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December 21, 2016

Brighton College Dubai, Al Barsha South

“Brighton’s reputation is built upon offering its pupils an innovative curriculum and outstanding pastoral care in their pursuit of academic excellence, all underpinned by a passionate belief in the importance of the individual.

Every child in the Brighton College family of schools is valued for his or her own sake, encouraged to develop his or her talents to the full in a community where there are no stereotypes and where every achievement, however small, is noticed.” Ian McIntyre, Director of Schools, Brighton College International Schools

 

Background

Founded in 1845, Brighton College (UK) is a top-tier UK independent secondary day and boarding [...]

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October 31, 2016

The City School International, Nad Al Hamar

“We aim to develop each one of our students into true learners, individuals who always seek to broaden their perspective and to face life’s challenges with courage and conviction.

Education is a pursuit that goes far beyond a qualification. While we aim to help our students excel in the course they are studying, we also hope to instil in them a thirst for learning throughout their lives.  At The City School, our teachers, students, and parents work together to realise this goal.”

Dr. Farzana Firoz, Chief Executive Officer, City Schools (Pvt.) Ltd.

Updated November 2016

City School International presents an extraordinarily mixed picture for [...]

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September 23, 2016

Merryland International School, Shabiya 9, Musaffah

Updated November 2016

““At Merryland, we celebrate the wedding of traditional forms of education with white hot technology. But we do this bearing in mind the universal truth that the ultimate aim of education is to form men and women of character who shun evil and fear God. We stand by Victor Hugo in this regard: “When we open a school, we close a prison.” Susheela George. Founder. Merryland International School.

It is difficult not to be inspired by the founder of Merryland. It’s not a strange place to start a story, because if a school is founded, as is the case here, by an owner driven entirely by a care for children and their future, there is simply no better [...]

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September 11, 2016

International School of Creative Science, Nad Al Sheba 3

Updated November 2016

The International School of Creative Science [ISCS] is a new Arabic-American dual curriculum faith school launching Phase 1 of its provision in Nad Al Sheba 3. The school is situated in the prime education corridor between Kings School Nad Al Sheba and Repton School on a circa 11-acre site.

The school has been established with the single aim of balancing the best of Western education, and its currency for later university and career development, with the protection, appreciation and nurturing of Muslim and broader Arabic culture, language, faith and morality within its role. It’s an East meets West equation that is far from simple to resolve and [...]

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September 4, 2016

Dubai British School, Springs 3, Emirates Hills

Updated March 2017

“As Principal and a parent of 3 children at the school, I value DBS as a happy school above all else, made up of happy people – happy to be respected, valued, and appreciated. We give every child the opportunity to succeed – and in a way that is meaningful to them.”

Brendon Fulton, Principal, Dubai British School

“I feel proud to be part of a school where students, parents and colleagues alike enjoy – and are happy – to come to school.

At its heart Dubai British School is a community; a community where everyone is valued and each of us contributes, in our own way, towards making this the extraordinarily special [...]

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June 25, 2016

Smart Vision School, Al Barsha 2

Smart Vision School is located in the heart of Al Barsha 2 – and, as a new school, Vision stands out for being a school that actually exists in nearly complete form. Prospective parents can actually visit the school – and not have to depend on off- plan drawings in making decisions for the future of their child(ren)’s education.

The English National Curriculum school is now open to applications for places between FS1 to Year 4 starting in September 2016. Phased launch of future grades to Year 13 will follow. Eventually all-through provision will take students through complete all-through British education from the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) to IGCSE and A [...]

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June 23, 2016

GEMS Founders School, Al Barsha South

Updated January 2017

GEMS Founders School(GFS) was established as an international UK curriculum school in September 2016, promising a “reasonably priced world-class education” meeting “the high standard of education that GEMS Education embodies.”

Founders offers an all-through English National Curriculum to IGCSE and A Level for students from FS1 to Year 13, between 3 and 19 years.

