GEMS Dubai American Academy, Al Barsha
• Rapidly expanding and successful IB Diploma provision reflects the richness of the US Curriculum to Grade 10
• Perfect alignment of the best features of US educational approaches (whole child focus/inclusion/warmth) with academic stretch of the IB
• Outstanding, visionary leadership
• Robust, professional development culture - and commitment to on-going improvement -delivers consistently outstanding outcomes for children
• Outstanding teaching secures excellent learning outcomes in English, Mathematics and Science at every level of the school
• Strong, vibrant and inspirational partnerships between parents and the school create impressive and genuine integration of the school within the broader community
• Extremely high standards of collaboration between teachers and students are highlighted by the commitment to meeting the different needs of children across age, ability and outlook
• Competent, experienced and caring Special Educational Needs leadership delivers consistent outcomes across all abilities within the programme
• Wide-ranging and ambitious after-school activities are available to all students from Kindergarten through to High School, these developing individual student talents and interests beyond the classroom
• At Post-16, in all external examinations in mathematics, most students attain levels that are above international benchmarks. Attainment and progress, critical thinking, inquiry and investigation skills are all outstanding
• Students’ understanding of Islamic values is excellent, translating into a culture of kindness and charitable initiatives throughout the school and within the local community.
• Students show a deep understanding of Emirati society, culture and history, this developed through a rich program of school events and field trips
• Despite Tier 1 fee levels, the value proposition is extremely high.
• Islamic Education and Arabic language programmes are not as developed, or as well integrated, in school life as other core areas of the curriculum
• Arabic and Islamic Education provision within the Special Educational Needs department provides worse outcomes for students than in Mathematics, English and Science
• Writing skills development and the development of motoring skills amongst the youngest children is only inconsistently successful
• Impending new school merger is untested.
Updated April 2017
The following review provides historical context for the merger of GEMS Nations Academy and the KHDA Outstanding Dubai American Academy (DAA) due to complete in September 2017. The merger will see the launch of a new school, Dubai American Academy – Nations Campus, blending the flagship facilities and faculty investment of GEMS Nations with the historically outstanding teaching and achievements of Dubai’s premium US curricular school.
GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA) is the only school in Dubai following an American curriculum to have been awarded an “Outstanding” rating by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau. The accolade has been awarded in each of the five consecutive years since 2011 and in 2015-16 the school was described by inspectors as having “outstanding teaching leading to outstanding learning outcomes in English, Mathematics and Science.”
The school has 2,340 students aged between 3 and 18 years of age providing education at every level between Kindergarten and Grade 12. 99 nationalities are represented within the student body, with the largest number, 22.07%, drawn from the United States. The school has a mixed intake, with a 50% balance between male and female students, and is non-selective. SEND provision is outstanding.
The school offers both an enriched US High School Diploma based syllabus and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, this helping it achieve flagship “Highly Recommended” status in the definitive Which School Advisor UAE Survey 2015. The school is one of a very limited number of exclusive schools to have achieved whichschooladvisor Good School status, an award it has secured for the last five years, latterly in 2017-18.
A very good example of the high quality of information provided to parents can be found below where the school provides detailed information on the High School curriculum.2017-2018 High School
Prospective parents should note too a quite extraordinary increase in the numbers of students now sitting for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. 8 in 10 children now sit for the Diploma (up from 1 in 4 children at launch and 7 in 10 children in 2015-16) and all students sit for the Certificate and High School Diploma. Grade mean point average is a highly creditable 34. This is quite some achievement for a fully inclusive school – and one combining two arguably very different curricula. The very clever way that these are melded and interwoven to create such a rich whole-child education that targets the individual needs, potential and ambition of each child – particularly in integrating the warmth and individuality that comes from the US curriculum focus, is a stand feature of the school.
As it stands DAA is a genuinely outstanding school and one that is unambiguously, and very highly, recommended.
In September 2017 DAA will, however, merge with GEMS Nations Academy in an entirely new school. DAA will relocate entirely to the landmark GEMS Nations campus. Dubai American Academy – Nations Campus, will host arguably the best facilities of any school in the Emirates but will need to blend a number of core differences between the schools across almost every aspect of provision from SEND and bursaries to co-teacher models of education and a defined US curriculum approach from DAA that GEMS will not want to dilute. This is no small undertaking and the risks are very high for GEMS. It will not want to damage in any way two of its most important flagship schools.
It is far too early to take a considered view of the eventual outcome. Parents at both schools will need to weigh up the strengths and weaknesses that could come with the new super-campus. DAA parents in particular are going to face the upheaval of a new school, albeit one that comes with very significantly improved facilities at a fraction of their originally defined cost. Our launch review of the new school is in development. Watch this space.Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to GEMS MERGER on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to THE VARKEY INTERVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to NATIONS LAUNCH on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to the NATIONS Q&A on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
YEAR 1: 80,640
YEAR 2: 80,640
YEAR 3: 80,640
YEAR 4: 80,640
YEAR 5: 80,640
YEAR 6: 80,640
YEAR 7: 80,640
YEAR 8: 80,640
YEAR 9: 80,640
YEAR 10: 80,640
YEAR 11: 80,640
YEAR 12: 80,640
YEAR 13: NA
International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB DP)
US High School Diploma
Council of International Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Yes - some Grades
Al Barsha, Dubai
American (largest nationality)
Nationalities represented: 100
+971 (0) 4 347 9222