We went to see the school’s building progress before the academic year starts. Founding principal Mr. David Quick gave us the tour of this small yet big school.
The primary school in Nad Al Sheba 4 is built only on the ground level and has no floors above.
Mr. Quick said: “Our design philosophy is based on Riverston UK and as we provide individualised learning, small class sizes and are allowed to have 40% of students of determination; we don’t need a school with multiple floors.”
We started our tour at the main entrance of the Riverston School, where the wood panelled tree is the backdrop of the reception. To the left and right of the reception are corridors and admin areas.
Once we crossed the admissions offices on the left side of the reception, we came upon a huge corridor flanked by a number of rooms.
There are two speech and language therapy rooms and one of these will also have a sensory area for students to have a different experience.
“The sensory room is part of our therapy room for students who have had a bit of a rough day and need to calm down and be in different surroundings,” explained Mr. Quick.
We then saw some older years classrooms that have been panelled with corkboard on one wall and the other wall is a whiteboard.
What really impressed us was that every class has an outdoor play area which is safe, secure and will be used for sensory learning, making it an extension of the classroom.
We then saw the ICT suite, which is equipped with 15 computers; all children in the school will be using computers.
The science lab is bright and waiting to be kitted. It also has access to the outdoor playground.
Our next stop was the playground that is massive and is essentially divided in three zones.
“The playground has an area where you’ll have your courts to play all sports requiring balls etc., another zone is more the grass and running play zone and the third is an actual playground with slides, cycles,” said Mr. Quick.
The school has an indoor swimming pool next to the playground, with shallow and a deep end.
The multipurpose hall, which is opposite the pool and behind the reception, is large and will be used for assemblies, concerts, shows and of course indoor sports.
We moved on to see the cafeteria, which has a small service zone, as the food will come in boxes.
Mr. Quick pointed out: “Our catering company Yum in the Box is perfect for us as they fit in very well with our ethos. All their food comes in a box and they don’t add any preservatives or additives to the food, so it’s natural. We don’t need a big service area as all the food is in a box.”
The school library is very cute with a tree in it and some comfortable seating options. The first lesson after lunch will be reading in every class, so the whole school will be reading at the same time.
Another interesting room in the school is an indoor amphitheatre with grass patches on the walls.
We were very impressed with the space and the sense of security that we felt on the school campus.
“Safety is very important to us and it’s not just the physical safety, yes that’s important but as we are a mixed ability school, we also want all our children to feel safe to express themselves. For example, we would want a student to feel secure to go up in the assembly and recite a poem, knowing that no one will laugh or ridicule,” explained Mr. Quick.
Riverston School Dubai will follow the National Curriculum of England and the school team, including its Principal, Director of Inclusion and teaching staff, are all experienced in working with students with a variety of educational abilities.
In September the school will open from FS2 to Year 6 and they currently have 25 students enrolled. The aim is to have 35 to start with.
Class sizes will be limited to 16 students per class to give students individual attention and to determine and develop each student’s strengths.
The total capacity of the school is 300. Whilst not specifically a school for Students of Determination, the school will have the internal capacity to provide additional focused support to students.
Located in a residential area, the school has a ready-made catchment area and with its expertise in providing for students of determination, we are sure the school will achieve its aim of starting with 35 students in the first term.