Jumeirah College, Al Safa – The Review
Updated August 2019 – Jumeirah College fees, Sixth Form, KHDA and SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2019
“Our students’ success cannot be defined by qualifications alone.”
Simon O’Connor, Principal and CEO – Jumeirah College
GEMS Jumeirah College, founded in 1999, sets itself apart with an holistic, whole-child focused approach to the English National Curriculum, hugely warm schooling, exceptional child progress – and outstanding school leadership. The school, under its very highly thought of Principal, Simon O’Connor, has forged a reputation for the exceptional high quality of its personal development of students, this recognised in class-best KHDA scoring for the College’s whole child provision.
College Principal since July 2015, Mr O’Connor, completed his professional PCGE training at Cambridge and forged a reputation within the UK education system for skills in student assessment, school development, Academy conversion and curriculum design. He is driven by an unwavering commitment to education, a belief in its value that is never less than a vocation – and delivering outstanding schooling for the children within his school.
According to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, he has a strong presence at the College. He is certainly, in our view, one of the most inspiring, open, deeply committed and principled leaders of any in the UAE, with a deeply held convictions on the importance of leaving no child behind.
Jumeirah College is currently the only GEMS institution to publish examination performance in full, uniquely in GEMS enabling existing and prospective parents the ability to properly benchmark attainment. A Principal proud enough to “shout” about the attainment of his student’s is recommendation in itself and scores Jumeirah College highly in our transparency rating.Jumeirah College Examination Results 2016
Facilities are outstanding, including video conferencing room suite; communication and resource centre; design and technology centres; a drama studio with spring floors for dance; extensive library, excellent music suites (with adjacent) practice rooms; dedicated art room; science laboratories; indoor/outdoor bistro; multi-purpose gymnasium; swimming pool; tennis courts; netball courts; medical centre; grass playing fields and recreational areas. The school’s focus is very much on creating an environment fit for each student, whatever their gift.
Our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, records extremely positive feedback from parents on its whole child approach but inevitably some parents also want even more attainment academically. The College, however, despite scoring academically well above UK benchmarks and within the top tier of UAE exam attainment, is resolutely not a hot house school, and refuses to be one. Nor is it academically selective. We think the result of this – for children, pays dividends. Jumeirah College is a very happy school populated by thoughtful, considered students with high levels of empathy and global concern. Just the sorts of rounded, inspiring young men and women Google argues are the lifeblood of the economy of the future.
A graduating class of well-adjusted, happy men and women, armed with a network of peers and friendships that will stand the test of time, with the examination grades to attend their University (or Performing Arts college) of choice, is the College’s bigger picture focus. Telling is the College’s increasing focus on developing its alumni network.
In the 2015 WhichSchoolAdvisor.com independent walk-in, inspectors made particular note of College staff who “could not have been any more passionate about the quality of their College and its students.”
Jumeirah College has been rated Outstanding by the Dubai Inspectorate of Schools for seven consecutive years – and has achieved this for eight of the nine years since inspections begun in the UAE. In an otherwise near faultless 2018 inspection, KHDA Inspectors identified weaknesses limited to Arabic subject areas, these a universal challenge for British schools across the sector. Telling is that Governance in 2018 is rated Outstanding – usually this is downgraded when schools are perceived as either not caring or not investing in this area. The value of Arabic subjects in developing cultural understanding, global knowledge – and in giving children a USP against their UK educated counterparts is recognised and embraced.
Sixth Form subject choice at A’ Level is outstanding. 27 subject options include Photography; Art; Government and Politics; Psychology (also impressively offered at O’ Level – a critical bridge subject between the Arts and Sciences and one with considerable draw for top tier university Admissions); sociology, music technology; Drama and Theatre Design – all subjects that get lost by the wayside in lesser schools that do not invest in the teaching staff to deliver choice. For us, this is a stand-out feature of the school.
We do think, however, the school is missing a trick in not offering technical stream BTEC options, particularly given the launch of T Levels in 2019. T levels will best address, in a British Education context, the strengths of the alternative (and outstanding) IB Career Related Programme offered by the International Baccalaureate – but BTEC is, in our view, undervalued. The depth of subject choice at Jumeirah College does compensate, but technical stream education is offered only in A Level Product Design. BTEC Engineering, for example, would provide a good balance to the (outstanding) richness of the Arts and Humanities offer. It is also a dfined gap in provision within the Dubai.
