Page 1

British International School Riyadh

The Application Process for a Teaching Position at BISR

British International School Riyadh

An Introduction from the Principal I am delighted that you are considering a position with the British International School Riyadh. With over 1500 students and 250 staff (of which 125 are teachers), the opportunities for personal development are considerable and attractive to ambitious and talented professionals. A short browse through our website will give you a good flavour of our school and what it has to offer. Staff appointed to BISR join an ambitious school which is forward thinking and which employs the best of British education, enhanced by an international flavour. We have a strong commitment to staff development and to encouraging personal development within the school. Indeed, the CPD spending at BISR is a big part of our budget and we are keen to invest in our staff. You will find BISR staff very professional, dedicated and talented. We laugh a lot, and humour prevails across the school and the result is a warm and professional ethos and a place where everyone, whatever their role, looks forward to coming to school. Personally, I love the start of the school year, when new staff invariably remind us all of the wonderfully positive attitude of our students. Those of us who have been here for a while tend to take it for granted that our boys and girls are highly motivated, focussed and very well mannered. As one colleague commented recently, ‘I prepared for a month, and they lapped it up within a week – and wanted more!’ Outside the school, the compounds offer a tremendously high quality of life, and Saudi Arabia is a truly fascinating country. Its geographical position means that Africa, Europe and Asia are all accessible during those all important holidays, and our staff enjoy a magnificent life style. Of course, the tax free salary helps! There are comments from staff, as well as details of the salary and benefits on our website. I hope that the opinions of staff, and other information in this booklet, will help you make up your mind as to whether BISR and Saudi Arabia is right for you.

If, after reading this

booklet, you have any unanswered questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on

Chris Mantz

Our Mission We, the students, parents, teachers and community of BISR, provide a caring, safe and stimulating environment where we strive to make every student feel valued, happy and successful.

We are an innovative school that has a long tradition of providing a British style education with an international perspective. We are committed to excellence through a wide variety of activities both in and out of the classroom. Responsibility, enthusiasm, integrity and participation are expected.

Our community accepts, embraces and celebrates cultural diversity, while promoting the values of respect, honesty, compassion and kindness.

We appreciate ourselves and others as individuals with rights and responsibilities, acting as conscientious global citizens. We are a community of life-long learners who can contribute to making our world a better place.

We challenge students to explore and question, seek solutions, make informed decisions, solve problems, demonstrate tenacity and express themselves confidently. We empower students to take responsibility for their learning and to be recognised as young independent learners.


Leadership and Management The Senior Leadership Team consists of the Principal, the Head of Senior, the Head of Primary, and Bursar. Both the Primary and Senior sections have three Assistant Heads. Within the senior school, there are six year leaders who have an overview of the pastoral welfare of students and seven Curriculum Leaders, who have an overview of the curriculum. The Primary section also has Year Leaders, as well as subject coordinators.

So who is suited to working at BISR? Ideally, we would like to appoint a person with UK and/or international experience and an understanding of the place of British schools in the international context, but do not be prevented from applying if you do not fulfill these criteria! The information in this booklet is intended to provide prospective candidates with some background details, an understanding of the school context, insights into the leadership challenges and help in advance of making an application. Of course, additional information about BISR is on our website Before you read further, let me say that recently I surveyed our teachers about what they think about living and working in Riyadh. Their comments, unabridged and exactly as stated, are available on our website. As you will read, the responses were overwhelmingly positive – stressing the attitude of our students, compound living, salary, lifestyle, accommodation and opportunities to travel as major factors in attracting them to, and encouraging them to stay, in Riyadh. Without exception, they commented that the West’s largely negative perception of Saudi Arabia was inaccurate. Above all, it is an incredibly safe place to live, and a wonderful environment for children.


Sadly, female teachers are not able to sponsor their husbands. This means that any married female teacher who applies as an overseas hire, who has a husband who is not a teacher, will need to come out alone. They would be able to apply for a multivisit visa (up to two yeras) and be able to stay for up to 90 days at any one time, then exit and return again. We do have several female teachers who work with us, and meet up with their husbands during holidays, but married female teachers, whose husbands are not teachers, MUST be aware of this. Of course, husbands may apply for positions with other companies in Riyadh, but if successful, this has implications for the employment status of their wives the implications of which will need to be discussed with the school’s HR department. This does not apply for teaching couples employed by the school, both of who enjoy school sponsorship. In fact, we welcome applications from teaching couples. In addition, for male teachers with a non-working wife and/or dependants, we WILL be able to get visas for your wives and children, but this can take up to two months after your arrival. This means that you will need to come out initially on your own, and when you own residence permit is issued (called an iqama), we then start the process of getting visas for your families. This can take up to two months, and so, if relevant, you need to consider when you take your children out of their current school as they may not be with us until the end of October.

