Staff thoughts on BISR

We asked some of our existing staff to comment about our students and our school. They recommended our:

Student Tour of the BISR Campus


 They also shared with us their opinions...

On our students:

  • The children are great to work with and are really happy students and a pleasure to teach.
  • The students at BISR are motivated, well-mannered and enjoy learning.
  • The students at BISR are motivated and intelligent individuals that show a real passion for learning. I have never worked in an environment where the students have been so polite and well mannered. They are an asset to the school and an absolute pleasure to work with.
  • I have found the students internationally minded and are very welcoming towards new students and staff from various cultural backgrounds. They adapt very quickly to their learning environment and teaching style of their new teachers and are a pleasure to teach. They are keen to try new activities and do not shy away from new challenges. I have found them to be very reflective and are very good in identifying areas of development.
  • Students are well-behaved, polite, motivated and attentive.
  • The students are a delight to teach. They have a fabulous attitude towards their education and there is a lot of learning taking place in every classroom. They move around the school in a mature and well behaved way, always mindful of younger students.
  • The best thing about our school!
  • They are a pleasure to teach, well behaved and motivated. Even the cheeky ones soon learn what is expected of them.
  • We are extremely fortunate to have a student body populated with talented, polite and motivated students who continually inspire and enrich our experiences as teachers.
  • Superb, - a great mix of international expats.
  • I can do my job with no disruption. What took me a month to teach in the UK I get through in a week here and the children then want more.
  • Wonderful students, so positive and enthusiastic.
  • Value the benefits of a good education, self-motivated and determined.
  • One of the top schools in Riyadh, excellent teaching community and learning environment.
  • A wonderful set of enthusiastic children. I am very happy that my own son is able to mix with such lovely young people.
  • Students – extremely polite, very enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoy themselves.
  • Our students, make our school a very special place. The enthusiasm, interest and sheer good fun they exhibit on a daily basis makes teaching them a ‘gift’
  • Multi-cultural, well behaved students. Parents often from professional backgrounds, so expectations are high.
  • There is a wonderful ‘feel’ to the school, with a clear belief that students and staff are all working together.


On our school:

  • The school has a lot offer students including so many ECA’s, I think it’s fantastic the opportunities given to students i.e. sports etc
  • School – buzzing.
  • BISR is a school where staff really care about student welfare and their learning.
  • The school is well- equipped, if a little dated decor-wise, with a strong ethos and a dynamic working culture.
  • Students, staff and parents enjoy a positive thriving relationship. There is a sense of belonging and we all embrace the school's motto. I have seen students in Senior school taking care of our younger ones and I have found the staff to be helpful and most will go the extra mile to ensure that I felt settled. Expectations are clear for staff , students and parents and this aspect makes our school life very enjoyable. Staff who are in positions of responsibility are quick to praise excellent teaching practice and appreciate our effort when we go the extra mile. There is a positive vibe which resonates around the school which reflects in my attitude when I come to work every morning.
  • It’s dynamic and caring. Staff feel supported but there is an expectation to work hard.
  • The BISR community is great to be a part of, not only is it a vibrant and dynamic place of work, but it is a friendly and evolving environment continually striving to improve. As with any job, it can be hard work at times however this is down to the sheer dedication of the staff and their persistent setting of high expectations to get the best out of their students. Facilities across the school are very good. From modern classrooms to specialist equipment it has the ability to cater for and meet the needs of its students both within lessons and through the extensive ECA program - I certainly underestimated how much the school had to offer its pupils from the outset.
  • Large multi-culturally diverse school. Very well organised. Each year group is like a small primary school in the UK. Very team spirited.
  • One of the top schools in Riyadh, excellent teaching community and learning environment.
  • The school has a wonderful quirky feel, with nooks and crannies, unexpected places and is a much loved and vibrant place to work.
  • Our school is a vibrant, busy, international community.
  • A good school with a clear mission and positive ethos.
  • Great school, not perfect but aspires to excellence – busy, intense at times but very productive quality place to be, great colleagues
  • I am proud to be a member of staff and a parent. I believe our school to be an excellent place to work with supportive leaders constantly striving for improvement. As a parent I’m impressed by the extra-curricular activities available and even after just a few months of being here the small class sizes and brilliant staff made a huge difference in increasing my son’s academic performance.
  • The school is very well staffed and communication systems are in place which means everything runs smoothly. Most importantly, from the Principal down, every member of staff genuinely cares about the education and well-being of every child.
  • Our school is dynamic, there are always new initiatives taking place. I particularly like the change in the Primary school where teachers with special interests can extend their skills to more students.
  • An oasis in the desert; a welcoming, warm and supportive school that always puts the children at the heart


