Bloom World Academy is a new IB curriculum school that opened in Dubai in August 2022.
Bloom World Academy (BWA) is the latest school to be developed by Abu Dhabi-based Bloom Education. Its Outstanding-rated Brighton Colleges in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain were the construction group's first entree into the world of education, and the group has developed significantly beyond its first Abu Dhabi school, with six charter schools in Al Ain and the Bloom Nurseries. To-date, Bloom has been responsible for the education of 17,000 students. Brighton College Dubai is co-located with Bloom World Academy on its campus in Al Barsha.
On opening in late August, the Bloom World Academy Dubai announced that it had opened with 280 students from 53 nationalities.
Whilst it might be tempting to view Bloom World Academy as a reincarnation of the first IB curriculum school operated by Bloom - Dwight School Dubai - we are assured that this is not the case, since the new school will be very different from Dwight in terms of its leadership and focus, and there will be no further association between the two.
However, as a result of this history, Bloom can certainly show that it has the necessary experience to run its first own-branded IB curriculum school.
In October 2021, Bloom Education and Dwight School New York announced that Dwight School Dubai would cease to be part of the Bloom Education portfolio from July 2022. The school has relocated to an alternative campus in Dubai Sport City.
The school is led by seasoned educator, John Bell, who has been appointed as Founding Principal of Bloom World Academy, bringing with him significant experience in the education sector across the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East.
Commenting on the launch of the school, Mr. Bell said:
“Bloom World Academy is the embodiment of what a true IB curriculum school should be. We are a firm believer in stage not age when it comes to education and the school’s flexible, customised approach will support this in every sense. Bloom World Academy really does dare to do things differently and we are so happy to finally be able to offer parents an education for their children which really does put the student first.”
In June 2022, the school announced further key members of its Senior Leadership team, following the receipt of over 8,000 applications for positions at the school.
Joining the school in August are Nicola Upham who has been appointed as Vice Principal of Student Development, Damien Marshall who will take on the role of Vice Principal of the Primo Centre and Junior School and Nishi Saran, who has been appointed as Senior Vice Principal to lead the Secondary School and Nexus Pre-University Centre.
Nicola Upham,Vice Principal of Student Development, has more than 18 years of teaching experience and ten years’ experience as a Senior Leader in both UK and Dubai based schools. In her most recent role in Dubai as whole school inclusion, safeguarding and well-being lead, Ms. Upham introduced well-being lessons as part of the curriculum which resulted in the school’s climate being highlighted as a strength in the British Schools Overseas Outstanding rating. In her role at Bloom World Academy, Ms. Upham will put student well-being at the forefront of everything the school does to allow for the rollout of personalised curricula and will also ensure that the school has the ideal components needed for each student to reach their full potential and personal goals.
Damien Marshall, Vice Principal of the Primo Centre and Junior School, brings with him 15 years’ experience in the education sector which includes nine years in the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Marshall has extensive experience in the IB curriculum through his previous role as a Senior Leader at a well-established IB school in Dubai and as Head of Digital Learning for a large UAE-based educational group. Passionate about developing strong relationships between students, parents and teachers, Mr. Marshall will play an integral part in developing Bloom World Academy’s family-first approach.
Nishi Sharan, appointed as Senior Vice Principal of Secondary School and the Nexus Pre-University Centre, brings a rich secondary school experience in the British, IB and American/AP curricula to his role and will be an integral part of helping Bloom World Academy develop personalised student-centred pathways so all learners aspire to reach their chosen university or career ambitions. Mr.Sharan's work beyond the school setting includes philanthropic initiatives and governance and mentorship within the UAE Oxbridge Society, which are highly valued at Bloom World Academy.
This customised approach to students and their families is particularly evident in the school's introduction of a flexible school day, offering bespoke school timings around the official school day of 9am to 4pm.
The later start time of 9am is supported by a combination of optional wraparound care from 7am to 9am and from 5pm to 7pm, along with an extensive selection of co-curricular activities including sports, arts and homework clubs from 8am to 8:45am and from 4pm to 5pm. The wraparound care will give the school the opportunity to widen the curriculum, as well as supporting parents who are looking for an extended timeframe of childcare support.
In a further announcement in July 2022, Bloom World Academy stated its intention to invite parents into the school once a week to share lunchtime with their children. The school hopes the initiative will help to build even stronger relationships with its families.
Principal John Bell said;
“The school’s lunch break initiatives will also encourage healthy eating and social skill development and welcoming parents to enjoy lunch with their children on a weekly basis will help us to create community cohesion at the school.”
