Dubai College Set For Expansion In 2017

DC principal Mike Lambert has announced his plans for the school ahead of next year's 40th anniversary. Although these include facility upgrades, a focus on tech and alumni, the most significant development for Dubai's parents must be the news that the school will accept more students from September 2017.
Dubai College Set For Expansion In 2017
By C Hoppe
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In a presentation to parents earlier this week, Dubai College principal Mike Lambert announced his plans for development at the Outstanding rated school.

The plans, according to Lambert, follow as a response to the results of a DC parent, teacher and student survey on directions the school should take.

Most parents felt the school provided an outstanding level of education, and the survey highlighted that there were many aspects of the school respondents thought should be preserved, while others communicated their desire for more focus on teaching.

Lambert's proclamation the school would ‘look both forwards and back' in its development suggests both bits of feedback have been absorbed, synthesised and come out in actual plans for the school.

Possibly the biggest development is that the school will accept an additional 28 students per year, bringing the total up to 160, instead of the previous 132. The numbers will increase in Year 7 only in 2017, with the total student size growing slowly as a new larger year 7 comes online each year.

This would not decrease the standard of teaching or education at the school Lambert said, with the student/teacher ratio remaining the same (around 9.3 students per teacher) and would in fact improve some aspects at the school with tutor group sizes actually reducing from 22 students to 20 in eight groups (up from six).

For the approximately 4,000 students applying for Year 7 each year however, this increase of 28 students is unlikely to make much change to the highly competitive odds.  

However, it remains to be seen, if DC’s current parents will view this move by the school as a drop in its perceived 'exclusivity'.

Many of DCs current facilities are perceived by parents as tired and dated and Lambert announced at the presentation that the school would utilise the school's vast plot for a host of new facilities.

These include a new administration block currently underway (pictured, unlikely to get many parents excited) which may also serve as 'a flexible learning space', a new multi-purpose sports hall and performing arts centre, a new teaching and learning centre with state of the art auditorium, and the conversion of staff quarters into new classrooms. 

While no mention of how exactly DC plans to finance the improvements, understands the recently introduced AED 25,000 debenture system will go some way to covering costs. Work will be done over five years.

Lambert noted that consultations with staff and students highlighted a need for the development and enhancement of alumni, further development of digital skills, more dynamic evidence based teaching and learning, further development of the DC foundation and a focus on, 'leading rather than being led'.

DC will also look to recruit teachers that have links and previous experience with the England and Wales Examination Board. Not all new teachers will have experience of writing for exam boards - but this will be considered where possible.

Given the changes to both the GCSE and A Level exams forecast for the next few years, the school is clearly calling in all the expertise it can muster to ensure DC students navigate the potentially turbulent period ahead, as smoothly as possible.

The Dubai College principal went on to highlight the need for DC students to ‘creator of technology not simply consumers.’

One such proposal was to video all DC lessons and post on a dedicated online platform, allowing students globally to access DC's progressive lessons.

The announcements clearly show both Lambert and Dubai College are taking new contenders in the emirate such as the academically focused North London Collegiate School and Brighton College seriously. Used to being at or close to the top of the tree in Dubai, DC clearly has no intentions of stepping aside or making things easy for the city's latest arrivals.

To watch the full presentation by principal Mike Lambert, please click: here. 

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