GIS History

GIS History

Garden International School has come a long way since being founded in 1951 as one of the first British international schools in Malaysia. From its original location in the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur, GIS now is based in Mont Kiara and Desa Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur. GIS is one of the largest international schools in Malaysia, educating over 2,000 students. Explore the timeline below to learn about our milestones over the last 65 years, delivering excellent British-based education in Malaysia.

Mrs Sally Watkins and her two sons, Colin and Clive


Garden School was established by Mrs Sally Watkins, the wife of the then Fire Brigade Chief. Lt. Col. F.F.C. Watkins, in the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur.


The earliest record in existence shows the student enrolment was 33 with two full-time British teachers.


Garden School combined its Kindergarten and Primary School and moved to 251 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

Mrs Sigme Syme became the Headmistress and held the post for two years.


Mrs Zene Sharp became the Headmistress.


Mrs Bobby Cox became the Headmistress.

Students and staff in the 1960s


Secondary school was introduced in Garden School.


Garden School (secondary) moved to Jalan Yap Kwan Seng with 36 students.

Garden School was selected to be the first official centre for the prestigious and authoritative University of London General Certificate of Education examination in Malaysia. The first cohort of 11 candidates sat for the ‘O’ Levels.


Mrs Mary Arshad became the Headmistress of the joint Kindergarten and Primary School.

Staff dinner and the various GIS campuses in 1970s


Mrs Mary Arshad became the Headmistress of both Kindergarten/ Primary and Secondary Schools.


Garden School moved to 215 Jalan Pekeliling (Jalan Tun Razak today). In the meantime, back in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, the Secondary School grew, necessitating the Junior Three and Four students to return to the school in Jalan Bukit Bintang while the younger children were moved to the bungalow on Jalan Pekeliling for two terms.

The Kindergarten classes began their new academic year at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng.The Secondary School moved to Jalan Pekeliling. Garden School celebrated its Silver Jubilee. Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj was invited as the Guest-of-Honour.

GIS campuses and academic staff in 1989


Garden School moved into the 4.5 acres purpose-built building in Cheras which cost RM3 million to complete. The 700 pupils who moved into their new premises ranged from 3 to 17 years representing over 30 nations.


Mrs Anne Ismail became the new Principal.


The term ‘International’ was added to Garden School to truly reflect the cosmopolitan identity and international standard of education which were clearly evident.


The Kindergarten at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng moved to Kampung Pandan and the Petaling Jaya Kindergarten at Jalan Menteri Selatan became the first branch to be established when it opened in January 1989.

Mr Philip Croft came to Garden International School as the Principal.

Main campus in Bukit Kiara and another campus in Kuantan


Mr Joseph Eales became the Principal who succeeded Mr Philip Croft.

Garden International School opened its sister school in the East Coast of Malaysia, Garden International School Kuantan.


Garden International School moved from Cheras to Mont Kiara.

Mr Murray Parkes, the Principal from 1996 to 1998 initiated the implementation of the new International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which was introduced in 1998 to replace the University of London GCE ‘O’ Levels.


Mr David Watson became the Principal. He also supervised the launch of the Sixth Form Cambridge ‘A’ Level in September 2000.

Various school facilities


Mr. Raymond Davis heads Garden International School as the Principal as well as the Chief Operating Officer.

Over 180 teachers are working at the Mont Kiara campus.


Garden International School was accredited by the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).


The 7 – Storey Arts Centre was opened with specialised classrooms and equipment for Performing Arts (Music, Drama), Visual and Modern Foreign Languages.


Major renovation works for both the Primary and Secondary cafeterias have been completed.


The UK Guardian newspaper named Garden International School as one of the best 8 International Schools in the world.


Mr Simon Mann is the Principal of Garden International School.

Renovation works for the Secondary Library and Sixth Form Centre is completed and fully operational.


New synthetic turf field laid, newly renovated Sports Hall and Grand hall complete.

Transformed small classroom to Business education workroom.

Refurbish Modern Foreign Language workrooms, Sixth Form courtyard, pastoral office.


Early Years Centre moved into a purpose-built campus at Desa Sri Hartamas.

Renovations at playgrounds located at the main campus and Early Years Centre.


Renovation of 4 Science labs in Secondary, resurfing of tennis courts and installation of floodlights at Astro Turf.

Primary Office and Classroom

Science Lab, Secondary Office and Staff Lounge

New front of School Entrance and Grand Hall Lobby


Renovations at Primary office and classrooms, improvements to the play areas in Primary and CCTV Systems, resurfacing of multi-purpose outdoor courts and improvements to the lighting systems at the Grand Hall.


Renovations at Secondary office, staff lounge and improvements to the science labs.

Mr. Stuart Walker is Principal of Garden International School.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) developments – ICT Facility, iPads (For Year 4 – 5 and in EYC), The Learning Garden (VLE Moodle), Introduction of Google Docs.

GIS Kuantan celebrated 20 years of Educational Excellence. GIS Kuantan was also accredited with a five star rating as a result of a visit from Malaysia Ministry of Education.


Information Communication Technology (ICT) developments: Introduction of ‘1:1 iPad Programme’ in Years 5 – 8.
Renovations of Secondary classrooms, entrance of school, walkways, gymnasium, Secondary library, MFL classroom suites, guard house, bleachers and links between parts of school.

GIS Kuantan introduces a fully functional Secondary Department (Particular focus on commencement of the IGCSE courses for Year 10 students).

GIS Kuantan upgrade of facilities – New recreation area was created between two existing bungalows, new parent enquiry room with a modern design was developed as well as additional signage and branding to improve overall appearance of the school. The school also now has specialised facilities that include music/assembly hall, meeting room, resource rooms, purpose built science lab, kitchen, outdoor eating area and library/study room. Each classroom is fitted with Wi-Fi, smart boards and projectors and modern student furniture. Also, a second school bus was purchased.



GIS holds the award for the Apple Distinguished program. This recognition is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence, and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments.


Mark Ford is Garden International School Principal

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Beating entries from 26 countries, GIS is the only school in Malaysia to receive the Global Innovation Awards 2016 which recognise those who demonstrate exemplary values and best practice in learning and teaching in 21st Century schools.

Garden International School (GIS) is awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) in recognition of its quality of teaching and learning in science.


It is a remarkable milestone in the history of outstanding education programme for Garden International School (GIS) as it has been shortlisted for the British International School Initiative of the Year category of the TES Independent School Awards 2016. Garden International School is the only school in South East Asia to get shortlisted for this prestigious award. The British International School Initiative of the Year nomination is a recognition of GIS outstanding strategic achievement through the unique and innovative Large-Scale Enquiry Programme.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) developments: Introduction of ‘1:1 iPad Programme’ in from Year 3 onwards

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