On social activities in Saudi Arabia:

  • There are social activities available, some are arranged by the school and some are related to other compounds or the embassies. Like all activities in Middle Eastern countries staff have to make the effort to join social groups and activities as they are not as readily available as in the UK.
  • There need never be a dull moment out here as there is something for everyone to enjoy. I have found that I have just as many opportunities to socialise here if not more than that in the UK, simply because of the nature of expat life. I tend to spend most weekends relaxing by one of the many compound pools before meeting with friends over food either at a BBQ around the pool or at one of Riyadh’s many international restaurants – that is when I’m not at an embassy event of course!
  • You can have a great social life in Saudi many embassy events including balls, steak nights and Bingo, restaurants on and off compounds; there is something for everyone.
  • Compound life facilitates a very social environment. We often gather round a pool for a BBQ, or nip out together for a bite to eat. If you like to get out camping, etc you can adventure in the desert or go quad biking and for a dose of western normality you can attend one of the many embassy functions.
  • As a wry observer of life, I find the juxtaposition of medieval customs with avant-garde architecture constantly invites musings and reflection, so life here is never boring.
  • The various embassy events seem to be popular.
  • I have enjoyed discovering the many culinary delights of Saudi Arabia. There is a huge market for different restaurants in the country, some of which are host to very prestigious hotels namely, The Four Seasons and The Hilton. I have also enjoyed weekend trips to those hotels where every guest is given special attention. I have found that the hospitality of the Saudis is second to none when you spend a couple of days being pampered in those hotels.
  • Once you’ve had your fill of embassy events, compound BBQs and Riyadh restaurants why not get out into the desert and enjoy a night out camping under the stars, mountain bike riding or hiking. Failing that, pack up the car and head down to Dammam for the weekend for a spot of kitesurfing! There’s always geocaching and visits to natural sites of beauty like the Wahbah Crater, Faisal’s finger or the escarpment.
  • Sports is the number one activity, followed by dining.
  • The embassies are the main source of social activities followed by functions laid on by various compounds.
  • The school has an active PTA which hosts a Ball and a Fun Day every year. There are excellent sporting facilities with both horse riding and golf available. There are many Malls and Stores to visit and many activity clubs, as varied as Zumba and even a Choir.
  • BBQs and small gatherings abound by the compound pools, - outside this can be limited so you need to be creative with how you do things. Get out and go camping etc, be adventurous, otherwise you will find yourself getting house-bound.  Go to the embassy for the odd function/bingo night etc!, Coffees and eating out – there are plenty of quality places to go but the male/female segregation aspect can be frustrating at times but this is slowly changing.
  • Being part of a big community like BISR provides many opportunities for socialising; you can be as outgoing or anti-social as you like!


