The Sierra Leone Grammar School – the first secondary school in Sub- Saharan Africa!

The first secondary school in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Sierra Leone was the most important education centre in the whole of West Africa for training teachers, doctors and administrators.

The education system that developed in Sierra Leone during the nineteenth and twentieth century was styled on the British education system. It was elitist in nature aimed at urban middle class and focused on the academically gifted, who would go on to tertiary education before taking up positions as civil servants in the government.

The Sierra Leone Grammar School was founded on 25th March 1845 as the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.) Grammar School – the first secondary school in Sub- Saharan Africa. The school started with 14 pupils drawn from students of Fourah Bay College and was housed at Regent Square in a massive building which still exists. This is the origin of the names “Regentonia” and “Regentonian”.

The founding Principal was Rev. Thomas Peyton. On his death in 1853, Rev. James Quaker, one of the 14 original pupils, assumed leadership of the school – the first Regentonian and Sierra Leonean to do so.

Subjects offered within the first century of the school’s existence included English Grammar and Composition, Greek, Latin, French, Bible Knowledge, Mathematics, Science, Geography, Astronomy, History, Writing, Recitation, Music, Agriculture, Physical Education, Printing, Carpentry and Navigation. Additional subjects since the 1950s were Mende, Economics, Accounting, British Constitution/Government, Technical Drawing and Art leading to the wide range of subjects currently studied. There were also opportunities for Football, Cricket, Athletics, Swimming and activities related to Scouting and Missionary Work.

Over the years, the school became famous for the education, discipline and career prospects it provided. With the availability of boarding facilities at Regent Square, the school attracted pupils from various parts of the country and the African continent at large, thus creating the special Regentonian characteristic of dogged determination in the pursuit of goals. It was partly through the quality education provided by the school that Sierra Leone earned the cherished name of ‘Athens of West Africa’.

In 1962, the school moved to the present spacious site of about 50 acres at Murray Town with tremendous opportunities for development. The school has always been responsive to new educational ideas and programmes which have been refined and successfully welded to her basic traditional structure. She has led the way in many fields and development. Regentonians can be found playing leading roles in many spheres of life at home and abroad, thus reflecting the school’s continued commitment to discipline and quality education.

Shwen Shwen Foundation proudly supporting the SLGSOBA Foundation Trust (UK)

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” —Malcolm X.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela.

I went to Vine Memorial Secondary School, in Freetown and my Principal at Vine Memorial was Mrs Lasite. She is the wife of Mr Lasite at The Sierra Leone Grammar School.  I am proud to say that Shwen Shwen Foundation is supporting Team Regentonian who are participating in three big sporting challenges this year for Sierra Leone Grammar School Old Boys Association Foundation Trust (SLGSOBA).  These are:

  • TCS London Marathon 2023 – 26.2m
  • Ford Ride London – 100m & 60m bike rides
  • Vitality London 10K race

These challenges are being undertaken to ensure a bright future, embedding STEM learning at the school. All of this is dependent on the continued belief and investment of the school’s donors.  Their science facilities are currently in desperate need of renewal, and the state-of-the-art plans they have to update them, simply won’t happen without the vital donations they oversee. More details can be found here:

Sunday 23 April 2023 in London.  I’ll be there egging them on… I might even get my husband to run for them in 2024.