RGS Guildford set for new chapter in Qatar
April 26 2016 10:42 PM
A group photo of members of RGS Qatar and Al Qamra Holding with British ambassador Ajay Sharma at the launch. Photo by Umer Nangiana

By Umer Nangiana

The Royal Grammar School Guildford in Qatar announced opening of its doors in September this year. Initially open for co-educational Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils aged between three and six, the school in future will open additional year groups, from Year 3 to Sixth Form. 

Hamad Saleh al-Qamra, Chairman, Al Qamra Holding, said his group is honoured to be partnering with the RGS Guildford. Right: Photo by Umer Nangiana

The school will offer single-sex education to its Senior School students as well as some co-curricular activities. Located in Umm Salal Mohammed, RGS Guildford in Qatar, will follow a British curriculum that has been developed at the RGS Guildford, and will be delivered in an international setting. 
The rigorous curriculum has been specifically designed to offer the stretch and challenge that is required to inspire children to make the most of their talents. The announcement was officially made in a ceremony attended by HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi and Ajay Sharma, the British ambassador to Qatar, along with other dignitaries. 
The RGS Guildford has a long tradition of academic excellence dating back to 1509. It is opening its first campus outside of the UK in Qatar, where it will be working to support the Qatar National Vision 2030 for education. 
“Qatar and Britain have always enjoyed close relations. I am thrilled that Britain has continued to support the State of Qatar, with the most recent being the opening of the RGS Guildford — a truly iconic British educational institution which will open its doors to the students of Qatar,” said Ajay Sharma.
Hamad Saleh al-Qamra, Chairman, Al Qamra Holding, said that his group is honoured to be partnering with RGS Guildford. 
“We truly understand the need for high quality education in Qatar, especially in the context of the Qatar National Vision 2030, and we are immensely proud to be supporting and providing the highest standards in education for the people of Qatar,” said al-Qamra.
We have been looking for an international school for RGS for five years. We have been approached by dozens of schools from China, India, Russia, the Middle East and South America. The countries approached us said they would give us money and buy our brand, we did not want that,” Paul Bridges, the Principal of RGS Guildford, told Community. 
“We wanted to be able to bring the school that we believe in here. When Al Qamra came to us they said would you please run the school for us. It was the best partnership we saw in five years. And when we actually came here Al Qamra were true to their word,” he added. 
Bridges said he is from the RGS and he is bringing to Qatar the “the RGS ethos, the methods and the things they are so proud of.” 
At the RGS Guildford in Qatar learning is at the heart of everything, and in Qatar they tailor their education and the learning experiences of the children to allow them to take risks and to develop as independent, creative learners, capable of becoming leaders in whichever career they choose, said the principal talking to the audience. Over the many years the RGS has been educating children. We have helped thousands of young adults develop the academic and personal characteristics they need to succeed in their adult life, he added.
“I am very enthusiastic about our opening in Qatar and we have had a fantastic response to applications thus far. The school is also looking forward to a prosperous and successful partnership with Al Qamra,” said Bridges.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jon Cox, the RGS Guildford Headmaster, said the RGS Guildford is delighted to be opening in Qatar in September 2016 with the ongoing support of their local partners, Al Qamra Holding. 
“We will have the chance to further develop our educational provision and facilities, to provide the opportunities for partnership with the Arab world which go far beyond our current provision of Arabic language tuition, and to provide significant support for our goal for an admissions’ process which allows merit-based upon access in the future,” said Cox.
Students who will attend the RGS Guildford in Qatar will find themselves as members of an international community of exceptional schools, and in the future will join the ranks of Old Guildfordians as alumni members, being part of a historical tradition that dates back half a millennium.
During the evening reception, which was hosted by the RGS Guildford in Qatar’s local partner, Hamad Saleh al-Qamra, Chairman of Al Qamra Holding, a number of key officials were also in attendance including Fawzia Abdulaziz al-Khater, Director of Education Institute at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education; Hamad al-Ghali al-Marri, Director of The Private Schools Office at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Head of Prep School Alistair Downs and Dr Hossam Mostafa, CEO of Al Qamra Holding.

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