Despite the investment of some AED 10m over the past three years in the current site in Al Garhoud (officially Al Twar 1), where the school has been based since 2004 (and prior to that in Karama), it would seem that GEMS has taken the opportunity, in the current economic climate, to make a step change. CIS will take over the premises of New World Private School, which is located in Al Twar 4.
During the video, Mr. McKinnon mentions that new campus is three times larger than the current CIS site, with classrooms of 50m² compared with the current building where they are 30m². The new site also offers an 800 seat auditorium and an indoor gymnasium – both of which will offer substantial improvements on the current facilities.
Mr. McKinnon stated that the decision to make the move had come about “swiftly” and was a recent one "which had not been taken lightly, but made in the best interests of the students."
In order to ensure as smooth a transition as possible, the school curriculum will be suspended for the first two weeks of term, with staggered entry to the school for all year groups. Students who intend to attend school either full-time or through the 50:50 distance learning programme that is to be implemented (by which 50% of students attend on alternate days, participating in live-streamed on-line lessons on their non-contact days), will commence classes on 13th September.
CIS, which has some 2,700 students, was rated Good by the KHDA for the 10th year running in the 2019-20 inspection round, and was also rated Developed across all 13 inspection areas in the recent Distance Learning Evaluation.
The last KHDA inspection report noted that Governors “have not addressed the negative impact on learning resulting from overcrowded classrooms.” This has clearly been a strong driver in the decision to relocate.
At least CIS parents are unlikely to face the same concerns in respect the proximity of the new location, which is not too far from the current school and located next to the metro station. We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com would not be surprised to see parents from GEMS Winchester considering CIS as an alternative.
Fees at CIS range from AED 18,194 in FS, to AED 20,573 in Years 1-6, rising to AED 24,703 for Years 7 to 13. These do not include additional fees, such as Computer fees and Annual fees which add between AED 600 and AED 1,500 approximately per year depending on year group.