From September 2022, Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School will offer Year 2 classes, for children ages 6 to 7. This expansion realises our ambition to become a comprehensive, specialised early years facility, striving to be the best possible place for children to begin their educational journey in Nairobi!
Durham Kenya is a sister school of Durham School UK, one of the oldest schools in England with a legacy of outstanding education that stretches back 600 years, to the school’s founding in 1414. Our opening in January 2021 marked the first time a British school opened a branch in East Africa.
We follow the British education system, and Key Stage 1 under the English National Curriculum comprises Year 1 and Year 2. With the opening of Year 2 at Durham Kenya, our specialised early years teachers will guide children to develop strong foundations, allowing them to flourish socially, academically and creatively. The expansion also brings Durham Kenya in line with the early years department at Durham School UK, which also caters to children ages 2 to 7. This alignment will allow us to partner with our colleagues across locations, and better arrange for coordinated activities in our international classrooms.
We have been planning the addition Year 2 for several months, and formalised the announcement with a series of small group visits in line with current COVID-19 regulations. We were delighted to host representatives from the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), including Managing Director Dr. Moses Ikiara, as well as guests from the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), including Deputy Country Director Dharmini Shah.
“We are thrilled to see Durham continue to grow here in Nairobi,” said Dr. Ikiara. “Durham was interested in Kenya because of the high value we place on education, and we were confident that they would find success tailoring their approach to the unique opportunities available here. This expansion is a great sign that global brands can thrive in Kenya when they work to establish a local presence and identity.”
The small groups enjoyed personal tours from Headteacher Sue Small, and walking through the colourful halls of the school they were able to appreciate how we’ve grown since opening in January. Our guests enjoyed seeing the vibrant student artwork that lines the walls, and all of the fun educational resources in our classrooms, from container scales to help children learn foundational concepts of numeracy, to a mock veterinary clinic that encourages symbolic play and critical thinking. Ms Small explained how the school’s creative learning spaces, both inside and outside, are all designed to promote our unique, child-centred curriculum, which encourages children to learn through investigation, discovery, creation and play.
“Seeing Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School open to such success has been wonderful,” said Ms Shah of the UK DIT. “This is the first school to come from the UK to Kenya, and it is very exciting to see these education links between our countries continue to grow. We are pleased to hear that the school has received a warm welcome in Nairobi, and we look forward to seeing Durham Kenya continue to flourish.”
Also amongst the school’s distinguished guests were Judge Peter Herbert OBE and Rajesh Maini, both alumni of Durham School UK, or Old Dunelmians, who are now resident in Kenya. They were excited to see the expansion of the school in Nairobi, and to see the quality of education being offered.
“The membership of the school already looks like the United Nations – they’re from diverse backgrounds of language and culture,” said Judge Herbert. “But the most important thing…is that they have heart, they have soul, and they have a caring which comes through from all the teachers and the headteacher. So anybody thinking of having their child start at nursery or pre-preparatory school, this is definitely the place to be!”
The school’s expansion to encompass Year 2 is an exciting development that allows children to begin their education at a specialised facility designed from the ground up to cater to this age group. Early years education is a critical time for children, parents and educators. Children between the ages of 2 and 7 grow and develop rapidly, and our Thigiri location is dedicated entirely to meeting their needs at this formative stage of their educational journey.
“We are truly excited about this expansion!” said Ms Small. “Not only will we have the privilege of teaching your children for up to five years – from 2 to 7 – we will also be able to shape their entire pre-preparatory experience.”
Since the initial announcement of Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School, we’ve made it known that our wider ambitions are to open a primary and secondary school. This expansion is in line with those aspirations, and we hope to make further announcements in the near future!