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GEMS Metropole School, Motor City
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Review

GEMS Metropole School, Motor City

by January 20, 2016
Strengths

• GEMS backing
• Strong Launch Principal
• Academically focused British education with relatively low fees
• Outward focus
• Facilities

Weaknesses

• New, unproven, no record
• Uncertainty preceding first KHDA inspection
• Large class sizes for a GEMS school targeting academic excellence
• Basic finishing leaves external spaces lacking warmth

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Academic
B-
Value
C
ExtraCurricula
B-
Languages
B-
Sports
B-
Arts & Drama
C+
Teaching
B-
Communications
C
Warmth
C
Differentiation
B+
B-
SEND Provision
C
Scl Community
C
Scl Facilities
C+
Opportunities

• Too early to make a recommendation to parents
• Some important positives including an excellent school Principal very well matched by GEMS to the demands of the school
• A school that parents must visit before making any decision
• If small class sizes, or a small school atmosphere are criteria, Metropole cannot be recommended
• For a new GEMS academic school, given the low price point, excellent facilities and a British education, there is (significant) but untested potential

B+
Our Rating
C+
User Rating
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38%
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15%
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6%
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15%

A school launched with more than 1000 pupils on opening – some feat for a new school, GEMS Metropole provides a (very) high value/low-mid fee alternative for parents seeking a GEMS education without the Premium Plus fees (and (almost none) of the “shiny” facilities) of its more expensive sisters.

Purpose built with a design focused on managing a very high standard of education in a large school, facilities are excellent, but without the bells and whistles of Dubai’s new elite schools including its GEMS stablemates. This said, by international standards, GEMS Metropole facilities better anything you would find in, for example, the premier league of UK state provision. Facilities are good. They are just not 7-star Dubai.

Gems Metropole currently offers a British education, built on the English National Curriculum, to Year 9; Year 10 comes on stream in September 2016 extending to Year 13 in successive years as existing pupils move through the school. Provision will target (I)GCSE O’ Level, AS and GCSE A Level, underwritten by Cambridge University. GEMs has forgone the International Baccalaureate route – and that makes sense commercially. IB schools require small classrooms, a wider range of post-16 subject provision, and more individual attention while being no more sought after or prestigious than the UK based examination.

Facilities include impressive integration of ICT across all learning and teaching facilities and spaces; multiple libraries; two swimming pools (25M, six lane and learner); digital media suites, science laboratories, cafeteria, music and art rooms.

The founding Principal, Ian Jones, is of typical GEMS high caliber on paper, but what counts is “real world” success on the ground and his achievements in driving the new school forward, a hugely complex endeavor with a school of this size and multicultural complexity, are impressive.

It is necessarily far too early to judge academic success, but GEMS achievement across all its schools to date, which at its peak competes with the best in the world, offers promise, and a much greater degree of certainty to prospective and existing parents that this school will succeed, and succeed at a high level academically, than equivalent new schools without history or backing.

Mr Jones, a mathematician by academic training, brings with him 37 years’ experience in the Scottish education sector, 23 years of which were as part of senior leadership teams in secondary schools including as Rector/Headteacher of Madras College, a 1400 pupil strong secondary. The fit is excellent.

For a large school (eventual capacity is 2500 students plus), and one now only in its second full year, there is already a distinct Metropole feel. Yes, there is scale, but Metropole has warmth in abundance, driven in no small part by an outward looking focus and inspired development of independent learning. Personal development is top notch; particularly impressive (and touching) are initiatives including a recent “Pink Day” (supporting breast cancer awareness) and an Autism Awareness Day (“I am Different Just like You!”)  which included an attempt for a Guinness World Record.

There are significant trade-offs including much larger class sizes than Tier 1 schools (Up to 25 at FS1 and 2, and 30 in Year 1 – 13) but given the fee levels this, probably, is to be expected. There is no doubt that some parents, however, will (understandably) dismiss the school as a prospective option for their children as a compromise too far. In this respect, as WhichSchoolAdvisor.com notes, GEMS Metropole is positioned in UK state, not public, school territory – unusual for a Dubai British school.  Whichschooladvisor also noted some lack of play equipment and concrete-dominated external spaces which to some degree has been addressed since its inspection.

Metropole, now in its second year, remains however, resolutely not a bells and whistles school, nowhere near,  and in many ways GEMS is trialling a new hybrid school model able to offer strong academics to parents who not only baulk at high fees, but simple cannot afford them. Given that all GEMS schools to date have significantly exceeded all national and international benchmarks in student outcomes there is no reason, yet, to believe Metrople will be any different. Bells and whistles do not make a school in the same way that high quality teachers and leadership – and the inspired children and learning that follows – undoubtedly do.

On the basis of driven, inspired leadership, the GEMS reputation for excellence, genuine warmth of the school – and a fee structure offering exceptional value for money, whichschooladvisor reports GEMS Metropole as a school with all the promise of a being a very high performing school. There are no guarantees with any school and there are consequences that follow a (relatively) affordable fee structure. But equally, given the positives, many parents already have not dismissed the school out of hand for the trade-offs inevitable in a school at this price point.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com

 

Details to consider
Type of school

Private for-profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 33,000
FS2: 36,000
YEAR 1: 39,000
YEAR 2: 39,000
YEAR 3: 39,000
YEAR 4: 39,000
YEAR 5: 39,000
YEAR 6: 39,000
YEAR 7: 44,000
YEAR 8: 44,000
YEAR 9: 44,000
YEAR 10: 44,000
YEAR 11: In development
YEAR 12: In development
YEAR 13: In development

Curriculum

National Curriculum of England

External Exam Boards

Cambridge

Number of A Levels offered

Under development

A Levels offered

Under development

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

Under development

I/GCSEs offered

Under development

Selective

Yes

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

2500+ (1000+ current)

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:25 FS1/FS2
1:30 Year 1 - Year 13

Largest nationality teachers

Not published

Teacher turnover

Not published

Year opened

September 2014

Location

Motor City, Dubai

Student composition

Not published

Gender

Mixed co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

GEMS

Admissions Telephone

+971 4 550 7200

Web Address
KHDA/ADEC Rating

Awaiting inspection.

Leadership

100%

Community

100%

Facilities

100%

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Acting Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and the International Editor of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at] schoolscompared.com

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Academic
Value
ExtraCurricula
Languages
Sports
Arts & Drama
Teaching
Communications
Warmth
Differentiation
SEND Provision
Scl Community
Scl Facilities