Top 15 Highlights from WSA School Visits

Whilst 2020 saw our school visit schedule curtailed by the pandemic, once things improve we know that our team will be raring to go and get back to our favourite activity: seeing schools in action and sharing our detailed findings with our readers! In the meantime, our team have been reminiscing about some of our favourite memories from pre Covid19 School Review and School Experience visits!
Top 15 Highlights from WSA School Visits
By Jenny Mollon
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When we set about writing this list of special memories from UAE school visits, we thought we’d stop at 10, but…there’s just so many to choose from! So here’s 15 highlights from our UAE wide school visits.

1. Indian National Day at Delhi Private School

Our team often have the great good fortune of being invited along to school assemblies or performances, but Indian National Day celebrations at Delhi Private School took the concept to a whole new level! We were treated to a display of Indian national culture, pride and a celebration of the many of achievements of the school’s students. We saw a four- year old (yes, four!) read an impassioned speech, traditional dance, incredible costumes, marches, gymnastic and sports displays.  Inside the school, we had a demonstration of a lesson using the school's brand new VR headsets! A truly memorable day.

Incredible Indian National Day at DPS!

2. The outstanding Achievement Centre at GEMS Jumeirah Primary School

The Achievement Centre at JPS provides support for children with additional learning needs. Staff include Speech and Language and Occupational Therapists, and three Psychologists whose main focus is on the well-being of students, parents and staff. One parent with whom we met, talked about the 'culture of kindness' that pervades the school, and this is particularly obvious with students being protective and taking particular care of her son with Downs Syndrome who attends JPS.

3. The smell of natural grass at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

We understand why so many schools choose astro-turf, but there’s just nothing like real grass and we know the whole school community appreciate this incredible (huge!) Cranleigh resource.

Gorgeous green spaces at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

4. Learning all about the mini MBA programme at Arcadia School

Pretty much every member of the school community we met (parents, students and teachers alike) referenced this ingenious programme (the brainchild of Arcadia Education CEO, Navin Valrani) which has been designed to embed innovation and entrepreneurialism into the curriculum from an early age.

5. Repton School Al Barsha (formerly known as Foremarke School) achieves Apple Distinguished School status

Kudos to every student, teacher and leader at Repton Al Barsha for this whole school effort to adopt cutting edge technology in every classroom and every lesson. We thoroughly enjoyed the special ceremony to celebrate the achievement, especially hearing from students as to how Apple technology has changed the way in which they learn.

6. The meandering waterway (falaj) at Future International Nursery (FIN)

FIN is a spectacular nursery in so many ways, but we especially loved the garden with its beautiful, natural planting. The garden is completed by a waterway, inspired by traditional UAE falaj irrigation systems (oh, and two giant mushrooms – read more on those in our review!).

A glimpse of the traditional falaj waterway at Future International Nursery

7. Early years at Nord Anglia International School Dubai

The Early Years department at NASD wowed us with their incredible commitment to teacher development, forward thinking classroom and play area design and a real natural warmth and sense of fun. Once inside the classroom we were quickly surrounded by 4 year-olds (with a captain’s hat planted firmly on our reviewers head by one confident youngster!) and invited to join their ‘flight’ to Africa. A brilliant morning!

Nord Anglia Dubai
Early Years at Nord Anglia International School Dubai

8. The Class Ambassador system at Kent College Dubai

Each day, two students are chosen as ‘class ambassadors’ in every KCD classroom. These students are asked to greet any visitors, in an effort to develop both confidence and good manners. At each stop on our visit, we found super ambassadors who were clearly able to articulate what their class were up to (with fabulous manners too!).

Kent College pupils
An enthusiastic KCD pupil!

9. Finding on site nurseries at both Regent International School and Sunmarke School

The group behind the schools, Fortes Education also own and operate the Jumeirah International Nurseries brand and have made the smart decision to install a branch on each school’s campus. With Dubai traffic and busy lifestyles in mind, this is a major plus for parents with little ones!

The nursery at Sunmarke School in action

10. Incredible boarding houses at Swiss International Scientific School Dubai

It must be a huge comfort to parents sending their children to boarding school to know that their children are housed in such safe and comfortable spaces. At SISD, boarding houses aren’t the chilly and damp environs that Brits of a certain age might recall…in fact they are more akin to one of Dubai’s fabulous hotels. Lucky kids!

swiss international scientific school
The beautiful Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai

11. Learning about industry internships at the Al Futtaim Education Foundation schools, Deira International School and Universal American School

Industry connections run deep at Al Futtaim, and the school’s students have access to internships in some of this leading group’s many brands. From car dealerships, to healthcare, to retail and more…gone are the days where UAE students struggled to attain ‘real world’ experience.

12. Sustainability at Fairgreen International School

Fairgreen’s eco principles are at the core of all teaching and learning in the school. We especially loved how all students have regular access to Sustainable City’s bio-domes – what an experience!

Sustainable City Dome
One of the Sustainable City biodomes, ready for use by Fairgreen International Students

13. The attention to extra-curricular activities at Safa Community School

In effort to help every young student find their passion and talents, the team at Safa Community School have re-thought their entire timetable to ensure that each Thursday allows time for every child to get involved in a huge variety of activities. From Dance, to baking, to coding and to a huge array of sports, there is really something for everyone at this true community school.

14. The 'special energy' at Kings’ School Dubai

Principal Bede Higgins introduced us to his school by describing the ‘special energy’ that abounds here, and having toured and met students, staff and teachers alike, we would certainly agree. There’s a real sense of unified purpose at this standalone primary school. Perhaps unsurprising then that the school has been awarded an outstanding rating every year since inspections began.

Happy students at Kings' School Dubai

15. Special mention to: the children of The Wonder Years Nursery in Dubai Sports City

The super children of The Wonder Years gave our Reviewer one of their very special, homemade ice lollies on a hot day…yum!

Even our Reviewer was treated to a homemade ice lolly!

Our team look forward to many more school visits when the time is right and it is safe to do so.  Until we will continue to keep all our School Reviews up to date with all the information you need to choose the right school for your child!  

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