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Parent's Review of British International School Riyadh in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Submitted by geranium

What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)

British International School Riyadh

In what town or city is this school located?

Riyadh

How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)

British

What grade levels are represented at this school?

K TO 18 YEARS [UP TO UNIVERSITY]

How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)

BUS- 60%

WALK- BIG COMPOUND ATTACHED TO SCHOOL CALLED AL HARMRA, SO KIDS CAN WALK BY THEMSELVES TO SCHOOL

PRIVATE TRANSPORT- TAXI [CALLED LIMOUSINE~ AND TRUSTED DRIVER TAKE KIDS THROUGH SECURITY AND DELIVER TO FRONT GATE]

How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL-RIYADH: IS BEAUTIFUL WITH A LOT OF THE FACILITIES BEING NEW. HOWEVER "NEW' DOES NOT MEAN: CLEAN/ PERFECT/ WELL BUILT/ OR EVER! EVER! MAINTAINED, IN RIYADH. IT DOES SEEM THE CLEANING/ AND MAINTENANCE STAFF UN MOTIVATED, OR "JUST SEE IT OR GET BASIC MAINTENANCE.SENIORS HAVE FRESH PURPOSE BUILD FACILITIES IN 2008, LAST YEAR [BUT IN FIRST MONTHS WAS CRACKING IN WALLS AND NEEDING SOME REPAIR], GLASS NEEDED CLEANING ETC. MIDDLE YEAR AND JUNIOR ALL HAVE WELL COVER AREAS BUT UNLIKE AUSTRALIA...THE SCHOOL DON'T SEEM TO GET THE NEED TO PLAY, UNWIND, AND NOT JUST SIT. DRIVES 15 YEAR OLD CRAZY...BEING ONLY WHITE BOY IN CLASS THAT CAN'T FIND A SEMI COOL PLACE, OR EVEN HAVE ALLOWED TO ENTER AIR CONDITIONED GYM OPEN TO PLAY BASKET BALL OR HAND BALL!

EXCELLENT POOL AND THEY DILIGENTLY RUN LESSONS AND KIDS REALLY IMPROVED. THEY HAVE A FABULOUS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST: BUT HAVE NO SPACE FOR HER AND LOOK TO BE LOSING HER AND HER YEARS OF SKILL THIS YEAR!.

STAR BUCKS: A GREAT MEETING PLACE FOR PARENTS AND NANNY'S, BUT UNFORTUNATELY OUR MIDDLE TO SENIORS ARE DEVELOPING A CAFFEINE HABIT, AND EXPENSIVE! UNIFORM SHOP...GREAT FACILITIES, BUT LACKING DIRECTION AS GOAL TO RAISE MONEY...? EMPLOY SOME BODY TO BE IN-CHARGE FUND RAISING. LIBRARY SMALL, BUT STRICT IN RETURN POLICY, WISH OPEN TO PUBLIC.SO SMALL THAT ANY ONE WITH KIDS THAT READ "CRAZY" THEY HAVE READ MOST OF BOOKS! .CANTEEN TOTALLY FUNCTIONS FOR STAFF: VERY EXPENSIVE. KIDS GET TO TAKE "SAD" PACKED LUNCHES THAT YOU LOAD WITH ICE-BRICKS [DON'T GET WHY NO FRIDGE PER A ROOM!]. LOTS OF FILTERED WATER COOLER EVERYWHERE, AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF STAFF TO USE THEM!GREAT NURSE CLINIC AND VERY INFORMATIVE! ADMINISTRATION AND FRONT DESK STAFF VERY FRIENDLY; NEW VICE PRINCIPAL AND PRINCIPAL APPEARS VERY EXPERIENCED BUT PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANTLY, OPEN, APPROACHABLE, SO LOOKING FORWARD TO A GOOD YEAR!

extra-curricular activities: fantastic; staff committed; school encourages++; you could have 1 child doing 3 to 4 activities after school a week, without trying.Almost to much...can mount up financially, and not cheap! all sport e.g table tennis, basketball, gymnastics, crafts, brownies and music [offered in the school], after study support groups for middle years and seniors e.g maths, biology etc, literary you could have and after school activity that you would really enjoy, every day of the week!

