500 years of academic innovation
RGSGD will welcome its first pupils in September 2021. Our campus is designed for boys and girls aged from 3 to 18. Initially, we will be accepting primary age pupils (age 3 -11), and the school will grow year by year. Our school will embody the ethos and values that have underpinned the Royal Grammar School Guildford in the UK for over 500 years. These, combined with a spirit of innovation and development, will prepare pupils for the challenges of the 21st and 22nd centuries. We lead by example, stay true to our values, innovate, collaborate and strive to be the very best we can be.
The Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai (RGSGD) is a true sister school of one of the most respected and successful schools in the United Kingdom, the Royal Grammar School Guildford (RGS).
RGS continues to grow and flourish while retaining its proud historical roots and traditions. It is consistently one of the top boys’ schools at both A-Level and GCSE in the UK, according to national league tables. The school is exceptionally proud of its Oxbridge record; in the last decade alone, over 350 of our pupils received offers of places from Oxford and Cambridge universities.
Since its foundation in 1509, the Royal Grammar School has established a national and international reputation for academic excellence. Much admired among its peers, it is an ambitious school that values scholarship and community, striving for excellence in all things while acting with great compassion.
RGSGD reflects the same high standards and inspiring ethos of its home school in the UK.
RGS was founded in Guildford thanks to a bequest from Robert Beckingham, a Freeman of the City of London. In 1555, an imposing Tudor schoolhouse at the top of the High Street in Guildford was purchased. As the architectural heart of the school, this original building is a landmark in the local town. Over the centuries, RGS acquired further buildings, and there has been significant development of facilities over recent years.
In 1978, the school acquired the prestigious and successful Lanesborough Preparatory School, also in Guildford. Lanesborough continues to enjoy close links with the RGS; both schools are owned by the same charity and share the same governing body. Lanesborough also works alongside the RGS in supporting and providing guidance from the perspective of the primary sector to its international schools in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, UAE.
Mr Craig Lamshed
Craig Lamshed has educational leadership experience spanning more than 20 years, including as a Principal in Dubai, and his roles have encompassed the British, UAE, International Baccalaureate, Australian and American curricula.
He was a brand leader for Cambridge Schools in Dubai, a member of the Global Education Review and is an accredited British Schools Overseas reviewer. A graduate of Monash University in Australia, he holds a Master's in School Leadership.
He brings to Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai (RGSGD) proven experience of founding a senior school in the UAE, broad educational leadership practice and a passion for excellence.
Mrs Clare Turnbull
Head of Prep
Clare Turnbull has over 20 years of experience in educational leadership roles. She has direct senior leadership experience from RGS Guildford, where she was a member of the senior leadership team for 16 years, 13 of which she was Head of the Preparatory School of RGS Guildford.
Clare graduated from the University of Exeter with a Bachelor's degree and has a Masters in Educational Leadership (Distinction). She has been a governor of three independent schools in the UK and is an experienced inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).
She brings the academic excellence of RGS Guildford to her role at Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai (RGSGD), as well as a deep understanding of its distinctive culture, values and learning habits.
As part of our commitment to providing teachers and pupils with a quality learning environment, the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai (RGSGD) is incredibly excited to deliver world-class facilities that will provide every child with access to the level of education needed to thrive in the 21st century.
At the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai (RGSGD), we value our community. Our staff are unquestionably one of our most valuable assets. Their expertise and guidance are vital to inspiring young minds, sparking curiosity and promoting a love of learning in and beyond the classroom.
To complement the experienced, passionate, innovative, creative and committed staff at RGS Guildford in the UK, the team at RGSGD are made up of outstanding international educators with vision and drive, who are also committed to making RGSGD a phenomenal experience for our pupils and their families.
Assistant Head, Upper Key Stage 2
My name is Joe Creal, and I am the Assistant Head of Upper KS2 at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai. I am excited and eager to return to the UAE after holding many roles in a variety of Prep schools both in the UK and in the UAE. Most recently, I have been at the Preparatory School of the Royal Grammar School Guildford, UK for the past 4 years.
There I have served as Head of Science, Housemaster, teacher Mathematics to Years 5 and 6, and Games coach. I bring the full experience of the RGS to Dubai as I was a pupil myself at the Royal Grammar School Guildford in the UK.
I obtained a BSc in Sports Science and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Canterbury Christ Church University. I have recently completed my Master’s in Education Leadership.
I believe that the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of each pupil is our top priority and our values, learning habits and leadership development here at the RGS is so important to our young people’s growth and development. I am therefore both honoured and excited to be part of this exceptional journey with fellow teachers and parents, as we empower children to succeed and become valuable leaders of society.
Head of Inclusion
I cannot wait to welcome you and your children through our doors this September! My name is Laura Evans, and I am the Head of Inclusion at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai. I have been the Head of Learning Support for the last 12 years at the Royal Grammar School Guildford, UK where I managed a successful Learning Support Department that guided many children and their families by identifying and supporting their learning needs.
My career in education began as a Secondary level English teacher, being an integral part of various schools in London and the South East of England. I then obtained a Master's in Special and Inclusive Education from the Institute of Education, University of London.
I look forward to sharing the excellence and values of RGS Guildford with the families of the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai. It is a privilege to be part of a school with such an inspiring tradition that provides a wealth of exciting opportunities for our pupils. I look forward to sharing these exciting opportunities with you and your children!
