Sandford History

Sandford History

Sandford History

75 Years of History - The Sandford story continues …

The origins of Sandford International School can be traced back to the early 1940s when Mrs. Christine Sandford wanted to establish an English-speaking school for her children. Christine Sandford was the wife of Colonel Sandford, Head of the British Military Mission to Ethiopia during World War II, who along with Cunningham and Wingate, led the British contingent to help Emperor Haile Selassie I and the Ethiopian army reclaim the country from 5 years of Italian occupation under Mussolini’s Government.

Colonel Sandford liked Ethiopia very much and decided to live here with his family. As close friends of the Emperor and the restored government, the Sandford family was granted land for farming and for building a school.


At that time, the school was known as Sandford English Community School. It grew rapidly, and in a manner befitting the founders. From the beginning, as agreed with the Imperial Government, the school was open to Ethiopians with a reduced, subsidised system of fees to allow the attendance of Ethiopian children, including children of the Royal and other leading families.


By 1949, with the full support of Emperor Haile Selassie I and the school community, the school moved to its present location.


Its role has been unique in Ethiopia and in Africa. It was one of the first international schools in Africa for both nationals and expatriates learning on an equal basis.


The last Sandford family member to run the school, on a salaried basis, was Philippa “Pippa” Sandford, who reported to the Board and the General Assembly before retiring in 1993, when the school had approximately 400 students.


In 2001, Sandford English Community School was re-registered as “Sandford International School”.


Today, the school offers IGCSE Cambridge examinations and the International Baccalaureate at Years 11 and 13 respectively. 


Sandford International School is a co-educational, non-boarding, nursery to the pre-university institution. To meet the international standards of its programs, the school employs a highly qualified professional staff.