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A Very Special Visit: Jane Marriott, British High Commissioner to Kenya

28 June 2021

A Very Special Visit: Jane Marriott, British High Commissioner to Kenya

Jane Marriott, OBE, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, visited Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School to mark their recently announced expansion and celebrate the growing education links between Durham School and Durham Kenya.

Durham Kenya is a sister school of Durham School, one of the oldest schools in the UK with a 600-year legacy. They are the first British school to open in East Africa, and from September 2022, they'll offer Year 2 classes, for children ages 6 to 7. This is the culmination of their plans to become a comprehensive, specialised early years facility, and High Commissioner Marriott had previously toured the school site in August 2020, when construction was still ongoing.

High Commissioner Jane Marriott said: “I’m delighted to see Durham Kenya already expanding – now offering Year 2 classes for children aged 6 and 7. The school is one of the newest schools in Nairobi but brings a long legacy of outstanding education from its parent school in the UK, where I went to university.”

The High Commissioner toured the school, lead by Headteacher Sue Small, and met some of their young students. This term, our Foundation Stage 2 class is learning about ‘Real Life Superheroes’, and they were excited to have one stop by in person! High Commissioner Marriott spoke to them about the important work that diplomats do, and answered all of their questions. She also spoke to Foundation Stage 1 students about Durham School and read a fun book to students in Playgroup.

The High Commissioner’s visit exemplified the growing education links between our school and Kenya. The two countries are hosting the Global Education Summit in July, and High Commissioner Marriott recently joined Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at Westlands Primary School for a virtual meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who connected from a classroom in England. As part of the Global Education Summit, organisers have launched a #RaiseYourHand campaign, and their students had a wonderful time joining in with the High Commissioner.

“We first met the High Commissioner during the UK-Africa Investment Summit at the very beginning of 2020, when we were still in the planning stages for the school,” said Brijesh Bakhda, Managing Director of Durham International Schools. “A lot has happened since that initial meeting, from a complete rebuild of the school to our opening in January, and it has been wonderful to have the High Commissioner’s support. We are very pleased to now show off the finished school, particularly as we announce that we are already set to expand.”

Durham has had a strong opening in Nairobi, doubling enrolment between their first and second term, and projected to do so again in the new academic year commencing in September 2021. Beyond the expansion to offer Year 2 at their early years location, they have wider ambitions to open full primary and secondary schools, and hope to make further announcements on those plans in the near future!

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