Students in the 21st century are faced with the challenge of learning about an interconnected world where knowledge is constantly developing. SEK-Riyadh plans to offer the International Baccalaureate® which prepares students to be active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.

The SEK-Riyadh curriculum is an international model developed by SEK for the context of Saudi Arabia, designed to meet the demands of a global third millennium international school, and to put our Future Learning Model into practice.

Central to the philosophy of our curriculum model is the principle that purposeful, structured inquiry is a powerful vehicle for learning that promotes meaning and understanding, and challenges students to engage with significant ideas. The curriculum aims at building and reinforcing students’ sense of identity and cultural awareness, while equipping them with the skills to learn, acquire knowledge, individually or collaboratively, and to reflect upon this process so that they become lifelong learners. By applying those skills and knowledge, and through the development of the SEK Profile and the IB learner profile, students are supported in becoming the future citizens who will create a better and more peaceful world.

The curriculum model is grounded in the social and historical context of Saudi Arabia, while also aligned with global contexts and international benchmarks. The curriculum will satisfy the educational needs of the local and expatriate population and is aimed at developing the next generation of Saudi Arabian and international students who will become active contributors to the local, regional, Saudi, and global communities.

SEK-Riyadh Education Model


Learning for the Real World

At SEK International School Riyadh this means our students are taught WHY we should know something and HOW it connects to other subjects and the real world. It means high quality teaching and learning-challenging instruction and worldwide knowledge. It also means opportunities to study abroad for college/university, as well as opportunities to make friends with others at IB schools around the world.

International Mindedness

At SEK International School Riyadh we are committed to international mindedness. According to the International Baccalaureate (IB), an internationally minded person is someone who demonstrates the attributes of the Learner Profile, which are the qualities determined to be most important in creating positive and productive citizens of the world.

SEK International School Riyadh is a candidate school* for the PYP. The school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education- that we believe is important for our students.

* Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes visit


The aim of the PYP, to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant, is achieved through structured inquiry and the development of essential elements: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action.Knowledge: What do we want students to know?

While the Primary Years Programme acknowledges the importance of traditional subject areas (language, mathematics, social studies, science, personal, social and physical education, and the arts), it is also recognized that it is equally important to acquire a set of skills in context, to explore content that is relevant to students, and transcends the boundaries of the traditional subjects. The Primary Years Programme has six transdisciplinary themes that provide the framework for learning. These themes are globally significant, support the acquisition of knowledge, concepts and skills of the traditional subjects. They are revisited throughout the students’ time in the PYP.

The PYP Transdisciplinary Themes are:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Concepts: What do we want students to understand?

The following key concepts are used to support and structure the inquiries. The exploration of concepts leads to a deeper understanding and allows students to transfer knowledge learned in one area of the curriculum to another.

Form:  What is it like? Function:  How does it work? Causation:  Why is it like it is? Change:  How is it changing? Connection:  How is it connected to other things? Perspective:  What are the points of view? Responsibility:  What is our responsibility? Reflection:  How do we know?

In addition to the above key concepts, children will inquire into related concepts in all curriculum areas.

Skills: What do we want students to be able to do?

Throughout their learning, students acquire and apply a set of skills which are valuable not only for the teaching and learning that goes on within classroom but also in life outside the school. There are five transdisciplinary skills identified within the Primary Years Programme:

Thinking skills. Social skills. Communication skills. Self-management skills. Research skills.

Attitudes: What do we want students to feel, value and demonstrate?

The school encourages attitudes that contribute to the well-being of the individual and of the group. Students develop personal attitudes towards people, the environment and learning. At SEK International School Riyadh we encourage: appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance.

Action: How do we want the students to act?

Students are encouraged to take action as a result of their learning. Action can be a demonstration of a sense of responsibility and respect for themselves, others and the environment. Action usually begins in a small way but arises from genuine concern and commitment. Action as a result of learning often happens beyond the classroom, and teachers are always keen to know about action students take within the family.

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The MYP provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement—essential qualities for young people who are becoming global leaders.The MYP consists of eight subject groups: Language Acquisition (Arabic and Spanish), Language and Literature (English, Arabic and Spanish), Individuals and Societies (Humanities), Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Mathematics, Arts (Music, Visual Arts), Physical and Health Education, and Design. The MYP aims to help students develop their personal understanding, their emerging sense of self and responsibility in their community.

MYP teachers organize the curriculum with appropriate attention to:

  • Teaching and learning in context. Students learn best when their learning experiences have context and are connected to their lives and the world that they have experienced. Using global contexts, MYP students explore human identity, global challenges and what it means to be internationally minded.
  • Conceptual understanding. Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically.
  • Approaches to learning (ATL). Learning how to learn effectively is a fundamental goal at SEK Qatar. Through Approaches to Learning, students are provided with the tools to enable them to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Language and identity – MYP students are required to learn at least two languages. Learning to communicate in a variety of ways is fundamental to their development of intercultural understanding and crucial to their identity affirmation.
  • Service as action (community service). Action (learning by doing and experiencing) and service have always been shared values of the IB community. Students take action when they apply what they are learning in the classroom and beyond. IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service—making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

In Grade 8, students complete the Community Project. This project encourages students to explore their right and responsibility to implement service as action in the community. Students may complete the community project individually or in small groups.

