REASON, RIGOUR AND RESULTS
With students that consistently achieve a high ranking in the country’s IGCSE and GCE results league table, Thamer International School (TIS) in Saudi Arabia is proud to be one of the country’s most prominent international schools. Rana Abd El Baqi, Academic Director, explains that it’s down to the rigorous preparation that students receive.
“We prepare our students so well for exam situations,” she says. “We start to work on the basics in pre-school, and continue right through until they reach years 10 to 13. Our students approach exams with confidence as they know how to revise. Every year, more than 80 per cent of our students receive A and A* grades in all their subjects in the CIE official examinations.”
Learning is further strengthened by a continual investment in technology to assist each student’s studies. An e-learning portal, for instance, is updated on an annual basis and allows for continual access to resources outside the classroom. It also helps the school maintain its excellent relationship with parents, as they can regularly keep track of their children’s assignments and progress easily. Indeed, parental involvement is another key aspect of TIS parents’ council which means that parents can get involved with the school community, and often come and participate in educational and extracurricular activities.
A character-building school
While academic rigour is a given, a wide range of extracurricular activities is also crucial. “We believe in building character,” says Abd El Baqi. “It’s not only academic achievement that will make them excel in their life.”
Students indulge in a variety of activities which include stage performances, an Arts Club, the celebration of international days and many sporting activities as well as the opportunity to perform community service in and out the school. Many of the extracurricular activities are student-led. “We have a student council that comes up with some fantastic ideas,” says Abd El Baqi. “We can’t make all of them happen but, as much as we can, we listen to them and make things happen.” A recent notable example was an initiative that saw the school assisting the Saudi Ministry of Health in organising vaccines for children. TIS has been awarded the International School Award by the British Council in recognition of its stellar extracurricular activities.
Running alongside IGCSE and GCE studies is the preparation for the SATS for the American Diploma. TIS is also in the preliminary stages of developing an International Baccalaureate offering, reflecting the fact that it hosts children from 47 different countries. The school provides quality education to around 3,600 students in total aged from 3 to 18 years. As a private, independent, English-medium day school it serves both the local and expatriate communities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and is co-educational from nursery till Grade 3 and gender-segregated from Grade 4 till graduation year.
The school’s achievements continue beyond the IGCSE, GCE and high school diploma. When the students leave they enjoy an exceptionally high acceptance rate in their chosen universities. Many go to Britain and the US, as well as Malaysia, Canada and, more locally, Jordan, Lebanon and Gulf countries.
“It represents the successful conclusion of our mission,” says Abd El Baqi. “To deliver an academic experience that prepares our students to be socially responsible leaders in global communities and highly self-motivated learners in prestigious universities worldwide.”