Jeddah Prep and Grammar School is a long established UK curriculum school located in the Al Naim district of North Jeddah. The school is open to students from FS1 to Year 13 and offers IGCSE and A Levels.
Jeddah Prep and Grammar School (JPGS) started its existence as The International British/Dutch School in 1967, initially in a small two-room villa off Tahlia Street in Jeddah. The school intended to provide an international education to the children of mainly British and Dutch expatriates, together with a limited range of other nationalities. The first students followed a largely British curriculum, with the school expanding to the Grammar (Secondary) section as the students grew older, where they studied for GCE O Levels, finishing school in Jeddah at the age of 16.
JPGS moved to its present site in the Al Naim District of Northern Jeddah in 1997, and is within close proximity to the main airport and Medina Road. Unusually for Saudi Arabia - even in international schools - girls and boys are taught together throughout their time at the school.
JPGS now has a much broader mix of nationalities with both local families and expatriates of some 50 nationalities. Almost a quarter of the school’s current population are of Pakistani heritage, 17% are local Saudi Arabians and 12% are children of Egyptian expatriates living in Jeddah. As a result, most students speak English as a second language.
Today, there are 650 students at JPGS, a reduction from a high of 800, due mainly to transient expatriates leaving the area. Average class sizes are relatively low in number with 18 students per class in the FS section, 20 in the Primary and Secondary schools, and classes of 10 each in the Sixth Form.
If further evidence were needed of the genuine British curriculum and standards at the heart of JPGS, these are shown by its accreditation by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and support from the British Embassy and the Ministry of Education, KSA. JPGS is also a member of British Schools of the Middle East (BSME) which provides professional training to UK curriculum schools and organises a range of sporting and arts events in which staff and students may participate.
In March 2022, JPGS was inspected by a team from British Schools Overseas - a UK Government Department of Education sponsored process designed to ensure that international schools meet the minimum standards of the UK Government in terms of educational provision. JPGS was found to have met all the required standards.
The school Vision statement notes that:
The school’s comprehensive Mission statement seeks to provide more detail of what JPGS aspires to in the short to medium term, in order to bring about the achievement of the vision.
Education is not the process of filling an empty vessel, but lighting a fire in the hearts and minds of the young with whom we are privileged to work. As a community, we are dedicated to providing children with the very best that British international education has to offer. We wish to stand proud as a beacon of academic excellence; but also a community where pupils also learn the lessons of lasting impact and true worth: self-discipline, integrity of character, care for others, and a sense of values. We encourage the fullest development of each individual’s personality and talents.
A child’s time at school must be a period of growth for each individual to explore their mind’s full potential. This cannot be done by taking the conventional path at all times, but requires us to foster a culture of embracing rather than avoiding risk. We not only foster intellectual development, but focus equally on establishing a strong sense of community, moral character and self-confidence. We place a strong emphasis on cultural, creative and sporting activity alongside a first-class academic curriculum.
JPGS brings children together from many nations to learn and grow together, and as such, tolerance and respect is required to be shown towards both our host culture and society, and all members our community. Each individual must accept responsibility for his own or her own actions and must relate to others with sensitivity. All members of our community must be able to expect to live and work in a safe and secure environment.
The School must act in open and honest partnership with families. Effective communication, tolerance and mutual respect are at the heart of this. These elements combine to provide our pupils with the knowledge and skills to thrive in a globally mobile, competitive world. We aim to see all our students confident to take their rightful place amongst the best and the brightest, able to work at any level in any part of the world.
In addition, JPGS has defined its core principles which all staff are required to apply to their role, tasks and conduct around the school. Keeping these principles in mind in terms of pedagogy, behaviour and expectations on a daily basis helps staff work cohesively to implement the vision and mission.
In 2021, the former Headmaster of JPGS departed unexpectedly. The school is now led by recently appointed Headmistress Mrs. Zoe Woolley, who joined JPGS in August 2022 from her previous role as Principal at Repton School Al Barsha in the UAE. The other leadership team members are Mr Khalil Ahmed, Deputy Head/Head of Grammar School (who acted as interim Principal prior to the appointment of Mrs. Woolley), Mr Raymond Garnett, Head of Prep School, and Mr Munsoor Shahzad, Assistant Head of the Secondary School and Head of Key Stage 4.
As a not for profit organisation, the school is managed by a Board of Governors, all of whom are relatively new to their position. As mentioned earlier, seemingly, in order to gauge the current standards of the school, JPGS arranged for an inspection to be carried out by British Schools Overseas inspectors which took place in March 2022. Further information about the outcome of the inspection can be found here.