A Brief History of BISR In September 1979, with the support of the British and Dutch Embassies in Saudi Arabia, the School opened as the Riyadh Continental School in order to fulfill the need of the expatriate community for an education along British lines for students between the ages of 4 and 13 years. The School expanded rapidly from its original 212 students and in 1982 moved to another site in the Rawdah district. In March 1981 the School was incorporated into the Saudi Arabian International Schools under arrangements made by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education. In September 1995 the School moved into its present purpose-built site adjacent to Al Hamra Compound. The School continued to grow adding a cohort each year, and at present the School has about 1500 on roll, and is going into the sixth year of ‘A’ level examinations. In 2007 the Salwa section was opened to cater for children at the BAE compound.


The Curriculum at BISR The academic programme is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stages 1 and 2 of the National Curriculum of England. In the senior section we offer IGCSEs, and A levels. Although we are essentially an English national curriculum school, our international context allows us to adapt our curriculum to include examples of good practice gleaned from other successful and highly regarded curricula and we are particularly keen to appoint a person who is innovative in the delivery of the National Curriculum and appreciates the opportunities that our location provides. BISR is well prepared to cater to the academic and social needs of internationally mobile students and encourages all students to constantly challenge themselves. Our teachers nurture students who are intellectually curious, creative, respectful, caring and discerning young adults, conscious of their responsibility to the community and their environment. Parents are encouraged to work in partnership with the school and support its drive towards excellence. The school is set up as a not-for-profit entity and is a member of The British Schools of the Middle East (BSME) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). We are at present in the Self Study phase of the CIS accreditation process. For further information on this please visit


About the school • There are currently 1500 students and 125 teachers at the Main Site and 12 teachers at the Salwa Section of BISR. •

The school is a member of the Council of International Schools and The British Schools of the Middle East;

• The primary school is well established, and the senior school is expanding rapidly. • The school is currently at capacity, and is actively seeking a new site. • We have 55 nationalities represented among our student body, with approximately 50% of them British. • The teaching staff consists of 15 different nationalities • There is a strong culture of sport at the school. We are excellent in swimming and pretty good at football. • The school has a very good reputation and is often described as a ‘flagship’ within internationals schools in Saudi Arabia. • We currently have former students at Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, Harvard, UCL, London School of Economics and Imperial College. • Our net salaries are very good, and among the highest in the world – but we don’t want teachers to apply because the money is good. We only want very highly committed and enthusiastic practitioners. We can afford to be choosy and we are. • Riyadh is an interesting city, with a vast range of restaurants to suit every taste. • There are some wonderful weekend getaway places just a couple of hours away from Riyadh and many of the staff spend a lot of their time diving, kite-boarding or engaging in other water-based activities. • Riyadh is a great ‘base’ location to visit other countries in the region. • We expect our staff to work very hard and to ‘go the extra mile’. • GCSE and A level results are outstanding. • Class sizes do not exceed 20. • Parents have very high expectations and can be very demanding, but they are very supportive of the school. • Students have very high expectations of teachers. They are also very supportive, generally hard working and a pleasure to teach. • The Board does not micro-manage. • The school is set up as a not-for–profit entity. • It is a very exciting time to be at the school as the senior school grows and the curriculum expand. • The staff live in magnificent apartments and the rent is paid by the school. There are no utilitiy bills apart from telephone. • We provide a very generous annual travel allowance. • All of our teachers offer one after school activity or team training per week. • Every classroom has an interactive whiteboard and all teachers are either proficient at using the IWBs, or willing to learn very quickly!


What do we think makes our school special? • A British education is respected world-wide. • We are academically successful with proven examination success at IGCSE and A level. • The behaviour of our students is excellent – a feature regularly commented on by visitors. • We enjoy high levels of parent satisfaction. • Individual student and staff successes are recognised, rewarded and celebrated. • We offer a vast range of extra-curricular activities. • We focus on the all-round development of each child as a global citizen. • Our students develop as life-long learners. • Traditional values and good manners are reinforced. • BISR students feel proud of themselves and their school. • We have an international mix of students from more than 55 Countries. • We invest in our staff. At any one time there are usually several teachers attending courses in any part of the world. • We are reflective. Recently we have gone through both the CIS Accreditation process and a Penta (British Standards Overseas) inspection. The feedback from both was outstanding.