In build, GEMS advised us, and our sister site, whichschooladvisor, that Founders was being modeled on its family of Winchester schools. This, however, we felt in practice, told us little as the “Winchester” brand covers a multitude of very different schools from the fabulous, [...]

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June 22, 2016

Reach British School, Baniyas

Updated March 2017

Reach British School is a new (2014) all through FS to Year 10 (equivalent) English National Curriculum school offering phased launch provision through to IGCSE for children between 3 and 16 years of age. Prospective parents should note that the school, somewhat confusingly, works through Nursery, KG1 and 2 to Year 12 rather than using the standard UK school progression from FS1 and 2 to Year 13. We are advised that this is at the insistence of ADEC. The end result is, however, the same. As a school in phased launch, Sixth Form provision (Years 12 and 13) is not due to open until 2020 and is currently not confirmed. The school is currently operational [...]

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June 16, 2016

GEMS FirstPoint School, The Villa, Dubailand

Updated November 2016

GEMS FirstPoint is a very interesting school in a multitude of areas – and it is also, importantly, a very good one. So what sets it apart. There are two defining features that standout and which we believe will be of particular interest to prospective parents.

First, with FirstPoint, GEMS has set up a Tier 1 premium British School, but set the fees, deliberately, at the very lowest level of the fee structures we typically associate with this class of schools.  The following graphic is taken from its own marketing literature:

When you average the fees over thirteen years, the school offers a considerable value proposition for [...]

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June 14, 2016

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island

Updated February 2017

One of very few WhichSchoolAdvisor.com “Good Schools” (its highest award), and an ADEC A3 High Performing Good School with Outstanding Features, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi is a school in phased launch offering an all-through, British-founded, education from FS to Year 13. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi is, for us, a school that that has been quite extraordinarily successful in meeting the ambition, almost vocation, of its Founding Headmaster, Brendan Law, to create an education for children that begins and ends with each child’s personal journey. It is hard to think of another school in the Emirates that has so successfully, and inspirationally, drawn on and captured [...]

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June 8, 2016

Al Ain International School, Al Nayadat, Al Ain

Al Ain International School is quite extraordinary: It is an exceptionally good school by any standards, but it achieves this in ways that you have to experience to really appreciate just what has been achieved for children – and what they achieve for each other, their community and the school.

This is one of those schools that is resolutely not about numbers.

Our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, has long campaigned for schools to calculate “value-added”, in simple terms, what a school achieves with its children from where they start on entering a school. Many schools will advertise themselves on the basis of stellar examination results – but this is less of an [...]

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June 6, 2016

The Winchester School – Jebel Ali, The Gardens, Jebel Ali Village

What a wonderful, extraordinary school. It is a rare thing to be able to be so positive about a school that many parents will simply not have heard of, this partly because it (confusingly) shares a name with another very different GEMS school, GEMS Winchester- Dubai (the poorest performing of all GEMS schools). The two schools could not be further apart.

Where to begin? First, this is a big school. With 3,583 students, The Winchester School- Jebel Ali (WSJA) may strike alarm bells with some parents. The logistics of managing this number of children – with a role that dwarfs the size of many companies, would be testing of the skills of any leadership team. But Winchester [...]

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May 29, 2016

Fujairah Private Academy, Fujairah

Mooted to be one of, if not the best school in Fujairah, the Fujairah Private Academy (FPA) is certainly its most prestigious. The school is owned by the government of Fujairah, and the rulers of the Emirate play a significant role in school governance. The school’s honorary patron is His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah who founded the school in 1982.

The school itself occupies beautifully designed Arabic buildings, their stone facades carefully designed to blend with the extraordinarily beautiful Hajar mountains that provide their backdrop.

FPA provides an English National Curriculum all-through education to students between FS [...]

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May 24, 2016

Ajman Academy, Mowaihatal, Tallah 2

Ajman Academy, also known as Ajman International Academy, is in phased launch to provide an all-through hybrid International Baccalaureate/ English National Curriculum FS – Year 13 education for students between the ages of 3 and 18 years. The school, established in 2012, provides a mixed, co-educational education for its students.

