DESC Launches 'Game-Changing' 6th Form

"We wanted to create a space between school and university," DESSC principal Andrew Gibbs tells as we tour its impressive new sixth form facility.
DESC Launches 'Game-Changing' 6th Form
By C Hoppe
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Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) has today launched its new purpose built sixth-form campus, already home to 364 students.

The unique centre is set to provide an inclusive educational pathway for Post-16 students of all abilities and offers a range of A' levels and BTEC vocational courses, in addition to the new Foundation year programme.

The new complex is located in the campus previously used by Delhi Private Academy (DPA) and adjoining the DESC plot. 

DESC secured the building earlier this year when DPA officially closed and have since spent months renovating and upgrading the site.

The outdoor sporting facilities have been extended and developed and now include extended all grass playing fields/pitches, plus golf and cricket nets.

Inside the new complex boasts what the school claims is the biggest and most well equipped school gym in the UAE, a vast cafe/dining area, extensive seating areas for students, an indoor swimming pool, and even a zen garden and dedicated parent seating area. 

 The furniture and space has been thought through and chosen to support a variety of types and styles of learning and study.

 "We wanted to create a space between school and university," says DESS and DESC (DESSC) principal Andrew Gibbs.

"In terms of future-proofing, DESC is now ready to go in terms of infrastructure," he continued.  

The KHDA's Dr Abdullah, Head Boy Mitch Kennedy and Head Girl Ebony Smith prepare to officially open the 6th form.

The launch was attended by principals from across Dubai, all interested to learn from the new ideas that DESC has introduced regarding not just how the space has been designed, but how it will now be used. Changes are more than the facilities. DESC has employed 35 new teachers for the venture.   

"These aren't just people we're 'bolting on' says Gibbs, were adding credibility, depth, and structure..."

DESC will now offer 23 A Level courses and five BTEC courses in: hospitality, applied science, ICT, sports science and enterprise & entrepreneurship, with the likelihood of more to come next year.

This year the school also launched the innovative and highly inclusive Foundation Year programme which launched this academic year.

The course is open to anyone who didn't achieve what they hoped in their GCSE results and require a year of intensive 'catch-up.'

"It has launched well, Chris Vizzard, the headteacher of DESC, told "We have 12 students on the inaugural Foundation year, half from DESC and the other half from schools around Dubai."

"The Sixth Form provision is also inclusive, which is very different to how some schools operate and indeed how we have operated in the past.”

"This is a major step forward in ensuring all students can be a part of sixth form and have the opportunity to go on to university as opposed to a select group of high attaining students, Vizzard added. "We still predominantly offer A' levels and because our students perform well at GCSE they do go on to achieve excellent A' levels and gain places at the best universities all over the world. 

“We now, however, also offer re-sit GCSE courses and BTEC qualifications in a number of subjects.

"Our new facilities ensure that students get a world-class 'sixth form' experience, regardless of what courses they are taking, and they are all prepared for the next part of the journey, whether that be university or elsewhere."

"We're trying to be the best, yet not exclude anyone." 

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