What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?

LOTS OF PROBLEMS WITH TRANSFER OF 16 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER FROM OZ TO SAUDI...IN THE MIDDLE EAST/ BRITISH THERE 2 YEAR BLOCK THAT SHE FEEL BETWEEN. SHE WAS THE "ROUND PEG SQUARE HOLE"...THEY DID TRY, BUT THE BRITISH SYSTEM AS A WHOLE IS REASONABLY INFLEXIBLE AND NOT LIKE "AUSTRALIAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM" AS WE BELIEVED IT WOULD BE! ALSO, AUST. START SCHOOL YEAR JAN/FEB WHERE BEGINNING NEW YEAR ALWAYS SEPT. PROBLEM!

WE ASKED WHATO DO OVER AND OVER...BEFORE ARRIVAL...BUT SAID THEY WOULD ASSESS...THEN WE WOULD GO FROM THER...WE HAD THE KIDS DOING A TONNE OF STUDY PRE ENTRY TO SAUDI AS THE SCHOOL HAS ASSESSMENT [THAT COST YOU EXTRA!] THAT DETERMINED LEVEL/ YEAR ETC.,. WE WERE GIVEN NO DIRECTION WHAT TO STUDY, EVEN THOUGH WE ASKED...REALLY WEAK AREA OF SCHOOL...SO KIDS WENT BACK AND FORTH OVER YEARS OF STUDY... MY DAUGHTER, FALLING IN "GIFT AND TALENT" IN OZ AND DILIGENT STUDENT...FLOPPED ON THERE TEST AND FITTED NO WHERE.

SON, 15..ALSO GIFTED AND TALENT, BUT DID LITTLE STUDY AND A LOT OF PROCRASTINATION...AND A LAST MINUTE TUTORING FROM SISTER..BLITZED..THE HIGHEST ENGLISH TO AGE LEVEL THEY HAVE EVER TESTED IN THE SCHOOL.

AFTER 1 YEAR...DAUGHTER WENT BACK TO OZ...SON HAS GREAT HELP FROM TEACHER...OUT OF THERE WAY HELP...BUT HE IS ONLY WHITE/ CAUCASIAN BOY IN YEAR...IS LONELY...AND IT'S HARD WORK.JUST SEEMS THIS 15 YEAR GROUP WHEN LOST A LOT OF "WESTERN STUDENTS DUE TO BOMB AND FAMILY EXIT ALL THOSE YEARS AGO!" REMAINS A HOLE IN THIS YEAR LEVEL! OUR 2 YOUNGER KIDS OF 12 YEARS...GIRL, AND 8 YEAR OLD BOY HAVE ADJUST SO MUCH BETTER. BOTH TEACHER GONE OUT OF WAY...DO EXTRA WORK IF REQUIRED...BROUGHT PARENTS IN IF WE NEEDED TO WORK TOGETHER ON A CHALLENGE.

NO PROGRAMMES...NOTE: BE AWARE OF THE DREADED "SATS": A CRAZY INTENSE FORM OF EXAMS THAT EVERYONE PRESENTS ARE NOT STRESSFUL AND THE KID AREN'T TO BE STRESSED BUT IT MEDIEVAL TORTURE ON THE 11-12 YEARS OLDS, AND THERE FAMILY FOR 6 MONTHS!

How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?

