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May 19, 2016

GEMS Sports Academy, Bradenton Preparatory Academy Campus, Dubai Sports City

Updated October 2016

GEMS Sports Academy describes a very special and unique programme developed by GEMS Education in Dubai to nurture elite student athletes in the emirate. Established in 2014, it is the first programme of its type in the UAE and has much in common with best-in-class US programmes designed from their core to nurture the gifts of elite sports men and women with outstanding talent in their sporting field.

To understand the Sports Academy offer, it is best understood by prospective parents and students as a vehicle for GEMS to deliver an individually mapped elite sports based secondary education, rather than seeing it as a “bricks and mortar” school. The [...]

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May 7, 2016

The English College Dubai, Al Safa 1

Prospective parents should note that this is an updated review completed in 2016.

The English College Dubai, Al Safa 1, is one of the most loved schools in Dubai, but, if there is one single message that comes across from school inspections over the last eight years, it is that the EC governors, and owners, have not played the role that you would expect from a Tier 1 school.

Communication between the school, and particularly parents is also not currently  at an acceptable standard – and the KHDA raises ongoing questions about the degree to which the Governors and owners invest in the school.

It is worth quoting key concerns of the KHDA:

May 2010: [...]

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January 21, 2016

Canadian International School, Khalifa City A

Four changes of Head in under two years since its last Inspection, and rapidly growing student numbers (up to 900 from a recorded KHDA school at maximum capacity with 650 pupils in April 2014), have resulted in a school in a clear process of transition. This follows expressed concerns by inspectors of The Canadian School in 2014 that:

“Further and speedier progress has been inhibited by frequent changes in the senior leadership. If the school retains senior staff with experience and outstanding management and leadership skills it will be well placed to move towards being a very good or outstanding school. ”

The 2016 Abu Dhabi inspection is not yet complete and in [...]

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January 19, 2016

Dubai English Speaking College (DESC), Dubai Academic City, Al Ruwwayah

“My role is to be an advocate for every parent’s interests from the age of 3 to 18.”

Andrew Gibbs. Joint Principal, Dubai English Speaking School and College

Established in 2005 with just 35 Year 7 students, the Dubai English Speaking College [DESC] takes its name from the much loved Dubai English Speaking School [DESS], of which it is a part; the oldest British school in the Emirate established in 1963. The College was built separately to its feeder school in Academic City, and takes DESS children who leave the school at age 11, as well as those joining the school for a secondary education for the first time.

Today DESS is a rapidly growing school, [...]

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January 17, 2016

Dubai College, Al Sufouh

Updated March 2017

“One day in May 1978, after a short two month wait in a certain Creek side office, I was handed a plan of Plot B141 signed by His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Said Al Maktoum. The instructions were quite simple, “Build us a school, here.” Tim Charlton, Founder, Dubai College. 

The founding of Dubai College, still one of the Emirates most prestigious schools, has become intricately woven into the history of Dubai. The story is replete with pioneering spirit, adventure, resilience and ambition, and is very much an “if you build it, they will come” kind of tale. But then that too is pretty much the story of Dubai itself.

Today, in a sector [...]

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December 18, 2015

Abu Dhabi International (Private) School – Secondary, Al Karamah & Mohamed Bin Zayed City

Abu Dhabi International Private School [ADIP] was founded in 1992. The school is currently located in Al Karamah, with a (relatively much higher quality) second campus opening in Mohamed Bin Zayed City. For new students attending the new campus, however, fees almost double, although existing students are (currently) protected from the increase.

This review covers only ADIP secondary provision which achieves a very creditable A3 ADEC rating. Kindergarten and primary provision is catered for in the same school but at a significantly lower level achieving only a B4 score by inspectors in 2015.  We review this provsion separately.

It is also worth noting that the [...]

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December 18, 2015

Al Bateen Secondary School, Al Manseer

“What really makes this school wonderful? Our students. ADEC “Outstanding” rating notwithstanding, it is our students that are the heartbeat of the school – academic, confident, independent, caring, open minded, tolerant, balanced, creative and high achieving. Al Bateen students are locally educated; internationally competitive.”

David Hutson, Principal, Al Bateen Secondary School [quoted in whichschooladvisor, 2016]

Opened on its (fabulous) purpose built site in September 2011, Al Bateen Secondary School is hugely innovative, combining the best of a British (English National) curriculum to (I)GCSE with the choice for students, post-16, of [...]

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November 28, 2015

The Indian High School (Senior Campus), Oud Metha

The Indian High School Dubai (Senior Campus) is a private K-12 school with a 2015-16 KHDA inspection rating of Outstanding, an accolade it has achieved for five consecutive years. Established in 1961, it was the first private school founded in Dubai and has grown rapidly. Today the Senior Campus employs 427 teachers to educate 5928 children, by any standards a very large school. Despite concerns of overcrowding at middle levels, however, the school’s overall advertised average of 1:15 teacher-pupil ratio is excellent and this is reflected in its achieving outstanding performance from its pupils in English, Mathematics and Science.

Economies of scale partly explain the low [...]

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November 16, 2015

Jumeirah College, Al Safa

Our students’ success cannot be defined by qualifications alone. Simon O’Connor, Principal and CEO – Jumeirah College

GEMS Jumeirah College, founded in 1999, sets itself apart with an holistic, whole-child focussed approach to the English National Curriculum. The school, under its current principal, Simon O’Connor, has forged a reputation for the outstanding personal development of its students, this recognised in class-best KHDA scoring for the Colleges whole child provision.

College Principal since July 2015, Mr O’Connor, completed his professional PCGE training at Cambridge and forged a reputation within the UK education system for skills in student [...]

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UAE secondary schools

Secondary schools refer to secondary-only schools in the UAE. If you are interested in schools with a secondary phase, then also see all-through schools. There are considerably more all through schools in the UAE - secondary-only schools are something of a rarity.


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