On living in Saudi Arabia:

  • I am a single female in my fourth contract.  I love it here.
  • Some say it can be tough as a single female but if you have a positive mind set then compound life is good.   The school provides cars and drivers for single females, and on the compounds, it is a liberal, western lifestyle.  
  • Obviously very restrictive-dress code, getting around once out of the compound – but who cares if you have to throw an abaya on over your jeans and T shirt. It becomes second nature.
  • Living in Saudi can come with certain frustrations although insignificant amongst the bigger picture of life out here. One frustration I have come across is the fact that women are not allowed to drive and therefore having an urge to get off the compound to go shopping or socialise with friends can sometimes be difficult, though school employed drivers take single female wherever they want to go.
  • Life in Saudi is certainly a cultural experience that should be approached with an open mind, however from experience, you will soon come to realise that it is not as restrictive as you may be led to believe. As long as you accept and abide by both the laws and cultural traditions you will find that not only is Saudi life very easy to work with but that people are very friendly and welcoming. As with any new place it is what you make of it but I couldn't fault my time here so far!
  • Saudi Arabia is very different from many of the other Middle East countries, so it is very important to take an informed decision before moving here. Once I made that decision, I moved with an open mind and have never regretted the move – on the contrary, one of the best decisions I have ever made. The culture of the country is very different, so one needs the willingness to adapt to the new environment. However, once I went through the adaptation period, I enjoyed my new living environment. It is a very safe atmosphere because of the low crime rates and as a woman, I have found that, on many occasions, I have been looked after and given special privileges, contrary to popular opinion. The fact that I can't drive hasn't really affected me as I enjoy being chauffeur-driven around by the efficient school drivers!
  • Food shopping is continuously improving and all the clothes shops you could ever wish for. Also eating out in restaurants is a good experience with open seating arrangements.
  • We feel safer in Saudi as a family than back In the UK where there are drug problems and theft on a large scale in my local area. Here my son can play with his friends in the safety of the compound and my experiences with locals and other expats from all over the world is that Saudi is a very family orientated friendly place to live.
  • People may worry about missing friends and family but communication systems are very efficient, holidays are frequent enough to visit home and family can visit you.
  • The Saudi people are very welcoming although it is difficult to really get to know them with living on a compound.
  • Living in Saudi is nothing if not interesting. There are many new sights to see and experiences to be had - my advice would be to go out and find them as they will seldom find you.
  • Nothing is “walkable”- too hot, but we hsver had some wonderful trips to the desert.
  • Restaurants are great and most do takeaway, shopping malls are great though sometimes too to buy food.
  • Like any location there are some trade-offs. Some local customs like prayer time where all shops and restaurants close for 30 minutes 5 times a day are initially difficult to get used to, however once you know everything works it’s a minor inconvenience when you look at the beautiful weather and excellent opportunities available its easy to see why so many people stay. Also if you like food you should like Saudi, with no pubs or clubs it's all about the food when you go out! – also don’t forget when it comes to the school holidays you are pretty much the centre of everywhere for some good travelling.
  • Everything shuts for prayers- 5 times a day!.
  • Give it at least 6 months to get into the swing of things before you decide.
  • Lots of events organised on compounds and in Embassies. Embassy events can be expensive.
  • Saudis can be great to meet at times but frightening to drive near on the road. They have an awesome desert to explore and the kind of space that we no longer have in Europe, oppressively hot in Summer, wonderful climate in Winter with 4 – 5 months of pleasant sunny weather.
  • Living in Saudi can be frustrating as on the whole the country runs to its own tune. However, it is also fascinating to see and experience. Visiting the desert camp, heading off to the Edge of the World, experiencing the Souks and Museums and people watching in the Malls is great fun.
  • I am a single female and love it and want to stay a long time. I wear an abaya, but I find it an advantage as I can go shopping without thinking about what I am wearing underneath! I have got used to prayer time and schedule shopping around it. There are loads of embassy based social events and while these are a bit pricey, they are no more expensive that a similar event in the UK and the food is fantastic.
  • Compared to some parts of the world living in Saudi seems safe enough to me but then I know we live in a protected bubble. Our life is made bearable here because the school assists us with transport.
  • Riyadh is changing at a rapid rate, with booming construction activates there’s increasing demand for goods and services from abroad.
  • Surprising amount goes on, “only boring people get bored”
  • Never sure of one’s personal safety once off compound. Safe, secure, peaceful, though more choice of shops (e.g. restaurants and groceries, would’ve driven down prices and increase greater consumer choice.
  • As a woman it is not easy and you get used to planning ahead, but I have come to see it as a bonus that I am not allowed to drive. Also wearing an abaya becomes no big deal after being here for about 5 minutes as everyone else wears one!
  • Living in Riyadh offers an opportunity to see and experience the wonderful and unique culture that Saudi Arabia has to offer. You will discover something remarkable every day.
  •  An interesting experience.


