The school has announced it will move away from the traditional ‘first come- first serve,’ admissions policy for the 30 to 40 external candidates it accepts annually.
In its place, the school plans to implement an entrance assessment exam, for those wishing to enter the school in Secondary.
After students from JESS Jumeirah and JESS Arabian Ranches Primary School, the corporate debentures and sibling places, the school has approximately 30 and 40 available seats annually for external candidates.
In the past, these seats were allocated to students on the JESS waiting list, with those who signed up first, being given the first spots.
Principal at JESS, Mark Steed says, “in the past these students were considered on a ‘date of application basis’ and were offered places so long as they passed the assessment for the school.”
“Going forward, in common with most schools around the world, there will be set assessment days and offers will be made on the basis of these regardless of how long they have been on the waiting list."
“We would encourage all motivated, ambitious and disciplined students to apply, who would like to enjoy the advantage of an education at JESS," he said.
Steed was quick to reassure all parents with children currently attending both JESS Primary schools, saying, “all existing JESS Year six students will continue to be offered priority places transferring to secondary without examination.”
“We are committed to remaining a community school,” he said, “and members of the two JESS schools are offered priority places without examination.”
However, of the new policy he said, “we will be offering places to other non-corporate applicants on a selective basis, but we will be considering the whole child and not just taking the most academic.”
He reiterated that JESS intends to remain an inclusive school. "We are pleased to celebrate diversity and we pride ourselves in doing the very best for every child. We have some the best Value-Added scores in the UAE."
So, what can parents and students expect from the new JESS entrance test?
The school says the test will be an online verbal and non-verbal reasoning test, with an assessment of other talents and abilities, reported via the Extra-Curricular Form.
Attitudinal, attendance and behavioural factors will also be considered including recent school reports and recommendations from the the child's headteacher.
Steed says of the test, “we will look at the whole child. For this reason, we send out an extra-curricular form to the parents of the students who are applying. Where possible we also interview the child either formally or informally.”
“We may be able to consider a student who may not excel in pure academics,” he said, “but who is particularly talented in other areas such as music, sport, art or performance.”
Interested families are asked to attend the Open Morning/Evening on Monday 9th October. To apply, contact JESS on firstname.lastname@example.org.