GEMS Heritage Indian School, Dubailand – The 2019-20 Review Exclusive
Good with Very Good features (First review)
Note - this is a positive grading for a new school for its first inspection
NA - New School
NA - New School
NA - New School
Acceptable to Good
YEAR 1: 18,000
YEAR 2: 18,000
YEAR 3: 18,000
YEAR 4: 18,000
YEAR 5: 20,000
YEAR 6: 20,000
YEAR 7: 20,000
YEAR 8: 20,000
YEAR 9: 22,000 est. Phased launch TBA
YEAR 10: 22,000 est. Phased launch TBA
YEAR 11: 24,000 est. Phased launch TBA
YEAR 12: 24,000 est. Phased launch TBA
YEAR 13: -
Indian - CBSE
(1) Structured through GEMS Our Own with a particular focus on STEAM, Performing Arts and Cricket according to the needs of the child
(2) British EYFS curriculum founded specialist CBSE KG phases
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE - fully accredited 2019)
(1) Heritage does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, colour, gender, or national origin
(2) Assessments are designed only to decide entry level placement and to ensure that the school meets the exact needs of each child
(1) Currently in phased launch. Phase 1 of the school has a capacity of 3300 students. The current role (December 2019) is 1368 students.
(1) low for a school in phased launch whilst it beds in provsion
(1) For year 2017-18 GEMS Heritage Indian School operated from the Phase 2 Building of GEMS New Millennium School, Al-Khail
(2) GEMS Heritage Indian School opened its brand new campus in Dubailand in April 2018
Dubailand, Dubai (near IMG Worlds of Adventure)
Indian (largest nationality)
+971 (0)4 445 2960
• Specialist, technology-enriched, CBSE school with significant investment in STEAM underpinnings of the curriculum
• Dedicated Academies for Sport, the Performing Arts and Debate and Design Technology - bespoke curriculum in Drama and Communication in partnership with Trinity College London
• Value fees - outstanding ROI for parents
• GEMS commitment to minimum KHDA “Good School” status. This has already been achieved on first inspection.
• 50 years’ experience in Indian schooling brought together in delivering the Heritage model
• Outstanding leadership resourced from GEMS stand-out school in this sector.
• Potentially the largest school in the Emirates – large schools do not suit all children
“With the opening of GEMS Heritage Indian School we are reaffirming our commitment to education in the country – and helping to take forward the vision of the nation’s leadership, which is placing an emphasis on quality education. “We recognize there is a need for high quality Indian curriculum schools and we know that GEMS Heritage Indian School will further the reputation that GEMS Indian curriculum schools have already built in the county.”
Dino Varkey, Group Executive Director and Board Member, GEMS Education.
“GEMS Heritage ensures that students gain mastery not only over academic principles, but also the doctrine around which success in the 21st century revolves. Our enriched curriculum and additional facilities, which build on the history and excellence of Our Own English High School and all the GEMS Indian Curriculum Schools, provide engaging opportunities to craft well-rounded and well-adjusted students. GEMS Heritage Indian School represents a profound, leading initiative by GEMS Education to transform the landscape of premium Indian education in the region.”
Darryl Bloud. Founding Principal and CEO, GEMS Heritage School Dubai
Technology and innovation are both an integral part of our curriculum. At GEMS Indian Heritage School, we equip all of our students with the skills required to prepare them to be global citizens, and leaders, in their chosen fields. Along with a stretching academic programme, students at GEMS Heritage Indian School each have their own opportunity to explore and develop their potential in the Performing Arts, Sport and Robotics. Every Heritage student is then empowered further to pursue the talent which they wish to develop through our extensive, professionally supported and backed, after school programme.
Ms. Anjuli Murthy. Principal. GEMS Heritage Indian School.