Living on a Compound in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, by its very guarded and reserved nature, is a land of mystery. At the same time it is a land of wonder and immense variety. Visitors can spend time in the many modern shopping malls of the big cities, all of which offer the latest goods from all the recognized names; or they can experience and explore the stillness and serenity of the Rub al Khali, the largest sand desert in the world. In between these extremes, there is history, Arab culture, volcanoes, souqs, the Red Sea and Persian Gulf and much, much more. Before you start your exploring in this beautiful country, you must bear in mind that Saudi is very strict about some things: women, outside the residential compounds, must wear an “abaya”, an allblack dress that covers your neck down to your ankles. Shorts are prohibited for both men and women. Muslim prayers are observed five times a day and most places close for the 25 minutes of prayer. Shopping trips have to be planned to fit in with these times – which also vary according to the time of year. Women are not permitted to drive. Compounds have a taxi service for a modest cost, along with a free shopping bus service. The school provides transport for single female teachers. Riyadh is one of the fastest growing cities in the world with a population of close to 5 million. There is a large expatriate population which forms a part of this. Making friends and mixing with people of many different nationalities, whether through one of the many clubs or casually in a residential compound is an important aspect of living in Riyadh. Any classroom at the British International School will have up to 12 different nationalities. Expatriates in the professional community come from Western Europe, Southern Africa, the Antipodes and the Asian sub-continent mostly. These workers are involved in IT, banking, medicine, education and a host of business activities. They stay between two years and a lifetime. Activities in Riyadh are mostly based around shopping, club activities and social gatherings. Shopping malls have significantly grown in number in the last ten years. There are two larger ones in the high towers of Faisaliah and Kingdom but equally large and luxurious ones have appeared all around the city. Clothing, mostly women and children’s, features prominently but there are the usual collection of electronics, including computers, sporting goods and houseware. Riyadh, like many other Middle Eastern cities, has all the latest trends. Large stores include Debenhams, Marks and Spencers and Next. Many of these malls feature large supermarkets; Carrefour and Hyperpanda are prominent. However, there are several Tamimi supermarkets which are linked to Safeways and perhaps more akin to British taste. However, they do not stock the range you will find in Tesco or Sainsbury, and, of course, no pork.


The souqs offer an alternative to the malls. Batha is part of the old centre of Riyadh. It is a busy, bustling area where most of the Asian community collects. Within Batha, there is a speciality area for electronics known as the 5 buildings; there is the tent souq where you can get any type of canvas product sewn from bag to Bedu tent; the spare parts souq where you can get anything for your car – roof racks, audio equipment, seating covers, alarm systems etc, etc – all fitted cheaply and quickly; simply leave your car and shop for an hour or two and enjoy a schwarma while you wander; there is a tailoring section where these men can copy any item of clothing you wish, simply following the command ‘same, same’. Kuwaiti souq, to the north end of the city is another must to wander and shop for tailoring, furniture, carpets, gold, materials and spices. There are many sporting clubs, off-road driving clubs, drama, music and a whole variety of leisure/pastime pursuits including the ever-popular hash. There are two championship, grass golf courses and several smaller courses and, of course desert courses which have to be experienced at least once. Dirab golf course is the most established and is about a 45 minute drive from Riyadh down the spectacular escarpment. There are many different styles of restaurants ranging from the usual fast food outlets to the more sumptuous restaurants, mostly found in hotels such as the Four Seasons in Kingdom, and Mondos in The Intercontinental. There are many Turkish restaurants offering the ‘flat’ bbq chicken with hummus, tabula and methabula. There are also many Chinese, Indian, Thai and Italian eating places. More recently, such American chains as Chillies and TGIF have appeared – but don’t expect a glass of wine or a beer with your meal. There are even the ubiquitous fish and chip shops. The true beauty of Saudi Arabia lies outside the cities. Only a minority of people take the opportunity to explore one of the world’s most undiscovered landscapes. There is a well-established off-road club – RRR (Riyadh Rovers Register) - who gather for a social every month. During this meeting they discuss trips and show slides.