YES P.T.A FUNCTIONS. SMALL INVOLVEMENT AS YOU ARE HERE PRIMARILY FOR THE "MONEY" SO USUALLY BOTH PARENTS WORK. IF MUM DOESN'T WORK, LIKE MYSELF LAST YEAR I WAS LOST FOR A "YEAR IN FAIRY LAND MENTAL, ADJUST TIME TO THE "MAGICAL KINGDOM"SAUDI"!!! GREAT VOLUNTEER SYSTEM, BUT MUST REMEMBER THAT WHICH TAKES YOU 2 HOURS COMMITMENT IN AUSTRALIA E.G UNIFORM SHOP, WILL TAKE YOU [3] TIMES IN THE KINGDOM BECAUSE OF LIFE BEING NOT SMOOTH AND SIMPLE E.G. YOU DON'T DRIVE AS YOUR BANNED BY LAW, SO YOU ORGANISE A DRIVER, HE DOES NOT KNOW WHERE TO GO AS NO ONE USE AN ADDRESS, BUT ITS BY ASSOCIATION [THE NEXT IMPORTANT LAND MARK]; THE ACCENT PREVENT CLEAR COMMUNICATION; YOU MISS PLACED ABIYAH [BLACK, BAG, COAT THAT COVERS...EVERYTHING!]...YOU REMEMBER PUTTING IT OUT TO WASH AND NO IDEA WHERE HOME HELP PUT IT, EVENTUALLY GET TO SCHOOL, BUT NOT CARRYING "IGAMA "[PROOF OF YOUR STATUS TO BE KINGDOM] SO HAVE TO GO HOME TO GET IT...COME BACK...WHERE IS MEETING...FINISHED HOURS AGO !!! TIMES EVERYTHING BY THREE PLUS AND THAT'S HOW MUCH LONGER IT TAKES TO ACHIEVE.

What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?

EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO GET KIDS INTO B.I.S.-R, AS NEARLY FULL, EXCEPT IF ENGLISH AND DUTCH PASSPORT HOLDER. START WHEN KIDS ARE YOUNG AND BOOK EVEN COUPLE YEARS BEFORE SCHOOL ENTRY. DESPITE HASSLES AND COST THE ONLY SUITABLE CHOICE IN ALL RIYADH UNLESS YOU HAVE A RIDICULOUS INCOME OR BENEFIT FOR U.S.A SCHOOL, AND THINK YOU WILL END UP IN THERE SYSTEM FOR LONG TIME!

GO AND SPEND SOME TIME WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS FRESH KNOWLEDGE ON THE BRITISH EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM: VERY ORDERED, VERY STRUCTURED, WHICH LEAVES PRONE TO INFLEXIBLILITY. DO YOU HOMEWORK RE HOURS OF FACE TO FACE TEACHER CONTACT: IN RIYADH WE HAVE 176 STUDENT TEACHER CONTACT DAYS[NOT INCLUDING THE WEEKEND], WHERE THEY GET 5 HOURS AND 40 APPROX MINUTES [MINUSED THE BREAKS: WHICH ARE USELESS AS THEY DON'T GET WIND DOWN, PLAY, THEY ARE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO GO LAY ON "BEAN BAG" AND QUIETLY READ IN HOME ROOM!!! THE LIBRARY IS THE ONLY ESCAPE SO DIFFICULT FOR REAL "BOY, BOYS ACTIVITY AND ADHD KIDS!!!!!"] WE LEFT 24 TEACHER STUDENT CONTACT DAYS...LONGER BREAKS IN SCHOOL DAY...FULL ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY...A SELECTION OF MATES...NOT BEING HASSLED AND TEASED BECAUSE WHITE [ONLY THIS GROUP IN 15 YEAR OLDS]

DO YOUR HOMEWORK BUT ULTIMATELY HAVE TO WORK WITH WHAT YOUR GO! NOTE: IF YOU CAME FROM A PRIVATE SYSTEM WHERE YOU ARRIVE AND EVERYTHING IS PROVIDE FOR AND INCLUDED IN FEES INCLUDING: ALL STATIONARY; ALL SCHOOL TRIP;ALL DAY TRIPS; MOST AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES AND YOU HAVE A GOOD SECOND UNIFORM SHOP BURSTING WITH CLOTHES; PRINTED AWARDS;PRESENTS MADE FOR SPECIAL DAYS; MORNING TEAS; THEN BE AWARE THAT ALL OF THE ABOVE WILL COST YOU, ESPECIALLY THE HOLIDAY!!!

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Need health insurance in Saudi Arabia? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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