The church hall at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

Tenby Schools was established in Ipoh in 1960 to cater to the needs of children of expatriate planters, miners and soldiers in Perak. Mrs. Dorothy Nelson-Doig originally from Wales, began teaching children in the small Church Hall at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at No. 47 Jalan Kelab Golf, Ipoh.

Then in 1966, collaboration between the Chamber of Mines and Chamber of Commerce founded the Tenby Association, a non-profit-making body with the objective of providing sound primary education, based on the British system to the children of the British expatriate community. The name Tenby was derived from a small seaside resort and fishing village in South Wales. Mrs. M. Phillips was appointed the first principal by the association in the autumn of 1966 and with the financial backing of two major companies in Perak, namely the Perak Hydro and Osborne and Chappel, the school relocated to a bungalow owned by Perak Hydro along Jalan Thompson.

A class at No. 7 Jalan Brash in the 1970s

In 1974, circumstances dictated that a move to a new venue was again necessary and the School took up residence in No. 7 Jalan Brash opposite the Polo Ground. The wheel had turned a full circle as the only possible classrooms were in the grounds of the Presbyterian Church, in the new church hall, just a few metres away from where the school had been founded 29 years earlier. Here, five classrooms were readily available.

The 1980’s were not kind to Tenby School as the mining and plantation sectors drastically reduced the number of expatriate staff posts in favour of employing Malaysians which in turn had a dramatic effect on the number of expatriate children requiring British education. Enrolment suffered and it became inevitable that classes could not continue on the same basis on which they had operated for more than 20 years.

In December 1993, the school was set up again at No. 9 Jalan Watson under the umbrella of Yayasan Perak - The Perak Foundation with about 160 children from 17 different nationalities and the school was renamed ‘Ipoh International School and Kindergarten’.

The campus at No. 9, Jalan Watson

In order to boost the school enrolment, there were plans to introduce the Malaysian Primary School Curriculum (KBSR) in 2001. This was a time when widening the scope of the education of our young people started in earnest with, the first class (Tahun 1) of the Malaysian KBSR commencing in January, the first musical production being staged in July 2001 (now an annual event looked forward to by pupils, teachers and parents alike) and, in May 2002, the first group of students sat for the IGCSE examinations.

With the lease of an adjoining piece of land at No. 28 Jalan Kelab Golf, in 2003 the area of the school was significantly increased allowing a much-needed expansion in facilities to meet the demand of the increasing number of students and staff. In the same year, Tenby Educare Sdn Bhd bought over the school. Backed by finance from its parents company, new classrooms and other facilities were promptly provided to overcome significant shortcomings in accommodation. At that time, the school had over 480 students from 30 different nationalities. Further important improvements followed including the introduction of a library and up-to-date computer room.

In 2005, the schools on site were separated into Ipoh International School offering an international curriculum and SR Tenby and SM Tenby offering KBSR and KBSM curricula. Recognising the need for more space, the kindergarten was moved to a new premise at 47 Jalan Tun Dr Ismail in 2008. Two years later, the Tenby A-Levels Centre was started on the main site.

Since 2004, the Tenby Schools Group has also spread its wings to Penang, Shah Alam, Miri and Johor where it also provides quality international and local private education.

We have seen rapid improvement, physically and academically under the leadership of the present group of high calibre individuals. Today, the school’s enrolment stands at 1156 students from 40 nationalities and to accommodate the growing numbers, the school moved to a new purpose-built campus at Bandar Meru Raya in September 2013.

The purpose-built campus at Bandar Meru Raya, Ipoh

In conjunction with the relocation, the international school formerly known as Ipoh International School is now known as Tenby International School, Ipoh and the national school previously known as SR/SM Tenby is now Sekolah Tenby Ipoh. Tenby Kindergarten will be known as Tenby Early Years Centre Ipoh (TEYCI).

The story of Tenby Schools therefore spans more than half a century of providing quality education and the school is confidently looking to the future to continue to provide world class education for its expatriate and local students striving to achieve its vision of ‘A United World At Peace - Through Education’.