About the College

Founded in 1986, St John’s College is a leading independent secondary school in Zimbabwe. The College admits boys from the age of 12 to 18 and formerly offered a limited number of sixth form places for girls in the International Baccalaureate programme.

How the College works!

Academic programmes

Pupils in Form 1 and 2 are divided into mixed ability classes and follow an academic curriculum designed by the College, in preparation for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
The IGCSE curriculum is offered to the Form 3 and 4 pupils and culminates in a Cambridge public examination at the end of the Form 4 year.
Sixth form students are offered a suite of academic options. These include the Cambridge Advanced Supplementary (AS) and Advanced (A) level programmes as well as a Business Course and a Sports Course. All the courses are offered over two years and receive recognition at many tertiary institutions worldwide.

Subjects available


The Art Department aims to develop students’ aesthetic, imaginative and critical creative and thinking skills. This aim is achieved through the implementation of a well balanced programme, starting from the compulsory art curriculum at junior level ( Form 1&2); “O level”; and senior “ A level” programme levels. Through the study of different processes and media, students are encouraged to learn and practise in a broad range of techniques (2 D, 3 D & installation) so they can be adequately prepared for a wide range of professional endeavours.


The Biology Department is a large department and has a team of well-qualified staff. Biology remains a popular subject choice, but there is sometimes a tendency to view it, erroneously, as a ‘soft-option’ science. The laboratories are well equipped and maintained and the department has a competent trained technician to manage the numerous practical activities required.

Biology is offered at all academic levels, and these satisfy the entrance criteria for most international universities and colleges. Indeed, many of the College leavers are currently studying very successfully abroad. The courses offered provide a good basic background for a multitude of career options – agriculture, sport, research, health and medical and conservation.

Business Studies

The Business Studies Department has grown into one of the largest at the College. Three subjects are offered – Economics, Business Studies and Accounts. These are offered at both Cambridge IGCSE and at AS/A level. Business Studies and Economics are also offered There is no doubt that, increasingly, students are seeking to pursue careers in business and this has resulted in a rapid growth in the popularity of these subjects. Over half the students at the College are studying one or other of the business subjects.


The College boasts two well established chemistry laboratories for a department of three members of teaching staff. The department prepares pupils to sit Cambridge IGCSE, AS and A. An important part of the latter is research based projects where pupils are required to investigate chemistry aspects of their choosing. The department aims to produce capable scientists who can investigate many aspects of chemistry in a safe and accurate manner. The theoretical teaching program is underpinned by an extensive series of laboratory practical investigations.


The English Department at St John’s is large, with a complement of seven to eight, full-time teachers. From Form One, all boys study both English Language and Literature and by the start of the “O” Level syllabus, have a good foundation in the study of prose, poetry and drama, including Shakespeare. Based on the results in the Form Two November examinations, classes are “set”, although at the end of Form Four, all pupils write IGCSE Language (Extended not Core) and IGCSE Literature.

Since 2008, all Lower Sixth students write L6AS English Language, ensuring the increased facility in the use of English which this course provides. Optional in Lower Sixth is Literature in English. This involves the study of four texts and the writing of two examination papers at the end of the year. For “A” Level two further texts are studied and there is an “unseen” paper involving poetry, prose and drama.


All pupils study French until the end of form two whereupon they decide whether to continue to I.G.C.S.E. level. Following I.G.S.C.E., French is offered. The French department adopts a communicative and dynamic approach to language learning utlilising as many audio visual aids as possible and ensuring that a second language is meaningful.

Physical Education

IGCSE Physical Education is offered from Form 3 and top graduates have the option of pursuing the Professional Fitness Trainers Certificate offered by the Exercise Teachers Academy for professionals, based in South Africa.


Geography in St John’s seeks to provide an understanding of different communities and cultures throughout the world accentuating awareness of the contrasting opportunities and constraints presented by different human and physical environments. St John’s offers geography at IGSE and A/S History.

Through teaching of the evolution of economies, dynasties, families, politicians and society the aim of St John’s history department is to introduce learners to rigorous questioning, problem solving and historical thinking. The history department regularly facilitates international tours to Europe.

Information Technology

Equipped with up-to-date personal computers and latest releases of E-Learning platforms the ICDL course is compulsory for all students with Sixth Formers able to complete the A+ Certification.


At all levels St John’s mathematics department hopes to instill in its students an interest and a love for problem solving. At IGCSE, maths is offered at the “Core” or the “Extended” Level. Sixth Form pupils may choose to study for the Cambridge “A” level syllabus. Students enter the Mathematics AS examination after their first year.


Promoting a well-rounded knowledge of musical instruments, voice, theory and history each junior is given the opportunity to play a full array of instruments. Choices include marimba bands, pipeband, choirs, electric bands and certain orchestral instruments. St John’s participates annually in the NIAA Music Eisteddfod with the Pipe and Marimba bands regularly touring to South Africa, Scotland and Germany. Plays, a Christmas carol service and productions in conjunction with the Performing Arts Department are a regular feature of the music calendar.


