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600-year-old Durham School prepares to open in Nairobi

25 August 2020 Nairobi

One of the oldest schools in England will be making its debut in Nairobi with the opening of its first phase, Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School in January 2021.  Refurbishments of the school are drawing to a close and as Durham nears this exciting milestone, the British High Commissioner Jane Marriott visited the site for a tour.

This marks the first time a British school has opened a branch in East Africa and sets the foundation for Durham’s wider ambitions to establish a full Primary School and a Secondary School. Established in 1414, Durham School enjoys a longstanding reputation of educational excellence and is a member of the HMC, a professional Association of heads of the world’s leading independent schools. Durham brings its world-class bespoke curriculum, designed to develop the ‘whole child’, to its new Kenyan home. The school’s offering is tailored to Kenya and takes inspiration from Nairobi in creating its own identity within the Durham International family of schools. 

Led by its Headteacher elect, Mrs Sue Small, Durham Kenya is putting together a teaching staff of highly experienced and creative educators, and working in partnership with Durham School UK to develop a safe and nurturing environment where children will develop a love of lifelong learning and ‘Confidence for Life’. Durham International Nursery & Pre-School aims to establish a reputation as the best possible place for children to begin their educational journey in Nairobi.

Mrs Small welcomed the High Commissioner, and showed her around the facilities. The High Commissioner – an alumna of Durham University, and so knows Durham School UK – gave remarks and enjoyed learning more about Durham Kenya.

As a brand new school, learning and activity spaces have been designed to work with Durham’s innovative curriculum. Classrooms feature flexible learning areas, and students can freely flow between them. Learning extends to the outdoors, taking advantage of the spacious grounds and beautiful green location in Thigiri.  In addition to its classrooms, the School offers an art room, a music room, a drama and dance studio, a heated swimming pool and an IT suite.

Durham Kenya has received tremendous interest and the Admissions team has been busy providing information and answering questions.  With spaces filling fast, the School is taking appointments from interested parents who wish to confirm a place.  More details can be found on their website at www.durhamkenya.com.

In her welcome, Sue Small, Headteacher elect of Durham International Nursery & Pre- Prep School said:

“Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. Durham will provide creative and flexible learning spaces where children can actively try different ways of doing things using a variety of materials. Fostering engagement and involvement by tapping into children’s individual readiness, learning styles and interests enables children to use their emerging knowledge and skills in purposeful ways to further explore concepts and challenge themselves”.

The British High Commissioner, Jane Marriott, said

“It is wonderful to see the education links between Kenya and the UK grow stronger together with the new Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School opening in Nairobi. Durham Kenya is the first British school to open in East Africa, and I am confident of the quality education and opportunities available for Kenyan students.”

In a written message Nick Millen OBE, Director of International Operations at Durham School UK said

“On behalf of all of us here in Durham, we would like to extend a warm welcome to The High Commissioner to our school in Nairobi.  She will see first hand all the work being done to develop this fabulous site and learn of the sense of partnership between it and our school here in Durham. We look forward to the bond between the children at the respective schools developing, bringing the school communities in the UK and Kenya closer together. The High Commissioner already has a connection with Durham from her University times; having seen the school in Nairobi, we would be delighted to welcome her to our school here in Durham when she is next in this historic city.”

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