Chesterhouse had its beginnings in 2000 then known as the International School of Cape Town – Tygerberg campus. The school adopted the British curriculum as an international school and continues to do so today. Wilf Stout was the person behind the international schools fundamentally believing in an international curriculum that offers excellent education worldwide.
Ann Cordner, who is our Head of the Junior School began the Chesterhouse journey and started the school with 14 children in January 2000 in the NG Church offices. Ann taught the Years 1 to 4 classes and her colleague, Liz Coxford taught the Nursery and Reception classes. The initial building on the existing campus, known as the brick building was completed in July 2000 and the school moved to the bigger site.
The reputation of the school grew among parents in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town and in 2001, the school opened with 70 children and classes were held to Year 5. In 2002, the organisation known as the International Schools disbanded and the then named International School of Tygerberg became independent. Due to the rapid growth, the need for more classrooms became overwhelming and construction of the second building began at the end of 2002. Phase 1 was completed in July 2003.
Parents that had enrolled their children into the Junior School wished to continue with their education and the need for a College began the next phase of the life of Chesterhouse. In 2003, the Board of Governors took the bold step in making senior classes available and employed Senior School teacher, Robyn Tyler who taught the first group of pupils in Grades 7 and 8.
In January 2004, Jonathan Trafford took the reins of the Chesterhouse College and the pace of construction sped up to ensure that many more classrooms were made available for the rapid expansion of the Junior School and the interest from the public for the College.
It was in mid 2004 that the name change occurred from the International School of Tygerberg to Chesterhouse School. The name change is in honour of our then chairman of the board, Steven Chester, our benefactor and it is due to his efforts and generosity that the growth of Chesterhouse School has been made possible. Our new logo was born at this time, the Gryphon, depicting one of the figures represented in the Chester family crest.
The second building on our existing campus was completed in 2006 as well as the tennis courts and the swimming pool. Our first group of matriculants wrote the AS Level Cambridge International Examinations at the end of 2007.
Rapid expansion continued and the board took another bold step in employing Brendan Doolan, headmaster of Chesterhouse School. Brendan began in July 2008.
In attempts to ensure that facilities are offered to the children of Chesterhouse, Steven Chester offered partial use of his personal property and the Westerdale fields were developed for cricket and hockey. The Westerdale fields were made available for the first matches and sports practices in 2009.
The school suffered a setback when in February of 2011 Brendan Doolan was forced to take early medical retirement due to cancer. Although this was an unforeseen circumstance, Chesterhouse School continued with its operations in its usual successful strides with its well known courage. Plans were made to employ the third headmaster in the school’s history and these were achieved successfully with the appointment of Justin Harvey as the new headmaster. Justin began his tenure with our school late in 2011 and continues with the great work of the heads before him to take the school to ever greater achievements.
Chesterhouse School is the only international school which remains a true South African institution. The other schools that belonged to the international schools banner have been bought by international companies and operate under their strategic direction.