GEMS Heritage Indian School – updated 1st December 2019. KHDA accreditation, sporting and Performing Arts provision, Design Technology investment, British EYFS investment
GEMS Heritage Indian School is a new 10,000+ capacity role Indian CBSE curriculum specialist STEAM focused school that opened in a purpose built new premium campus in Dubailand in April 2018 following its initial opening within the Phase 2 Building of GEMS New Millennium School, Al-Khail. The school sits on a 22+ acre site, with a current capacity of 3300 students, this capacity growing to 10,000 students as the school completes subsequent phases of development. The GEMS model here is to produce an outstanding, groundbreaking, premium school leveraging high student numbers to make the fees affordable for the largest number of students. The current student role (December 2019) stands at 1368 students and feedback suggests that founding families are experiencing a balance of very high quality education and facilities. Future capital development will include investment in green spaces, tree planting, vegetable growing and high tech learning centres within the plant nursery to enhance ecological education and meet UN sustainability development goals in education. The school provides specialist education in Cricket, the Performing Arts and Design Technology. Students graduate from GEMS Heritage Indian School with the All India Senior School Certificate Examination of the Central Board of Secondary Education, (CBSE) New Delhi.
The approximate 22 acres campus is strategically located in Dubailand within close proximity of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and IMG Worlds of Adventure Park:
With GEMS Our Own English High School, Heritage will stand as one of the largest schools in the Emirates.
GEMS Heritage Indian School is modelled on the “Our Own” family of schools which, overall, and notwithstanding some early concerns over over-crowding, provide stand-out levels of education within the Indian sector. GEMS later-phase all-girls Our Own English High School is in the top-5 of all Indian curriculum schools in Dubai, and one of only three Indian schools to achieve the Dubai Inspectorate of School’s “Very Good” accolade – the second highest award of any Indian school in the Emirate.
Our review of its sister school, GEMS Our Own Indian School can be found here.
GEMS Heritage Indian School adds a significant number of important new features – these covered below. Taken together, this is one of the most important of GEMS investments in the Indian school sector for a decade, aimed at resolving a lack of places in the sector whilst offering a premium education at relatively low fees to encourage inclusive entrance to the broadest number of children.
It is hoped that, eventually, GEMS Heritage Indian School will fix a model of schooling in the Indian education sector that will completely remove the pressures of overcrowding as its economies of scale allows relatively high investment in each child. The investment being made by GEMS in this school is significant and creditable.
Subject choices extend across English, Mathematics, Science & Technology, Information Technology, and the Social Sciences. Optional language study is provided in Arabic, Hindi, French & Malayalam.
All students at GEMS Heritage Indian School undertake industry placements as part of their education and teaching operates through an inter-disciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM) focus.
Whilst the School follow a CBSE curriculum, GEMS Heritage Indian School adopts a strong sense of UK FS elements in the fundamental approach and incorporate best practise from both the English National and International Curricular.
On our last visit we noted a good example of this integration of themes and topics in an extremely well thought out trip to the Sharjah Wildlife park, this providing for a very hands-on approach for children rather than the more typical text book based study more usual in the sector.
One feature we also found impressive was the choice to use Dance to support learning in Mathematics, Science and English by creating steps and movement to reiterate concepts the children might be struggling with. In English, for example, a Poem or Prose is brought to life through dance; in Mathematics, times tables were being translated into number formats and rhythm. The use of dance and drama in this way has been widely promoted by the leading Russel Group University of Warwick in the UK (one of the UK’s top teaching schools) and something we have not seen often integrated so powerfully in the Emirates. It is used to good effect here. ‘Word Walls” are evident in several classrooms and an area was defined in the corridor too. This encourages children to identify ’new’ words and find the definition and meaning before recording this on paper which can be added to the Walls for other children to see. This is another excellent, and distinct, feature of the school.
Language provision includes Arabic (which is compulsory), Hindi, French and Malayam.
Parent Workshops are frequent and parents have access to the Class Dojo App to experience as closely as possible the events their children are experiencing during the school day.
