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Awards Day Twenty One! The Top Schools Award for Best Architecture, Environment, Design and Sustainability 2021. Entry Form Now Live.

Awards Day Twenty One! The Top Schools Award for Best Architecture, Environment, Design and Sustainability 2021. Entry Form Now Live.

by Jon WestleyMay 4, 2021

The Top Schools Awards, the UAE’s definitive School Awards, recognising the region’s most outstanding schools, teachers and educationalists, today publishes full information for entering the twenty first of this year’s Awards: The Top Schools Award for Best Architecture, Environment, Design and Sustainability 2021.

Entry for each of the remaining Awards are being published daily between now and the 8th May 2021. For details of the Awards published to date, click here.

This Award recognises those schools which have invested in outstanding architecture and design to create an extraordinary, environmentally aware and sustainable environment for child and student learning. We are looking for examples of investment at either (1) the point of original design/build of a school; or (2) capital projects following the opening of a school focused on establishing a benchmark in architecture and design, one focused on sustainability and an inspirational contribution to the life of the school. Our view is that landmark architecture and thematic landscaping should be recognised.


Best Architecture Award in a

Please complete this application form to enter a school for The Top Schools Award for Best Architecture, Environment, Design and Sustainability 2021. A PDF of the form can be downloaded at the end of this article.

Not entering for an Award, does not preclude any School from being considered. All schools in the UAE are considered within the judging process, drawing on expertise and data across Which Media. Entering for an Award, however, does ensure that we have access to accurate, up-to-date information on your school – and information strengthened by your decisions on how to answer the following questions.

Please use the questions as a guide; you may wish to draw out other strengths to support your case.

Entry for this award must be submitted with the agreement of the Headteacher of the school.



Aim for 1000 – 2000 Words

Support the case that your school delivers a benchmark for outstanding architecture and design in delivering an inspirational and sustainable environment for child learning. Provide paragraphs answering the following: (1) How our inclusive approach to design and accessibility meets the needs of all students at our school; (2) How our architecture and school design inspires students and their learning; (3) How we have used technology to maximise the sustainability of our school – and how we integrate its design and architecture within the curriculum; (4) In the context of architecture, design, environment and sustainability, what makes us different and where we excel; (5) Our learning curve since opening – relating to school design, the key challenges, key successes; (6) Our financial investment in creating a sustainable, inspirational learning environment for students and teachers (7) Our ethics and values framework; (9) The architecture and design impacts on parents and the community within which we operate (10) Why the design and build of our school and grounds is fundamental to our values in establishing a happy, inspiring, sustainable and productive space for child learning.

In each of the above, you may focus on the school as a whole, or a new capital investment made by the school relevant to this Award.



Please provide PDF copies of the architect’s scale plans, original renders and original design brief. If you can include notes reflecting learning and innovation during the planning and build that would be helpful. Please include the name of the Architectural practice, lead architect, construction firm and relevant dates of planning, build and completion phases as and where relevant.



Best Architectural Practice in the UAE working on school and education projects. Top Schools Awards 2021

Aim for 500 words to 2000 words.

Referencing design and architecture in the following where applicable, describe the story of how your school came to be established. Draw on the motivations of Owners and Founding Principal to describe the positioning of the school and how it responded to an identified need in UAE education. Finally, consider the view that: “Architecture and design is fundamental to delivering an outstanding, inspirational and meaningful education for students.”



Aim for 1000 – 2000 words.

Collate a document with evidence supporting the above, together with all areas of provision, investment, innovation and achievement that supports your school being considered the benchmark for outstanding school investment in design and architecture. This should include at least 2 quotations each from current students and parents at your school describing how the design of the school impacts positively on learning and their perception of the school. A quotation should be included from both the school owner and architects involved in the development of the school/new capital project. Finally, a contextualising quote should be included from the School Principal highlighting in precis the ethics, history, achievements of the school, the importance of the environment within which children learn and the school’s contribution to education, historic, current and planned, in the UAE. We are looking for passion, inspiration, meaningfulness and clear investment in the school’s sense of purpose, values and deep-seated commitment to delivering outstanding school in the UAE – one that stands out as a beacon of care and passion in designing a school around the needs of students and learning.


As part of the following application, you will strengthen your case considerably by sending the following survey links to your students, teachers and parents, asking them to independently provide feedback on your school as part of your entry to the Top Schools Awards 2021.


Teachers should complete the survey here:


Parents should complete the survey here:


Older students (Grade 10-12/Year 11-13 ONLY) should complete the survey here: 


The statistical results of these surveys are valued, shared with judges and used in our decision making.

In addition we use data provided to us under your school profile on the Which Media database. This can be accessed through our sister site

In particular please complete the following sections from the Admin:


  • Facilities
  • Sports offering
  • Scholarships and Bursaries
  • Details
  • Demographics
  • Memberships and accreditations
  • General info
  • Fees


It is critical that the data relied on by judges is accurate and up-to-date. If you do not have a school account on our sister site,, please request one so you can update your review and admissions data here:


In the year the UAE Space Mission orbits Mars, the Top Schools Awards 2021 launches to celebrate schools and innovation in the UAE



Please collate the above information in a Word document. High resolution (inspirational) photography, relevant film, PDF(s), together with any audio files, should be submitted separately with the Word file. Please also include a School Prospectus if that has been produced. 

When your application is completed, these should be sent, in a single email, titled SCTSA21 ARCHITECTURE with your School Name, to:

[email protected]

Please note: unless you specifically identify information that is confidential and sensitive and not for publication, any information sent to us may be published and become a statement of public record. It is vital therefor that information provided is accurate.



Click to download the complete official entry form for the Top Schools Awards 2021 – Best Architecture, Environment, Design and Sustainability in a UAE School.

Completed entries must be received no later than 7th July 2021.

#sctsa21 © 2021. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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