United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Barsha South / Bloom World Academy Dubai

Bloom World Academy Dubai Experience

Bloom World Academy is a new IB curriculum school that opened in Dubai in August 2022.
Parents' Rating
4.2 out of 5 based on 24 reviews
At a glance
School type
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
Availability 2023/24
Annual fee average
AED 63,000
Annual fees
AED 50,000–78,000
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Aug to Jul
Mr John Bell
Bloom Education

Nearby nurseries

0.9km • EYFS curriculum
1.2km • Bespoke Curriculum curriculum
1.4km • EYFS curriculum
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Entering Bloom World Academy

Visited on 27/01/2023

Arriving at a school during its morning drop-off time is something our reviewers prefer to avoid; chaotic traffic, an absence of available parking and a general atmosphere of barely contained driver animosity is expected, but not at Bloom World Academy. The new Dubai school, famed for its later start time of 9:00am, has managed to avoid all of this, despite being located on what is often referred to Al Barsha South’s “school street”. 

Our reviewer breezed in at 8:30am, to find plentiful parking, and observed a pleasant steady flow as 9:00am approached. We were warmly guided by the school’s security and met by Principal, Mr John Bell.  


Bloom World Academy has an exceptionally experienced leadership team, and it shows. There is a strong sense of leadership throughout the school’s operations, and a real cohesion in the founding team’s communication and educational approach. 

Founding Principal, Mr John Bell, has quite a presence across the school. His unique brand of dry Dad-humour prompts belly laughs and eye rolls in equal measure, but it is clear to us that parents, students and staff alike feel affection and notable trust in him. 

Mr Bell has held senior leadership roles in international education groups, as well as a regional education authority in the UK. It has been some time since he lead an individual school, a fact that Whichschooladvisor.com discussed with him prior to the school’s opening. He revealed, back in June 2022, that he felt some trepidation about being back on the ‘front-line’, in particular regarding the level of interaction with parents that would be required. 

As we watched him in action, talking to parents and students, each of whom he clearly knows well, we wondered if his claims of apprehension were genuine. He certainly needn’t have worried; the conscious effort he puts into making himself available and his natural ability to build connections is clearly paying off.  

Mr Bell explained that he has ensured the school has provided an uncommon level of transparency to parents and students since opening. In doing things differently, this non-standard school has had to allow for some level of trial and error in its first-year operating, as it develops what he refers to as its "rhythms and routines". The school’s leadership avoids over-promising, making it clear to parents and students that not every detail of the school’s planned offering will go according to plan, instead taking them on the journey of evaluating what works. This is an approach that requires a lot confidence, and is clearly appreciated. 

L-R Vice Principal of the Primo Centre & Junior School, Mr Damien Marshall, Vice Principal of Student Development, Ms Nicola Upham, Principal, Mr John Bell, WSA Senior Editor, Ms Susan Roberts and Senior Vice Principal of Secondary School and Nexus Pre-University Centre, Mr Nishi Saran

Mr Bell is supported by the school’s expert founding leadership team, all three of which have extensive experience in leadership roles in highly reputable Dubai schools: Vice Principal of Student Development, Ms Nicola Upham; Vice Principal of the Primo Centre (Early Years) and Junior School, Mr Damien Marshall; and Senior Vice Principal of Secondary School and Nexus Pre-University Centre, Mr Nishi Saran.  


The school campus, while not new (it was previously used by another school), has been refurbished to a high standard over the summer, and feels very new. Spaces have been redesigned and refurbished, meeting the needs of the school’s innovative approach. 

Senior school facilities are spacious and flexible, providing plentiful space for independent study, and the specialist facilities parents should come to expect from a premium IB school.

Junior School students have access to a range of specialist facilities also. Of particular note, the junior school art studio provided opportunities for students to engage in fashion design, as well as housing an immersive splash painting space. 

The primo (early years) department has been developed to a high standard, with multiple shared indoor play spaces, a sizable outdoor play area and classrooms designed with the child’s perspective in mind.

The Primo Early Years Playground

For more information on the facilities provided at Bloom World Academy, read our detailed review.

