80 Years of Teaching Excellence
On 18 March 1939, a small school was opened on the grounds of the Lady Buxton home in Claremont. When the school outgrew the original building (designed by a certain Mr. Hal Kent), a second building was added, but this too proved insufficient for the burgeoning school.
In 1945, the school moved to a larger property on Harfield Road in Claremont. Here, with financial assistance from the Department of Education, this promising young school became part of a campus that included a training college and a students’ residence.
Buxton Training College
The school continued to grow and it soon became necessary for it to be divided into two schools. These schools, and the newly-named Buxton Training College (now the home of Claremont High School), were officially opened in April 1952.
Both schools and the training college adopted the Barkly House name in 1957. Barkly House on Harfield Road was by this time comprised of two units: Unit 1 for English-speaking children and Unit 2 for Afrikaans-speaking children, with a segregated building and a fence across the playground!
For several decades Barkly House was administered by the Training College Council as a centre of teacher-training excellence. In the 1980s, the fence across the playground was taken down. Racial inclusion was however still a bridge too far for the authorities.
For Barkly House, like the rest of South Africa, the 1990s saw sweeping changes: an inclusive admissions policy was adopted, the training college was amalgamated with Mowbray Training College and moved away, and the residence was leased to various institutions before falling into disrepair.
In 1999, Barkly House became an independent school and elected its first governing body to help charter these new waters. The school continued to maintain close ties with the Department of Education.
With the expansion of Claremont High School (and the imminent demolition of the derelict residence) Barkly House needed a new home. A building was secured on the grounds of Voortrekker High School. Once stables with hay loft, then The Old Caretaker’s Cottage, this charming heritage building opened its doors to Barkly House children on 17 January 2018.