History of the School

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History of the School


In response to the need for organised schooling for the boys of Bloemfontein, the Diocesan Grammar School which was to develop into Saint Andrew’s was founded by Bishop Edward Twells on 16 November 1863. Mr George Clegg was the first Headmaster. The original school room still stands in St George’s Street and is known as the Old Raadsaal, a national monument. Just before the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer war the school was due to move to a building on the site of the current Oranje Meisieskool.  This move never took place as the school was closed when the war broke out and the building was requisitioned as a military hospital.

The school was re-opened in 1916 and moved to its current site in 1917.  The oldest building still in use on the campus appears to be the lowest storey of the senior school (Ferrandi) block which was in use in 1919.  During these early years the school used buildings in town, on the current site and on the Tempe military base.  As funds became available more and more buildings were erected on the current site and eventually all the boys and classes were moved to the existing site.

The history of the school’s close ties with the church began with the school’s founding in 1863.  In those days the boys used to sing in the cathedral choir and assist in the services.  The first chairman of the school committee (now known as the Board of Governors) was the priest in charge of the cathedral and for years the church was responsible for the financial management of the school.  The church and a number of bishops also assisted by raising funds for capital developments at the school.  In the 19th century most of the headmasters were priests who were to lead the school for short periods of time.  Since the 20th century none of the headmasters have been priests but they and the school have nevertheless maintained a very close link with the church.

From the early days, religious instruction made up a prominent part of the school curriculum and this continues to this day as each day starts in the school chapel.  The school’s first chapel was built in 1881 and over the years a number of different buildings have been used as a chapel.  The current chapel was consecrated in 1956 and is still in daily use today.  The position of the chapel near the entrance to the school and the importance placed upon chapel services emphasise the prominence given to Christian teaching at the school.

Until January 1976 Saint Andrew’s was a diocesan school operating under the control of a Board of Governors, with the Bishop of Bloemfontein as Chairman. In 1975 the school was sold to the Provincial Administration of the Orange Free State. The agreement with the Province protects the right of the school to retain its ethos and to continue as an Anglican Church school with the Bishop of Bloemfontein as the Visitor. Over the years the school has striven to maintain its link with the church and to inculcate good values in our boys.  Each day starts with a service in the school chapel and the Dean of the Free State is a regular visitor to the school.

St Andrew’s School has been providing educational opportunities for boys from different faiths and cultural traditions who reside in Bloemfontein and the Free State for 151 years.  The school caters for boys from the age of 3 years old (enrolled in the school’s own pre-school) to the age of 18 years.