In Grade 10, each student develops a Personal Project independently, producing a truly personal and creative piece of work that stands as a summative review of their ability to conduct independent work.

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The DP curriculum is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay. Through the DP core, students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research and undertake a project that often involves community service.Subject groups:

  1. Language and literature
  2. Language acquisition
  3. Individuals and societies
  4. Sciences
  5. Mathematics
  6. The arts

Subject selection:

Students must select six subjects to study, either one from each of the six groups or one from each of groups 1 – 5 and one other from groups 1 – 5. Three must be studied at higher level and three at standard level.


The DP is a two year programme beginning in September of year one and ending in May of year two. Assessment takes place internally at intervals throughout the two years and culminates in externally moderated exams in May of the second year.

Information on the IB Programmes has been extracted and adapted from IB publications.

If you want more information about the IB, please visit

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The SEK Educational System is based on the exploration of concepts, research and the development of competencies that encourage critical thought and creativity. SEK students learn strategies that will permit them, throughout their lives, to be autonomous, self-assured and able to learn independently.Based on our innovative SEK Intelligent Classroom model, and the learning principles of the IB and NEASC, we have designed a Future Learning Model that offers personalized learning pathways for each student that foster collaboration, autonomy and the construction of meaning, and makes then future-ready for the third millennium

The SEK Future Learning Model includes an integrated learning and teaching sequence that brings together key elements such as: clear pedagogical objectives, innovative teaching methods, new dimensions for the roles of teachers and students, motivating tasks and diversified and authentic assessment.

The model also includes digitalization of learning when appropriate, and the central role of professional learning of the teaching staff. Likewise, it specifies the technology that our classrooms require to effectively deploy our unique learning sequence. Enriched learning processes take place in specially designed physical or digital environments depending on the pedagogical purpose they serve.

The central ideas of this model are:

  • Making learning more personalised
  • Nurturing student agency and self-directed learning
  • Using assessment to best support learning
  • Valuing diversity in learning approaches, environments and spaces
  • Nurturing global citizenship
  • Leveraging technology to support learning
  • Supporting staff self-directed professional learning.

We distilled the Future Learning Model into eight key dimensions that impact on learning. They are:


1. Goals

We have an overarching central idea:

  • We focus on student and staff learning.

and two guiding goals:

  • A SEK education is not just what happens in class, but an entire holistic learning experience. 
  • Learning and teaching should always be framed by a sense of purpose.


2. Sequence

The Sequence is the backbone of the learning and teaching model. It enables a holistic view of learning, and links with the IB and NEASC accreditation.


3. Evaluation (Evidence for Learning)

Evaluation is a key element of the learning and teaching process. Our process of evaluation uses our innovative Evidence for Learning protocols.

Our goals for evaluation are:

  • To identify where students are in their learning.
  • To identify and adapt learning and teaching methods and expectations.
  • To make decisions about next steps for learning and teaching.
  • To provide accessible information to parents and others.


4. Agency, co-creation and self-directed learning

We will nurture student agency to enable self-directed, independent learning pathways for students.


5. Learning Technology

Learning Technology is a key to supporting self-directed, autonomous learning, and enables a holistic approach to learning.


6. Professional learning and collaborative planning

Staff self-directed learning will be enabled through collaborative professional inquiries and co-created and shared micro-innovations.


7. Global Citizenship and Social Innovation

We will allow diversity of values, beliefs, and cultures to flourish. We will make this visible through our global citizenship and social innovation programme.


8. Quality

We will nurture a culture of quality through a diverse range of internal and external processes of quality assurance.


The SEK Profile, developed in collaboration with student representatives from all SEK schools, describes the competencies (characteristics, traits, skills and attitudes) that we want all members of the SEK community to practice, develop and evince. It also takes into account their learning and development in all academic areas, both curricular and extracurricular.

We embrace diversity and believe that all students have unique talents that, through diverse experiences, can be discovered and nurtured. The SEK Profile celebrates the aspects of our students learning experiences that highlight their individuality and ability to face the world with confidence and resilience.


Communicate clearly, precisely and respectfully, in their mother tongue and at least in one other language. Connect with and understand others, across language and cultural barriers. Engage an audience and speak in public on topics of personal interest or passions.

Wellbeing and health

Foster the skills that support the well-being and physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual health of oneself and of others.

Critical thinking, inquiry, entrepreneurship and focus on solutions

Critically approach authentic problems, through project-based activities and design thinking processes. Use creative, practical and inquiry-based approaches to find innovative solutions as entrepreneurs.

Global citizenship, social innovation and community action

Inquire and address local, global and intercultural issues, to appreciate and understand others’ perspectives and points of view. Participate, through social innovation, in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and act in favour of collective well-being and sustainable development.

Leadership, adventure and expedition experience

Willing to leave comfort zone, face unknown challenges, understand the consequences and implications of decisions, and take on greater responsibilities. Engage with the natural world, and show effective leadership of people and manage resources.

