The British International School was founded in Addis Ababa 2005, offering full-time education from Kindergarten to University entrance level. It started as the Study Center, focusing on teaching language and professional development lessons. In the course of time, however, a push came from parents who demanded international standard education, urging the school management to extend our service to formal education. As a result BIS launched its first formal classes in 2005/6 with its 38 first batch students in Early Years to Grade 4 levels.

Rispins has developed as a ‘spinoff’ from the British International School, which was co-founded by Seif Tewfik and myself in 2004 with the ownership being Ato Tewfik Sherif. It came about due to the building of the Ring Road at Bole, when the building owned by Ato Tewfik was inaccessible for two years having previously been rented by Sheik Al Amoudi. Having ‘retired’ as head of an independent boarding school in the UK, I took the opportunity to return to Ethiopia giving training to teachers in Addis Ababa. I had identified that my contribution to the development in Ethiopia could be through English Language and mid-career professional development, so we started classes offering courses in English and Management.

These became so popular so quickly that people requested a Summer School. At the end of the summer school, the students put on a mini production of Macbeth, which astounded the audience. So parents started asking for a school, which started in September 2004 with only 30 students.

By 2007, the British International School was growing well, yet the KG area was very formal and not as active as is expected in International Education, so I took the opportunity to start Rispins in Addis Ababa as a kindergarten to show just what leaning through play was about. By 2011 we had two branches in Addis Ababa, but we were also requested to start branches of Rispins, first in Bishoftu and then a year later in Bahir Dar. Rispins KGs in Addis were merged into the British International School at that time.

BIS and Rispins hold valid foreign investment licenses to operate within Ethiopia, as well as up to date trade licenses, tax clearances etc. Unlike the vast majority of private schools within Ethiopia, they come under the direct control of the Ministry of Education, which has granted licences to operate as International Schools.