Jumeirah Primary School – Dubai and Jumeirah College – Dubai are two of our schools who have continued to be rated as outstanding, and our student achievements at these schools are testament to this. We take a closer look at what are some of the practices at these schools to understand what it takes to be ranked “Outstanding.”
GEMS Jumeirah Primary School – Dubai and Jumeirah College – Dubai are both rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Moreover, in 2017, both were named in the list of top schools in Dubai by Which School Advisor and SchoolCompared.com.
Jumeirah College – Dubai was also shortlisted for four British International School Awards, that included highlighting of the exemplary levels of teaching, the senior leadership and pastoral care at the school. The list continues with Jumeirah College – Dubai also being shortlisted by the Times Educational Supplement for International School of the Year.
Both are GEMS private schools follow the English National Curriculum, and are universally recognised for their history of academic excellence and achievements. However, the essence of the education a child receives at either one of these schools is not quantifiable only through league tables and exam results. The schools have multi-cultural, multi-ethnic school populations to whom they offer a well-rounded education, leaving them prepared for the ever-changing global world they will find themselves in as adults.
PUTTING CHILDREN FIRST
At Jumeirah Primary School – Dubai, each child in every curriculum subject area is working towards what they call the‘own it’ stage. This is the last stage of a tiered way of learning that begins with the ‘do it’ stage, where the teacher guides a child through a particular process, doing it with them. After this, a child reaches the ‘use it’ stage, where they act on their own but with prompting and supervision. Finally, they are able to ‘own it’, meaning that the child can use the skill independently of the teacher and in a different context.
The majority of extra-curricular activities at Jumeirah Primary School – Dubai are led by teachers in subjects ranging from chess to science and onto a variety of sports. There are also optional classes in scores of specialities, such as robotics, languages, music, swimming, gymnastics, and dance. Outside of these activities, the school has a wellbeing department with two psychologists on hand to support children’s pastoral needs, as well as to offer parents help and advice.
In addition, the school is equipped with one of the most advanced inclusion units found in private schools in Dubai. Established in 1997, the unit includes a Dyslexia Unit, which offers literary support for all children with dyslexia and those that show weakness in this area on their CAT scores. The unit also covers dyscalculia, dyspraxia, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many other forms of learning difficulties.
“Ours is an ever-evolving curriculum for an ever-evolving student. The general concept of our school is ensuring that all children are successful today and prepared for tomorrow,” says Rachel Higgins, the school’s Principal.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR LIFELONG LEARNING
The most important things that a student should have access to when graduating from secondary school, are choices. They should feel empowered when choosing a career and motivated to make the best of their lives, whilst simultaneously feeling unconstrained by the expectations of others. The education system at Jumeriah College – Dubai is geared specifically towards this holistic goal and is underlined by the school vision statement: ‘A vibrant learning community, nurturing happy, confident and accomplished students who, through a commitment to academic and personal excellence, progress beyond limits’.
As soon as a child enters Year 7, they are expected to take responsibility for themselves and a certain level of maturity is required.
Lateness is not tolerated and neither is a lack of personal care. This also translates into the way students learn, with Caoimhe Sexton, the head girl at Jumeriah College – Dubai in 2017/2018, explaining: “The way subjects are being taught is different nowadays. It is not just about handing over information for regurgitation in an exam, it is about being able to look at information and contextualise it and then evaluate and analyse it. This way, we are able to train ourselves to be able to take on new activities and do them independently. As you progress through the school, picking up new skills is quicker and easier and you find yourself way more equipped for GCSEs and A Levels. Then, you are much better prepared for university.”
Jumeriah College – Dubai is certainly not just about ticking boxes, with Principal Simon O’Connor commenting: “The purpose of education is not solely to get high grades. The purpose of education is to equip students with options so that when they leave school they have a foundation of knowledge and a skill set to guide them through the rest of their lives.”
This is supported by an extensive range of extra-curricular activities, taking in sports, drama, choirs, language clubs, science and maths organisations, and societies ranging in subjects as far apart as economic trading and chess.
And importantly, the student body has direct contact with the school Principal through the student council, passing on suggestions, complaints and possible solutions. This is the kind of mutual respect that fosters mature young adults and allows them to take control of their futures in a world that can otherwise be laced with uncertainty.