“Our results speak for themselves,” says Dr Roy Lillyman, the Principal and CEO of Nigeria’s Thomas Adewumi International College. “Last year, at O level, we had a 99.8 per cent pass rate, of which 99.6 per cent were A-to-C grades. If you were to put our results into the table of the UK’s top 330 private schools, we would come out sixth!”

A private, co-educational boarding school for students aged between 10 and 19, Thomas Adewumi was founded in 1997 by local entrepreneurs Dr and Mrs Adewumi, who wanted to put something back into the community. It is situated on the outskirts of the village of Oko, near Omu-Aran in Kwara State, midway between Lagos and Abuja, in 450 hectares of grounds.

“For many parents, our rural setting is particularly attractive,” says Dr Lillyman. “There are no distractions – even for me as the Principal. While Nigerian cities are bustling, we are surrounded by bush, so it’s a serene, peaceful environment where both staff and pupils can focus.”

The school’s facilities are second to none and include a library, sports fields, a chapel and a medical centre, with its own operating theatre, which serves both the school and the local community.


Access to excellence

Thomas Adewumi – motto “Educating for Excellence” – is run along the lines of a top British private school and aims to provide Nigerian children with a high-quality education at an affordable price. It offers several scholarships, including some earmarked for girls from local nomadic tribes, and the school’s alumni include many who have gone on to the world’s top universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard.

Pupils at Thomas Adewumi are selected by exam and interview, and enjoy a holistic education that incorporates both the Nigerian and British curriculums. One day, pupils might be acting in a production of a Shakespeare play such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and another, taking part in traditional Nigerian drumming.

“We have high academic standards and high standards of discipline, but we also expose our pupils to theatre, sport and music, so they have a well-rounded education and are able to face life square on,” says Dr Lillyman. “All pupils take part in leadership programmes, mentor state school pupils and do community service – for example at a local Leprosarium. It’s important that our privileged pupils also see the other side of Nigeria.”