Kenton Centenary Countdown
Kenton College Preparatory School
Kenton College was founded at Kijabe in January 1924, taking its roots from a school called Kenya Grange at Lumbwa.The original owner, Finlay Cramb, who was originally joint Headmaster with William Jesse, took over an empty building which had been a German sanatorium on a saddle of Kijabe Hill overlooking Mt. Longonot and Lake Naivasha. The school was very isolated. This isolation led to our existing school being built in 1934 on open land in Kileleshwa, five kilometres from Nairobi city centre. The school moved, lock, stock and barrel, to re-open its doors once more in January 1935 on the present site. Kenton College was the first building in the area.
One more move was necessitated by the onset of World War II. Kenton was taken over as a military Headquarters and subsequently as a Hospital, while the school transferred to the Westwood Park Hotel at Ngong for the duration of the war. Shortly after the War, Kenton returned to its proper home in Kileleshwa. The founder Headmaster retired and was replaced, in 1947, by Rev Cyril Birks from South Africa.
Kenton College was, and always had been, an all boys, all boarding school. Originally built for less than 100 pupils, the school continued to grow and flourish so that, when the Rev Birks retired in 1966, over 100 boys were being educated at Kenton. The majority of these boys continued their education in Britain at well known Public Schools, many of which established close links with Kenton. These links were preserved by the new Headmaster, the Rev. Roy Stagg, who was responsible for running Kenton for the next 14 years.
During this time there were more changes: the swimming pool was built; front pitch was carved out of the sloping hillside; extra classrooms were added and the number of pupils rose. Day boys were admitted for the first time towards the end of Rev Stagg’s tenure and, as the racial character of the school changed, so more pupils remained in Kenya for their secondary education.
Kenton College became a Trust shortly after the next Headmaster, Mr Neville Usher-Wilson, took over in 1980. Considerable expansion followed, with additions and alterations to existing buildings, together with the construction of the Roger Owles Hall in 1989. The number of boys reached the 200 mark and continued to grow into the nineties as Mr. Usher-Wilson retired, to be replaced by Mr Henry Searle in 1991.
Mr. Searle was responsible for the radical change which brought girls to Kenton for the first time in 1992. Further classrooms, the changing rooms and science labs were built as the school population stabilised at around 225 pupils. Mr Searle’s time at Kenton was very short: he moved on in July 1993 to be replaced by Mr Roger Hartley who remained as Head until 2005, at which point Kenton's first Headmistress, Mrs Maureen Cussans took over the leadership of a fully co-educational school with a roll of some 245 pupils.
As one of ten IAPS Preparatory Schools in Kenya, Kenton can rightfully be regarded as one of the top 500 Preparatory Schools in the World.