Thomas's was founded in 1971 when Joanna Thomas, an actress and mother of three young children, started the Ranelagh Kindergarten in a Pimlico church hall. Six years later, the success of the kindergarten and the strong demand for London day schools of quality encouraged David Thomas, a former Gurkha Officer, to join his wife in founding a school for older children. The school was to embody the ideals they had developed themselves as parents of children in London day schools. They envisaged a co-educational school, with high academic aims, but also with a wide curriculum taught by energetic members of staff. Following the acquisition of a building in Cadogan Gardens in 1977, the 'Kensington Court Lower School' came into being with two teachers and 11 pupils.
In less than four years the school, now named 'Thomas's', had over 200 children. Demand for places continued to increase and, in response to this, Thomas's expanded in 1981 into two buildings in Cottesmore Gardens, just south of Kensington Gardens, to create Thomas's Kensington.
By the end of 1989 the Preparatory School at Cadogan Gardens needed more space and in August 1990 the freehold was acquired of the former Sir Walter St John's Grammar School in Battersea. The school, which became Thomas's Battersea, moved to its extensive new premises in October 1990 and the leasehold buildings in Cadogan Gardens were sold. Thomas’s Battersea educates 540 boys and girls aged from four to 13 years old.
In September 1992 Thomas's Kindergarten, Battersea was started in the crypt of St Mary's Church educating 45 children aged from two to four years old.
At the end of 1992, with an increasing demand for places, the freehold was secured of the former Clapham County Girls' School in Broomwood Road and the new Thomas's, Clapham opened in September 1993 and today educates 570 boys and girls aged from four to 13 years old.
In September 1995, David and Joanna Thomas's two sons, Tobyn and Ben, were appointed Principals, having worked in the schools for a number of years.
In 1998, the Thomas’s Schools Foundation (TSF) was formed and launched at a whole school event at the Royal Albert Hall. Today the TSF touches the lives of 4,000 children every year. It is an independent charity providing educational and extracurricular opportunities for children in the local communities of the four Thomas’s London Day Schools in Battersea, Clapham, Fulham and Kensington with two areas of focus. The first is to identify, develop and support educational activities for local children. The second is to provide funding for bursaries for children to attend a Thomas’s school.
In 1999, David and Joanna Thomas retired from active management of the schools, which have since been run by Tobyn and Ben.
In 2000 and 2001, a multi-million pound construction programme was carried out to enhance the facilities at Thomas's Clapham and Thomas's Battersea.
In 2002, Thomas's Kensington was provided with its own dedicated Lower School facility through the acquisition of a nearby school in Victoria Road W8 which was closed and its buildings extensively converted. The existing buildings in Cottesmore Gardens were also refurbished and now house the Preparatory School.
In 2004, Thomas’s acquired a long lease on the substantial school buildings formerly owned by the London Institute for the Chelsea College of Art and Design in Hugon Road SW6. The school, which has overlooked South Park since 1894, was completely refurbished and Thomas’s Fulham opened in September 2005. Today it educates 400 pupils aged from four to 11 years old.
In 2005, the Principals established The CAIRN Trust as a UK registered educational charity dedicated to ensuring that children in rural Nepal are given the opportunity to gain an education. Thanks to the strong ongoing support of the Thomas’s school community the charity is well on target to meet its goal to improve educational opportunities for 14,000 children in rural Nepal by 2014.
In 2008, the facilities of Thomas’s Kensington were further improved through the purchase of the buildings of the Pru Leith School of Cookery in St Albans Grove W8. These premises were converted into a purpose built theatre, a gym and a dining room for pupils of the Preparatory School. Thomas’s Kensington educates 360 pupils from four to 11 years old.
Through the dedication and hard work of many people, Thomas’s has grown organically from very humble beginnings into a school which is able to sustain and support the high academic aims, broad curriculum and ethos of kindness expected by the Principals, Heads, staff, parents and pupils of genuinely first-class independent schools within a global capital city.
The legal entity of the schools is an unlimited company, company number 07881899.