Harriston School

Harrismith, Eastern Free State


Harriston School

ELC, Primary & High School


Head of School’s Welcome

The school is framed by the beautiful Platberg Mountain which plays a large role in the character of the school. Regular hikes, camps and outdoor lessons are held in the Nature Reserve adjacent to the mountain. The school is built around a central quadrangle which is dominated by the bell tower. We actively develop an awareness of the environment and continually improve our own gardens and green areas.

The School strives for excellence and aims to produce a well-rounded individual who is competent and confident, is empathetic and will go out into the world and make a difference. As Harriston is a small school, pupils have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities and Sporting codes and this, together with the individual attention afforded by our highly competent teachers produces exceptional young adults who thrive at university and become productive citizens. The smallness of the school also ensures that children will receive individual attention where needed and so our motto “talent in every child” becomes a reality. Each child is celebrated for the unique individual that they are.

The school is owned by the Harriston Trust and is managed by a Section 21 company (non-profit) and its directors appoint the Board of Governors. The Board also includes members nominated by the parents.

Although we are situated in a small town, we constantly network with other IEB schools around the country. I am indeed privileged to serve as the fifth Head of the school and, together with staff and parents strive, to develop each child and their talents to the full.

Head of School

The origins of the school badge

The pupils at Harriston wear a flower on their badge with pride. When it was time to choose a symbol for Harriston, a flower was chosen. The founders saw each child, as a seed when he or she arrives at school. The seed is carefully watered, nourished and tended by the dedicated staff who mould, educate and direct him or her on the sports field, in the classroom, on stage, and during outings. When a young person leaves Harriston, he or she is ready to burst into bloom and beautify the world.

In the Autumn months, the Eastern Free State lights up with cosmos magic, a host of multi-coloured cosmos fields.  They fill ditches, illuminate the horizon and they stand guard next to the road as they wave delicately in the wind.

The founders of the school saw the cosmos flowers as a symbol of the area in which Harriston is situated, and also of the diversity of the Harriston Family. As every flower is unique, so too is everyone who is part of the school. The cosmos flower embodies our motto ‘Talent in every Child’.

Harriston Started

Harriston School was founded in Harrismith in 1997 by a group of parents who wanted their children to be educated in English, at an independent school and in the town, rather than having to send their children to Boarding School.

Founding Committee

Mr P Nouwens, Ms L. Nouwens, Mr Botha, Mrs Pattinson, Mr Grobler and Mrs Surmon, had the vision, initiative, energy and foresight to do all the initial planning for laying the foundations of a truly great school.

Vision & Ethos

The core values are mutual respect, tolerance and discipline. Strong Christian principles underpin the values although children from all backgrounds are welcome. The ethos of the school is centred around the development of the whole child in a loving and caring environment with emphasis on manners and behavior. As a result participation in all activities, cultural and sport, is expected. Class excursions, camps, and extra mural activities take place through-out the year.


1997 Starting with 70 pupils in grades 1- 6.  The first High School class was introduced in 1999 with the initial Matric class graduating in 2003. They wrote the IEB exams and started the tradition of outstanding results. This academic excellence has continued, with pupil matric results often being placed in the top 1% in the country and Harriston alumni achieving excellent degrees at university.

As the school grew, additional classrooms, the hall, a science block, and the Boarding establishment were built between 1998 and 2008

A Growing School

The Early Learning Centre opened its doors in July 2005 with 45 children in a house in Warden Street and three staff members Miss Burckard, Mrs Jarm, and Ms Ncokone. They are still working there now.  The ELC moved to Mauritz Street in March 2009 and they moved to the new location in Bell Street, 2018. Today they have a pupil complement of 85 and 10 teachers and assistants.

We all look forward to Harriston developing into an even greater school in future.

Harriston Support Staff

Mike Pattinson

Bursar/Admin Manager

+2758 623 2755

Edna van Zyl

Boarding House Mistress

Head of Boarding Establishment

Jenny Gardener




Maintenance Manager

In charge of maintaining Harriston school grounds.
Assists with Sports portfolio

Maryke Viljoen

Sports Co-ordinator

In charge of all Harriston Sports from Grade 1 - 12