Mr Charles T. Darling and his wife, Joan Gibson-Craig-Carmichael, founded Craighouse School in 1959. It began as a bilingual boys’ school in a rented house at La Concepción 236 with a roll of 58 pupils, a quarter of whom were boarders. The name of the school stems from Mrs Darling’s surname Craig, to which the word ‘house’ was added to reflect its family-oriented ethos.
Over the years, Craighouse School grew steadily. In July 1962 it moved to a large mansion in Apoquindo 5412, which again proved to be too small to accommodate the increasing demand for places. In 1965, with the aim of meeting its ever-growing need for further development in infrastructure, a private company – Inmobiliaria Craighouse S.A. – was created, in which all parents at the time became shareholders. In 1967 the school began a gradual move to its new premises at the intersection of Manquehue and Apoquindo, where the first Kindergarten level was opened. This move, which was completed in 1971, marked the closing of the boarding school and the admission of the first girls. It was also the year when Mr Charles T. Darling, founder and headmaster, passed away. Mr Willy Pérez succeeded him in the role of headmaster, while Mrs Darling continued as Director General until she retired in 2002.
During the years at Manquehue, Craighouse School grew to 1,800 pupils. Between 1976 and 1978 the two new sites were acquired in La Dehesa. The first is where the school is currently located; the second was used until 2011 for the sports fields. The move to La Dehesa in 1981 made it possible to open the first Play Group. During those years Mrs Darling was on two occasions honoured with distinguished awards. In 1976 she received the MBE (Member of the British Empire) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her commitment and diffusion of British culture outside Great Britain. Later, on June 5th 1981, she was presented with the “Orden al Mérito Docente y Cultura Gabriela Mistral” by the Chilean government during the inauguration of the new building in La Dehesa.
In order to further the school’s original goals and consolidate its institutional status, the Charles T. Darling Educational Foundation was granted legal status under Supreme Justice Decree No 763 on May 31st 1990.
In 1994 Mr Peter Lacey was appointed headmaster, a position that he holds until the present. Under his leadership, and with the close collaboration of Mrs Darling, the school’s first Educational Project was written. This document clearly defines the philosophy, values and principles that guide the school. In 2004 the school embarked on an extensive curriculum revision, which included not only the needs of the Chilean National Curriculum, but also the requirements of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO). The result is a curriculum with an inquiry-based focus, which prepares pupils from Play Group to Year 12 to develop high academic standards.
Ever since 1993, when the school was authorised by the IBO to offer the IB Diploma programme to pupils of Years 11 and 12, Craighouse School had been working towards the implementation of the Primary and Middle Years Programmes. This was finally achieved in 2008, when the school was granted full IB status. It currently offers the three complete programmes.
In 2007 the Board of Directors made the decision to sell the school’s playing fields on José Alcalde Delano and buy 24 hectares of land on Avenida Juan Pablo II. This visionary step allowed Craighouse School to accommodate both school and playing fields on a single integrated campus, the only one of its kind in Latin America, offering unique learning opportunities. This will enhance the development of the school’s family-oriented Educational Project with all its components: belief in the essential formative role of the family, respect for cultural and religious diversity, a caring atmosphere where clear limits are set, awareness of our environment and that timely action enables us to make constant improvements.
The new campus playing fields on Juan Pablo II 8800 were inaugurated on November 7th 2009, marking the end of the first stage of the project. Craighouse School now has two grass fields for football, rugby and athletics; and two state-of-the-art synthetic fields for hockey. The facilities include changing rooms for pupils, referees and staff, an infirmary and a quincho, built and equipped to the highest standards of technology available, to provide our families and community with a comfortable meeting place and social venue.
In August 2011 work began on earth moving, and with it, the second stage which included the building of modern facilities to offer further educational alternatives to our pupils, considering their diversity and different development interests.
On March 28th Mr Fernando Siña Gardner, President of the Charles T. Darling Educational Foundation, presided over the inauguration of the new Craighouse School buildings, which include nine Science labs, eleven mini Music studios, six Music rooms, three Visual Arts rooms, two technology rooms, four IT rooms, five Religion rooms and two inquiry centres, all of which have been designed to meet the educational needs of the 21st century. Our facilities allow us to have approximately twenty pupils per class, in order to further enhance our Educational Project.
The traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony was carried out in the presence of all pupils and teachers.
Our founder, Mrs Joan Darling, her daughter Judy and her son Richard attended the ceremony where we remembered the early days when Mr Charles T. Darling and his wife gave life to Craighouse School 55 years ago.