Brookhouse School has kicked off construction of its second Kenyan campus in a multi-million shilling expansion project, which will double the institution’s student capacity from the current 800.
The high-end school in Runda, which will offer education from kindergarten to secondary school, has started accepting bookings ahead of its projected September 2017 opening.
“We began construction last month and we expect to be done by early August just in time for the September opening,” Brookhouse management told the Business Daily.
UK-based equity fund Educas, which bought Brookhouse last year for a record Sh3.6 billion, has now tapped Lea Gilbert as the new headteacher for its upcoming campus.
Ms Gilbert has been the head teacher at Gildredge House — an academy based in East Sussex, England — for three years. She resigned in September to pursue her “desire to branch into international education”.
“We have already started taking bookings for the new campus. Mrs Gilbert shall be joining us around April next year to serve as the Brookhouse Runda headteacher,” Brookhouse said.
The school’s former owners, including its founder Piyush Mehta and private equity firm AfricInvest, had estimated that the new campus would cost about Sh1 billion to build. The new board did not disclose how much they expect to spend on the project.
Brookhouse, which offers the British curriculum, operates one campus in Karen, neighbouring the Nairobi National Park, but has been harbouring plans to expand for years.
Their establishment of the new campus is now set to raise competition in the lucrative international schools education sector where analysts see room for further growth.
These elite institutions charge fees running into hundreds of thousands of shillings for each of the three terms in a year, making them the preserve of affluent businessmen, diplomats, corporate executives, top government officials and politicians.
International schools in Kenya include the German School, International School of Kenya, Braeburn, Rosslyn Academy, Kenton and St Andrews Turi. Their main attraction is that they offer students world-class education, preparing them for admissions to universities in the US and Europe.
Brookhouse’s annual school fee is Sh600,000 for kindergarten pupils and between Sh750,000-Sh1.35 million for primary school learners.
Parent who enroll their secondary school students at the school part with between Sh1.35 million and Sh2.25 million a year in fees.
The new campus is designed to cater to residents of the neighbouring affluent Runda, Nyari, Gigiri and Muthaiga estates, some of whom take their children to schools far from home.
“The decision to set up the new school in Runda was so that parents in the estate and its environs are able to access our school much more conveniently,” Brookhouse management said.
“We have parents who would drive their children all the way to our Karen campus and back in the evening. Some of them have now applied to transfer their children to the upcoming campus.”
Brookhouse and its peers have benefited from the growing ranks of the rich and upper middle class who can afford the fees.
They include businessmen, politicians, top professionals and expatriates working for multinationals, foreign governments and global institutions such as the United Nations.
A significant number of Kenyan politicians, for instance, take their children to the Molo-based St Andrew’s Turi.
Mr Sammy Onyango, the CEO of Deloitte East Africa, and Nelson Kuria (former CIC Insurance CEO), are some of the executives who have taken their children through these international schools.