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

May 09, 2014
Submitted by Mulligan

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

British International School Riyad

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?

1-13

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

Car and bus

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

Very good facilities, including an artificial sports field. Limited drama and music facilities though - just converted classrooms. Extra-curricular activities are good and they do lots of trips

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?

It is a British curriculum and so the transition was easy. I have a child in senior and a child in primary. They have a mentor system so my children were very well looked after, especially the one in primary. The oldest is a bit shy and it took him a week or so to settle, In primary the class teacher is in daily email contact. It is less regular in senior but still the communication was good. They do a Welcome Morning for new parents at the start of the year I hear, but there wasn't a similar session at the start of term 2.

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

The PTA runs a few activities, but the families sort out most activities themselves. The school has a campsite in the desert, and sometimes parents can use that. It is a great facility.

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

It is a very good school. It has had some troubled times over the last six years or so. Up until 2011 it had has a number of heads in a short period, but now the principal and the heads of senior and primary seem to be established and making a real difference. Some posts suggest that the school is a mess, and I hear it was for a while but now I think it has settled and all the parents I have met seem to think it is very quickly getting better and better. Most teachers really do seem to care a lot and there are even catch up classes at the weekends. They seem to be able to attract very good teachers which can't be easy in Riyadh! and they seem to stay a while. Exam results are very good, and all leavers seem to go to good universities. Classes are small - I think they have a maximum of 20 in a class, but it is not easy to get into unless you are British. The wait lists are very long I hear. There are loads of activities after school - my youngest is busy every night, though the oldest does less. He has quite a lot of homework. but he does go on trips - and is booked on a ski trip for next year. We toyed with the idea of sending the children to boarding schools in the UK but I am really pleased that we didn't - they love BISR, and if they are happy, so are we.

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