SCHOOLSCOMPARED.COM TOP SCHOOLS AWARDS 2021 – 2022. THE BEST SCHOOLS IN THE UAE.
The UAE’s best schools, teachers and leaders have been recognised in the SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards. The results of the Top Schools Awards were announced live on SchoolsCompared.com throughout the day on Monday 6 December 2021.
The Awards, described as the “Oscars” in UAE education, attracted more than 7,000 individual nominations from UAE parents, students, teachers and educationalists across 29 categories.
The nominations were rigorously reviewed in collaboration with 25 education experts drawn from across SchoolsCompared.com, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com and its advisory panels, while data was compiled from information presented directly by schools as well as from the UAE’s most comprehensive, subscription-only statistical and analytic educational database, EdstaticaTM.
The final winners were voted for by a panel of independent educational consultants, based on a more than two-hundred page document produced by the Editorial Board of The Top Schools Awards, comprising journalists, educationalists and experts.
All together 90 different schools, and 225 finalists were recognised across the 29 Awards, with awards ranging from Best Primary School and Best School for Music; Teaching awards for Best Primary and Secondary School Teacher; and Special Awards for Child Happiness, the School Most Loved by Parents and the Most Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE.
Write-ups on the Awards will be completed over time detailing in summary the extraordinary achievements in each category of the Awards, and schools, teachers and Principals will receive their physical awards as soon as the factory producing them recovers from a major fire.
The Managing Editor of SchoolsCompared, Johnathan Westley, was insistent that the Finalists in each Award should not lose sight of their achievements:
“The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards finalists should also feel so proud. It is easy for all of us to focus on the winners in each category. But the picture here is much bigger of an absolutely outstanding UAE education system. The winners in each category recognise that they are in extraordinary company and all who have spoken with us, without exception, recognise that the impact of their extraordinary achievement means what it does precisely because of the outstanding calibre of each and every one of our finalists.
On behalf of all at Which Media I would also like to put on record our sincere gratitude for the many letters of appreciation we have received from schools and educators. It has meant so much that you took the time to write personally to us.
Finally, an enormous thank you to the thousands of teachers, parents, students and educationalists who have contacted us throughout the last year. Every single one of your thoughts was considered in the Awards process – without your input none of this would have been possible.”
The winning schools
Highlights of the winning schools and educationalists include: The Varkey Family, the founders of GEMS Education, who were awarded the 2021-22 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE; Zara Harrington, Principal of Safa British School, who won the award for Best School Principal in the UAE 2021-22; Dubai College, recipient of the Best British Curriculum School in the UAE; and, Horizon English School, which won the award for Happiest School in the UAE.
The Special Award for Overall Best School in the UAE 2021-22 went to The American School of Dubai. This was decided by judges based on the winning schools in each of the curriculum awards, these including Best Indian School, Best Blended IB Curriculum School, Best Blended Arabic Curriculum School, Best British School, Best American School and Best International Baccalaureate School.
Commenting on winning the award for Best Primary School, Sasha Crabb, Principal, and Ben Rothwell, Deputy Headteacher of Victory Heights Primary School, said it was a group effort:
“We are delighted to accept the award of Best Primary School in the UAE. We have worked incredibly hard for the last nine years and this award validates the hard work of all of the members of the VHPS community, past and present.
“We often talk of the phrase ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’ and it could not be more apt. We have been incredibly lucky to work within a school’s community which is so supportive, and we cannot thank the other Principals and Headteachers across Dubai, who’s wise words, care and above all compassion, have helped us in our journey.
“The high expectations and incredible community within Dubai and the UAE, have always pushed us to be the best that we can be. We are extremely proud of our little school, and our journey doesn’t end here.”
Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO of GEMS FirstPoint School also drew attention to the teamwork involved in achieving the many accolades awarded to his school. Named as a finalist in eight SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards categories, GEMS FirstPoint School also won two awards, as Mr Tompkins explains:
“The GEMS FirstPoint Family are thrilled by the recognition we received from the SchoolsCompared.com Top School Awards judges. Before this year, our school hadn’t got through as a finalist, so to be named as a finalist in eight categories was incredible.
“Then to go on and be named as winners in the ‘Best Technical and Vocational Streams in the UAE’ and the ‘Best Mainstream School for Children of Determination in the UAE’ was quite unbelievable.
“I want to say a huge congratulations to all of our students, parents, staff, and industry partners: we did this together.”
Perhaps one of the most important measures of desirability for many parents is how happy their child is, which is why Ian Wallace, Principal of Horizon English School, was so delighted that his school won the award for Happiest School in the UAE:
“It is with absolute delight that we have received this award. It is an award that means so much to the whole community as it really captures the feeling that permeates throughout our school.
“Happiness and wellbeing are core to our school and the school’s vision, and everything we do is strategically underpinned by this.
“To have the recognition of this through this award is simply wonderful! For over three decades Horizon English School has been a truly happy place with enthusiastic and happy children, and we now look forward to continuing to provide a happy and positive environment for the next 30 years!”
Two of the awards that tend to garner the most attention are ‘Best Principal in the UAE’ and ‘Best School in the UAE’.
Zara Harrington of Safa British School shared her thoughts on winning the award for Best Principal in the UAE:
“What an incredible privilege it is to be awarded Principal of the Year. The schools in the UAE truly have the best educational specialists and to work with the team I have at Safa British School, day in and day out, is an honour.”
Meanwhile the comments from Mr Hamilton Clark, Superintendent at American School of Dubai (ASD), once again outlined the outstanding calibre of all of the finalists and of the UAE education landscape as a whole:
“We are honoured to receive the SchoolsCompared Top Schools Awards for Best School for Sport, Best American Curriculum School, and Overall Best School in the UAE 2021-2022.
