GEMS Heritage Indian School, Dubailand – The 2019-20 Review Exclusive
“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 recognise 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. December 2019.
“At GEMS Heritage, we are on a journey in our quest for excellence.
Our success thus far is evidenced by strong relationships with parents, teachers and students, built on the bedrock of trust.”
Darryl Bloud. Executive Principal. GEMS Heritage Indian School. December 2019.
“With over 25 years of rich experience as an educator in Dubai and holding leadership positions, I strongly believe in the school’s vision to invest in the genius and uniqueness of every child.
At GEMS Heritage School, we give them our students a platform to grow, develop their skills and reach their potential.
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.
Dr. Anjuli Murthy. Principal. GEMS Heritage Indian School.
“The British EYFS Curriculum at GEMS Heritage Indian School is world class.”
Sara-Jane Samuel. Head of Kindergarten. GEMS Heritage Indian Academy.
“We are connecting wires and batteries to try and make plants grow more quickly. Our group is exploring the power of electricity and copper to help crops grow faster so that we can solve problems with feeding people in the world. We have been working on this for two months. It is such a pressing problem – people in the world are starving and we can help them. China is currently leading in this field – but we want to do it better and contribute our findings to Dubai Expo 2020.
Grade 5 Student Working Group. “Solving Global Poverty”. GEMS Heritage Indian School.
GEMS Heritage Indian School – updated 19th December 2019. KHDA accreditation, sporting and Performing Arts provision, Design Technology investment, British EYFS investment, photography
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. Open to Year 11 (as of December 2019), the current student role stands at 1368 students. 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 a groundbreaking English National Curriculum Early Years Foundation Stage (rare in this sector), specialist education in Cricket claimed to be the best in the UAE, a dedicated Performing Arts Programme and cutting edge investment in 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 represents the latest evolution of GEMS Educations aim to provide the global benchmark for stand-out levels of education within the Indian Curriculum school sector.
GEMS Heritage Indian School adds a significant number of important new and unique features in this sector never available previously – 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, Mandarin 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
“I have brought with me to GEMS Heritage Indian School more than two decade’s experience in education both within the UK and Dubai. I have come here from seven years at the fabulous GEMS Wellington Silicon Oasis to lead KG.
Our KG at GEMS Heritage Indian School is delivered through the English National Curriculum Early Years Foundation Stage. That is the vision. Ours is a pure British EYFS focused on hands-on learning, critical thinking, confidence-building, social skill development, physical development, creativity and innovation. We deliver the absolute best of British curriculum schooling for our young children as a foundation for their academic and whole child development ahead.
Children want to be here and they thrive.
They learn and discover.
Children love school.
They leave at the end of the day smiling and inspired by discovery.
The Early Years provision here is quite exceptional. ”
Sarah-Jane Samuel. Head of Kindergarten. GEMS Heritage Indian Academy
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:
“The Renaissance Centre focuses on 12 technologies that will change the world. Quantum Computing. Nano Technology. Drones. Genetics. Robotics. Computing. Manufacturing. Broader Information Technology. Tech-Education at GEMS Heritage Indian School is delivered through prototyping and conceptual study.
Education is always focused on genuine problems – and solving them.
Children work in groups. A Group 6 project and Group 10 project are both being showcased as part of Dubai Expo 2020.”
Kapil Chaudhary. Vice Principal. GEMS Heritage Indian School. December 2019.
I am working on a solution to the problem with plastics in our oceans and on land which are damaging the environment and the future of our planet and people. I am using recycling drone technology to do this.
The drone I am designing goes underwater to pick up plastic. I am exploring battery technology to recharge it. I am also looking at a system to integrates fines for those who dump plastics.
I want a world in which no individual or company dumps plastics in our world.”
Rohit Asha. Grade 5. GEMS Heritage Indian School. December 2019.
“I am designing a doorbell. It is connected to the cloud. It is completely portable and can be taken anywhere in the world.
I never give up. I am so encouraged here by my school, friends, teachers and my parents – they help me every day.
Everything at Heritage is brilliant – whatever you would like to do and learn they make it happen.
There are so many activities – I am learning so much.
Today is my birthday! They let us wear our own clothes on our birthdays! It is such a treat!
I am so happy here.”
Sahim. GEMS Heritage Indian School. Grade 5. December 2019.
“Teachers are hugely supportive. I could not succeed in my Board exams without them – whenever we need them – even at the weekend – they drop everything to help us.
Technology here is beyond amazing. I want so badly to be an engineer and enter the field of research in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Teachers here are helping me understand how to solve fundamental problems in the environment and alternative power solutions to protect it.
The Performing Arts and Sports facilities and education here is extraordinary.
The school has taught me that with practice and commitment everything is possible.
I just cannot imagine a better school.”
Head Boy. Grade 10. GEMS Heritage Indian School. December 2019.
GEMS Heritage Indian School Heritage 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 world.” 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, 3D printing for proto-typing and test labs. The level of investment in technology is a first in the value fees sector in which Heritage operates. We found on our visit the students we spoke with extraordinarily inspiring.
2. Specialist Cricket programmes in Sport and Facilities
The GEMS Heritage Cricket Academy facilities have been designed to maximise 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. GEMS Heritage arose directly from a vision to re-inspire GEMS Modern Academy for the 21st century.
“Our Chairman’s vision for GEMS Heritage Indian School was great leadership and a premium Indian education – but made affordable for families.
GEMS have invested everything possible into making our school a success for children.
All three members of the senior leadership team came across from GEMS Modern. This was always designed to be the premium counterpart of our flagship GEMS Modern School – but made affordable so no child is ever left behind.
Our Chairman wanted to have something very unique here – and our shining lights are cricket, the Performing arts, a world class British EYFS and Technology.
Here Performing Arts are genuinely integrated and meaningful – we believe in the whole child – and deliver on that belief. Our programme is not an expensive paid for programme as it is at other premium schools – here the children are immersed in the Performing Arts as a central part of their curriculum. Children are taught by the classical Performing Arts company Malhaar. Malhaar come into GEMS Heritage four times a week.
We have also partnered with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague to build GEMS Heritage Indian Academy Philharmonic Orchestra, this culminating in the production of Frozen.
The achievement here is extraordinary – and amongst both boys and girls.
The Performing Arts and cricket investment here is unmatched.
The achievement of our children is magical.
At GEMS Heritage Indian School we build relationships with our children and parents built on the absolute bedrock of trust. We deliver for our children, all our children.”
Darryl Bloud. Executive Principal. GEMS Heritage Indian Academy. In Conversation with SchoolsCompared.com December 2019.
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 2020
“I have been in education for 27 years – with GEMS.
I am very loyal to GEMS Education – this is an organisation that seriously invests in teachers.
I was so excited to join GEMS Heritage Indian Academy because we are providing an absolutely world class school – but affordably for our whole community.
We have children from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India – we are hugely inclusive. We invest in culture – we teach Mandarin here.
Our parents and our children play an enormous role in our school – we are not top-down – but a genuinely community and student led school where we work together to create something very, very special.”
Dr. Anjuli Murthy. Principal. GEMS Heritage Indian School.
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, sets 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.
©SchoolsCompared.com 2019 – 2020
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 Design Technology
• 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