Overview, Aims & Ethos

‘Sport teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose. It teaches you about life.’

- Billie Jean King

‘Pembroke’s sports teams do extremely well and this encourages pupils’ competitive spirit and enhances their health and fitness…They are naturally competitive but also sporting and have a strong sense of fair play.’

- SIS Inspection Report, 2018

We consider sport to be an essential part of our boarding school. It not only provides significant health benefits, but also teaches pupils about resilience, determination, teamwork, respect and fair play, all of which are important life lessons. Pembroke pupils have always been renowned for their sporting ability but, more importantly, for their sportsmanship and team spirit. We are extremely proud of our comprehensive sports programme, which is built on a sense of sporting integrity. We firmly believe that all pupils have something to offer and to learn through sport.

Our ethos is very much that all children, excluding the very youngest, should represent their school in at least one match each term. To this end, we have dedicated, experienced and passionate teachers to coach all our teams, to ensure all pupils are receiving the attention and assistance they deserve. Our focus is on building skills through organised sessions of warm ups, drills, game practice, cool downs and matches, including all pupils.

The organisation of the sports we play and our sporting calendar is based around the other IAPS schools that we compete against. Our Under 7 and Under 9 pupils have three games sessions per week, and the Under 11 and Under 13 pupils have four sessions. This can also include scheduled matches in place of training or practice times. Each term we have fixtures against Up-Country and Nairobi schools, both home and away, at Under 9, Under 11 and Under 13 level, in the sports of Cricket, Hockey and Rugby for boys, and Rounders, Hockey and Netball for girls. We also have Inter-School competitions in Athletics, Swimming and Cross Country, as well as the minor sports of Horse Riding, Golf, Tennis, Squash, Football and Girls’ Touch Rugby. Further to this, all pupils swim in our twice termly Boats competition, which involves swimming as part of a freestyle relay term in form groups. They also participate in fun matches against their parents at the end of every term.

There is a system of Colours and other sports awards to recognise any exceptional contributions to the school teams. These are awarded at the Coach’s discretion, and encompass excellence, dedication and sporting spirit. Sporting coaches also help prepare a number of pupils each year for Sports Scholarships to their next schools. Sports scholars spend much of the year doing specific physical preparation, including developing a portfolio. We are proud of the many Sports Scholarships our Year 8 pupils are awarded each year.

Cricket & Rounders

In the Michaelmas term, boys play Cricket and girls play Rounders.

Cricket is a game of concentration and focus, which also develops the specific skills of batting, bowling, running, throwing and catching. The Under 13 6-a-side Cricket Tournament takes place at The Banda, while we host the Under 11 6-a-side Tournament at Pembroke. At Under 9 level, there is a festival at Kenton to conclude the season in November. In recent years, we have also been developing the sport of Cricket for interested girls, as this is offered in many schools in the UK at Senior level.

Rounders is a sport that mirrors cricket in many ways, in terms of the focus on fielding and batting skills. It also develops girls’ thinking, decision-making, and teamwork, all of which are valuable attributes for the vast majority of sports. The Rounders season finishes for the Under 11s and Under 13s with a tournament at Hillcrest in November; the Under 9s have a festival at Kenton.


In the Lent term, both boys and girls play Hockey.

Our games sessions focus on stick and ball skills, field positioning, dribbling, tackling, taking corners and work in the D, fitness and game practice. The season finishes with the Peponi and Kenton 6-a-side Hockey Tournaments for the Under 11s and Under 13s in March. At Under 9 level, there is a festival at Hillcrest.

Rugby & Netball

In the Trinity term, boys play Rugby and girls play Netball.

Rugby focuses on the skills of tackling, handling, rucks and mauls, support play, running and decision making. One of the highlights of the Pembroke school calendar is the Ndume 7s Rugby Tournament. This is open to IAPS schools at both Under 11 and Under 13 level, and held in June each year. It is also when our annual Next Schools Fair takes place, which usually attracts around 30 schools from the UK, SA and Kenya. Our Under 9s travel to The Banda for their Rugby Festival.

We have also been leading the way among IAPS schools with introducing Rugby to girls. This has been highly successful, with a number of matches taking place throughout the term. We also now have several schools participating in our Ndume 7s Girls’ Tournament.

Netball concentrates on improving ball-handling skills, movement around the court, attacking, defending and shooting; teamwork and fitness are also important elements. The Netball season culminates in the Netball Tournament at The Banda in June for Under 11 and Under 13 teams, as well as the Under 9 festival.

Athletics, Swimming & Cross-Country

Athletics, Swimming and Cross-Country are offered as additional sports in the Michaelmas, Lent and Trinity terms respectively. All children take part in these disciplines during their games sessions and/or PE lessons, and there is squad and team training taken by specialist coaches in additional early morning or free time sessions throughout the season.

We hold Inter-House competitions for these three sports, which tend to be major highlights on our sporting calendar. Athletics, Swimming and Cross-Country teams also represent Pembroke at Inter-School events either in Nairobi or Up-Country, where we are highly competitive. As examples, our girls’ Athletics team were placed second in the 2018 IAPS Athletics meet, and Pembroke has been unbeaten in the Up-Country Swimming Gala, having won the event for almost 30 years in a row.

Extra Sports

There are a number of additional sports that children can take part in, that don’t fit within the termly, major games sessions. These include Horse Riding, Golf, Tennis, Squash, Football, and Girls’ Touch Rugby, for which we also have competitions against other IAPS and Kenyan schools. These allow children with slightly different sporting interests to have the opportunity to indulge their passions and develop their sporting skills at Inter-School level.

The majority of these sports are offered as paid extras. Horse Riding lessons are billed at the beginning of the term at a cost of Ksh22,150 and there is a cost of Ksh900 per session for all other sports, apart from Girls’ Touch Rugby.


Sports Camps

Each term, we bring in specialist international sports coaches to prepare our children for the season ahead in Sports Camps. Just before the beginning of the school year at the end of August, we hold a Cricket and Rounders Camp. We also do the same at the beginning of the Lent term, when we hold our Hockey Camp. Both of these are also open to children from outside Pembroke. Prior to the Trinity term, we hold our Rugby and Netball Camp, which happens during term time and is more like a pre-season event. These always prove invaluable to participants, who get a definite head start on the season ahead, in terms of skills, drills, fitness and match play.