Our Story 1863 - 2008

In 1863, Dr Grimley, Vicar Apostolic of the Cape of Good Hope, who had been actively associated with the education of the deaf in Dublin, invited the Irish Dominican sisters to work in South Africa. The superior of the pioneer group of sisters, Mother Dympna, began to teach some deaf children on her arrival at the Cape and shortly afterwards the Grimley Institute (now known as Dominican-Grimley School) was founded under the patronage of the Vicar Apostolic. This work for the deaf was entirely voluntary and without government recognition. In 1908, the school was recognised by the Education Department of the Cape Province, and eventually became a State-aided Special School under the control of the central authority in Pretoria.

During the nineteenth century, the manual system involving the use of both finger spelling and conventional signs was the recognised method of teaching the deaf. During the early twentieth century, however, lip reading and speech gradually took the place of the signs.

In 1920 the Oral Method was introduced at the school.

By 1966 it became clear that the transfer of the school to more adequate and spacious premises was essential. A site of 22.5 acres in Valley Road, Hout Bay was purchased by the Dominican sisters and ten years later the Department of National Education approved preliminary sketches for the new complex.

A great deal of planning went into the new buildings and from the outset the sisters aimed at achieving the following important goals:

  • The first was to provide a teaching environment conducive to the Oral Method, which calls for the maximum amplification in an acoustically orientated building.

  • The second goal was to give the young learners a feeling of home albeit away from their real homes, as well as freedom from feeling confined.

Vision Statement

Dominican schools aim to provide forward-looking education of the highest quality based on a tradition that goes back over seven hundred years of commitment to education. Our schools seek to care for the whole person in order to develop in young people

  • a love for learning

  • an enthusiasm for truth

  • a love for others

  • respect for the culture and religious values of all

  • a willingness to serve in a spirit of healing and reconciliation, flowing from an appreciation of the Word of God and a deep commitment to Christ