Jumeirah College Sixth Form Prospectus
“Our curriculum model is based upon the English National Curriculum, but goes significantly beyond the minimum expectations, covering a diverse range of subjects. In fact, at A Level, Jumeirah College offers the most extensive range of subject choices in the UAE.“
Simon O’Connor, Principal, Jumeirah College
School fees are top end, although you cannot fault its value proposition. ROI, if you can afford the fees, is outstanding.
In the UK, the College has exactly the type of dynamic, however, that would embrace the provision of bursaries for less financially privileged children and it is hoped that in the future that GEMS, across all its schools, will begin to embrace too the many opportunities for student culture and child development that bursaries provide. It’s worth noting that GEMS is increasingly isolated in not providing the investment in direct bursaries we are admirably seeing across a swathe of Dubai and Abu Dhabi alternative Tier 1 schools. This is exactly the type of school that deserves, really deserves, all the investment that GEMS can afford.
Jumeirah College bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2019.
Arguably Jumeirah College provides the exemplar of inclusive, globally outward looking schooling with the results that are so important to open doors on graduation. There are absolutely no hot house pressures here, but instead a celebration of the many types of gifts that all children have when schools invest in finding and nurturing them. Outstanding school leadership in the shape of Mr O’Connor has been instrumental in driving this hugely successful school for children. This is a school where intellectual curiosity flourishes for its own sake without being held hostage to league tables. Children with all their multi-faceted gifts and differences come first and last.
School leadership, teachers, parents – and students, should feel exceptionally proud of what they have achieved.
Jumeirah College comes very highly recommended.
GEMS Jumeirah College was awarded WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Good School status, the bodies highest award, in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 – its fifth consecutive year.
GEMS Jumeirah College achieved a top 10 placement in our Best Schools in the UAE 2017-18, and shortlisting for the SchoolsCompared.com Best School in the UAE Award 2019.
FS 2: NA
Year 1: N/A
Year 2: N/A
Year 3: N/A
Year 4: N/A
Year 5. N/A
Year 6. N/A
Year 7. 71,508
Year 8. 71,508
Year 9. 71,508
Year 10, 80,447
Year 11. 80,447
Year 12. 89,385
Year 13. 89,385
The National Curriculum of England
Arabic (2018 New A’ Level)
Art and Design (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Biology (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Business Studies (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Chemistry (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Computing (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Design and Technology (2017-2018 New A’ Level)
Drama (2016 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Economics (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
English Literature (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
English Language (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
French (2016 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Geography (2016 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Government and Politics (2017-2018 New A’ Level)
History (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
ICT (2017-2018 New A’ Level)
Mathematics (2017-2018 New A’ Level)
Further Mathematics (2017-2018 New A’ Level)
Media Studies (2017-2018 New A’ Level)
Music (2016 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Music Technology (2017-2018 New A’ Level)
Photography (2018 New A’ Level)
Physical Education (2016 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Physics (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Psychology (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Sociology (2015 – 2018 New A’ Level)
Spanish (2016 – 2018 New A’ Level)
31% (8% A*)
93% (66% A*B)
Art & Design
GCSE Physical Education
(1) The school has asked us to emphasise to prospective parents that it is resolutely committed to being fully inclusive and does not cherry pick students. It promises a world class education for all students and will put in place whatever measures are required to ensure that all children meet their potential.
(2) Admissions Policy does give priority to students from JPS and siblings of JC students.
Al Safa, Dubai
British (largest nationality)
+971 4 395 5524
• Outstanding, visionary College leadership
• Focused, ‘whole child’ holistic educational approach
• Tier 1 academic attainment
• Outstanding KHDA personal development scoring
• Developing alumni network
• Courageous and transparent parental engagement, prospective and existing
• Passionate, committed, professional and highly effective teaching
• Tier 1 facilities
• Best-in-class subject choice at A Level
• Very high fees – though high value ROI
• Relatively weak Arabic subject area provision (an issue shared with all international schools) - but the investment and recognition in this area of the curriculum is here in abundance
• Lack of bursaries