World of work

Engage in work of authentic value and develop a range of skills in a professional setting.

Digital competence and citizenship

Develop skills to respond to the digitization of society, its opportunities and its ethical implications. Use technology responsibly to interact with society. Positively connect and empathize with others and build relationships through digital skills and tools.

Arts and cultural commitment

intellectually, emotionally and culturally through a sustained commitment to artistic and cultural experiences. Enjoy activities that promote creative exploration, communication, and cultural understanding.

Personal achievement

Set high-performance goals on your interests or passions. Plan, act, reflect and adapt in the pursuit of those goals.

SEK Tech Labs

The digital society in which we live needs citizens who are competent in technological and digital environments and who use technology and information with confidence. That is why SEK Education Group promotes a digital curriculum as a fundamental aspect of our students’ part of the development, so that they are able to acquire the necessary skills and competencies in these areas. SEK International Schools are designing and developing the SEK Tech Lab project for next year, a series of co-curricular courses related to programming, information management and robotics that will be accessible asynchronously, so that students will be able to take these courses from wherever and whenever they please.

SEK Portfolio

The objective of SEK portfolio is to document the all-round learning process of the student in a practical way. In this way, it allows an accessible, structured, effective and efficient record of evidence for learning. The portfolio enables collaboration, personalization, and portability of each student’s development. It is an environment in which students can collect and organize evidence of their learning from curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. The main objective of the collection and organization of evidence in their portfolio is to support students in reflecting on their progress, identifying their achievements, facilitating self-assessment and peer-assessment and, therefore, determining, with the guidance of teachers, what are the next steps for learning. Teachers and students can use the evidence in a portfolio to draw conclusions about their learning and support them in their next steps. It is customizable and accessible to others and allows for collaborative feedback.

Be Challenge

At the start of the new academic year SEK International Schools are setting up the Genius Hour, a time slot for students to cultivate their personal passions in the form of challenges. For learning to be as real and meaningful as possible, it is important that students set themselves achievable challenges that they can solve. SEK has set up a platform on the MySEK digital environment to manage challenge-based learning following a series of well-established guidelines, a tool that allows collaboration between students from the all the SEK schools who share the same passion.

Be Well Centre

SEK Education Group has set up the Be Well Center with the aim of responding to people’s emotional, mental, physical and personal well-being and balance. The main mission of the Be Well Center is to provide the SEK educational community and society with training and support to live life in fullness, happiness and harmony. Therefore, Camilo José Cela University offers training in areas of mindfulness and socio-emotional skills in educational contexts, and the ‘Healthy Schools’ initiative has been launched.

More information on the SEK International Schools unique initiatives is available here.

We believe that quality professional learning has a positive impact on student learning. Professional learning supports teachers who want to have an impact on their student’s learning, with an opportunity to explore their passions and interests, co-create the best learning opportunities for their students, and be the best teachers they can be.

Our professional learning programme for staff is based on some key beliefs:

  • Staff are also learners
  • Cooperation and collaboration can lead to improved staff and student learning and achievement
  • Reflection is an essential practice in learning
  • We expect staff to develop their own agency and take responsibility for their learning
  • Learning can be improved through professional educational inquiries by staff
  • We are a community of learners who can share best practices

Through professional learning, our staff have the opportunity to:

  • delve deeply into topics of their own interest and passions
  • have a genuine impact on the learning of their students
  • create their own solutions to respond to the particular and everyday challenges they face when teaching
  • learn from their colleagues, and collaborate to implement their own ideas
  • develop confidence as effective, competent professionals
  • show the impact of their own solutions on student learning

At SEK-Riyadh our Professional Learning Community is engaged in the process of seeking new knowledge and ways of applying that knowledge to their learning, teaching, leadership, and administrative roles. This model focuses on professional growth designed to impact student learning and to progress the quality of learning and teaching and lead to school transformation and improvement.

We have also developed a digital platform to support staff professional learning. The SEK Playbook helps teachers to document their professional learning in collaborative, practical, and meaningful ways, with simple tools to record and share their learning process, so that they can make their professional learning visible, collaborative, and impactful.

International Accreditation

The SEK-Riyadh curriculum model is closely aligned to international curriculum frameworks and will meet the demanding international standards of globally recognized accrediting agencies that advocate holistic education. This will include the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

NEASC Accreditation

SEK International School Riyadh will soon start the process of accreditation from New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), one of the most prestigious international university and school accreditation agencies. Accreditation by NEASC will allow SEK-Riyadh to award a fully recognized US High School Diploma in the future. NEASC accreditation is a highly valued globally recognized standard of excellence; we will become part of their network of accredited international schools spanning more than 65 countries.

We will create a self-evaluation report which is an opportunity for self-reflection and improvement for, the entire staff (administrative and teaching staff). All staff will be assigned to working groups on each of the standards. were chaired by different members of the staff, not necessarily an SLT member. The findings from the committees were reported to the Senior Leadership Team (including Head of School, Director of Learning & Teaching, Head of Finance & Administration and IB Coordinators), who collaborated on editing the material for submission.