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HomeEducation and CommunicationsHillcrest International Schools

Hillcrest International Schools

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The Hillcrest International Schools began in 1965 as a Hillcrest Preparatory School and it was not until 1972 that it acquired its international status after joining the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) – a conglomerate of leading prep schools delivering excellent standards of education and care in over 670 countries. Its campus is found on a 35-acre site along Langata Road, Nairobi.

The campus has three schools; Hillcrest Early Years (HEY), Hillcrest Preparatory School, and Hillcrest Secondary School, which was started in 1975. The school offers day/boarding coeducation with a British curriculum and A-Levels, IGCSE, and BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma. In 2019, it was taken over by the Dubai-based GEMS Education.

The school is affiliated with IAPS, is a member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), and is inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) for British Schools Overseas (BSO). 

Hillcrest School, also known as Hillcrest International Schools, is a British private international day and boarding school located in NairobiKenya. Established in 1965 as a pre-school, the school has grown to now encompass Hillcrest Early Years (HEY), Hillcrest Preparatory School and Hillcrest Secondary School.

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The origins of Hillcrest International Schools started with Hillcrest Preparatory School which was founded in 1965 by educationalist Dorothy Noad and long-serving government employee Frank Thompson. Hillcrest Preparatory secured its international school status in 1972, when it became a member of the Independent Association of Prep Schools; joining a conglomerate of British curriculum schools across the world. In 1975 Kenneth Matiba, Stephen Smith, and Frank Thompson partnered to start the Hillcrest Secondary School.


It is situated on a 14-hectare (35-acre) site in the Nairobi suburb of Karen. The school caters for the international, professional, and local business communities.

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Hillcrest Early Years

The school has; Nursery 1 (18 months – 3 years), Nursery 2 (3 – 4 years), Reception (4 – 5 years) and Year 1 (5 – 6 years).

Hillcrest Preparatory School

The preparatory school’s facilities include 32 general classrooms, two laboratories, a library, two art rooms, a multipurpose hall, a swimming pool, a music centre with four practice rooms and a teaching/rehearsal space, an open-air amphitheatre, two computer laboratories, and a learning-support Center, Design and Technology center and an art room.

Hillcrest Secondary School

The secondary and preparatory school share facilities such as a twenty five metre pool, canoes, basketball courts and netball courts. There is a conserved area commonly known as ‘The Nature Trail’ which mainly consists of indigenous trees and hosts animals such as jackals, snakes, birds and hares.

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The sixth form has 60 to 75 students in each year, most of whom continue to university, mainly in the UK, but also in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa.


There is also a boarding house, Toad Hall, which sits on the school site, capable of housing 16 girls and 16 boys.


The school year runs from September to July and IGCSE/’O’ and ‘A’ level exams are set and marked by CIE (Cambridge International Examinations), AQA and Edexcel. The school has also recently introduced BTEC programmes in Performing arts, Sports, Business, Travel & Tourism and Art & Design (Photography).

The school, of about 440 students, has its largest groups coming from Kenya and Britain. The staff are recruited from Britain and Kenya.

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