So, the big day was yesterday. You, your child and a whole host of relatives and friends sent an SMS to 22252 and, hopefully, were shortly rewarded with a reply from the Kenya National Examinations Council with your child’s examination results.
While in the past it was easy for astute parents to make pretty reliable guesses which schools their children’s marks entitled them to, matters are not so clear-cut nowadays.
Children from private public schools, for instance, have over the past few years borne the brunt of shifting goalposts during the secondary schools selection process that is slated to begin in the next few
With the choice of public secondary schools left to indeterminate formulas over at the Education ministry, it’s a wise parent who would immediately start looking at the private schools available just in case their child gets a raw deal in the selection process.
Word of mouth
So, how should you go about choosing the right private school? There is always word of mouth (which should be taken with caution because a parent’s negative experience might colour their opinion), visiting the school’s website and, most important, a personal visit.
While we are a results-driven nation and good grades determine a school’s popularity, parents should also inquire whether extra-curricular activities like sports, drama and music are offered. These disciplines give a school soul, and help shape well-rounded individuals.
Because time is of the essence, make a list of the schools you intend to visit and set aside a few days for this task. Do not delegate this duty, work obligations notwithstanding. After all, it’s your child’s future at stake.
When you visit, you should be shown around the school. How you interact with the teachers and principal (if present) should inform you how tightly they run their ship.
Feel free to ask questions about the school, how they punish students (you do not want your child getting physically assaulted), how they manage bullying, what they would do if your child has a medical emergency, and what is on the menu.
If it’s a boarding school, walk around and inspect the hostels. Remember you are entrusting them with your child, so if you get the feeling that they are hiding something, or they are brusque and impatient like they are doing you a favour, then that is not the school for you.
If you want your child to follow in certain religious doctrines, find out if the school allows the students to wear hijabs or if they are allowed to go to church on Saturdays.
If you are opting for a school with a history, a successful one or known for its discipline, ask what it has accomplished during its years of growth and future plans.
In some cases, look beyond the famous schools; it’s not all in a name. Find a school that will nurture your child’s confidence and improve their social skills.
Ask about the school and class size. If one class sits too many students, there is no guarantee your child will receive the required attention.
Have a back-up plan of two or three schools so that if your top-choice does not come through, you can quickly enrol your child in one of the others.
Make the right decision to ensure you put your child on a path toward lifelong learning and a successful career.
The boys’ school is nestled in Karen while the girls’ school is in Kilimani. There is another boys’ school in Mombasa. Students applying to join the school must first sit for an interview exam. Only successful interviewees are admitted to the school.
Students have the option of being day scholars or boarders. Students can also board during weekdays and go home on Friday afternoon.
Kianda School is an all girls’ school located along Waiyaki Way. The school has nearly 900 students from primary school through to high school.
According to the 2015 fee structure, the school charges a non-refundable Sh25,000 acceptance fee for Form 1. The fee for the same is Sh75,300 inclusive of uniform and lunch per term.
As part of the benefits for parents with more than one child enrolled in the school, the second child pays 75 per cent of all fee items, the third pays 50 per cent while for the fourth child pays no fees.
Nyahururu Elite Group of Schools
Located in the upmarket Muthaiga suburbs of Nyahururu town, Laikipia, this group of schools was established in 1981, starting with nursery and kindergarten classes.
The nursery school then grew to comprise the junior and senior school that enrolled over 200 students in its maiden year.
The senior school, a secondary boarding school for boys offering both the British and the 8-4-4 curriculums, is located in the Asian Quarters – a stones-throw away from the picturesque Thompson Falls. There is also a girls’ boarding school, adjacent to the boys’ school, which offers both curriculums.
The school offers separate boarding facilities for boys and girls, with 24-hour access to a doctor and nurse.
St Patrick Hill
The school has a high school in its Kiserian campus which offers 8-4-4 as well as the British curriculum. The mixed school offers boarding facilities for its boys and girls. St Patrick’s Senior Boys School began as a full-boarding co-educational Christian high school in 2002 while St Patrick’s Senior Girls School started in 2009.
Juja Senior School
The mixed boarding school, which sits on 40 acres along Thika highway, offers both International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and KCSE. It was established as Juja Preparatory and has since grown to incorporate secondary education at the Juja Senior School.
The school has a Fly Young Program geared towards nurturing students who intend to become pilots. The subject is compulsory for form one and two students, and but optional in the last two years of study.
The school works closely with the Kenya School of Flying, and has access to eight captains, an aeronautical engineer and an air hostess, who offer support to students.
St Mary’s Boys Secondary School, Nyeri
“You give us the boy. We give you the man” proclaims the school’s motto below the Latin phrase “signum fidei”, meaning the sign of faith.
Located in Nyeri town along Kimathi Street, St Mary’s is managed by the De La Salle Brothers of the Catholic faith and has a student population of 500. It has a class size of 55 students, out of which 10 students pay reduced fees or study for free.
The amenities in the school include; eight classrooms, two science laboratories, a computer lab, library, dining hall, assembly hall and dormitories. The school also owns and runs an eight-acre farm.
Kenya Muslim Academy
Sitting on a four-acre piece of land, Kenya Muslim Academy is located in Nairobi’s Ngara area, Starehe constituency. The institution is a mixed day and boarding school under the 8-4-4 system with a student population of 621 and 41 teachers. It accepts students from all denominations but offers boarding facilities for boys only.
Students can take up swimming or enrol in several clubs and society activities that include scouting, debate and drama. The school boasts of a library, sports field, computer and science laboratories. In 2012, the school was ranked among the top 100 best performing schools at position 16 countrywide.
Laiser Hill Academy
The school offers two systems for its high school section, the British-based IGCSE and KCSE. Located along Magadi Road in Kajiad, the school is mixed and offers the option of day and boarding for students.
Aga Khan Academy
Aga Khan Schools can be found in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, offering both the 8-4-4 system of education and the British System.
Aga Khan Nairobi and Aga Khan Mombasa have both primary and high schools while Kisumu has only a primary school. The Nairobi campuses are located in Westlands and Parklands while the Mombasa campus is in Kizingo area.
The school takes in Form 1 students who have performed well in KCPE. It offers a sibling discount of five per cent applicable to the second and subsequent children. The fee for Form 1 students is Sh37,320. Admission fee is Sh2,000, among other charges.
Strathmore School is an all-boys school with an enrollment of over 600 students. The school, like Kianda School, is run by the Catholic Church. The first Form 1 students enrolled in January, 1977.
Intake to the school is done on a merit basis. Application forms are available in March and an entrance exam conducted in August. An additional test may be organised in November for those who missed the August sitting.
The school also offers bursaries for needy children. According to the school website, in 2015 so far, the school has paid Sh7 million as fees for 80 needy students compared to Sh255,000 in 1991.
Riara Springs High School -Nairobi
Riara Springs is a girls’ secondary school. Usually, Form 1s report in March providing enough time for applications and interviews after the release of KCPE results.
Application forms can be downloaded from the school’s website. A Sh2,000 interview fee is applicable. The boarding school promises to deliver all-rounded citizens. Students get to engage in a variety of co-curricular activities.
Makini High School-Nairobi
Makini is all about nurturing talent. The mixed school is located in Lavington and admits both boys and girls. Since the secondary school was established, performance has been excellent with most students attaining grade ‘A’ in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.
Besides striving to ensure its students perform well in class, the school runs a number of co-curricular activities that tap into the students’ other interests.
French, drama and debate, Islamic religion, St John’s and Global Travel and Tourism Partnerships are some of the school’s clubs.