Having originally taught the English National Curriculum in line with the content of the UK, JPGS now follows the more internationally focused Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) Primary Programme (offering also its Progression and Checkpoint Tests), and Cambridge Secondary programme, leading to the International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSEs), International A Level examinations and the recently introduced and vocationally focused Edexcel BTEC Diploma.
Students in Nursery (FS1) and Reception (FS2) follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), programme which comprises a set standards for learning, development and care for children. It aims to develop each student to their full potential by offering a ‘principled, play based approach to learning and development’. The activities that are provided for the young students are designed to establish the skills they need to work towards the Early Learning Goals at the end of their Reception (FS2) year at the school.
On entering the Prep School, students in Years 1 to 6 are taught the basics along with a wide range of skills-based activities to broaden the mind and develop natural inquisitiveness. Students are taught the core subjects including Literacy and Numeracy by a class teacher, with additional support from Grammar School subject specialists.
The aim is to provide students with an engaging, creative and enjoyable curriculum that provides students with the opportunity for investigation and enquiry using first hand experiences, underpinned by knowledge, skills and vocabulary, that builds on prior knowledge, and provides students with social and emotional skills to become good citizens.
From Year 7, students join the Grammar School where they follow a range of subjects to Year 11, designed to enable them to make informed choices for A Level studies in Years 12 and 13.
The Grammar School has a culturally diverse student body and JPGS wants to ensure that when students leave the school, they are confident ‘citizens of the world’ and able to succeed wherever they may go and equipped with skills necessary to work with people from all walks of life.
The curriculum is delivered in such a way that students are provided with relevant knowledge, but also the skills of conceptual thinking, understanding, participation, curiosity and increased confidence. It balances challenge and the need to fill the gaps where necessary. Outcomes may be designed to meet the requirements of the UK National Curriculum, but also to develop the skills needed for learning and for life.
Grammar School classes meet together every morning in tutor groups. There are at least three assemblies per week which include: Whole-School, House, Key Stage and Year Group Assemblies. Teaching groups comprise students from the same year group, and students in Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) learn together mainly in their teaching group. In addition to regular class room learning, students also have opportunities to participate in topic days, assemblies, clubs, sports, educational visits, workshops, fund raising, and community work.
IGCSE subjects are chosen at the end of Year 9 for study in Years 10 and 11. Students are expected to take a balance of subjects between Arts, Humanities and Science and are required to take nine IGCSE subjects including English Language and English Literature (these are taught as one subject, but the examinations are separate), Mathematics, at least one Science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics), and one language (either Arabic or French).
Students then choose four further subjects from Art, Business, Computer Science, Economics, Geography, History, ICT, Physical Education and Sociology. Subjects are arranged in Subject Blocks, so complete freedom of choice may not possible. More able students may take Mathematics early (at the end of Year 10), enabling them to take a further IGCSE subject. In addition, students are required to participate in PHSE/Citizenship and PE classes.
Once students join the Sixth Form for their final two years at JPGS, the rigour of the A Level programme ensures a good preparation for university study and beyond. The school seeks to maintain a ‘healthy balance’ of A Level options to support student pathways through both the Sciences and the Arts. Admission is selective, with students expected to have a minimum of 5 IGCSE grades of B and above (with at least C in Mathematics and English).
JPGS offers a reasonably broad range of A Levels – although it is possible that not all subjects may delivered based on demand from the relatively low student numbers. These include Arabic, Art and Design, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English Literature, Geography, History, Mathematics, Physics and Sociology.
In addition, JPGS offers a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Business Studies (equivalent to two A Levels) which is a more vocationally based qualification. Students also have the option of undertaking the International Extended Project Qualification, an individual, research based project of the student’s choosing which, on successful completion, is valued at half an A Level.
As part of the process to enable students to support their university applications, Sixth Form students participate in ‘Pupil Assistant Placements’, in which they act as assistants within classes and mentors to students in the Prep School. The students also contribute to the wider school community through the Eco Council and Go Green Project.
Additionally, Sixth Form students are encouraged to take part in the JPGS Young Leaders Award (YLA) which is awarded to students who take part in extracurricular activities which include contributions towards the Arts, the Community and Sports through initiatives both within and outside the school. There are also a number of Senior Prefect, Subject and Wellbeing Ambassador roles designed to develop personal skills such as time management, teamwork and communication skills.
The Sixth form is described as a thriving community. There are a range of student led activities, together with Sixth Form social gatherings throughout the year. Students are able to involve themselves in wider, non-academic activities including sports teams, The Duke of Edinburgh International Award, drama productions, musical events, and a developing MUN (Model United Nations) community. At various times specific subjects leaders also organise trips abroad.
