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Our History

The CAIRN Trust is a UK registered children's educational charity co-founded by David and Joanna Thomas in 2007.

David and Joanna’s passion for education was bought to life in 1977 when the couple established Thomas’s London Day Schools.

The Thomas's family has also had strong connections with Nepal that go back some 40 years to the time when David was an officer in the 2nd Gurkhas. It was through regular contact with the villages and families of these cheerful and resilient and yet incredibly poor people that made David and Joanna determined to make a difference in this developing country. Using their thirty years of educational expertise gained running prep schools, they both then extended their efforts to improving education in Nepal.

David and Joanna stepped down as trustees in June 2016 to become Presidents of the charity and continue to play an important role in the ensuring that their knowledge and expertise is embedded within CAIRN.

David Thomas - President

David was born in Lahore and educated at Wellington and RMA Sandhurst. His active service included Cyprus, and then with the 2nd KEO Goorkhas in Borneo, Singapore, Malaya, India, Hong Kong and Brunei. After leaving the army, he held a number of executive positions before finally starting Thomas's London Day Schools with Joanna. David is also a Trustee of 2GR Trust.

Joanna Thomas - President

Joanna was born in Calcutta and educated at The Manor House School, Limpsfield. She was an actress in repertory. She played juvenile leads in two West End productions and appeared in many dramas on BBC and ITV. As an army wife, she travelled widely in the Far East and has three children Bianca, Tobyn and Ben. On her return to London she founded Thomas's Kindergarten, Pimlico in 1971. Then in 1977, she opened Thomas's London Day Schools with David. Joanna is presently Founder Principal of Thomas's London Day Schools.


We work in partnership with local communities thereby empowering local people.