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New affordable British School announced: GEMS Founders School Dubai South set to open August 2024

A new GEMS Founders School, GEMS Founders School Dubai South, is set to open in the Dubai South area in August 2024, providing another much-needed affordable British curriculum option for parents in the area. This announcement follows an agreement between Dubai South, a major urban development in Dubai, and GEMS Education, the largest private K-12 education provider in the UAE. The new school aims to cater to the growing demand for quality education at a more affordable price point, as school spaces become scarcer with the expanding UAE population and the cost-of-living increases globally.

Located along Expo Road, the new GEMS Founders School – Dubai South will be an all-through school offering the National Curriculum for England, initially serving students from FS1 to Year 8. The school will be built on a 250,000 square-foot campus, featuring state-of-the-art facilities designed for students aged 3 to 18. In subsequent years, the school plans to expand its offering to Year 13, ultimately accommodating over 2,500 students.

The last-minute announcement of GEMS Founders School Dubai South just a few months before it opens in August 2024 makes it the second GEMS Founders School opening this year, with the net-zero campus of GEMS Founders School Masdar City also set to open its doors after the Summer break.  Registrations open on 1 June 2024 – however, spaces are sure to fill up quickly, as the burgeoning Dubai population means that parents are often struggling not only to find an affordable school option for the child, but a school that has any availability at all. 

Known for shaking up the usual UAE school business model, the Founders brand of GEMS schools sets out to provide high-quality UK-curriculum education at exceptional value. GEMS Founders School Dubai South is slated to be a slightly more premium version of the usual Founders brand, with a higher percentage of UK-trained teachers (60%) than in the other Founders schools. Although fees are yet to be confirmed, they are predicted to be roughly 15% higher than those of GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar, where 2024-25 tuition costs range from AED24,306 for Foundation Stage up to AED36,987 for Year 13. As a result, spaces are sure to be highly sought after.

The two new Founders schools opening this year follow the original opening of GEMS Founders School – Dubai (read our review here) in 2016 and GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar (read our review here) in 2018.

Key figures, including HE Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South, and Sunny Varkey, Group Chairman of GEMS Global, were present at the signing ceremony for the new school. HE Khalifa Al Zaffin highlighted the strategic importance of the new school, stating,

“At Dubai South, our mandate is to support our wise leadership’s vision of attracting one million residents to the area once Al Maktoum International Airport is complete, by providing world-class services and amenities to the residents.”

Sunny Varkey expressed his enthusiasm for the project, saying:


“By bringing our well-loved GEMS Founders brand to this important area, we are proud to contribute to the advancement of the UAE’s thriving education sector as part of the UAE’s transformative journey.”

The agreement was signed in the presence of HE Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South, Sunny Varkey, Group Chairman of GEMS Global and Founder of Varkey Foundation and GEMS Education, Nabil Al Kindi, CEO of Dubai South Properties and Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer of GEMS Education, as well as other senior executives from both entities.

The school’s facilities will include spacious classrooms, STEAM labs, fully equipped food tech and ICT labs, art and music rooms, dedicated language and Islamic studies classrooms, and an indoor play area for the Foundation Stage. Additionally, the campus will feature a 25-metre competition-standard swimming pool, a football pitch, multi-purpose sports halls, and ample outdoor green spaces.

GEMS Founders School – Dubai South will also focus on specialised programmes in logistics, operations, and enterprise, with the ambition of serving as an innovation and sustainability hub, committed to cutting-edge research and sustainable practices.

Registration for the school begins on June 1, 2024, ahead of its opening for the new academic year.

Read more about the 17 new schools set to open in the UAE in 2024 and beyond.

Read our review of the new GEMs Founders School Masdar City in Abu Dhabi here.

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and Parents United's WHICHPlaydates - a regular meeting place for UAE parents to discuss the issues that matter to them, make friends and network with others. You can often find Tabitha too on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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