Student assessment plays a pivotal role at GEMS Heritage Indian School and on our visit we noted students were being appraised, and their abilities being clearly established, through a variety of play activities.
Phonics are studied every day, and LEGO used throughout the school at various levels of sophistication including LEGO Robotics.
The school has introduced elements of TIMS / PIPS and PISA from KG phase in line with the UAE National Agenda.
During our visit KG2 students were enjoying the independence of self-registration which involved the students writing their names on ‘post-its’ and attaching these to the front (vertical) section of the teachers desk.
Healthy eating is encouraged and the KG children bring a snack box for break time.
GEMS Heritage Indian School is confident of its teaching faculty and ability to achieve highly for all children. As a result it is genuinely inclusive. We were extremely impressed that the school stepped in to accept a young boy moving from Al Ain following his rejection by all other schools to which they had applied. General admissions are based on assessments and reports and CAT analysis – but this is an inclusive school in which testing is used only for the purposes of effective streaming. It is worth noting too that the School was a Regional Finalist in the Global Innovation Challenge.
Early Years Curriculum
The English National Curriculum EYFS framework is based on 4 Themes and Principles:
- A unique child
- Positive relationships
- Enabling environments
- Learning and development
A core recognised strength of the British EYFS is its dual integral role in both preparing children for life as well as following CBSE-based stage in their education.
There are seven areas of learning in EYFS Curriculum:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive Arts and Design
Middle School Curriculum: Grades 1-10
All students are required to study:
- Information Communications Technology (ICT)
- Specialist Design Technology Programme based on interdisciplinary study of Mathematics, Science, Computer, English Language, Arts and Social Studies
- Specialist Performing Arts Programme with The Malhaar Centre for the Performing Arts with options in Hindustani Vocal, Percussion, Tabla and Dance (Kathak) in Grade 1 to 6)
- Specialist Global Futures Programme in association with Singularity University for Grade 5 and Grade 8 students using interdisciplinary study to innovate and resolve global problems across economics, technology, Science and the Environment
- Social Studies
- Second language (Hindi, Malayalam or French)
- Physical Education
- Arabic (mandatory to Grade 9)
Senior School Curriculum: Grades 11 – 12
GEMS Heritage Indian School creditably provides choices for all the three major streams: Science, Commerce & Humanities. Options are structured around five subject blocks:
Computer Science Informatics Practices
Strengths and Unique Features of GEMS Heritage Indian School
GEMS Heritage stands out in this sector in four key areas:
1. Technology The ambition of GEMS Heritage Indian School is to take the very best from each of the GEMS Our Own schools – already recognised for their exceptional delivery of the Post-16 CBSE Science subjects.
First, the Heritage school aims to be unique in Dubai in the breadth of its Tier 1 positioned technology specialisation. This is provided through its Renaissance Centre for Innovation And Disruptive Technologies.
Its Design Thinking Space is the hub for emerging technologies—including the mobile Internet, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and advanced genomics – each of which have the potential to reshape the modern. A core focus of the programme here is innovation and creativity, an area in which many Indian curriculum schools have struggled. Labs facilities include the spectrum of provision, including a dedicated LEGO Robotics/Mindstorms focused LEGO Education Academy. The level of investment in technology will be a first in this value fees sector in which Heritage is positioning itself.
2. Specialist Cricket programmes in Sport and Facilities
The GEMS Heritage Cricket Academy facilities have been designed to maximize development and performance with world class indoor and outdoor facilities. These include:
- 3 international-size turf pitches with floodlights
- Ample spectator area
- Biggest live-stream screen
- 21 cricket nets
- International-grade cricket pavilions
- VIP spectator lounge
- Bowling machines
- Full cricket gear for all ages (From KG to Professional)
- PITCHVISION ONE – international standard green screen training facility
- Cricket museum (in phased planning)
The high standard of grass and artificial net provision for GEMS Heritage Indian School Students at the Cricket Academy are supplemented by outdoor nets.
