GEMS Winchester School Relocated to Dubailand as GEMS Heritage Closes EXCLUSIVE
Background – GEMS Winchester relocated to Dubailand.
GEMS Education has confirmed that it is to relocate its 4000 capacity English National Curriculum GEMS Winchester School to the flagship site of its GEMS Heritage School. The move will see the closure of its site in Oud Metha, Bur Dubai.
The move is designed to solve a major headache for GEMS. GEMS Winchester, after eight years of Acceptable ratings – and considerable investment by GEMS, just could not provide the highest standard of education for its children that GEMS expected – primarily because the site in Bur Dubai was not fit for purpose.
Winchester is based on the site of the old Our Own English High School which moved precisely because it could not effectively meet the needs of students. It was originally opened as an emergency move by GEMS to help Indian families in Dubai to educate their children at a time when capacity could not meet demand. As a result, GEMS Winchester has never managed to move beyond an Acceptable rating, even after eight years of operation.
The new move to the site of GEMS Heritage School is designed to resolve this.
The location issue
The problem facing families is location. With no traffic, parents can expect a minimum 20 minute commute. With traffic, worse case, they face an hour’s journey. For many families the commute time is simply not sustainable and they will have to move.
For those families that can move, the offer at the new site is significant. Our review of GEMS Heritage can be found here.
Our review of GEMS Winchester, which includes some history of the school, can be found here.
Initially, children moving from to their new school at the site of GEMS Heritage will have to share the site with Heritage students. This will be required until March 2021 at which point the CBSE curriculum GEMS Heritage will formally close.
Will it work?
No one can call it.
By analogy, parents are being offered the equivalent of a five star hotel relative to their current Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Cricket and Performing Arts facilities at Heritage, for example, are stand-out. But the price to be paid is high.
To make this work, a whole 4000 strong community is going to, realistically, need to consider relocating. In the short term GEMS is setting up a bus service at heavily discounted rates.
Our sister site, WhichSchoolAdviser, is reporting that many parents plan to use the on-line option being offered by the school to relocate. GEMS Winchester, despite its shortcomings, is a popular school with families.
Feedback to SchoolsCompared.com has been positive – particularly in the strengthen of community engagement by the school.
However, we also know from conversations with families this morning that many are now exploring alternative options as their employment makes the move impossible.
The difficulty they face is that there is no direct alternative UK curriculum school in Oud Metha at this fee point that offers a simple British curriculum alternative. Of the available, comparable schools with a more manageable commute, we know that they are now struggling with managing calls from parents from GEMS Winchester and waiting lists in key years.
We offer a service to help parents who are struggling with locating alternative schools – more details at the end of this new story.
This is a rapidly developing story that is being updated.
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