Compound life is a significant part of living and working in Riyadh. Many of the compounds are relatively luxurious and include all the facilities you would expect to find in a 5* hotel. There will be swimming pools, tennis and squash, large gymnasiums, restaurant, coffee shop, shops and many other features. Life in the compounds is leisurely as expats enjoy the freedom from house and garden chores. To some, the routine of pool, chatting, gym, tennis and shopping can become tedious; to others it is heaven. These compounds have buses to take non-working wives on daily excursions to whatever mall or occasionally for other more interesting visits to museums or farms. Children wander and play safely but being able to swim is essential. There are many organized sporting and play activities for younger children. Swimming is a popular competitive sport for young children with regular training and meets. There is perhaps less for older children who tend to meet with friends on compounds. Again it is an opportunity to make friends with like minded people of many different nationalities, and also to join them on one of the many weekly camping excursions to one of the many sites within 100 km of Riyadh. These are places of natural beauty where the landscape maybe canyonesque or made up of sand dunes. Dune driving is an art which can be learnt and used widely in Saudi. Some of the local sites are intriguingly known as Graffiti Rock, Jebel Baloum, Edge of the World, Natural Arch and several more. You may want to go searching for desert diamonds or sharks’ teeth, or you may simply want to improve your off-road driving skills and enjoy the campfire company of friends at a chosen camping location. Camping, by the way, is rough and ready with no facilities whatsoever. Often, people dispense with a tent and sleep on ‘cots’ under the stars and fall asleep while gazing in wonder at the Milky Way on a clear night. The following is a link to a book written by the daughter of one of our teachers, and provides a valuable insight into this magic Kingdom: while the following gives excellent insight into the history of the region, and Saudi Arabia’s place within it:



What are the key features of an overseas hire teacher’s contract at BISR? You will be paid a UK salary M1-M6 equivalent in Saudi Riyals. In addition, you will receive an overseas allowance of 30% of basic salary. Our staff tend to save (depending how many rugs or gold rings that you buy) a large proportion of their salary without compromising on lifestyle. Initial contacts are two years – these are renewable for one or two years, and several staff have been at BISR for many years. All staff enjoy a lump sum End Of Service Benefit equal to two weeks salary for each year worked up to five years, and then beyond five years the EOSB is a full month’s salary for each year worked. Accommodation will be on a compound very close to the school. Most staff live on Al Hamra compound – and it is just a couple of minutes walk to their classroom from where they live. The compounds have been compared to seven star hotels, and have a range of different types of accommodation, as well as shops, an excellent gym (which is busy with BISR staff at 5am!), sports facilities, a bowling alley, and seven swimming pools –including some that are heated. See sa Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi – but having seen the roads, few want to!

Cars and drivers

are provided by the school for both work and social purposes though priority is given to single female staff. For male staff an interest-free car-loan is available. For each completed school year, employees and their dependants will receive a travel allowance. The amount is agreed by the Board of Governors each year and is very generous. The school will pay for initial arrival visas, all business visas, one ‘exit/entry’ visa on renewal of contract and final exit when you leave the Kingdom at the end of employment. While it is not possible for friends to visit staff in Saudi, due to visa restrictions, we are able to assist with applications for visas for family members to visit. For some reason, we receive many requests for family visas during the UK winter months! We provide a SR2,000 Baggage Allowance per employee and dependant on first arrival and a SR3,000 Baggage Allowance per employee and dependant on final departure. The school covers the cost of pre-approved training courses. The school provides comprehensive medical insurance cover for staff and their dependants. Free education at the School for up to 2 dependants under the age of 18 is available. Personal effects are insured by the school up to SR3,000 whilst on school premise and household contents up to SR10,000. Female staff are entitled to 10 calendar weeks maternity leave. Female staff will recieve full pay during this period.


Facilities Are You Suited to International Teaching? If you haven’t taught overseas before you might like to consider whether you are the sort of person who is able to easily adapt to teaching in another country by considering how you would respond to the following general advice: • Learn as much as possible about the host country in advance so that you have realistic expectations. • Anticipate a challenging adjustment period of at least three months before making a decision about the move and whether you like it or not. • Do not expect to be able to replicate your current lifestyle. Look for what is there, not for what isn’t. • Always try to understand the host country perspective. It will be different! • Develop a tolerance for ambiguity and frustration by being flexible and open towards the new culture. Do not expect the new culture to have the same sense of urgency or availability of conveniences. • In all things be flexible. • Maintain a sense of humour, but most importantly be ready to laugh at yourself. • Look for ways to strenghten and maintain your enthusiasm.


