WSA Experience Visits: 2022 Highlights

A School Experience goes beyond the factual elements of our outstanding reviews, and give readers an insight into how each unique school or nursery really feels. What are the education leaders like? What do staff, parents and students say about their school? What is it like to take a tour of the school or nursery? You will find all this and more in a WSA School Experience. As we step into 2023, here’s a look back at some School Experiences from 2022…
WSA Experience Visits: 2022 Highlights
By Susan Roberts
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A School Experience differs from our informative reviews, in that these special features were purposefully designed to provide an insight into the atmosphere and feel inside a school or nursery. An Experience visit allows our team to get to the heart of the relationships and people who form each school or nursery's unique community.

A typical WSA Experience visit sees our team spending a full school day observing what goes on behind the scenes, meeting and interviewing the school's leadership and key staff members, meeting a panel of parents and students and touring the school, taking candid photographs of a typical school day.

Our 2022 WSA School Experiences included a great range of educational settings. Here are some of the highlights...

Brighton College Dubai

WSA Senior Editor, Susan Roberts, meeting Brighton College Dubai Head Master, Mr Simon Crane

In the words of WSA:

"Our student panel, of mixed nationalities and age groups, spoke openly and confidently about their experiences at the school. We were impressed by the openness with which they expressed themselves, which we felt was suggestive of a school culture that values and respects student voices.

Our student panel agreed that they felt they were known and understood by their teachers and key staff members and that their individual needs and interests were taken into consideration at the school. They spoke very positively about their teachers, with the school’s P.E. department inspiring notable enthusiasm."

Read the full Brighton College Dubai Experience Visit here

Emirates International School Meadows

Year 12 students carrying out a practical exercise in chemistry at Emirates International School Meadows

In the words of WSA:

"Our reviewers noted the confidence and smiles from the school’s youngest children, who cheerfully greeted us with a bright “good morning” as we entered, and appeared to have a strong understanding of routines and expectations, allowing these classes to feel calm and secure.

The primary section, while also modest in facilities, gave the impression of being a generally positive learning environment for its students, who were equally talkative and polite during our visit. We were invited to sit in on a Year 4 class, who were covering deforestation as an enquiry topic. The class teacher, Ms Pearl, utilised technology creatively to engage the students, many of which were eager to share their knowledge on the topic.

As we toured the school, we noted that Mr Sturgess was familiar with each child, and greeted every class with warmth and enthusiasm."

Read the full Emirates International School Meadows Experience Visit here

Ladybird Nursery Al Barsha

Nursery Director and owner, Ms Monica Valrani, with Nursery Manager, Ms Louisa McCormack

In the words of WSA:

"The alignment between Ms Valrani and Ms McCormack, not only in terms of their vision for the nursey, but also their open approach, and warm style of communication, was apparent upon meeting them. Together they set a tone of calm confidence and professionalism, which can be felt throughout the nursery.

Ms Valrani and Ms McCormack provided us with a tour of the nursery facilities. This spacious nursery feels more like a small primary school in terms of scale, yet due to its carefully designed layout, retains the welcoming feel of a smaller setting. "

Read the full Ladybird Nursery Al Barsha Experience Visit here

Brighton College Al Ain

Brighton College Al Ain's landscaped school grounds, as we approached the school entrance

In the words of WSA:

"Our visit to Brighton College Al Ain comes during a period of transition in senior leadership. The Head of Senior School, Rebecca Graves, had been in the role for just short of a month and the school’s new Headmaster, Scott Carnochan, was not yet in the country and would not officially embark on this role until the following month. The school’s interim Headmaster, Mr Simon Corms, retired in December 2021.

It would be easy to imagine the school would be struggling during such a transitory period, however we found a school that seemed to be carrying on as usual, under the guidance of a passionate middle and senior leadership team, with a clear and aligned sense of the school’s direction and values. There was a palpable feeling of eagerness and optimism around the school about Mr Carnochan getting started, from both staff and parents."

Read the full Brighton College Al Ain Experience Visit here

Green Grass Nursery Al Manara

Founder and CEO, Arwa Naccho, alongside Jumeirah branch Manager, Milica Pejcic, pictured in the nursery grounds

In the words of WSA:

"We were interested to observe how the nursery manages the English/Arabic bilingual programme. Teachers are either English or Arabic speakers, and swap half-way through the morning session, meaning children effectively have two teachers every day to provide equal exposure to these languages. This is an unusual approach, but one that Ms Naccho told us is working very well."

Read the full Green Grass Nursery Al Manara Experience Visit here

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