The new premium-plus UK curriculum school, Brighton College Dubai is set to open in September 2018, and represents one of the more ambitious school builds for 2019. Sharing a plot with Dwight School Dubai, Dubai's Brighton College is busy transforming 40,000 square metres of desert into land hopefully highly fertile for young minds.
Both Dwight and Brighton are located in new school hotspot Al Barsha South.
The Founding Headmaster of Brighton Dubai, Marco Longmore, was there to meet WhichSchoolAdvisor.com on our visit, and guided our inspection of the school...
The first thing that struck us were the wide corridors. Corridors are very much the arteries of schools, and we think incredibly important in determining how a school feels, giving a sense of space, order and depending on how they are used, character.
There are two phases in which the school will be built. The building is ground + three floors. The second phase will see the construction of the 700-seater auditorium, black box and drama rooms as well as a 400 metre running track.
We started with the area that is finished and is also an exhibition area, which has a meeting room and a few classes that are ready with furniture for parents to see.
From the shells we can see already that classes will be spacious with plenty of light. From the showcase classrooms we noted tidy finished and touches, with wooden flooring, and soft break out areas. Commenting on the design, Mr. Longmore told us:
“ We wanted lots of light and abundant communal space. We are looking at having dedicated house space for seniors as that’s a part of our linear pastoral system.”
The Brighton beach hut is also part of the design and we are told that the theme will run throughout the school. If you are not sure what a Brighton beach hut is, click for some images... Beach huts are a very traditional part of British seaside holidays...
We then visited the library, which will also have a teaching area for both junior and senior school students.
Adjacent to the library is the main atrium, which is the heart of the school. This will also have the reception with a glass roof.
The admin block will have the main entrance, reception as well as the clinic which will be run by King’s College Hospital London.
“Pastoral care is of upmost importance at Brighton College, and this includes the health and wellbeing of our pupils. King’s College Hospital London will ensure that our pupils have the best access to medical care during their time at school,” Mr Longmore added.
Once the school is fully complete there will be separate dining areas for the junior and the senior schools, however only the junior area on the ground floor will be used in the first year.
The senior dining area which is on the first floor will be used initially for meetings. Above this space is the multipurpose hall for indoor sport.
Once complete, the school will offer football, rugby, tennis, netball, basketball, swimming and other sports as part of their curriculum as well as extracurricular activities. Mr Longmore explained:
“We’ll be sharing and developing our CCAs with Dwight School and align our timetables accordingly as we will then have a [wider] range of sports to offer our students.”
Apart from extra curricular activities, both the schools will also share a bus service.
Brighton College Dubai will also have double spaced art rooms, IT rooms, SEN areas and an audio visual room. The science block will have eight labs with four to be provisioned to start with.
“The audio visual room is very special as that’s a creative learning area. This will be where the process of learning from the child’s aspect will be done through audio-video feedback. We’ll see how they learn and also show them, how others learn”
The school will open from FS1 to Year 9 in September 2018. There will be a single form entry with 20 students in the foundation stage classes and 24 pupils from Year 1 to 9.
Mr Longmore told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com recruitment had been finalised, with 30 academic staff arriving at the beginning of August for a four-week orientation.
By the time staff do arrive, Brighton College Dubai should, hopefully be putting the final touches on the build. Currently, visually at least, the school looks like it has a way to go, and there were many areas that were not ready to visit.
The Centre of Excellence, for example, should be very interesting to see once the building is complete.
Come September however and hopefully only minor snagging will remain. At that point Brighton Dubai can get down to the real business of education. Challenges of course will not end: Brighton will be competing with a number of new schools in the area to attract students. Mr Longmore is however confident of getting the number of students he needs, pointing to the strong brand, unique features, and impressive facilities the school will offer once complete.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com will revisit Brighton College Dubai shortly after opening to assess just how well the school has managed to put down its roots in Al Barsha South as the 2018/19 academic year begins... This is definitely one to watch.