The Best New School in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 Revealed. Top Schools Award Winner. Official.
The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards for
The Best New School in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024
is awarded to:
Brighton College Dubai
Our view of Brighton College Dubai
KHDA: Good with Very Good and Outstanding Features
Perhaps the most perfectly executed of all big-brand British public school “names” in the UAE, Brighton Colleges, one and all, have earned the respect and adoration of peer schools and families respectively. Brighton College Dubai came latest to the UAE, and builds on every single one of the across-the-board outstanding strengths of its sister schools in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi – and then adds its own twists on how to deliver a world class British Education in the UAE. Of all the UK brands – and the competition is beyond intense here, particularly from the outstanding Royal Grammar School Dubai, Brighton’s is the most proven, with links with the home UK school meaningful, omnipresent and respectful.
This is absolutely not one of those schools that buys a brand off the shelf and delivers nothing else. Academic and whole child engagement and achievement are off-the-scale; leadership serious, weighted with responsibility and exceptionally high performing; teaching faculty expensively recruited, and outstanding; – and the children carry themselves with a way of looking at the world that leaves you knowing at once this is a “Brighton child.”
Putting aside all the benefits of alumni and brand, in its own right the education is formidable, driven by arguably the most three important pillars you can imagine to aspire to for our children: confidence, kindness and curiosity. Those three drivers of learning, through which a Brighton education is delivered and structured, build humanity, engagement, a love of learning and a powerful sense of responsibility in every Brighton child that they can change the world for the better – and must do so.
The end result is a land of opportunity for children, one filled to the rafters with ambition, compassion, humanity and hope, and one with every single ounce of academic achievement that parents could wish for their children.
The Brighton College Dubai community is underpinned by a profound belief in the values of curiosity, confidence and kindness. The school strives to create a family-orientated, respectful
and vibrant community for its pupils, as individuals with their own unique talents, potential and aspirations.
Key drivers for the school’s approach are to:
• Inspire in all children a love of learning for its own sake
• Establish a foundation of knowledge and a body of skills for each child as a life-long toolbox from which they can draw to understand and question the world we live in throughout their lives – and to prepare them for the world before them.
• Inspire in children a deep awareness and appreciation of the spiritual dimension in our lives.
• Fire up in every child an enthusiasm for the world beyond the classroom, The focus is meaningfully on the whole child with a celebration of disciplines including Sport, Music, and The Performing Arts.
• Create in every child a respect for difference in others and a recognition that the efforts and achievements of every individual both within the Brighton community are valued equally.
The curriculum is broad, has depth, and is balanced. Focus is on EYFS, I/GCSE and the destination of “gold standard” A Levels. The strengths of a pure British education are celebrated here. The pupil to teacher ratio, at 9:1, is one of the lowest in any school in the emirates, ensuring meaningful focus on individual children to ensure delivery of the demanding curriculum is matched by individualised learning and support.
No child is left behind.
Feedback we have received from teachers at the school is outstanding. Teaching faculty are celebrated here, and investment in them, and care of them, is a foundation stone of the school’s requirement that the needs of every individual child are met, and their fullest potential achieved:
“I start every day with a spring in my step, looking forward to the day ahead. The pupils are full of joy and their palpable enthusiasm for school gives me a sense of pride for the nurturing environment we have created. I feel incredibly lucky to work in a place that values kindness and happiness above all else, not only in the pupils but in the staff too. The feeling of comradery between the staff is something very special; there is not a day that goes by when the staff do not share smiles, laughter or random acts of kindness. Coming to work feels like coming home as we really are a Brighton family.”
Pre-Preparatory Teacher. Brighton College Dubai.
“How could you not start your day with a smile, seeing so many pupils skip out of the car and onto the sports field day in and day out, to get there training done before school! They all arrive with a smile on their face, eager to get involved and feel part of a team. It is a pleasure to be part of such a thriving, positive and
engaging school community that seeks to inspire and motivate all of our young people.”
Teacher of Physical Education Teacher. Brighton College Dubai
We asked Simon Crane, Headmaster, Brighton College Dubai, to identify one singularly important feature to him in which the school shone for its students. Mr Crane responded that it is the:
“… Culture of Kindness that underpins everything that we do at Brighton College Dubai; we focus first on the thing that matters most – the happiness of our children. We know that young people only flourish when they are treated with love, kindness and respect. So we celebrate the uniqueness of every individual, whether that person be shy or confident, sporty, scholarly or both. We want pupils to be true to themselves, happy in their own skin and kind to one another.”
Brighton College Dubai was awarded Outstanding in its first British Schools Overseas (BSO)
One parents survey we focused on as part of our deliberations found that:
• 99% agree teachers are kind and respectful to all members of the school community
• 96% of parents feel that the quality of teaching is excellent
• 98% of parents agree that the school promotes good behaviour• 96% of parents report that their child is happy in school
• 96% agree that their child is learning in a healthy and safe environment
We also think that it is hugely creditable that Brighton College Dubai operates an email curfew between 6:00pm and 6:00am each day. Teachers need time to look after themselves so that, in turn, they have all the energy and joy to look after their students. Brighton College Dubai “walks the walk” on looking after its teachers.
We close on the words of Simon Crane, in summing up his school to us:
“Brighton College Dubai is a shining example of excellence in education, and a true testament to the Brighton College family.
“With a rich history of academic achievement and a commitment to providing an exceptional curriculum, Brighton College Dubai is a leader in the region’s educational landscape.
“My school is dedicated to nurturing the whole child and providing a supportive, inclusive community for its pupils. Our exceptional academic results are a testament to the outstanding teaching staff, and leadership team, who are passionate about creating a love of learning in every child.
