Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Report of what it's like to live there - 02/01/22
Personal Experiences from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
I am a parent
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
My older son is in Year 2 ( First grade) and its his first year here.
3. What years did you live here?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
I am still here and we love it.
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
There are many schools for expats in the city. Riyadh is a large city with everything you might want or need. We chose this school because we really feel like our son does well with the British curriculum. He has learned so much already. Another benefit is the proximity to our compound.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
The school did a great job making my son feel welcome for his admission exam. They also gave us a great tour or the school. The facility is amazing and in a great location. My son has loved being in school here (especially since online school ended because of covid).
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Most communication comes through their google portal and the students' personal emails. You will have to keep monitoring them. You might be able to add your personal email as well, but we had chosen to keep using his school email address.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
The school uniform is about:
1. Blue shirt is 60 SAR
2. You bring your own blue shorts
3. You bring your own white socks and black leather shoes
For Physical education:
1. The uniform ( shorts and shirt) is about 200 SAR
You also need to buy school sweat suit for the cold and hat and these prices can vary. Expect to pay about 1000 sar in total for uniform.
The students needed ipads for online school, but since going back they have not needed them. They provide the required musical instruments, but if you do an extra course, you will be required to provide that instrument or equipment at times.
So far the field trips have all been covered for us.
Academics & Resources:
1. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
Not that we know of. We have a nanny at home to help the kids when they get home from school until we get home. School finishes around 3 pm and we get home around 6pm.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
They have a fairly nice but small library. The books seem to be updated. My son can borrow a book or two at a time and return it the following week.
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
There is a computer lab at the school but I am not sure my son has used it yet.
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
The students needed their own laptops and ipads when the kids were online, but since going back, we have not been asked for any devices.
5. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
The school has 2 basketball courts, an indoor pool, plenty of play grounds. It is a great campus you must check out.
6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
My sons class has a teacher and a teacher assistant and they have about 10 kids in the class.
7. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
My son is too young for these requirements but I believe they they have IB.
8. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
Yes. They have different levels based on the kids needs. You can have 3 or 4 kids who have different needs and they are seperated based on level, but no one feels left out because there is no "lower" or "higher" group. Its just different groups.
9. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes. We give my son extra homework when he gets home just so he can get used to doing a little more.
10. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Music is started at a young age. I believe they have drama and visual arts but not sure they have used the facilities yet. The school was online only for a long time ( since its opened). They are just getting back in the swing of things.
11. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Yes. All teachers speak English. They also teach Arabic, French, and Mandarin.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
All students are in the same class I believe. My son has expat friends and local Saudi friends. They have a small number or local Saudi kids though.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
There was some bullying from the older kids, but the school quickly focused and helped with this. They are open to communication with parents.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
A -- I would absolutely choose it again.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
He has learned so fast math problems, reading, writing, etc. He has had no real challenges here yet other then normal first grade social things.
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
It's a great school we appreciate. Our son loves it here and so do we so far.