BWA will offer the IB curriculum including the Primary Years Programme for children in the KG and Primary sections (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students from Grade 6 to 10 and the IB Diploma programme (IBDP) for students in Grades 11 and 12. The school has not yet confirmed whether it will also offer the two variants of the IBDP, the IB Career-related Programme (IBCP) which offers a more vocational approach, or the IB Courses programme which offers a pared down version of the Diploma.
According to the school, the curriculum will embrace individuality whilst bringing academic rigour to life through genuine learning and hands-on experiences. The dynamic and student-centric curriculum has been built on the concept of ‘stage not age’ to ensure that children progress and develop their learning based on their aptitude, interests and abilities, not solely on their age or academic year.
Bloom World Academy, through its Learning Achievement Passport (LAP) aims to empower each student to take ownership of their learning allowing students to work towards their own personal curriculum, timetable and targets. Progress will be reviewed collectively and openly between teachers, parents and students every month.
Learning will not be confined to the classroom. The school is organised into learning zones (for example; the science zone; the performing arts zone and the languages zone). The zones are distinct areas where students of all ages will have the opportunity to be immersed in facilities and resources to enhance their learning experience.
Students will be challenged to explore, play and create in preparation for real-world scenarios and will be taught how to harness innovation and entrepreneurship. They will also be encouraged to develop technical, digital and physical products and taught how to prepare for taking their ideas to market.
Students will also be taught and encouraged to be inventors and to embrace the world of technology, design and business, nurturing their imagination and creative thinking through the school's incubator programme; Lumos Innovation Labs to junior apprenticeships and connections with specialists and business partners. Other features designed to develop students' future fluency include access to a Junior MBA programme, connections with Specialist teachers and programmes and partners in the vocational world.
Whilst the academic side of life is clearly a focus, the school has not neglected wellbeing. 'Wellbeing' will be divided into five pastoral phases from Primo, the Early Years Centre, through to Nexus, the Pre-University Centre, which will not only teach students how to pass examinations successfully, but will support them emotionally as they prepare for life beyond the classroom. A key personal tutor will be assigned to each child to oversee their progress and provide additional support throughout their time at school.
A further aspect of wellbeing will be in the recognition of the power of students appreciating and understanding each other. To facilitate this, once a week, students of all ages will be brought together in ‘family tutor groups’ - with the aim of learning from each other and to foster a real sense of community throughout the school. BWA intends to offer a taught programme of emotional and social well-being to develop values, skills and traits that will last a lifetime.
The school is co-located with its sister school, Brighton College Dubai. The combined development has reportedly been given a value of more than AED 275 million with the campuses built across a 10-acre site. Each school is ground plus 3 floors with facilities spreading across 89,000 square metres of space. There is pretty much an equal split between the two schools. The two schools are operationally independent but share some facilities.
Bloom World Academy offers classrooms equipped with interactive screens, three general and three specialty labs, and a range of specialist innovation labs.
Sports facilities include a large Multipurpose sports hall, a 25m competition and shallow training pool, a practice football field and shared competition field complemented with a six-lane track, two multipurpose outdoor courts, an Early Years playground and Primary playground.
The plans for a personalised approach to students, including alternative starts times and the wrap around care that is provided to support parents and families, has attracted a great deal of attention since the launch of the school. To open with 280 students is a significant achievement, given the competition among premium schools in the city.
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As a group, Bloom Education operates three of the most highly regarded schools in the UAE, with Brighton College Abu Dhabi and Al Ain both rated Outstanding by the regulators and with Brighton College Dubai having secured the highest possible Good rating from the KHDA on its first inspection. As such, the group clearly has the know-how in terms of establishing and operating premium schools.
With the introduction of a full IB curriculum option, together with the aim of a unique offering for parents and students, in terms of hours of operation and personal attention, we fully expect that the group's experience will enable Bloom World Academy to build on the success that the other group schools already achieve.
Fees are all inclusive of books and an extensive range of school-led co-curricular activities before and after the official school day from Monday to Thursday.
Whilst the KHDA-approved fees range from AED 50,000 for pre-KG rising to AED 78,000 for Grade 9, discounted fees for Founding families (valid for the first three years of operation) range from AED 40,000 to AED 72,000.
In addition, Bloom has introduced a range of additional incentives for the first year of operation, with the first 50 students registering in Grades 6 to 9 receiving a 50% discount on the KHDA approved fees (for the 2022-23 academic year only), and a personal iPad or MAC included for the first three years of education, together with a school uniform package.
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