A Great Start at Bloom World Academy

With its innovative approach to everything from start times to its academic passport, Bloom World Academy has been one of the most talked about new schools in the UAE. Now the school has been open for a few months, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com's Senior Editor, Susan Roberts, took advantage of ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to assess whether the school is delivering on early promise.
A Great Start at Bloom World Academy
By Susan Roberts
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WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Senior Editor, Susan Roberts, spent a morning at one of Dubai’s newest schools, Bloom World Academy. Find out what she discovered and experienced with ‘behind-the-scenes’ access, observing classes in action, chatting in the teachers' lounge, having in-depth conversations with students and parents, and quizzing the school’s leaders on the journey so far in the full Bloom World Academy experience feature here. For a taste of her findings, continue reading...

What do we know from the outside?

This new all-through IB school claims to ‘dare to be different’ and has attracted families with a vision of student choice from the earliest years, strong parent partnerships, flexibility and a later start time of 9:00am. 

Principal Mr John Bell told us: 

“Bloom World Academy is the embodiment of what a true IB curriculum school should be. We are a firm believer in stage not age when it comes to education and the school’s flexible, customised approach will support this in every sense. Bloom World Academy really does dare to do things differently and we are so happy to finally be able to offer parents an education for their children which really does put the student first.”

Arriving at the school...

Arriving at a school during its morning drop-off time is something our reviewers usually prefer to avoid; chaotic traffic, an absence of available parking and a general atmosphere of barely contained driver animosity is expected, but not at Bloom World Academy. The new Dubai school, famed for it’s later start time of 9:00am, has managed to avoid all of this, despite being located on what is often referred to Al Barsha South’s “school street”. 

Breezing in at 8:30am, there was plentiful parking, and a pleasant steady flow of arrivals as 9:00am approached. Following the usual checks, the school’s security provided guidance to the main entrance.

Plenty of personality...

Founding Principal, Mr John Bell, has quite a presence across the school. His unique brand of dry Dad-humour prompts belly laughs and eye rolls in equal measure, but it is clear to us that parents, students and staff alike feel affection and notable trust in him. The conscious effort he puts into making himself available and his natural ability to build connections is clearly paying off.  

Building community...

We were invited to start out day by attending the school’s weekly forum. The forum is a weekly whole-school assembly, in which student achievements are celebrated, school news is shared, and school leaders discuss topics of reflection. Our reviewer noted a very positive sense of community shared, with students cheering one another on, and responding warmly to school leaders. The format of this weekly event clearly has a positive impact on the sense of school community experienced by students. 

Bloom World Academy's weekly student forum in action

Inside the Classrooms...

Our visit to a Grade 1 class provided an interesting example of how Bloom World Academy is supporting the needs of the many EAL learners entering Dubai schools currently, in addition to learners with individual learning needs. Expert differentiation was visible during a writing exercise, with appropriate expectations and adaptations applied. Each child appeared fully engaged and focused, and the classroom had a remarkably calm atmosphere. The school’s smaller class sizes (a maximum of 20-21 students) is certainly a strong contributor to this, but so too is the school’s approach to supporting individual learning styles and needs, and the educators’ competence in doing so.

Read about what we experienced in other year groups in the full experience feature.

Teacher Talk...

We found the staff members we spoke to were very open with us, sharing their own journeys in adapting to Bloom World Academy, and its different ways of operating. Some staff members had found they needed to learn new skills and develop a deeper knowledge in some areas of their educational practice, but the group unanimously expressed feeling supported and encouraged in doing so. The key, they explained, was having the right mindset, being eager to grow and learn. It struck us that in being so willing to stretch themselves and adapt, they likely made great role models for their IB students. 

Our View

This new school appears to have gotten off to a great start, building an engaged community of parents, students and staff and keeping relationships at the core of what it does. Our impression was that this is a school that excels in meeting the needs of the individual; far from being a factory line of exam results it aims to provide the support needed so that every student can thrive. 

Of course, this is early days for Bloom World Academy. The approach in place, and the quality of what is provided, is certainly commendable, but the true test will be in how this is scaled up as the school continues to grow (and we believe it will, and fast). We hope to see the school continue to provide this high-quality unique offering of flexibility, family engagement, the embracing of individuality and student wellbeing, along with a high standard of education for all. 

Click here for the full Bloom World Academy experience inspection.

If you're a parent or teacher already at the school, make sure you take the survey. Your feedback is essential in helping us deliver a well balanced review for prospective parents and students... 

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