Physics is the key to all worthwhile professions, from the obvious fields like engineering and medicine to the “less illustrious” areas like accountancy and even law. Physics is a popular choice at St John’s College on account of excellent success rates and the manner in which students and teachers enjoy the subject.


The Shona department boasts an excellent modern language teaching and learning library and educational field trips have become a tradition. Shona is compulsory for all students in Forms 1 and 2.

Download the College Staff compliment – 2018

Available Arts activities

The following activities are available at the College’s Arts Department:

Visual Arts

The St John’s College Visual Arts department is a vibrant, eclectic centre where our students receive the nurturing necessary to develop their artistic characters. A showcase of artistic creation – ranging from formal still life, portraiture, landscape, abstract expressionism, sculpture and pottery – is on display when the department stages its annual exhibition.

Many students at St John’s win accolades for their art work when it is entered in the Allied Arts competition and the International Baccalaureate section of the Visual Arts is renowned internationally for its exceptional standards and results.

Pipe Band

The Pipe Band has flourished and has gone from strength to strength. It is now an integral part of College tradition. Mr P V Kolbe, Headmaster of the College in 1997, said at Speech Night, “I believe the Band has become, as Neil (Thompson) intended it should, a focus of College spirit.” Players participated in the Annual Institute of Allied Arts Music Eisteddford, and travel annually to South Africa to play in national competitions there. They have excelled as soloists and as a Band. An Annual Quaich is held at the College, enabling players to perform and attain a measure of their skill.

The Band performs throughout the year at all important events on the College Calendar, including social, cultural and sporting occasions. In addition, the Pipe Band performs at numerous public functions, including weddings, corporate functions, parties, funerals, golf tournaments and Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Request info on hiring the Pipe Band


Our Music School, located in an atmosphere designed to stimulate artistic expression, offers instruction in Western and traditional ethnic music. Our soloists, choirs and ensembles compete annually in the National Allied Arts Music Eisteddfod and in addition we place great emphasis on musical enjoyment for the wider community. Music and art combine when St John’s stages its annual drama production. The 2006 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoar, produced by Paul Shepherd, was a tour de force staging of the popular musical. It was adjudged the Best School’s Drama Production of the year. It was followed up by Grease in 2007. In 2009 we plan to stage the much-loved musical Oliver.

Download the College staff complement

Available Clubs and Societies

At St John’s, students have the opportunity to express themselves through a diverse offering of cultural clubs and societies: bridge, chess, debating, engineering, Interact, quiz, sound engineering, Toastmasters Society, Pottery, Crossfire Christian group, French, First Aid, Marimba, Mbira, Guitar, Pipe Band, Dancesport and Choir.

Art Club

The Art Club is open to all students interested in the exploration of the visual arts on both a junior and senior club level where students meets once/twice a week to enjoy the freedom of expression through art. Many great individual and collaborative projects are exhibited at our annual school and other exhibitions.

Bridge Club

The Bridge Club holds 3 sessions per week, including one interschools’ match. St John’s performs well competitively and recent highlights include:

    • Top pair in Zimbabwe Schools Pairs;
    • Four boys in the Zimbabwe Junior Team to the Beijing Olympiad;
    • Top player in the Zimbabwe Team; and
    • Youngest player to win a Zimbabwe Open event
Bridge Building Club

The Bridge Building Club competes in the design and construction of model bridges from wood, glue and string. The College has an outstanding record in competitions organized by the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers and the South African equivalent having beaten the best from the whole of southern Africa four times in the last eight years. The challenge is to construct a bridge that is aesthetically pleasing, and weighs as little as possible yet carries the greatest load. A recent design managed to carry a load of 53 kg yet weighed only 122 g itself in total!

Chess Club

St John’s Chess Club produces players who can play competitively at school and national levels using a scientific and mathematical approach built on the principles of good sportsmanship. Chess is a popular club representing players across all forms in the College. Our Annual Chess Festival, normally held in February attracts over 30 Zimbabwean Schools.

Debating Society Club

The Debating Society at St John’s College has performed extremely well over the past few years in the Independent Schools Debate League whose members comprise independent and non-independent schools meeting the criteria set by the National Executive.

Golf Club

Over 70 students are actively involved in golf and this number is growing. Golfers participate in inter-house and inter-schools competitions. We participate in the annual St John’s Johannesburg International schools tournament held at the Sun City resort and results have been improving with each outing. In 2008 all four A team players represented Zimbabwe and two of our boys played at the Orange Bowl in the USA and one in the Junior British Open. The College also produced the Zimbabwe amateur champion for 2008.

Interact Club

Affiliated with Rotary International, Interact encourages young men and women to give of their time to help those less privileged than themselves in society. St John’s Interact is involved in fund-raising activities and long-term projects involving hands–on help in orphanages and underprivileged primary schools. Interact, where possible, responds to appeals for donations, in either cash or kind, to charity organizations.

Model United Nations Club

Model United Nations is a new club to the College which started in April this year. It is based on the actual United Nations and gives students a platform to discuss world affairs, form resolutions and debate using a world model. The club was formed following an invitation from Harare International School to take part in ZIMUN in March of this year. It proved so popular that Mrs Vidovic and Mrs Trew decided to start the club at the College. The club meets every Wednesday from 5 pm – 7 pm at the Art Block. The highlight of the year has been a recent trip to Johannesburg where 18 of our students took part in their first International Model United Nations Conference JOMUN.

