The English School – Salmiya, Kuwait, iiQ8
The English School was founded in 1953, by a group of volunteer parents in expatriate housing in North Kuwait in response to a need for schooling for their families. A Management Team of five parents was formed and it was agreed that the School would be non-profit making.
The fees charged were 150 rupees ( the rupee being the currency in Kuwait at that time) which helped to cover the running costs and expenditure on resources. It was known as the Shuwaikh School and it expanded from 9 pupils in the first year, situated in the lounge of Block 4, Shuwaikh Bachelors Camp, to about 45 pupils in three classes in 1954.
The first headmistress was one of the parents, Mrs Eric Jones. Initially, the School provided for children from 4 to 8 years, using the P.N.E.U. (Parents National Education Union) system.
In 1955, the first Sports Day was held and this became an annual event. Later, in 1959, the Annual Sports Day prizes were presented by the wife of the British Political Agent, Mr John Richmond. In 1957, the site of the Shuwaikh Bachelor Camp was officially given over to the school in three complete classroom blocks. It was later, in 1965, when Mrs Inez Murray was headmistress of the Shuwaikh School, that Ms Joyce Carter joined the School as the only qualified teacher among the staff who were mainly parents. In 1971, the School felt the need to expand to take children of 10 years due to the decline in the trend of sending children home to boarding school in the UK. In its early days, the School ethos was very much that of a family school, with parents running all aspects of school life. Both mothers and fathers helped to organise Sports Days and Christmas parties and to build, maintain and repair as required. This tradition was firmly established in 1973 with the official inauguration of the Parents Association in the form of a Book Evening, an event that helped to provide the initial Library stock and which was continued on a regular basis as the Library expanded. The Parents Association continues today, as it was then, as an invaluable and supportive element of the School.
Since the founding of Shuwaikh School, the first foreign school in Kuwait, coincided with the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the names of Royal residences, Buckingham, Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor were chosen for the newly-formed School Houses.
The School was renamed The English School, Kuwait, in 1970, at the request of the newly formed Private Schools sector of the Ministry of Education, and it in turn made way for the Civil Service Commission and moved into purpose built premises in Al-Surra in March 1973, with the agreement of the School owner, Mr Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar. The Headmistress then was Mrs Deidre Bird and the first day at the new School premises was marked by a visit from Mrs Margaret Thatcher who was then Secretary of State for Education in the UK. The British Ambassador, Sir John Wilton, together with his wife, accompanied Mrs Thatcher on her tour of inspection. Mrs Bird was Headmistress at the English School until 1985.
The school was closed from 1990-91 due to the Iraqi invasion and then following the Liberation, a group of interested parents, volunteered to try to get the school re-started so that children of those families who had returned soon afterwards could go to school. These dedicated parents were the nucleus of the first post-war Management Team. The School was re-opened with just under 30 pupils in 1991, with the help of Mrs Val Kirk as Acting Head and three teachers, including Ms Joyce Carter, who had just rejoined the School. In 1992, as pupil numbers increased, Mr Brian Errington joined the school from the UK as Headmaster and remained with the School when it moved to its present site in Salmiya in 1996. Mr Al-Bahar officially opened the School at Salmiya in the presence of the British Ambassador, Sir Graham Boyce in May 1996. In 1997, the School expanded to Year 7 for the first time and in 1998, to Year 8. Once again the School temporarily closed from 24th February until 25th April 2003 during Coalition Operations in Iraq. An Emergency School was operated briefly, during this time, for 100 or so children who were in Kuwait. In May 2003 the School opened its first Pre- Kindergarten class and then had a roll of about 400 children.
The year 2003 marked the 50th anniversary for The English School, Kuwait and we are proud that a fitting tribute was paid in recognition of Mr Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar our owner who received the OBE, in October, from HE the British Ambassador, Mr Christopher Wilton, CMG. The School was very proud also to receive a Royal visit from HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York in December.
The years 2004-2015 have seen significant growth and development. The school roll is now 600+ boys and girls from age 2½ – 13+. Several major capital projects have been completed in the last few years including a new Library, new Art and Design/Technology centre, new Swimming Pool, new ICT facilities including the introduction of Interactive Whiteboards and Performing Arts Centre. Most recently the school has added a music technology suite and has completely refurbished the gymnasium. The school is a modern, well equipped campus providing the best of British Prep School education to its pupil. The school is also a significant way along the journey of becoming an iPad school and by September 2016 Years 3 – 8 will all have their own (BYOD – bring your own device) in school.
Address of The English School
Musaed Al Azmi Street
The English School, P.O. Box 379, Safat, 13004, Kuwait