History

...more than a school, a way of life.

Somerset House School is housed in the original buildings of the Cloetenburg farm. The farmstead – one of the oldest in Somerset West – is named after Catherine Cloete who, in 1720, bought a portion of what had been Willem Adriaan van der Stel’s Vergelegen estate. The gable was added in 1785. The property changed hands (and appearance) many times. In 1948 Somerset House School was founded by Dr and Mrs Haydock and was originally situated in Station Road in Somerset West. In 1950 the school moved to its present site and the Cloetenburg homestead, formerly Oatlands Guest House, became a school.

Now a National Monument, the building Cloetenburg forms the heart of the school. It houses the dining room, kitchen, staff room, archives, Head and Admission offices.

The Ould Hall Art Centre, also known as the “Barn”, the “Carriage House and Stables” as well as the “Buttress Building”, was used as the school hall from 1976 until the library moved there in 1988.  It was renovated in 2013 and is now the Ould Hall Art Centre, home to a full storage facility, class working space, senior upstairs space and exhibition space.

The Guild Hall Knowledge Centre, originally a wine cellar, served as the nursery school until 1987.  It was then renovated and became the school hall until 2008 when it was sub divided for use as Grade 7 classrooms.  Recent renovation has seen this old building converted into a cutting-edge Knowledge Centre, where children can access books, work with media and technology, and enjoy the flexible space for any number of educational activities.

The beautiful buildings and oak trees are a valued and important part of the ethos of Somerset House. Undoubtedly this tranquil environment fosters an appreciation of beauty within the children fortunate enough to spend their primary school years here.

Our Mission

Somerset House is an independent preparatory school that strives to provide an excellent all-round education for children preparing them thoroughly for their futures.

Our Philosophy​

Somerset House is a family school and is welcoming to all. Somerset House endeavours to teach us all to live unselfishly, considering others. Non Nobis Solum. 

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Recent Newsletters

2020 Reflection of the Week Volume 41 2 December
2020 Reflection of the Week Volume 40 27 November

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Mission

We are firmly committed to recognising and developing each child’s individuality and potential.

We embrace change as a challenge and an opportunity, whilst respecting tradition.

We choose to provide a unique small school environment for a stimulating and demanding academic programme, emphasising child-centred education, deep-thinking and the development of life-long learning habits. 

We are a caring, Christian based environment, where self-esteem is nurtured, initiative is encouraged and children are able to develop self-discipline while maintaining an awareness and concern for others. 

We understand the valuable role that the arts, sport, extra-mural activities and leadership play in the development of rounded children. 

We are committed to the development and retention of top quality staff and to remaining up to date with appropriate educational and technological progress. We will allocate financial resources responsibly to ensure the delivery of world-class educational standards. 

We are committed to playing our part towards building a better South Africa. 

Philosophy

Somerset House is special in that it seeks to embrace a modern, dynamic, diverse and changing world while underpinned by sound values.

Somerset House is an independent school which makes its own decisions regarding curriculum and learning, while taking cognisance of national and international trends in education.

Somerset House is a disciplined environment where effort, participation and excellence are honoured.

Somerset House has a specialness and smallness which in this day and age is quite unique. The historic buildings and natural grounds are appreciated by all.

For seventy years Somerset House has remained a caring environment based on Christian values where self-esteem is nurtured, initiative is encouraged and children are able to develop self-discipline while maintaining an awareness and concern for others.