At a glance
Jumeriah Primary School offers education to over 1435 students - sizable for a primary which can be off-putting for some parents used to smaller schools. That said the school itself is described as "warm and caring" and "very inclusive" by parents of students who attend. The school itself says it has a 'small school atmosphere'.
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Almost 1 in 3 students are British, although this is no Little England - JPS represents pure multi-cultural Dubai with some 72 countries represented in total.
Students are supported by 85 full time teachers who are "very well qualified" according to the KHDA (2011/12 report) - a rarely used statement by the education regulator in its reports. Average class sizes are in the range of 22 (Foundation Stage) to 27 (elsewhere); classrooms themselves are said to be bright and stimulating. Teacher:student ratio is at 1:15.
The curriculum framework at GEMS Jumeirah Primary School is based on the National Curriculum for England from Foundation Stage to Year 6.
The school's KHDA report notes a very high quality of teaching, especially in English, Maths and Science with a rich and carefully planned curriculum. This is a school that has received the rating of Outstanding for 6 consecutive years. As the report notes, "Teaching [is] outstanding across the school and teachers use their incisive knowledge of how students learn to plan imaginative lessons. Highly effective use of questioning challenges students to think deeply about their learning. Almost all teachers [are] skillful in employing a wide variety of activities in class which consistently [meets] the learning needs of all students."
English, Maths, and Science are deemed Outstanding for attainment and progress across the school's phases - as is the curriculum, teaching, and assessment in general.
This is reflected in international benchmarks. The most recent TIMSS (The Trends in International Mathematics and Science ) data (2011) showed that JPS students in Year 5 attained a high international benchmark. The JPS score was 583 which is higher than the international benchmark of 550. This is significantly higher than the TIMMS centre point- even after the emirate's much improved December 2016 results.
Aside the academics, JPS students are said to display exemplary behaviour and there is "very high quality of support provided to students with dyslexia and other special education needs" - quite unusual for Dubai schools, but not it must be said for GEMs 'premium' schools which do invest in SEN provision. In its most recent report inspectors note "fully inclusive and vibrant learning environment", the school's "cohesive teamwork and shared visionary leadership", and its "relentless drive for continued improvement".
Areas for improvement according to the KHDA are Islamic and Arabic education (repeated in all reports over the last four years). It is unusual to not find this as a recommendation in a KHDA report, and to its credit the school has made "significant headway in these areas. The KHDA also notes the need to better use international benchmarks to more accurately assess student progress.
Facilities at JPS are very impressive, including a well-stocked library, a prayer room, a multi-purpose Main Hall, a large, temperature-controlled Sports Hall, a fully shaded 25-metre swimming pool and infant learning pool, an all-weather synthetic turf pitch, a Mac Suite, a science lab, two gardens and four age-appropriate playgrounds. We love the extensive and varied extra-curricular activities on offer, such as French club, Volunteering in the Community, Jewellery Making, French Boules, Mindfulness & Yoga, Fun Fitness, Recorder, Drama & Debate, Swim Squad, Athletics, Soft-tipped Darts, Table Tennis, Embroidery, Sketching, Rugby, Basketball, Archery, Irish Dance, Choir, Ukulele, Netball, Football, Cricket, Creative Craft, Philosophy, Fashion Design, Chess and Game Design.
Fees for the school are mid-range for a premium, high achieving school, starting at 38,202 plus AED per annum for Foundation Stage 1, rising quickly to 48,155 AED from FS2 through to Grade 6. While no one likes fees, it is rare to find a parent that does not feel JPS does not offer a quality service in return. Parents in general rate highly the education the school offers their child, although satisfaction with academic attainment is slightly lower than average. It is a school an overwhelming majority of parents would recommended to others in the WSA School Survey.
A final very strong point of JPS is that it has priority placement at the very popular and sort after Jumeirah College. Applications to JC are required and an entrance examination taken however "the majority of the children from GEMS Jumeirah Primary School do accept places at GEMS Jumeirah College".
Note: JPS is, like many tier one primaries, currently over subscribed. Go to the JPS Q and A for more information on this.
Jumeirah Primary School's entry into WSA's Happiest School in the UAE competition
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Jumeirah Primary School is located between Sheikh Zayed and al Wasl roads in Jumeirah. Having opened over 20 years ago, it now counts as one of the “older” British curriculum schools in the region. With beautiful, large photographs, its entrance lobby looks more like that of a corporate entity rather than a school, but this impression soon disappears as one walks along the broad, well-used and clearly functional corridors of the school.
Security at the gates is very good and thorough. The school is well guarded and secure with several doors using codes in addition to closeable gates separating the Foundation Stage children from the rest of the school and the outer world.
There is parking in front of the school, which now has approximately 1400 children attending, making it one of the larger British curriculum primary schools in the UAE. The buildings are 2 storey, with wide corridors; stairs are also wide with 2 sets of rails at different heights to ensure safety for children of differing heights. On one staircase primary coloured handprints of the children decorate the glass tiles and there is a spectacular hand print mural decorating the wall.
A great positive in the Middle Eastern heat has to be that the school buildings are enclosed; children do not have to leave the air conditioning at any time apart from break times during the summer. This has to be healthier for the body than constantly going in and out and experiencing huge temperature fluctuations.
There are several shaded outdoor areas for sports and play, with a large sports field and a nice garden at the back. The garden boasts trees, paths and a memory bench. As with most schools, common sense is used in the summer months to determine when it is no longer desirable for children to play outside due to the heat. At such times in-door activities and alternative space is provided for the children to relax and wind down between lessons.
The different age groups have their breaks at staggered times to avoid congestion in the play grounds. The school day runs from 7.30 to 2.15 for KS 1 - 2. Foundation Stage children finish their day at 12.30.After school the children assemble on a field under strict supervision until they are picked up. This means that one parent picking up a number of children in KS 1 – 2 only has one stop to make in the summer months leading to a speedier exit from the school premises.
A separate building houses a large sports hall for indoor sport activities during the summer heat. Behind this building there are a number of shaded courts for various sports activities. Two large shaded pools are located to the front of the main school building. The training pool is shallow and at the time of the visit, a class was in session, with three adults in the water with the children. There is a “House” system, sporting different coloured attire for the purposes of sports competitions. The scores and trophies are displayed in a lobby for all to see.
Different sections of each corridor house different year groups, clear to see from the topic related displays mounted on the walls, ranging from suspended papier mache dinosaurs to Greek History. In some areas there is seating or even photocopiers along the wide, almost lobby sized, corridors - all testimony to the busy life of the school.
Each classroom has French windows towards the outside, making them pleasingly light and airy. In KS 1-2 there are 27 children to a class, while lower down the school there are 22. The classrooms are not overly big, but each is equipped with smart boards.
The school, like most primary schools, has no cafeteria, therefore children rely on packed lunches.
There is a very pleasant-looking nurse’s station. A library has over 24,000 volumes and a majlis-style seating area. There is a nice ICT room adjacent to the library with Apple computers. At the time of the visit a buzzing lesson on history research was in progress, with animated discussion going on.
There is a large hall for assemblies and shows, a music room and several other facilities. The music room looked quite bare and in need of refurbishment.
The atmosphere around school was friendly and courteous. While there was lively chatter all around, children behaved with respect and good sense, especially on the stairs.
The school rents its buses, which are CCTV monitored and have very stringent rules for supervision. Unlike the buses of several other schools, JPS buses deliver children house to house for safety and have a rule that the child’s journey should not take more than 60 minutes door-to-door.
This is a very well-run school, in a location in the heart of the traditional residential areas of Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim, and easily accessed from anywhere along Sheikh Zayed Rd.
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