Our Executive Principal’s Five Highlights of the Week

We have thoroughly enjoyed our final week of term here at Beech Hall School Riyadh. I can’t believe we’re now two thirds of the way through the year, with only the summer term left to go! Time certainly flies when you’re busy innovating, educating and building the most amazing school in the heart of Riyadh! Before we all embark on a very well-earned break, here are some of my highlights from the last week.

  • We were delighted to host the inaugural Beech Hall School Riyadh Iftar this week, for members of our community. Parents, staff and students alike joined together to break their fast and enjoy some delicious food after the sun had set. We all enjoyed being together, and the food was very welcome after a day of fasting and reflection. A real highlight for me was seeing parents from all around the world joining together to share their experiences. The very intense student chess matches after eating were also highly engaging and impressive – I have no doubt we have a chess master or two in our midst!
  • I spent time this week doing a learning walk, starting in KG and ending up in Grade 9. Part of being an inclusive school is ensuring that stretch and challenge is in place for those children who really excel in certain areas. That was in abundance as I walked around the school! From very impressive phonics in KG, to seeing some terrifyingly difficult equations being tackled in Grade 9, it was very clear to me that our children are being challenged all the time, enabling high levels of progress and accomplishment. I was impressed, not only by the learners’ mindsets, but also by the way in which their teachers were quietly facilitating incredible learning in a highly tailored way. 
  • I love the way in which Drama has really come to life at Beech Hall School Riyadh. We’re passionate about the performing arts, and we are so blessed to have Ms Zina leading our Drama provision. We’re also very lucky to have the most beautiful purpose-built performance space in our auditorium. This week, the school celebrated World Theatre Day with a bang! From school productions to student-written plays, we dived into the magic of storytelling and the power of performance. To see the children embracing drama and developing skills such as confidence, delivery and stage awareness was just amazing – and I know this will set them in good stead as they move through the school and in their lives after graduation. Long may that continue, and well done to Ms Zina and all of our pupils!
  • We love opening our doors to the very youngest members of our community, and this week’s KG Stay and Play was no exception. The KG team is amazing at creating exciting and engaging activities for our toddlers, and it’s wonderful to see how much more confident the little ones are each time that they visit the school. It’s safe to say that they are more than school ready, and they can’t wait to start! This is top secret information so don’t go around telling everyone, but we may just have some exciting news for the youngest members of our wider school community… Keep your eyes and ears open! 
  • Having checked that it would be appropriate and respectful to attempt fasting, I decided to experience it for myself. I really wanted to do this to walk a mile in the shoes of our students and staff who are fast for the whole of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Once Ms Abla confirmed that it would be okay for me to try, I fasted for two days this week. It was a really interesting experience, waking up very early indeed to take in water (and caffeine!) for the day. The idea of not drinking or eating for around 11 or 12 hours was quite daunting. I must admit, I failed on the first day as I needed to drink some water. Ms Faiza reassured me, however, that I was trying ‘soft hours’ and that I shouldn’t feel bad! It was a relief to eat for the first time that day, after the sun had set at around 6 o’clock. The next day, I woke up early again and had a bite to eat, and I then managed a full day with no water or food until our Iftar! I was really proud, although I fully recognise that this is just one day, rather than the full month that my colleagues and students experience. Upon reflection, I recognise that the level of focus and dedication to fast for the entire month is incredibly high and that it is a real achievement. It is an even greater achievement to carry on learning, working and playing when fasting! As ever, it left me feeling very proud of our amazing community here at Beech Hall School Riyadh. 

We wish you the most wonderful Eid celebration when it comes, and I cannot wait to see our community back in April, ready for the last term of the year!

Clemmie Stewart,

Executive Principal