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One of Britain’s Oldest Independent Schools, the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Celebrates Opening Ceremony in Dubai

by Eddie Rayner

One of the most prestigious independent British Curriculum schools in the UK, the Royal Grammar School Guildford (RGS Guildford), has held a ceremony to celebrate the official opening of its new school in Dubai.

Exactly 512 years after the founding of the first Royal Grammar School in Guildford in the UK, the school’s UAE campus was officially opened with a plaque unveiling ceremony in the presence of Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Craig Lamshed, Founding Principal RGS Guildford Dubai and Dr Jon Cox, Headmaster RGS Guildford UK, as well as Clare Turnbull, RGS Guildford Dubai’s Head of Prep, Chris Jansen, CEO Cognita and David Baldwin, Managing Director, Middle East, Cognita.

Dr Jon Cox, Headmaster RGS Guildford UK

In his opening address, Dr Cox said: “It is our responsibility to engender in our students those skills that will be so important for the future: leadership, collaboration, creativity, critical thought, independence of thought, and tenacity. This is something we are renowned for back in the UK. 

The wonderful students at the end of their school careers are shining examples of the all-round education that we offer. And I know that we will be able to do something very similar here in Dubai.”

Dr Cox also thanked Dr Abdullah, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), and his team, saying: “They have been wonderfully supportive of this project; they’ve advised us, they’ve encouraged us throughout the process of establishing our new school here. And we are very appreciative of their continued assistance.

We hope that they will be as proud of the school as we are.”

For his part, Dr Abdullah commented: “The Royal Grammar School Guildford is joining the Dubai education community in a new academic year full of excitement and optimism.

The school’s students, teachers and parents will get the best of two worlds – a school with a long history of excellence in education in a dynamic city that is focused on the future. We welcome RGS to Dubai and to a school community that has quality and wellbeing at its heart.”


“I think our big difference is that the curriculum is set around a really strong set of values, the same values we have at RGS Guildford”


Craig Lamshed, Founding Principal of the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai (RGSGD)

Craig Lamshed, Founding Principal of the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai (RGSGD), said: “I am delighted that we have reached this momentous occasion of welcoming our first cohort of Guildfordians in Dubai. Staying true to RGS’s ethos and values, we will begin our journey of preparing our pupils for challenges of the 21st century by constantly innovating and providing a platform for our pupils to reach their full potential.”


Exactly 512 years after the founding of the first Royal Grammar School in Guildford in the United Kingdom, the school’s UAE campus was officially opened


Education UAE then managed to grab a couple of minutes in Mr Lamshed’s busy schedule, first asking him what makes RGSGD different from other schools. “I think our big difference is that the curriculum is set around a really strong set of values, the same values we have at RGS Guildford. We develop students in terms of development of character, in terms of how we move students from day one to day two, or, in other words, what they have to do to move from today to tomorrow.”

Of course, parents have an essential role to play too, with Mr Lamshed explaining: “The parents are part of the same community as the teachers and the students. We’re extremely happy that our parents have invested in the school, giving us ownership of looking after their children. We look forwards to our parents coming into school and working with us. 


“I am delighted that we have reached this momentous occasion of welcoming our first cohort of Guildfordians in Dubai”


And what we’ve done this week is to try and develop that relationship with our parents and our students – we need that in order to support them.

We do the very best we can here in the school, and our parents help us with what they do back home. So, yes, it’s essential we have really good relationships with our parents.”

Finally, we asked what RGSGD’s vision was for the next five years? “I would say that we stand true to our values. We are a representative of RGS Guilford in the UK, and what we say today is what we will still be doing in five years time: providing an outstanding education, character development, a rich curriculum based on values and learning habits, and happy, successful young people,” Mr Lamshed concluded.

RGS Guildford Dubai benefits from over 500 years of pioneering heritage, knowledge and practice of what makes great education and maximises the learning experience for each pupil through exceptional teaching, a curriculum that maintains a balance between ‘what’ is to be learnt and ‘how’ it is learnt, and a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. 


RGS Guildford Dubai benefits from over 500 years of pioneering heritage, knowledge and practice of what makes great education


The school is located within Majid Al Futtaim’s flagship Dubai community, Tilal Al Ghaf, adjacent to Hessa Street, between Dubai Motor City and Sports City. The incredible school sits on an impressive 40,000m2 campus and will accommodate up to 2,100 pupils. The light and dynamic building includes a 25-metre competition standard swimming pool and state-of-the-art classrooms and labs that will support science, art, languages, music and more.

For more information about the school and the admissions process, please visit rgsgd.com or email [email protected].