HISTORY OF THE SIERRA LEONE GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Faculty Circa 1959-60
The history of the founding of the Grammar school is tied up with the early fortunes of the Colony of Sierra Leone and the early history of the... other Institution founded by the CMS around the same time, the Christian Institution that became Fourah Bay College.
The CMS started in 1799 as the "Society for Missions to Africa and the East". It was founded by the Abolitionists, people like William Wilberforce and Henry Thornton who was the first treasurer of the new society, and Chairman of the Sierra Leone Company which ruled Sierra Leone at its inception. The name of the society was later changed to the CMS. Soon after its founding, the CMS turned its attention to Africa and its first missionaries were sent to Africa in 1804.
The Grammar School set the tone for secondary education throughout Sierra Leone and West Africa. For twenty years it was the only secondary school in West Africa. By 1849 its roll included pupils from the entire sub-region of West Africa many of them fee paying students while a few were financially supported by the CMS, the African Native Agency mentioned earlier and some philanthropic bodies. At the end of 1850, the enrolment was fifty-five scholars and school fees collected totaled 187 pounds 16 shillings and 2d.
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.”
Faculty Circa 1964
Over the years, the school became famous for the education, discipline, and career prospects which she 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 programs, which have been refined and successfully welded to her basic traditional structure. She has led the way in many fields and contributed greatly to the training of skilled manpower for national 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 for excellent service.
After an independent existence of a century during which the school was solely managed by the Church Missionary Society, she became a Government-Assisted School with the Government assuming greater responsibility for the payment of teacher salaries and providing occasional grants.
THE SIERRA LEONE GRAMMAR SCHOOL TODAY
C.M.S. Grammar School
Boys' March Out
Freetown, Sierra Leone
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, Accounts, 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.
In September 2007, the school regained her independent status and is now jointly managed by the diocese (as successor to the C.M.S.) and the Regentonia Foundation.
Now situated in Murray Town about a quarter mile from the beautiful West African coast line, is the site of the S.L.G.S. on the Western side of Freetown and the residence block for its teachers - occupying about 10 acres of land stretching to the coastline. The school has a Soccer Field, a Student’s Farm and lots of fruit trees.
The Grammar School set the tone for secondary education throughout Sierra Leone and West Africa, particularly because for twenty years it was the only secondary school in West Africa.
The School offers a wide range of subjects
SIERRA LEONE, FREETOWN, GRAMMAR SCHOOL, Vintage Postcard
The School offers a wide range of subjects in courses leading to the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
BECE is a four-year program providing a broad educational framework aimed at developing basic knowledge, skills, attitudes and interests. In JSS One and Two, 12 subjects are studied in three groups; Compulsory Core (Integrated Science, Language Arts, Mathematics and Social Studies); Optional Core (Physical and Health Education, Religious and Moral Education, French, Agricultural Science and a Sierra Leonean Language chosen from Krio, Mende, and Temne); Electives (Business Studies, Introductory Technology and Practical/Performing Arts). In JSS Three, 8 subjects are studied - 4 Compulsory Core, 2 Optional Core and 2 Electives.
WASSCE is a three-year program with some specialization leading to tertiary education and a range of possible careers. Arts, Business and Science core options are available, with core subjects including English Language, Mathematics, Science, Business Management, Literature, Geography, History, Agricultural Science, Technology, and French. There are several optional subjects including Economics, Geography, Government, Cost Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics among others.