One of the hardest and most important choices a parent has to make is where to educate their child. This decision affects every facet of the child’s future life, from their personality, drive, and relationships to their careers. However, sources of information on the best private schools in Nairobi are rare and far between. So, after extensive research, I have decided to write a ‘Top 10 Private Schools in Nairobi’ blog which I’ll be updating annually. I’ll also upload a ‘Top 10 Private Schools in Kenya’ blog soon which I will link here. I hope this blog helps you with your decision.
In making this blog I analyzed the schools’ alumni performance in their careers; alumni academic performance in university; academic performance in internal, national and international examinations; performance in academic competitions such as debates and science contests; academic facilities; subjects offered; boarding facilities; sports facilities; school teams’ performance in competitions; and alumnus’ opinion of the schools. This list will include schools offering International curricula such as I/GCSE, BTEC, Adapted/National Curriculum for England, American curriculum and local curricula.
Founded in 1961 as an A-level college offering courses in Science and Arts, this Christian-oriented private school has been the best-performing private institution in Kenya since its inception. It also always ranks among the top 5 schools in KCSE every year. Its most famous alumni include Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa; Dollar Billionaire and Senator Gideon Moi; award-winning artists Nameless, Vanessa Mdee and Shrekeezy; Members of Parliament Honorable Dalmas Otieno EGH, EBS and Honorable Julius Kipyegon; and world-renowned NFL (National Football League) player Daniel Adongo. The alumni not only excel in academics but also in leadership, art and sports. Many graduates in this school end up attending Ivy League colleges and top universities in the UK.
The International School of Kenya (ISK) is a private, nonprofit coeducational day school that was founded in 1976 by the Federal Government of the United States and the Canadian Government. This is one of the most expensive international schools in Kenya with a tuition fee of $34,000 (KSh 4.1 million). The school is located in a rural area on 40 acres of property approximately eight miles from Nairobi’s city centre.
Facilities include an arts centre, a 547-seat theatre, an amphitheatre, a clay work area, a library, a media centre, design and fabrication technology labs, four computer labs and eight mobile computer laboratories, 1-to-1 devices from grades 3-8, and other iPad carts to support curriculum in different areas, a gymnasium, science laboratories, a cafeteria, a solar-heated swimming pool, five tennis courts, two large playing fields, state-of-the-art classrooms, a multi-sports court, and a health office.
In 2011, a $40 million facilities expansion was launched; part of that expansion included the new elementary school, which celebrated its grand opening in 2015. The 2018-2019 school year welcomed a new covered basketball court, the Lions’ Den, with changing rooms and offices. In January 2021, the school completed the construction of a new 14,000-square-meter middle school building and high school science labs. Graduands from this school usually end up attending top Ivy League schools in the US.
The school’s diverse student body comprising 1000 students from more than 65 nations and 432 staff members from more than 16 nations ensures the students get exposure to different cultures from across the world. This is why I rank second in my “Top 10 Private Schools in Nairobi” list.
With campuses in Karen and Runda, Brookhouse School is considered by many to be one of the most luxurious International Schools in East and Central Africa. The campuses boast world-class modern facilities that are updated multiple times a year. Beyond the luxuries, this school is also an academic heavyweight with its students getting admissions to Ivy League Colleges and top universities in the UK annually. Brookhouse alumni are known for being high achievers in both business and the corporate space. This is a testament to their high standard of education.
Founded in 1989, Peponi has three schools. These are Peponi House – Kabete Kindergarten in Kabete, Peponi House a preparatory school in Kabete, and Peponi School a senior school located on a large ranch on the outskirts of Nairobi along Thika Road. Although established more recently than other schools on this list, Peponi School has wasted no time to take its place among some of the best schools in the world. Peponi School was established to be a first-class, independent, co-educational boarding school. It has an international intake of pupils working towards internationally recognised examinations at 16+ (IGCSEs) and 18+ (A Levels). This is one of the most beautiful and well-equipped schools in East Africa. Its high standards that produce well-rounded and inquisitive individuals is why it makes it into my Top 10 Private Schools in Nairobi list.