For the school as a whole, in addition to academics, JPGS offers a range of Extra-Curricular Activities as an outlet for students to engage in topics and activities. A broad range of 70 ECAs are offered and usually attract between 300 and 400 students.
The school is a member of the Saudi Arabian Inter-Kingdom Activities Conference (SAIKAC) the League of International Schools Swimming Teams (LISST) and British Schools of the Middle East which organises a range of activities and competitions including sports, music and drama. Popular ECA options include Debate Club, Gardening, Model United Nations, Camp Craft and Outdoor Survival Skills Club, and Volleyball Club.
The Duke of Edinburgh International Award is offered to students aged 14 to 18. The International Award is voluntary, and non-competitive, requiring effort over time. There are three levels to the Award: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Students design their own Award programme, set their own goals and record their own progress. They choose a Service, Physical Recreation and Skills activity, participate in challenging journeys and, to achieve a Gold Award, take part in a residential project. The DoE Award requires dedication, perseverance and resilience and is highly regarded by universities around the round as evidence of students’ skills and personal qualities.
The ethos of JPGS is a vital factor in supporting well-being for both students and adults. The school believes that ‘happy children learn well.’
It uses the Cambridge Attributes (Confidence, Responsible, Reflective, Engaged, and Innovative) to promote positive behaviours and attitudes to learning. The intention is that students are equipped with a thirst for new knowledge and experiences, with the drive and enthusiasm to become lifelong learners.
JPGS embraces a ‘Growth Mindset’ approach which aims to instil resilience, perseverance, self-worth and an ability to learn from mistakes. Community involvement is an integral part of the curriculum, welcoming families and visitors to facilitate learning new skills and sharing experiences. Student develop the confidence and skills to make good choices and friendships.
Students are encouraged to focus on achieving their full social, emotional and academic potential.
As a school, JPGS says it aims to help and support students to engage in responsible thinking in preparation for life as an adult and to become life-long independent learners - in essence, happy and well-rounded individuals who are successful.
Pastoral care is a significant element of life at JPGS and the school recognises that good tutoring has a key role to play in providing young people with the levels of advice and support they need.
Pastoral support is provided by the whole school community, but each student has their own Class Teacher (in the Prep School) or Form Tutor (in the Grammar School), who supports them and is the first port of call for questions and inquires. Depending on their age, a student will spend a differing amount of time with their class teacher/tutor, ranging from nearly all of the day in Nursery and Reception to a morning and afternoon meeting in Year Seven and above. The Form Tutor’s role is to become the expert on each of the students for whom they are responsible and to understand and support them in their life at the School.
In common with public schools in the UK, JPGS also has a House System - Victoria, Newton or Imperial – and each student is assigned to one of three Houses within the school. The Houses, each with an equal number of students, provide smaller, vertical communities, allowing students to identify with staff and other students outside their own year group while giving them a focus of identity beyond their year and mentor groups.
There are full House meetings once a month where members of each House come together. Healthy competition is established between Houses through school sports, arts, and academic competitions. The House Coordinator, who is effectively the Head of House, monitors all aspects of a student’s time at JPGS from academic progress to personal development and disciplinary matters, providing a pastoral tier higher than the student’s class teacher or tutor.
The House system also encourages students’ efforts as part of the school community and provides an opportunity for recognition, both in terms academic and extra-curricular achievements. Staff inform Tutors of the successes and achievements of individual students and the House Coordinator keeps the Headmistress informed of individual successes, which are acknowledged across the wider school community.
The House point system rewards students for their efforts and points are allocated by teachers in recognition of students’ Excellence (sporting, behaviour, attendance), Participation (theatre, community events), Perseverance (personal hardship, dedication), Effort (extra-curricular activities, community spirit) and Courtesy (assistance, generosity, kindness.).
JPGS offers a broad range of support for students with additional needs – be these academic or social. The Pupil Support Department works with the student, their parents and teaching staff to put together a personalised package of support for students covering a number of areas.
These include support for students who are particularly able or talented in a specific area, those who think differently or are neurodiverse (including those with a diagnosis of dyslexia, ADHD and autism), students with difficulties with behaviour (withdrawn behaviours, anxious behaviours) or with a physical disability.
JPGS says that “We are rightly proud of our academic results which place us in the top 5% of high-performing British International Schools. Many of our pupils pursue their tertiary-level studies at British Universities after leaving our care.”
According to the BSO report, standards at Key Stages 4 and 5 in external examinations at IGCSE and A level are high and above UK averages. In 2021, 97% of students in Year 11 were awarded 5 or more IGCSE’s graded A*-C, including English and Mathematics. This is above the average of UK independent schools. Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English language and literature, and Mathematics were the subjects awarded most grades in A* and A.