Together these aim to provide students with the best cricket training surfaces and facilities currently available to students anywhere in the UAE.
- Hindustani Vocal
- Percussion: Tabla
- Dance: Kathak
The aim is that by Grade 6 every child at GEMS Heritage Indian School will have mastered at least one of these art forms.
Again this is hugely creditable. In this fees price bracket, many schools simply do not have the ability to invest in the broader whole child curriculum that defined premium Indian schools in the sector. We also like the way the GEMS Heritage Indian School focuses on nurturing within children a love for and appreciation of their Indian heritage and culture.
4. British Curriculum EYFS Foundations supporting CBSE Progression
GEMS Heritage Indian School pioneers the National Curriculum for England in Early Years as the best foundations to develop high attainment in the later CBSE curriculum.
The school’s Founding Executive Principal, Darryl Bloud, was the former Principal GEMS Modern Academy.
Mr Bloud led Modern for over 14 years, this ultimately culminating in the school being currently one of only two Indian schools in Dubai to achieve the Knowledge and Human Development Authority “Outstanding” school status – an award it has held since 2011.
Since April 2018, the school has been led by Principal, Dr. Anjuli Murthy. Independent feedback to both ourselves and our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.com from parents has been outstanding with accolades including “caring”, “committed” and “so ambitious for my children.”
Faculty are almost entirely Indian Nationals and the recruitment process is conducted mostly in India. Teachers have been recruited with specialism in an array of curricular approaches to education specifically to garner best practice and the exchange of ideas. Professional development is ongoing with specific times set aside on Mondays and Wednesdays for CPD.
Facilities we rate as outstanding within this fee structure.
- Full size cricket stadium equipped with cricket pavilion, changing rooms and VIP lounge
- Two Olympic sized football pitches
- Four 7 a side football pitches
- Two outdoor basketball courts
- Two tennis courts
- Volley ball court
- Eight indoor badminton courts
- Eight indoor cricket bowling and batting lanes
- Eight outdoor bowling and batting lanes
- Four pitch batting cages
- Table tennis room
- Dedicated Primary phase Sports Hall
- Multipurpose hall fully equipped with lights sound and special effects for the Performing Arts
- Two art room
- Four music rooms
- Dedicated Dance Studio
- Two Indian Classical Music Studios
- Physics lab
- Biology lab
- Chemistry lab
- Mathematics lab
- Design Technology lab
- Innovation Centre
- Three computer labs
- Two Arabic rooms
- Two Islamic rooms
- Four language Labs
- Snacks Room
- Male and female prayer rooms
- Fully equipped clinic
- Uniform and Book Store
- Dedicated Kindergarten outdoor play areas
- Sensory Garden
- Vegetable Garden
- Ecological Learning Centres (in planning phase)
Whilst investment in Sport is a defining strength of the school, some parents will miss the lack of swimming facilities. These are expensive and a trade-off to secure this level of fees.
Bottom line? The SchoolsCompared Verdict 2019-20
GEMS heritage Indian School is one firing on all cylinders.
The quality of curriculum – and its genuinely pioneering investment in Sport, STEAM and the Performing Arts, is setting benchmarks in the UAE within this fee structure.
We particularly like the founding of the later CBSE curriculum in the world class EYFS British curriculum at younger years. This is the basis for the outstanding work in interdisciplinary study later that GEMS Heritage Indian School expects to found the high performance of its students in the All India Senior School Certificate Examination of the Central Board of Secondary Education.
Investment in Cricket here again sets the benchmark for quality and breadth of provision in the UAE. This is an extraordinary achievement given the value fees.
GEMS has almost five decade’s experience in Indian Education – and it shows. With this level of experience, and with KHDA “Very Good” schools already operating in this value fees sector behind it, GEMS knows how to deliver. That should give prospective parents confidence that Heritage will meet GEMS published and ambitious aim for Heritage to change the landscape of schooling in Dubai.