What is our Teacher Selection Criteria: • Qualified Teacher status; Qualifications

• Certificate of Education, First degree or equivalent; • Training or qualification relevant to the post.

Understanding • An appreciation of the demands of a British school in an international context ;and an acceptance that contribution to the extra-curricular life of the school is essential. Teachers contribute to the success of the House system; • An appreciation of the importance of international understanding; • Experience of working in various contexts both in the UK and internationally. Experience

• Experience of teaching within Key Stage or subject; • Willingness to work closely with colleagues in preparing for teaching and learning; • Experience of positive behaviour management strategies; • Experience of planning for children with Special Educational Needs and Gifted and Talented children; • Experience of curriculum development, monitoring and assessment; • Experience of working with second language students or prepared to undertake training.

Skills and Abilities

• A detailed knowledge of the English national curriculum; • Ability to organise a stimulating learning environment and demonstrate excellent creative teaching skills; • Good organisation of recording and evaluating progress; • Show good communication skills when working with pupils, parents and colleagues; • Effective skills in managing and organising own time and directing deployment of teaching assistants; • Good ICT skills to be effective in your job; • An understanding of Assessment for Learning Strategies and use of this to inform future planning; • The desire to develop knowledge of the curriculum above and below the preferred key stage;


• Warmth and sense of humour;


• Flexibility; • Enthusiasm; • Team player; • Commitment to continuing professional development; • Willingness to be involved in extra curricular activities and events and engage in all aspects of school life; • High expectations of yourself and of children; • First class communication skills; • Empathy with pupils, colleagues, parents and visitors; • You must be a glass half-full person!

Equal Opportunities


• Ability to promote equal opportunities with respect to race, gender and disability

Finally... As Principal, I have been at the school for just over five years, having spent the previous seven years as Head of School at the British School Manila. Before that I was Head at Brookhouse, Nairobi also for seven years. I have also taught in the UK, the USA and Germany. We have a wonderful community here at BISR. Our students are highly motivated and a pleasure to interact with every day. Our staff are committed and know how to have fun. However, although the package is generally regarded as generous, we are not interested in people who only want to join us because of the money. We want passionate educators, who wish to work extremely hard to make BISR the best British-style school in the region, and a genuine contender for the status of flagship British School worldwide. We expect all teachers to offer an extra-curricular activity and also to contribute to the House programme. Does this sound like the place where you would like to make a difference?

How to apply for a teaching position at BISR Please complete and upload your application form, up-to-date CV, (including a photograph) and a supporting statement of application to Try to make your letter no more than two sides of A4. We have decided to give applicants some guidance on what to include in the letter as previously we have received applications which focus heavily on behaviour management. Our boys and girls are very, very well-behaved, and so we would rather read about your many other attributes. Therefore please respond to the following. Feel free to structure your letter as you want, and to combine two or more of these questions into one paragraph if you wish. 1. Explain why you are applying for this position. Is because of push or pull factors?. Please identify the single most significant reason for making the application. 2. Explain in what ways your expertise and experience makes you a strong candidate for this role. What have you done professionally up to this point in your life which makes you special? 3. How do you think you would be able to support our Mission and REACH motto? 4. Describe a good lesson you delivered recently, and explain why you think it was good and how it exemplified your own definition of quality learning. 5. Do you think a school can be British and International? How do you think this is achieved? 6. What do you want to be doing in five years time, and if appointed to a post at BISR, how do you think we can help you develop professionally? We very much look forward to receiving you application. Chris Mantz Principal

British International School P.O. Box 8576 Riyadh 11612, Saudi Arabia Tel: +966 (0)11 2482387 Fax: +966 (0)11 2482387 14

How to find us The British International School Riyadh, is located off junction 8, Eastern Ring Road. For directions please contact the Registrar:

British International School Riyadh

British International School P.O. Box 85769 Riyadh 11612, Saudi Arabia British International School Riyadh a] PO Box 85769 ,Riyadh 11612, KSA[ t] +966 11 2482387[ f] +966 11 2480351[ w][


British International School P.O. Box 8576 Riyadh 11612, Saudi Arabia Tel: +966 (0)11 2482387 Fax: +966 (0)11 2482387

The application process for a teaching position at bisr  
The application process for a teaching position at bisr