In the Sixth Form, 79% of students achieved A*-A grades at A level, and a very large majority of students in Year 13 were awarded A*-B grades, well above UK averages. All Year 13 students passed in every subject at A level. The strongest subjects at A level were Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics and Mathematics.
In 2022, the first year of full written examinations post the pandemic, at IGCSE 54.3% of results were awarded A*-A , whilst 80.7% achieved A*-B , and 92.9% received A*-C. At A Level students achieved 74.5% of results at A*-A , 89.4% at A*-B and 100% at A*-C. The school also published it AS results where 57.6% of entries were awarded A, 75.5% received A-B and 90.6% received A-C with a 100% overall pass rate.
According to JPGS, the academic attainment of its students has led to their successful placement in Further or Higher Education across the world, with the vast majority of being offered admission in some of the top universities in the UK, USA and Canada. When the Sixth Form opened in 2012, it had 20 students in its first cohort. Numbers had increased to close to 80 students in the 2021-22 academic year.
To further support students with the most ambitious plans for their futures, JPGS provides specific support for students seeking to enter the highly competitive universities of Oxford or Cambridge, and those wishing to study Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Dentistry – all the most competitive undergraduate courses.
The Oxbridge Med/Vet Club gives students the opportunity to focus on their applications and prepare for interviews. The club aims to provide students with the additional experiences and knowledge to develop their personal qualities and increase their potential as employees.
There is no doubt that as a campus where the main buildings have stood for 25 years, the JPGS facilities do not reflect modern, cutting edge architecture, although ongoing improvements and renovations have taken place.
The BSO inspectors noted that there were separate buildings for the administration blocks which also included the Early Years section, the Prep school and the Grammar school. The Grammar School building has six fully equipped science laboratories, two fully equipped computer laboratories and approximately twenty teaching classrooms, suited on a subject basis. There is also a Sixth Form study/relaxation area. A cafeteria is central to the school, although food on sale to Grammar School students and staff, is not cooked on site.
Two dedicated art classrooms, and a dedicated music base are well stocked and provide well for the specialist teaching of these subjects. A junior hall is used as a whole school auditorium and parents have access to this building when events take place. A junior and senior library is located on the second floor and has recently been refurnished with up-to-date furnishings and carpets.
Sports facilities include a gymnasium, a swimming pool for senior students and a smaller pool for younger students. Changing facilities and showers are available within the pool areas. A sports field is well used and has lines marked out for a wide range of field and track events in addition to football and hockey. A basketball court is used by Grammar School students at lunch and break times.
Outdoor areas are in abundance and are well used by students at break times. A large, shaded area, known as the Jubilee pavilion, provides a seating area for Grammar School students. There is ample shade.
JPGS is one of a few schools within Saudi Arabia to voluntarily participate in British Schools Overseas inspections. At its most recent inspection in March 2022, the school was found to have fully met all standards.
According to the inspectors, JPGS offers a British education that meets the needs of its students. The standards are high in outcomes for students in Key Stages 4 and 5, "where learners are focussed, and teaching is consistently good or better".
Inspectors found that the school has many strengths which include:
According to the inspection team, "the curriculum is essentially British. Resources are well used, and an interesting range of extracurricular activities engages students and helps then develop into well rounded citizens. Students are articulate, confident and enjoy school. Parents are happy with the school’s provision and talked favourably about the care and guidance that the school provides for students".
In common with all such inspections, the inspection team made a number of recommendations.
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the findings and recommendations - you will find it here.
Without doubt one of the longest-established ‘traditional’ British curriculum schools in Saudi Arabia, it is evident that Jeddah Prep and Grammar School remains highly regarded both within the school and wider community. It has expanded that popularity to a wide range of nationalities, with the substantial growth in demand from local families.
With the unexpected departure of the former Headmaster, the appointment of a new Board of Governors and the new Headmistress from a highly-regarded Dubai school, JPGS can be expected to focus on improvements recommended by the BSO report and further innovation.
This is a school that, despite its apparent traditional approach, has certainly not stood still, but rather has clearly moved with the times and continues to provide a very high standard of education.
If you are a parent, teacher or senior student at Jeddah Prep and Grammar School, please share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey.
Fees at Jeddah Prep and Grammar School range from 36,800 SAR for FS1 to 79,925 SAR for students in Year 13. These fees are inclusive of VAT.
The school also charges a range of Admission fees include an Application Fee of 402.50 SAR, an Assessment Fee of 977.50 SAR and an Admission & Registration Fee of 13,800 SAR. All fees are inclusive of VAT and are non-refundable.
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