On the frustrations of living in Saudi Arabia:

  • Riyadh is what you make it, just like anywhere, focus on the positives and enjoy the holidays. I think you always feel better after a weekend away or having a holiday, and having more freedom puts you in a good positive mind set when you come back.
  • Frustration levels depend on how flexible one is and whether a person has already faced the challenge of fitting into a foreign society. My advice is to gird your loins and be prepared to persist politely, especially as far as Health issues, Banking and Travel matters are concerned.
  • There are certain limitations of being a women in Saudi which include needing to organise transport in advance, banking issues which can mean waiting for service, shopping hours limited due to prayer and visas required for family visits. These frustrations can all be overcome with patience and forward planning.
  • Some people have mentioned hospitals as a frustration. As someone who has more than their fair-share of visits to the doctor, I think the service has been outstanding.
  • My advice will be to embrace the culture of the country. I love wearing vibrant colours which I can't when I'm in Saudi for apparent reasons but I am a guest in their country and I respect their norms. The key factor to deal with challenging changes to our everyday life is patience and flexibility and find ways to adapt to those changes. During prayer times, all the shops close but my way around it is to go in just before prayer starts. I then get locked into the store during the prayers and during that time I will do all my shopping. By the time I am done, prayers are finished and the tills are opened again. I can't drive in Saudi but the school provides a driver service to all residents at competitive prices. So I am now enjoying being driven around, usually relaxing in the back seat with a Starbucks! I can't go and catch a film at the cinema, so I am thinking to hop over to Bahrain for a weekend to watch some films at the cinema. Where there's a will, there's a way! Stay positive and embrace the new challenges.
  • As a woman I have to say that wearing the abaya on a stinking hot day is a big frustration. I would love the freedom to get out and shop without the hassle of checking when prayer time is always going to be.
  • Living in Saudi can be frustrating as on the whole the country runs to its own tune. However, it is also fascinating to see and experience. Visiting the desert camp, heading off to the Edge of the World, experiencing the Souks and Museums and people watching in the Malls is great fun.
  •  Not being able to do things on impulse – as single females we need to book transport to leave the compound. The cars and drivers are free and provide a great service, but we still have to book a little in advance – unless it is an emergency. I have tried stating that shopping for a few dresses was an emergency but it didn’t work.
  • My advice would be get separate bank accounts if you’re married, otherwise every time you use the ATM your husband will receive a text to tell him! The driving and traffic are horrendous, and Saudi bureaucracy requires a Masters in advanced patience.


On family life in Saudi Arabia:

  • There are few safer places than the compounds for bringing up young children.  Children walk or ride bikes to school, there are a multitude of activities for children, the compound has seven swimming pools and they all benefit from a warm multi-cultural environment.
  • The climate is fantastic. It is cold in December and January, extremely hot in July and August (but the city empties in these months anyway? While for the rest of the year the weather is glorious.
  • Brilliant especially with a young family, walking to work with your family across the compound is lovely.
  • Great couldn’t give young children a better experience for independence and socially. Plenty to do.
  • We get up and swim in one of seven pools. We can wear what we like, we have BBQs, and there is loads to do. All the malls have wonderful play areas with all sorts of fun things for children to do.
  • Everywhere is very family friendly as the Arabs love children. Life becomes a whirlwind of birthday’s and pool parties, but you do get quality time together. Also I like the way my children are quite sheltered compared to their UK friends.
  • I have a young family and it is the safest I have ever felt. The children can wander around the compound without any worries, and each Mall has children’s play areas – a sort of mini theme park. Eating out with children is fun and easy, and the school offers loads and loads of activities from sports to camping in the desert.