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

    Mr Bourquin, Founder College Principal, retires in December

  5. Dr Paul Turner joins as College Principal in January

    First Senior Prep camps are held

    The inaugural Founders’ Day celebration is held on 23 September

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

    First National College Golf Champs is hosted at Dainfern Country Club

  6. The first Matric Dance is held

    Head Boy Michael Nash receives the first Red Honours Blazer

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

  7. Philip Parker is appointed Chairman

    Concrete seating is installed on the banks of The Oval

    Dr Turner leaves at the end of the year

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Proudly South African day is introduced in to the school calendar

  10. Mrs Redelinghuys is appointed Head of College on 22 July

    The Alumni Association is established

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

  11. The College celebrates 10 years since its inception

    Lipizzaners perform at the Founders’ Day celebration on 16 September

    Mr Johnstone resigns

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

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

    The inaugural Grade 10 Enyuka Challenge takes place in the Drakensburg

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

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

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

    The Dainfern College BluPrints formula is launched on 2 October

  14. A new sports uniform is introduced

    The tuckshop and the paving area around it is upgraded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. A new Senior Prep summer uniform is introduced

    The first Alumni Association 10-year reunion dinner is held

    There is an incredible aerobatic display at Founders’ Day

    The PA establishes a new library at ReShomile Primary in Diepsloot

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

  17. The Dainfern College Foundation is launched

    Mr West resigns and moves back to Cape Town

    The teacher intern programme is launched

    The new classroom block is officially opened on Founders’ Day

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

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

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

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

    The new Multipurpose Hall is officially opened

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

  19. Patti Blackhurst joins the College as the Junior Preparatory Principal

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

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

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

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

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

    A new combined Grade 0-3 staffroom is built

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

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

  21. Brendan Quinn is appointed the Senior Preparatory Principal

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

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

    The new Hockey Astro facility opens on 30 March

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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

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

  24. Ray van Gass is appointed Principal of the Senior Preparatory

    Tessa Shellard is appointed Director of Sport for the whole College


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.