I decided to start writing this blog at 6:30 this morning, as I have a feeling today is going to run away with me, and before I know it the weekend will have arrived!
The week has been “brilliantly busy,” as my friend David Harkin of 8billionideas fame likes to term it! We’ve had the hustle and bustle of new staff arriving, parents stopping by to find out about the coming year, admissions numbers going through the roof – and in a couple of hours, our new pupils will be turning up for their induction morning. There are too many takeaways to mention, but here are just a few of my top moments from the last week:
- The arrival of the lorries from ports around the Kingdom! I don’t think I’ve EVER been so excited to see HGVs rolling in, packed to the rafters with our amazing bespoke custom-built furniture, created by our friends at Kidzink. So excited was I, that you may have caught me dancing in the car park at 7am. I’m not sure what our team of security guards thought about that!
- Meeting our amazing new members of staff! It felt very strange waiting for them at the arrivals area of King Khalid International Airport, having only been welcomed there myself a few weeks before. It is such a huge leap of faith for colleagues to pack their bags and fly halfway around the world to join a school community – I’m so proud of them all, and I know that they will make such a positive contribution to our school.
- Watching colleagues deliver the most insightful INSET, ranging from Abla guiding us through Saudi Vision 2030 and how it intertwines so beautifully with our Tapestry framework, to Julia leading a superb session on safeguarding (without a doubt the most important thing that anyone in education will do). The sessions were expertly led, and there was ample room for discussion, so colleagues left with a wealth of knowledge and confidence. I too enjoyed sharing my vision and mission for the education on offer here – I focused on the academic research upon which all of this is built – and based on the number of books that have already been borrowed from my library, I think it definitely resonated!
- Seeing Space Zero’s designs come to life! Having watched the amazing team at Space Zero HQ imagine, design and refine such innovative and child-centred spaces, and then seeing them assembled here in Riyadh is a real “pinch me” moment. One standout space for me is the Primary Reception, where the full building can be seen from the ground, lit up with natural light. It makes for such a warm and breathtaking welcome, and I can’t wait to show the Space0 team around next time they visit.
- Finally, the real stars of the show – the children! It was such a joy to see our pupils this week. Schools without children are the strangest places – its students’ innate curiosity and energy that breathe joy, soul, and life into these spaces. Taking an open Q and A session from parents and pupils MAY have been a brave move – questions ranged from how we deliver our full and specialised Arabic and Islamic Studies curriculum (from a parent!) to what colour the trikes in the KG play space are (from a child). I’ll let you guess who delivered the hardest question of all – where do dinosaurs come from?
We’re more than ready, and beyond excited, to welcome our whole school family back next week! Until then, have a restful weekend!