“With a rapidly growing population, and an increasingly competitive job market, it is crucial for young people to receive a world-class education that prepares them for the future. Brighton College Dubai provides just that, with a curriculum that is designed to develop critical thinking skills, encourage creativity and innovation, and foster a global perspective.
This is a wonderful school.
Our students thrive in an environment that is both challenging and supportive, with teachers who are dedicated to helping them reach their full potential.
Every child is valued and respected.”
A Headmaster who believes in his school matters. There is personal investment here by Mr Crane, as well as professional. Ultimately, he cares about children. That is the long and short of it. He knows the school carries a weight of responsibility to children – and he is steadfast in his commitment that the school will not let a single child down.
The Top Schools Award for Best New School in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 will be presented to Brighton College Dubai 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 which have achieved outstandingly in so many ways for children in the Best New School category follow. Each of the following schools are recognised for their contribution as a leading new school in UAE Education:
Bloom World Academy
KHDA: Awaiting first inspection
“Where to begin on one of the most extraordinary, special, unique and utterly phenomenal school launches in the Emirates in recent memory. The first progressive IB World School in the UAE; this is a school designed from scratch by one of the emirates most respected educators to build the perfect school, 360 degrees, without any compromise. This is a school bursting with whole child investment in the Performing Arts, Music and any number of child-chosen ECAs to inspire every possible student passion, one with all the backing of Bloom Education, best known for delivering Brighton Colleges across the UAE, in their first landmark school to carry their name and reputation – one building in everything they have learned about how to deliver an outstanding education for children. Here you find teaching faculty that stand out for their being conviction educationalists, each pioneering an education built on the happiness of children, care for families, and outstanding, individualised education in equal measure. It’s on this note, the delivery of a deeply individualised education, that Bloom re-writes the rulebook on what is possible. Other schools often speak of an individualised education, but the reality of actually doing this is almost impossible to achieve in practice without the scale of investment and radical restructuring of accepted ways of doing things, that we see so beautifully implemented here. Facilities are Tier 1 plus, with a campus co-shared with the Flagship Brighton College Dubai. Telling is that it’s a school too which is grabbing the attention of parents historically set on a British Education to gold standard A level and now because of Bloom moving to the IB, not least because of a timetabling that works for every family and every child on their own terms. Later provision is written in stone too from launch, with promised commitment to the IB Diploma, (the fabulous) IB technical stream Career-related Programme and numerous other qualification pathways to meet every single possible child need including ASDAN. This is a forever school – and one of the happiest we have encountered in our many years of reporting on UAE Education.”
South View School
KHDA: Good with Very Good Features
“School leadership makes or breaks a school – and it is here that South View has found one of the most inspirational leaders we have met in our many journeys traversing the very best schools across the Emirates. Extraordinarily humble, leadership here shines in no small part because it listens. There is far too little listening, and far too much imposing, that goes on in this world. Only by listening, do any of us understand what is happening outside our heads and prejudices. Beyond the listening, the leadership here is driving an extraordinarily impactful and hope-filled investment in child welfare, whole child and academic education. British values, those of compassion, not walking by on the other side, and always rooting for the underdog, are deeply woven into the cultural fabric of school life, one that is richly and celebratory of its international role and formidably, and creditably, inclusive. Do not expect the bells and whistles – that is resolutely not what South View is about. Instead, the focus is on inclusion, this stretching to pioneer an outstanding education, as far as it possibly can, that is affordable to the broadest number of families. Revenue is invested in securing the very highest calibre of teaching faculty – if you are not a highly skilled conviction educationalist driven to create a better world for children you do not make it through the door. This is one of many areas where the school refuses compromise. In child happiness and welfare, this is a beacon school – it matters here – and matters personally to the school leadership. There is a belief and guiding philosophy that underpins everything here that starts from an understanding and mission that only happy children can have the freedom to adventure in their learning take risks; innovate; share; and, think bigger than has ever been thought before. Each and every South View child is part of a family in which mistakes are treated as a fundamental part of learning of how to become who we are – and be better than we are, rather than ever being treated as some kind of failure. The personality of each child is celebrated, not crushed into boxes. There is no factory line education here. This is an absolutely beautiful, and high achieving, school for its children, one with a heart every bit as big as its ambition to be the best school for children in the Emirates.”
The Arbor School
KHDA: Good with Very Good and Outstanding Features
“We can think of no school that has done more to change the structural landscape and push the boundaries of formulaic education, than Arbor School Dubai. We have journeyed with this remarkable school since its very earliest conception, and watched as the school has evolved to take up its place today as one of the schools that puts Dubai on the map globally for the quality and innovation of its education sector. To understand the ambition and seriousness of the Arbor vision, you have to understand a back story of a school invented by conviction educators and environmentalists recognising a yawning gap between the reality of a world burning its future in short term decision making (generally for profit) and a future generation that will have to pick up the pieces; solve hugely complex issues traversing technology, ethics and environmental Science; and, build a future that is sustainable and protective of all that is the best of and in our humanity. If you get the chance to speak with the founders of the school, you should. The vision here is complex, ambitious and profound. Beyond this, this is a school that simply “wows!” at every step. Vast biodomes define the skyline and heart of the school, whilst bringing an understanding of, and appreciation for, the complexity and beauty of an environment for students which builds an enviable sense of shared purpose and values that is both deeply moving, and one that drives the pervasive happiness of children. There is something substantial here to build an outstanding education on – something made real in the school to startling effect and impact. Few schools have anything that comes close to an equivalent driver of shared culture, and visionary intent. School leadership and teaching faculty are hugely inspirational as you would expect from a school on a mission – a real mission with consequences and opportunities so visible and pressing. Make no mistake too, the opportunities for students who graduate from Arbor will be many and demand for them high. These are students primed and ready for universities and industry… and universities and industries that needed them – yesterday.”
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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