Pottery Club

Three afternoons a week St John’s offers a pottery club for boys in Forms 1 to 3 and for IB students who have chosen art as one of their subjects. The club incorporates preparation of clay and basic techniques of making pots of various shapes and sizes. Pottery is very popular with the younger boys who find it a place to unwind and be creative.

Performing Arts Club

Through internal and external short stage performances, participation in the National Eisteddfod programme, annual stage productions and training for lighting technicians and sound engineers, the College offers a platform of opportunity for students to explore and exhibit their talents in the performing arts.

Toastmasters Club

St John’s Toastmasters objectives provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communications and leadership skills.

Download the College staff complement – 2nd Term 2018

Available sporting disciplines

In keeping with the aims of the College to develop each individual to his/her full potential and following the strong sporting tradition, a hallmark of Zimbabwean private education, we offer a wide range of sporting disciplines supported by quality coaching. The College has achieved tremendous results on the sports field in its short history. The following sports are offered:-


Discipline on and off the court and knowledge of and respect for the rules of the game are key philosophies underpinning basketball at St John’s. The Prince Edward and St George’s derby matches are highlights of our local season and beyond our borders, the first team participates in the annual Durban High School Invitational Tournament, playing against top South African schools.


Cricket is offered to all age groups and St John’s enjoys great depth of participation with up to four teams in each age group. Five major cricketing schools meet twice during the calendar year with highlights including the Tri-Cup between ourselves, St George’s College and Peterhouse. In addition to regular matches, the First XI participates in T20 tournaments and festivals which are growing in popularity. We also attend South African Independent Schools Festivals annually in Kwazulu-Natal and Pretoria, where we acquit ourselves admirably. St John’s cricket enjoys a strong level of parent support.


St John’s has a strong hockey contingent in all age groups from under 14C to 1st team and enjoys a high degree of success against Zimbabwe’s best schools. Our team regularly tours South Africa.


Rugby is one of the main winter sports played during the middle term. The main aim of rugby at St John’s College is to develop individual players to their full potential. Recognition is afforded to players of differing physical development and catered for through A, B and C teams at the U14 and U15 age groups and two teams at the U16 level. Five teams at senior level participate competitively throughout the season. St John’s has an outstanding rugby record and a number of boys play for provincial, national U19 and international sides.


Squash has a long history at St Johns and the community is vibrant and heavily subscribed with four teams in the schools league and representation at all junior levels throughout the country. St John’s regularly produces excellent players and results. Nine boys from the college represent Zimbabwe at their various age groups and representation in the men’s First league is not unusual. St John’s has won the Eric Davies schools league trophy 7 times in the last 12 years.


Our team consists of a small number of committed swimmers, most of whom are Mashonaland or Zimbabwe Representatives. The team usually swims at three friendly inter-schools galas per term, culminating in the Inter-schools Gala involving 8 schools in the third term where our biggest rival is St George’s College.


Each year St John’s College enters the Mim Du Toit competition (a floating trophy for competition between 1st teams from secondary boys’ schools throughout Zimbabwe) and The Harare Region Leagues, which are made up from 13 schools. Each school enters 4 teams one from each of the Open, U/16, U/15, and U/14 year groups. Supported by a well-motivated coaching staff our results are always pleasing.


Triathlon thrives at the College and our pupils, past and present have performed exceptionally well regionally and internationally. Every year most of our athletes qualify to attend the South African The top U17s and U20s compete in the African Championships. Nearly every year we have one athlete who qualifies to attend the World Championships. Our talent is nurtured from an early age and the College also assists with training of St John’s Prep team.

Water Polo

With a uniform depth of 1,8m St John’s College is equipped with the only suitable water polo pool in Harare. The water polo season spreads through the first half of each of the first and third terms and is supported by a committed team of coaches and event organisers. Water polo is offered at U15, U17 and OPEN levels and the school enjoys a high degree of success in competitions.

Download the College staff complement – 2nd Term 2018

The Parent Liaison Committee (“PLC”)

These elected bodies represent the parent body of each respective school and provide the opportunity for continual liaison between the Headmaster and parents and to grow community spirit within the school. More specifically the PLC’s mandate is:-

  • to afford better communication between the School and the Board of Governors and parents, and to foster interest in the affairs of the School amongst parents;
  • to make suggestions for improvements;
  • to assist the Headmaster in matters of mutual interest.

The PLC runs bar and catering facilities at school events, co-ordinates form functions, sporting functions where necessary and endeavours to raise funds which can be used for various items specifically requested by the School.
The PLC welcomes your feed back and any suggestions you may have.
Contact the PLC Liaison Officer
Download the College PLC Committee members – 2018


Hosea Ballou

Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearsay of little children tends towards the formation of character.

The Schoolmaster

There is no such whetstone, to sharpen a good wit and encourage a will to learning, as is praise.