The Best Early Childhood School Teacher in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 Revealed. Top Schools Award Winner. Official.
The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards for
The Best Early Childhood School Teacher in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024
is awarded to:
Gabriella Ridley, Class Teacher, Red Rockets, and Head of FS2, Horizon English School Dubai
Our view of Gabriella Ridley, Class Teacher, Red Rockets FS2, and Head of FS2, Horizon English School Dubai
Horizon English School is loved by Dubai parents for its friendly and nurturing ‘village-school’-style environment, and nowhere is this more evident than in the EYFS department. The spacious classrooms are beautifully appointed with cosy sofas, rugs and lamps in neutral, natural materials, all designed to convey a warm ‘homely hygge’ atmosphere that is in keeping with the department’s practice of The Curiosity Approach. Learning through play takes centre-stage, and children have access to a large playground, specially designed shaded courtyard garden, as well as dedicated outdoor space next to each classroom, with outside learning in nature prioritised as much as possible.
Miss Ridley effortlessly heads up the FS2 year with an organised yet relaxed approach. While the children adore her kind and nurturing style, parents are impressed by her gentle discipline and her thorough and rigorous approach to phonics and writing. Horizon English School is staunchly inclusive, and Miss Ridley takes time to get to know the individual learning and socio-emotional needs of every child, with a ‘Focus Child’ programme, wherein every child has a fortnight of extra focused attention, combining teacher observation and interaction with parental input to create a fully personalised learning plan for each child.
We all know that the best teachers are those for whom teaching is a vocation, not a job, and Miss Ridley is a passionate educationalist, having achieved a first-class degree in Education from the University of Roehampton. She went on to earn Distinction in her PGCE at Goldsmiths University in London, and her love of art and design and pursuit of excellence is conveyed in the classroom through a creative and imaginative delivery of lessons that are engineered to get the very best out of each and every child.
One parent told us:
“I LOVE Miss Ridley. She is an excellently effective teacher, and my daughter learnt to read very quickly and easily when she was taught by her. I also like how she’s able to maintain some sense of discipline, but in a kindly way. She is very aware of every child’s progress, and is super hands on, despite also being the Head of Year.”
Another captures this perfectly:
“… she makes [redacted] want to come to school. I cannot stop her! She makes education so thrilling for the children – and she listens, and is kind. She has made such a difference. [Redacted] has grown up with her and become so accomplished in thoughts, language and the way she relates to others, and adults. It is exceptional what she has achieved for all the children. Horizon is a really amazing school and it is teachers like Miss Ridley that make it so.”
Gabriella Ridley is conviction educationalist by training and vocation. Miss Ridley achieved her Bachelors degree in Education from the University of Roehampton and her Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from The School Of Educational Studies at the respected Goldsmiths, The University of London. For Miss Ridley, “Horizon English School is the happiest school in the Emirates in which to teach and is across-the-board Outstanding.”
“Gabriella Ridley is adored by her students. They greet her every morning with smiles and hugs.
Miss Ridley inspires all the children to do their best in literacy and numeracy while managing her class in a disciplined – yet loving manner.”
Paul Woodfall. Oxford University Press. Dubai
At The Top Schools Awards 2021-2022, Horizon English School Dubai was awarded the Happiest School in the UAE for its beyond-outstanding care of children and the happiness of a school invested every last inch in child happiness, the welfare of children, ensuring that each child achieves an Outstanding Early Years Education – and that no child is, ever, left behind.
Horizon English School was also a deserving finalist of The Best Primary School in the Emirates in 2019-20, 2021-22 and 2023-2024. Finally, Horizon English School was awarded The Top Schools Award for its Value-added education and Leaving No child Behind at The Top Schools Awards in 2017 – 18.
In short, Horizon English School is one of the most highly recognised Primary Schools in the Emirates for the Outstanding-plus education it provides for its children – at the centre of which are its exceptional teaching faculty.
Investing in teachers is a foundation of school life at Horizon English School. Teachers’ professional learning is seen as “essential and not left to chance.” The school invests significantly in “protected time” for teachers for professional development, funding for teaching faculty to develop, professional development and care of teacher happiness and wellbeing. In the past 5 years, teacher retention has been outstanding with a less than a 5% turnover of teaching staff set against an average approaching 25% in UAE schools.
EDSTATICATM supports this in terms of data. Horizon English School holds one of the highest teacher Net Promoter Scores in the Emirates – and you can see how it performs compared with the average across the sector here:
The teachers Net Promoter Score shows how many teachers, after any detractors are subtracted, are true advocates of their schools. A remarkable 96% of teachers are “extremely” happy at the school, and, allowing for statistical error, almost every teacher feels very highly valued.
Miss Ridley, as our other awarded teachers, holds a very important and special place in Education. Miss Ridley captures all that is outstanding in the profession of Early Years teaching – and she represents, by definition, a symbol of the appreciation that must, and should, be given to all those who work within, and dedicate their lives to, this vital and complex phase of Education. The technical skills, human qualities, capacity to inspire and engage young minds, and sense of vocation that Miss Ridley brings to Horizon English School is a leading voice and light for all those outstanding teachers in Early Childhood settings who lay the very foundations of our children’s lives with such accomplishment and passion.
Award PresentationEarly-Childhood-Teacher-Gabriella-Ridley-Winner-Certificate (1)
The Top Schools Award for Best Early Childhood School Teacher in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 will be presented to Gabriella Ridley,, Head of FS2, Horizon English School, at a special Breakfast Celebration at The Emirates Golf Club on the morning of 16th November 2023. At the event the recipient of The Top Schools Awards 2023 – 2024 for Outstanding Contribution to Education will be revealed.
Historic winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE Award include H.E. Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, recognised for his era defining leadership of Education in Dubai as a force for good; and the Varkey Family, for their instrumental role in shaping education in the UAE, and ensuring the life chances for generations of children, following the founding of GEMS Education in 1959.
Our extraordinary Finalists and those schools and teachers which have achieved outstandingly in so many ways for children in the Best Early Years Teacher category follow. Each of the following Early Years teachers are recognised for their profound contribution to the profession of Early Years Teaching in UAE Education:
Nazan Asghar, Teacher, Kids Island Jumeirah 3
Roisin Casey, K1 Lead Teacher, MLT Subject Lead Science PreK-K2, Clarion School
KHDA: Acceptable with Good and Very Good Features
Natalie Doidge, Head of Early Years Foundation Stage, Nord Anglia School Dubai
Lauren Duffy, Teacher, IDEA Early Learning Centre
Shelley Putman, Pre-K Team Leader, Raffles World Academy
KHDA: Very Good with Outstanding Features
Ashlee Steward, Head of Foundation Stage 1, Arcadia School
KHDA: Very Good with Outstanding Features
A final note.
The Top Schools Awards takes over a year to produce. It engages with parents, students educators and educationalists over countless months, and the work invested in these Awards is the stuff of sleepless nights and deeply felt responsibility. We produce these Awards to celebrate our amazing schools, our magnificent teachers – who are the centre of the universe, our school leaders, whose lives will be judged by their impact on children, and the amazing students that they build a future for. These Awards are only about recognising this – in a world in which our schools and educators have far, far too little recognition. If on exploring these Awards you do one single thing, it should be to reach out to each and every one and thank them for all they do, each and every one of our schools, teachers and school leaders. You have absolutely no idea how much that would mean.
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