A snapshot: schools in Riyadh considered (but not necessarily chosen) by English-speaking expats.
Schools with a full GSGI review are noted with next to their names.
(pending) means that the school is on our list to review.
By full GSGI review, we mean school write-ups that are completely selected, researched, visited and written by our own editors. Our final reviews take the good with the bad, warts and all, but we look for a preponderance of good before we drill down for in-depth details and descend on the school for an exhaustive visit. We are aware of the other schools on this page and we continually add or remove schools, as deemed appropriate.
Adapted American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,600 students
Formerly the American Preparatory School of Riyadh, started by parents in 1963 and after several name changes now providing a US education to students from over 50 different countries. Located since 2014 on a new campus in the north of Riyadh. Majority of students opt for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
British International School Riyadh (pending)
National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,450 students
Originally founded in 1979, as the Riyadh Continental school. On its present campus and under its present name since 1995, together with a satellite primary school, for BAE families in Salwa (automatic transition to BISR in year 7). Apart from excellent academic results (in the high thirty per cent bracket for A*-A at A Level), it apparently boasts a ‘Paul’ café onsite. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).
The schools below have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.
SABIS curriculum; ages 3-18; separate sections for boys and girls; day; independent; privately owned
SABIS is an international education management organisation, originally established by the International School of Choueifat in Lebanon. Now owned by SABIS Educational Systems, based in Minnesota and associated as licensor and operator of schools in 20 countries, including 15 schools in the USA, but mainly located in the Middle East. The schools (including two in Jeddah) follow the SABIS curriculum, stated as ‘integrated, comprehensive kindergarten through twelfth grade academic program’.
SABIS School Abdulaziz International Al-Sulaimaniah, Riyadh
SABIS School Abdulaziz International Al-Wadi, Riyadh
SABIS School Abdulaziz International Rabigh, Jeddah
SABIS School Jeddah International Academy
PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; separate sections for girls and boys; day; independent; privately owned; 600 students
One of the few independent schools in the Kingdom given permission to deviate from the Saudi National Curriculum. Classes taught in English except for Arabic and Islamic studies (20 per cent of the curriculum). Over 60 per cent of the students are Al Sauds (members of the royal family) and the student body is overwhelmingly Saudi although welcoming to expats. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS).
American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/Cambridge 1 & 2/ A Level; ages 3-18; co-ed; independent; privately owned; 1,870 students
Opened in 2016 and offering two separate schools, one with an American curriculum and diploma and one following English curricula culminating in A Levels. An SAT centre. Students are mainly local but there are some from 25 different nationalities. Accredited by COGNIA.
French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; state; 1,260 students
The school belongs to the network of the French Agency for Education Abroad (AEFE), which now comprises around 500 schools around the globe, all teaching a traditional French curriculum. Accredited by the French Ministry of Education.
PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18 (boys), 3-6 (girls); day; independent; private non-profit; 1,400 students
Launched in 1991 as part of the King Faisal Foundation with Prince Saud Al-Faisal as the current chairman of the board of directors. Adopted the International Baccalaureate programme in 2007 and has recently inaugurated PSATs and set up a university preparation programme in collaboration with Brown University. 40 per cent of graduates continue their education at Alfaisal University, with a large percentage of the remainder moving on to US alternatives.
Australian National Curriculum/ IGSCE/ A Level; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,600 students
Originally designed to meet the needs of international expats who might not have their own community schools, the school has become the favourite choice for Antipodean and Canadian expats. Although academics are very strong, the `Multinational School' has a more relaxed approach than its counterparts at BISR and AISR, and offers excellent learning support and special needs programs.
Adapted American curriculum (grades 1-5) / adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 3-18; separate sections for girls and boys; day; independent; privately owned
International, English speaking school in the Sulaimaniyah district of Riyadh, offering an American curriculum in primary and then an English curriculum in secondary. They also appear to offer the Western Australian curriculum but it is not entirely clear how this fits in.