KHDA Inspection Reports 2017 – Best Newly Inspected Schools
Located in the Villa project and one of GEMS’ more moderately-priced premium schools, GEMS Firstpoint opened in 2014.
The school has grown at an extraordinary pace with the number of students increasing from 340 on opening to its current number of 1412. Over 60 new teachers joined the school this academic year in anticipation of the growth in student numbers.
Amongst the school’s strengths are students’ personal development and well-being (rated Outstanding for 3 of the 4 school phases), children’s achievement in the Foundation Stage (FS), the arrangements to ensure students are safe and healthy, the inclusive ethos, the innovative and evolving curriculum, the principal’s ambition for the school, and the high quality facilities.
Children in the Foundation Stage achieve well in all subjects. The curriculum is well-designed and planned in most respects. It is effectively modified to meet the needs of most of the school’s diverse population. The quality of teaching is good overall, but is more variable in Islamic education and Arabic, particularly in the secondary phase.
The principal has a clear and ambitious vision for the school and, with the governors’ support, ensures there are ample staff and high quality facilities and resources to enhance learning, which are rated Outstanding.
Priorities for further development are to improve achievement in Islamic education and Arabic, to review the processes for self-evaluation, by ensuring the accuracy of students’ attainment and progress information; to use this information to promote high achievement for all students; and to provide effective support for students with English language learning needs. The majority of students at the school are non-native English speakers.
With a teacher:student ratio of 1:13 and teacher turnover of only 5%, GEMS Firstpoint is equipped to offer personal support and a very stable environment for children.
According to the inspectors, students enjoy learning very much. They are sensitive and show empathy towards the needs and differences of others. Students’ personal development is a strong feature of the school particularly with regard to their behaviour, their enjoyment of school and their healthy lifestyles. Students’ social contribution, their work ethic and innovation skills, and their care for the environment are very well developed. The school welcomes students of all abilities and caters well for their needs by providing an innovative and evolving curriculum.
GEMS Firstpoint is an example of a school that truly shares its inclusive ethos from the top down and is achieving positive results in many areas early in its development.