Director of Sport
My name is James Bennett. I am genuinely excited to be a part of the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai team as Director of Sport. Sport/s brings me joy, as can be seen from my over 20 years of experience as a PE and Games practitioner and leader. I started my teaching career at the Prep School of the Royal Grammar School Guildford, and progressed through the department until I became the Director of Sport.
Having gained coaching qualifications in a multitude of areas such as cricket, football, swimming, athletics, gymnastics and most recently climbing, I constantly look for ways to further my knowledge. I wish to impart that love for learning to your children.
The pastoral wellbeing and personal development of our pupils is central to all that we do at the RGS and I prioritise recognising the specific needs of each pupil, both on the sporting field and in life. I have been a Housemaster and Tutor across a wide variety of age groups, and I am looking forward to serving as a guide for our Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai pupils. I aim to support them all as they endeavour to achieve their sporting goals and overall success so that each and every one of them becomes a fully participating member of our community.
Assistant Head, Early Years Foundation Stage
I cannot tell you how excited I am to be joining the founding team as Assistant Head of EYFS at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai. Along with my passion to help and guide young children through their early years, I have 16 years of School Leadership experience across the Primary age range, particularly in EYFS.
I obtained my Bachelor of Education Degree from Liverpool Hope University and furthered my studies to achieve the National Award for Special Needs Co-ordination. It is through my education and experience that I have developed a deep understanding of how children learn, particularly in the acquisition of Language, Phonics, Reading and the Arts.
With my 4 years' experience of applying the British National Curriculum to teaching at a large international school in Dubai, I am honoured to be part of the culture and diversity that comes with living and teaching in the UAE. Likewise, I am equally honoured to have been given the opportunity to be integral part of the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai. I look forward to working with our pupils and their families, as we embark on an exciting journey that fosters both character development and academic excellence.
Assistant Head, Key Stage 1
My name is Beckie Bennett and I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to be the Assistant Head of Key Stage 1 at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai. After I graduated from the University of Gloucestershire with a specialist degree in Early Years and Sports Teaching, I looked for exceptional and challenging school environments where I could have the opportunity to pioneer forward-thinking learning environments for children in EAL and SEN programs.
This is how my experience in adapting to the culture and learning needs of each pupil spans over the course of more than 10 years in teaching and senior leadership.
I am so excited to be joining the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, with its inspirational curriculum, resources and focus on values, learning habits and personal development. I am sure that this is certainly one adventure where I can apply my teaching expertise in ensuring that all children obtain the very best kind of education at our school. With your children, this is going to be a great adventure - I am looking forward to it!
Assistant Head, Lower Key Stage 2
My name is Imran Akhtar, and I am Assistant Head of Lower KS2 at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai. Over the course of my 13 year career in education, I have played an integral part in leading teams of faculty in various schools. At each school, it was always my goal to continue to improve the standard of teaching and learning, whilst adhering to the cultural values of the school and its community.
As I completed my BSc Honour's degree in Sports Development with Coaching from Sheffield Hallam University, I discovered that it was my calling to enrich the minds of children. I therefore completed my teacher training at Nottingham Trent University the following year.
I bring to the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai my experience, passion and dedication, as inspired by the fostering of distinctive values and learning habits that prepare young minds for the 21st century and beyond.
I look forward to meeting all of you and your children very soon!
Sajida Al Bashir
Head of Arabic and Islamic Studies
As salamu alaikoom, parents and children! My name is Sajida Al Bashir. As Head of Arabic and Islamic Education at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, it brings me great joy and honour to be in a position to make a difference in the lives of our pupils. I have over 24 years of leadership and teaching experience, educating pupils in the fields of Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies, along with Personal, Social, Health, and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) in American, British and IB curriculum schools in Dubai.
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Islamic Law from the University of Jordan in 1996, and then acquired a Master’s in Education from the American University in Dubai in 2019.
Here at the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, I am excited to have been given the chance pursue my personal commitment as an educator, as I continue to build relationships that foster trust, confidence and hope for the future. I look forward to meeting you and your children soon!
Maintaining the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of each pupil is our number one priority. Our pastoral care system is designed to support every pupil and includes a close working partnership with parents. At the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai (RGSGD), we passionately believe in two principles: firstly, that if our pupils are happy, they will flourish and, secondly, that each pupil is an individual. Irrespective of their passions, outlook and interests, each pupil at RGSGD has the space in which to grow.
Building on the long tradition at the RGS in the UK, we expect our older pupils to take on a caring role for younger pupils. That is what makes the RGSGD a family. Our staff offer outstanding pastoral care overseen by the Deputy Head.
The school has a duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of its pupils. Safeguarding our pupils is always our number one priority. Our commitment to safeguarding is outlined in our Safeguarding Policy.
All members of our team are trained in the latest safeguarding practices, and all new staff undergo extensive background checks before any appointment is confirmed.
The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai is a true partnership between the Royal Grammar School Guildford and Cognita. We work collaboratively on every aspect of the school – sharing the highest expectations and aspirations, underpinned by a deep respect for the respective organisation.
The Royal Grammar School Guildford brings a long and distinguished track record of excellence in all areas of education. For further details on the history of the Royal Grammar School please click here.
Cognita is an extraordinary group of diverse but connected schools, joining forces in an inspiring world of education with one common purpose: to build self-belief and empower individuals to succeed.
With over 75 schools in Europe, Asia and Latin America, including 40 in the UK, we employ 7,500 teaching and support staff in the care and education of more than 52,000 pupils.
You can find further information on Cognita here.