“While we are proud of the work we do at ASD, it is humbling to be recognized out of such a distinguished group of schools. Congratulations to all the finalists today—the quality of the schools considered serves as a reminder of how fortunate the UAE is to have such an incredible variety of transformational schools available for its residents. We are proud to have been in partnership with our host country for the last 50 years and we look forward to the next 50.
“As we continue with our mission to challenge and inspire each student to achieve their dreams and to become a passionate learner prepared to adapt and contribute in a rapidly changing world, it is distinctions like these that remind us of the power and impact of our work.
“This is an exciting time at ASD, and today’s awards only affirm what we believe to be true: our school has the ability to change lives, and the evidence of our success has never been more clear.
“Thanks to SchoolsCompared for the award. Thanks to our parents for their partnership and support. Thanks to our alumni for living out our mission, and thanks to our students and our teachers for the ongoing work they do each day to make ASD the best school in the UAE.”
And finally, Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education, accepted the prestigious ‘Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE’ on behalf of the Varkey family – an acknowledgment of the incredible hard work and lasting legacy of all three generations of the UAE-based Varkey family, starting with his pioneering grandparents – especially his late grandmother, Mariamma Varkey, who founded the first GEMS School:
“It’s an incredible validation of the purpose the family has been driven by for generations now. It’s a validation of the work that we dreamt of doing, and have continued to do for such a long time. I’ve always said that my grandmother, [Mariamma Varkey, education pioneer and the founder of the first GEMS school], was the heart and soul of the purpose that we strive to inculcate in our students. I don’t think she was driven by the kind of recognition that you get from awards, but I know that she’d be proud.”
James Mullan, Co-founder of the SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards, said:
“The Top Schools Awards are the definitive education awards in the UAE – and we absolutely could not let another year go by without recognising and thanking those schools, teachers, Principals and educationalists who have made such a profound difference for children across the UAE.
We believe passionately that this is the single most important sector of the UAE economy – and not nearly enough is done to recognise the people and institutions that deliver it.
With all the extraordinary challenges of Covid-19, professionals across the sector have ceaselessly, tirelessly – and often at great personal cost and no small amount of courage, worked to ensure continuity of an outstanding education for our children.
The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards cannot come a day too soon to recognise this – and say thank you on behalf of families, government and every one of us across the emirates.”
David Westley, Co-founder of the Top Schools Awards, continued:
“For 12 months we have been building up to the Top Schools Awards – and the response from parents and educationalists contacting us to recognise all that is outstanding in our schools and across education has been nothing short of overwhelming – and deeply moving.
Flooded with nominations, there has been an outpouring of appreciation for what has been achieved for children during a pandemic that has placed almost impossible demands on teachers and school leaders to ensure that the education of our children has been protected.
The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards have the single purpose of recognising our amazing, schools, principals and teachers – and the educational community around them.”
The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards Winners 2021/2022
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Early Childhood Teacher of the Year 2021-22 in Proud Association with WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Clare Nagle, Home Grown Nursery
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best Early Childhood Centre in the UAE 2021-22 in Proud Association with WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Little Land Nursery and Montessori Centre
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Primary School Teacher of the Year 2021-22
Troy Ellison, Head of ICT and Computing, Regent International School Dubai.
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best Primary School in the UAE 2021-22
Victory Heights Primary School
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Secondary School Teacher of the Year 2021-22
Charlotte Abbott, English Teacher, Director of English, Dubai English Speaking College [ DESC].
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best School for Post-16 Education in the UAE 2021-22
Winners – Joint Award:
Dubai English Speaking College [DESC]
The British School Al Khubairat
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best School for Technical and Vocational Stream Education in the UAE 2021-22
GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best Mainstream School for Children of Determination 2021-22
Winners – Joint Award:
GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa
Raffles World Academy. An Innoventures Education School.
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Value Add and Leaving No Child Behind 2021-22
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Happiest School in the UAE 2021-22
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best Indian Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
The Indian High School (Senior Campus)
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best American Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best International Baccalaureate Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Taaleem’s Greenfield International School
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best Blended Arabic Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Sheikh Zayed Private School for Boys
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best Blended International Baccalaureate Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Jumeirah English Speaking School [JESS] – Arabian Ranches
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best British Curriculum School in the UAE 2021
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best School in the UAE for Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts 2021-22
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best School in the UAE for Music 2021-22
Nord Anglia International School Dubai
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best School in the UAE for Fine Art and Creative Studio Work 2021-22
The British School Al Khubairat
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best School for Sport in the UAE 2021-22
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Most Innovative School in the UAE 2021-22
Winners- Joint Award:
Fairgreen international School in Dubai
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best New School in the UAE 2015-21
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best University in the UAE 2021-22
Manipal Academy of Higher Education
- The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Best Architecture Environment, Design and Sustainability in a UAE School 2021-22
The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai
- The SchoolsCompared.com Special Award for the Most Outstanding Response to COVID-19 by a School in the UAE 2021-22
Winners – Joint Award:
- The SchoolsCompared.com Special Award for the “School Most Loved by Parents” in proud association with EdstaticaTM 2021
- The SchoolsCompared.com Special Award for Best Principal in the UAE 2021-22
Zara Harrington, Principal, Safa British School
- The SchoolsCompared.com Special Award for Overall Best School in the UAE 2021-22.
- The SchoolsCompared.com Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE
The Varkey Family [GEMS education]
© SchoolsCompared.com. 2021. All rights reserved.
Notes: thank you to The National for use of the included broadsheet article.
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