Located opposite Nairobi National Park in Karen, The Banda school is one of the best international schools in Kenya offering the British curriculum. The International School traces its origins to Kaptagat Preparatory School near Eldoret which the founders ran until they decided to relocate the school to Nairobi in 1966. With such a rich history in education, the founders Mr and Mrs Chitty were able to develop an unrivalled school culture. The school’s diverse student population and rich history provide students with an opportunity to learn about, appreciate and respect people from different backgrounds. The school boasts of modern academic and sports facilities that you would expect from a school of its calibre.
Located in Karen these schools are known for their high-quality education, and diverse and multicultural student body. The schools are located next to each other and include an early years school, preparatory school and secondary school. The school also offers high-quality boarding facilities. Hillcrest boarding offers a safe and secure family environment on a full, weekly or flexi boarding arrangement. Students are allowed to enhance their learning experiences. The school was recently acquired for 1.5 Billion by Gems Cambridge International School, which closed its new KSh3 Billion campus and moved its students to Hillcrest. With the help of the financial might of their new owners, the school is likely to reach even greater heights.
With multiple campuses in Kenya and Tanzania, Braeburn Schools are among the most trusted international schools in East Africa. They have a proven track record and a long history of good academic performance. They produce graduands who are ready for higher education and the job market anywhere in the world. Every year students from Braeburn attain scholarships and awards. The most recent scholarships were to Columbia University, an Ivy League university in Newyork and the University of Cambridge arguably the best university in the United Kingdom and the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. The school also has amazing facilities that are standard in every international school. Their track record and amazing facilities are the reason I’ve added them to my Top 10 Private schools in Nairobi list.
Light International Schools comprises 3 schools in Nairobi, 1 school in Mombasa and 1 school in Malindi. The schools offer both British curricula and 8-4-4 curricula. The high school is located in Karen, the Primary school is in Lavington and Kindergarten is in Lenana. All schools offer British curricula but only the Karen and Mombasa schools offer the 8-4-4 curricula too. Both 8-4-4 schools perform extremely well academically. With the Karen branch ranking in the top 10 schools in KCSE nationally for the last 10 years.
The school also has amazing boarding, sports and academic facilities. Laundry services are provided to all students and students sleep in carpeted rooms containing TVs and other recreational facilities. The alumni are also very active. The school has an Alumnus office in Nairobi where alumni can meet. The office also organizes a lot of alumni events. LIS also attaches its graduands to internship programs with organisations and companies in Kenya. This helps them to make informed decisions about their career paths. It also aids in their applications to Ivy League universities. This is probably why a lot of the students get admissions and scholarships to Ivy League colleges in the US and top universities globally.
This Christian International School is located in Gigiri, Nairobi. It is one of only three international schools in Nairobi offering the American curriculum. The American curriculum encourages learning through a rigorous, creative collaborative partnership between the teacher and student in the pursuit of truth. And Rosslyn strives to enshrine those values in its teaching practices. From its humble beginnings as a mission-based school in 1940s Tanzania with one teacher and 4 students, Rossyln has grown into an International Christian School with a large campus in Nairobi serving over 650 students from the missionary, diplomatic and business communities.
Located on 35 acres of land in the leafy suburbs of Kileleshwa, Kenton College aims at providing a purposeful and happy environment with opportunities for children of all races. Their well-balanced curriculum ensures that every child leaving Kenton will gain access to a secondary school of their choice, in Kenya or overseas, and move on in the world as a competent, self-assured individual. The school provides a wide range of co-curricular activities ranging from sports to art and music. This aims at ensuring students graduating from this school are well-rounded individuals.
And this closes my Top 10 Private Schools in Nairobi list. Feel free to comment below on which school deserves to be on next year’s list.