Ajman launches through provision to IGCSE from 2016-17 with full FS – Year 6 schooling having been securely bedded in over the first four years of its phased launch programme. International A Level provision will follow from 2018. The school has grown steadily from its founding intake in 2012 of 130 students to its current 750-strong [...]

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May 12, 2016

Safa Community School, Arjan, Al Barsha South

New sister school to the Safa (British) School in Al Quoz, and originally named the Safa British Academy, Safa Community School is an all through British School currently offering English National Curriculum based provision from FS1 to Year 8, with Years 9 – 12 opening in phased launch from 2016-18.

The school welcomes children of all nationalities, and aims to be engaging and genuinely inclusive. There is a buzz about the school – and a lovely, warm atmosphere.

The design of the school is a plus. Safa shines a light on the importance of school design in creating an environment in schools that in its own right inspires children to excel. Buildings matter – and Safa is [...]

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May 7, 2016

The English College Dubai, Al Safa 1

Prospective parents should note that this is an updated review completed in 2016.

The English College Dubai, Al Safa 1, is one of the most loved schools in Dubai, but, if there is one single message that comes across from school inspections over the last eight years, it is that the EC governors, and owners, have not played the role that you would expect from a Tier 1 school.

Communication between the school, and particularly parents is also not currently  at an acceptable standard – and the KHDA raises ongoing questions about the degree to which the Governors and owners invest in the school.

It is worth quoting key concerns of the KHDA:

May 2010: [...]

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April 16, 2016

Queen International School, Hor Al Anz East

Updated November 2016

The biggest statement made by Queen International School is found in its (arguably) gaudy front building design. Whilst not to all tastes, at least it says something about the school. Elsewhere the provision of public information is wholly inadequate, failing accepted standards of school communication significantly, leaving prospective parents with little on which to base a decision or otherwise to shortlist the school.

The majority of links on the school’s web site lead nowhere, what little information there is dates from 2014, updated information links to a discipline policy advising parents of a newly strengthened school approach to unacceptable [...]

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April 14, 2016

Dubai Carmel School, Al Nahda 2

Updated November 2016

Dubai Carmel School is one of Dubai’s more established Arab schools, although no one agrees when the school was actually founded. The school currently dates its founding to 1995, but the KHDA traces it back further to 1990. Variously elsewhere the school’s routes are traced back to the mid 1980’s. Certainly the school is as far away as it gets from the modern bells and whistles of Dubai’s Elite Tier 1s in appearance and bijou scale.

Dubai Carmel provides an English National Curriculum based all through education from FS to Year 13, although this will culminate in GCE AS Levels rather than full A Levels. This represents an extension of the [...]

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April 10, 2016

Al Ameen Private School, Al Nahda

Updated December 2016

There are a number of extremely rare schools in Dubai that operate at levels significantly above their fee structure. Al Ameen, which delivers its education at some of the lowest fees anywhere in the Emirates, re-writes the rulebook that says schools cannot deliver a good standard of education to a budget.

With fees that run between 5,037 AED at FS phases, through to 5,709 AED in Year 11, in fact Al Ameen goes beyond even KHDA “Good” school provision in its attainment both at Post-16 (I)GCSE and the degree to which the school is integrated and engaged with its community. In these areas the school attains the award of “Outstanding” across the board, [...]

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April 5, 2016

Repton School Abu Dhabi, Shams Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island

Updated December 2016

Repton School Abu Dhabi [RSAD] is located within Sorouh Real Estate’s residential and business community development, Shams Abu Dhabi, and is the first school to be built on Reem Island.

This review reflects only the Foundation Campus of Repton School Abu Dhabi, a 7000 square metre FS-Primary which will eventually offer only FS to Year 2 slipstream provision to the larger Year 3 – Year 13 Repton Abu Dhabi through school.

Whilst the site for the Upper School of Repton Abu Dhabi is fabulously located adjacent to Sun and Sky Tower, the trade-off is available space. The plot is restricted to around 20,000sqm and as result the architectural brief [...]

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