King's College Riyadh, a partnership with the Kings College schools in the UK, was the first international school to open as part of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City's International Schools Attraction Program. The school will initially offer primary year groups before opening fully to Year 13.
Located close to the King Khalid Road in Diriyah on the north-eastern outskirts of Riyadh, King’s College Riyadh (KCR) welcomed its first students in August 2021, taking children from Nursery (Foundation Stage 1 at 3+ years of age) to Year 3 (8+ years old). For its second academic year, which commenced in August 2022, the school added Year 4 and will continue to add year groups until it is fully open from Pre-school (FS1) to Year 13. The school is fully co-educational (mixed boys and girls classes) from Pre-School to Year 6, but is expected to separate classes by gender from Year 7.
KCR was officially launched in April 2021, and was the first school to open under the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC)’s flagship International Schools Attraction Program, launched with the Kingdom’s Ministries of Education and Investment.
The Riyadh school follows the traditional UK private school structure incorporating Pre-Prep for the Pre-School FS1 to Year 2 classes (for children aged 3 – 7 years old), Prep School for Years 3 – 8 (children aged 7 – 13 years old) and Senior school for students in Years 9 –13.
The school commits to parents that “children who join King’s Riyadh will leave as well-rounded young adults, having fulfilled their potential and having gained a place at the UK, US, or local university of their choice. They will have been prepared for life beyond school and will be able to contribute positively to society.”
The school is led by Nicholas Gunn as Headmaster, who has over 25 years' experience in teaching and leadership roles across the entire 3-18 years age range. More recently, Mr. Gunn was Founding Headmaster of King’s College Doha.
King’s College Riyadh promises to deliver a truly all-round British curriculum, based on that of King’s College UK, but adapted to the context of Riyadh. The school does not specify, but is expected to offer the Early Years Foundation Stage programme for its youngest students, together with IGCSE and A Levels for its Year 10 to 13 students. Academic progress will be made, alongside the development of new skills and interests through sport, music, the arts and a range of other activities.
King’s College UK is also known for its extensive range of extra-curricular activities. Students have a choice of over 30 sports and outdoor activities each academic year. Although KCR does not make specific mention of extra-curricular activities, the appointment of senior staff for both Music and Physical Education and ECAs suggests that this will be a strong feature of the school. The more common art, language, maths and science based activities are likely to be led by class teachers. Drama, Music, STEM and sports are already included in extra-curricular activities.
Situated within minutes of the King Khalid Road in Diriyah, King’s College Riyadh is well located and said to be easily accessible from most parts of the city.
The school has a wide array of specialist spaces including equipped science and design technology laboratories, a multi-use central atrium, art and music studios, an IT lab, dedicated library and specialist Early Years play areas, two indoor sports halls and a mixed-use outdoor sports pitch.
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As the first of the international schools to open under the RCRC programme, Kings College Riyadh has had the opportunity to get ahead of several other entrants to the market. There is no question that as a sister school to Kings College Doha, it has also had an advantage in being able to call on the experience of another Middle East-based school. We would, therefore, expect that the opening and first academic year has progressed smoothly.
In common with the majority of new schools entering Riyadh under the RCRC arrangement, fees are at the moderate to premium end. Current fees for pre-School/Nursery (FS) and Reception (FS2) are 47,380 SAR per year, rising to 53,303 SAR for Years 1 and 2, and increasing to 65,148 SAR for Years 3 to 6 inclusive - though the school is only open to Year 4 currently. Parents who plan to enroll their children at KCR might also wish to be aware that fees for Years 7 and 8 will be 71,070 SAR, whilst those of Years 9-13 are currently expected to be 76,993 SAR- but this of course is subject to revision.
A 5% tuition fee discount is available for payment of the full year’s fees in a single payment (only applicable if payment is made by bank transfer, cheque or cash) at the time of accepting a child's/children's place(s) at King’s College. A 5% tuition fee discount is also available for the third and subsequent child at the time of enrolling the third or subsequent child at the school.
In addition, there are a range of admission related fees including a one-off, non-refundable Application Fee of 500 SAR, a one-off, non-refundable professional evaluation Assessment Fee of 1,000 SAR (refundable only if the child is not offered a place). This fee must be paid prior to assessment taking place.
There is also a one-off, non-refundable Registration administration fee for every child accepting the offer of a place, payable after an offer of a place has been made, of 3,500 SAR. Lastly, there is a non-refundable deposit to guarantee the child’s place deducted from the first term’s fees. The non-refundable deposit is payable within seven days of the date of the offer letter.
King’s College Riyadh’s school fees are reviewed annually and are subject to increases. The school says that it will endeavour to give at least a half term’s notice of any changes to the fees.
All offers of a place are conditional on SEN (Special Educational Needs) or EAL (English Additional Language) needs being declared during the admission process and before accepting the offer. SEN and EAL programmes must be accepted if the school assesses it as necessary for the student. Each term the programme will be reviewed against the school’s benchmarking policy to determine how long this additional support will continue. The school does not mention whether additional fees are payable for SEN or EAL support.
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