During our tour, multiple parent events were underway, including a parent art session. Head of Art, Ms Kholoud Sawalha, explained that this was a parent workshop, in which they would collaboratively design a school mural, which students would then paint. This was not the only parent event happening within the school; the Arabic department was also conducting an Arabic language class to a sizable group of parents, who appeared to be participating with enthusiasm. Clearly parent engagement is a priority at the school, and the response from parents appeared to be exceptionally positive. 

Inside the Classrooms

We were invited to start our day by attending the school’s student Forum. The Forum is a weekly whole-school assembly, in which student achievements are celebrated, school news is shared, and school leaders discuss topics of reflection. Our reviewer noted a very positive sense of community shared, with students cheering one another on, and responding warmly to school leaders. The format of this weekly event clearly has a positive impact on the sense of school community experienced by students. 

Friday Forum in action

Our visit to a Grade 1 class provided an interesting example of how Bloom World Academy is supporting the needs of the many EAL learners entering Dubai schools currently, in addition to learners with individual learning needs. Expert differentiation was visible during a writing exercise, with appropriate expectations and adaptations applied. Each child appeared fully engaged and focused, and the classroom had a remarkably calm atmosphere. The school’s smaller class sizes (a maximum of 20-21 students) is certainly a strong contributor to this, but so too is the school’s approach to supporting individual learning styles and needs, and the educators’ competence in doing so.

We enjoyed visiting a Grade 3 class, in which we were able to hear about the learning process from the students directly. The students were working on science projects, in which they generated electricity using fruit and vegetables. Individual students explained, with impressive confidence, that they had selected their projects, from a number of options, and while they were provided with tools, information and guidance from their teacher, they were encouraged to approach this with an element of trial and error, problem solving individually and collectively. 

Lastly, we visited a senior school design and technology class. Students were in the process of researching key tools they would be using for a practical project, collating their own presentations on how to use these tools safely and effectively. Our reviewer noted that the study space in use provided considerable flexibility to meet individual learner needs, with students granted the agency to work according to their own preferences and style. While some students worked in groups at desks, others selected quiet corners, and beanbag seating. 

Flexible learning spaces

Our overall impression from our classroom observations was that students appeared to be respected and understood by teachers. It was also clear that relatively high expectations are set on how students conduct and apply themselves, albeit with a broader view of what this may look like. Inclusive practice was particularly impressive, with the needs of each individual student considered and supported. 

Meeting the Students

We met with a group of six students, ranging from Grade 5 to Grade 9, to hear about their experiences at the school. Three of these students had moved from other Dubai schools, while the remaining three had relocated from other countries (Singapore, Sudan and South Africa). 
These recent arrivals all expressed having felt some anxiety about settling into a new school in a new country, but spoke overwhelmingly positively the very individual support they had received from the school (the school counsellor seemed to be a particularly popular figure among the whole group). 

Of the students who moved from other schools (two from an IB school, one from a British curriculum school), they all praised their teachers highly for understanding their learning styles and role modeling kindness and respect. They also remarked that they already felt a stronger sense of community and belonging at Bloom World Academy than in their previous schools. 

Some of the students also commented that they feel their individuality is embraced at the school, that everyone is different, and their differences are celebrated. There were no negative experiences shared by the group; one student remarked that he found elements of the IB inquiry cycle to be frustrating, while the others disagreed, expressing the importance of this. Another student noted that she found the level of work expected to be a significant jump from her previous school, but also expressed appreciation for the support she was receiving in this transition. 

Meeting the Parents

The level of parent presence we observed at Bloom World Academy was unusual; this is truly a school where parents are welcomed and encouraged to participate. The school provides a parent lounge which acts as a workspace for many parents working remotely and actively encourages them to be on site. The school is also providing a range of parent workshops on Fridays, allowing parents to experience the school from a student perspective. 

Parents' art workshop

Are parents appreciating these efforts and how do they feel about the school more generally? We spoke to a panel of four parents to find out. 

Our parents had children at the school from Pre-K to Grade 9, three had recently moved to Dubai, while one had enrolled his child into school for the first time for Pre-K. Their feedback was very positive, and each parent had their own story to tell on how their child had received individual care and attention to settle in or overcome any obstacles faced. 

The only concern expressed was for the school’s no-homework policy in senior school (the policy appears to be very well received for children in junior school). One parent felt that this may not be realistic given the amount of work required for the diploma programme, however she also explained that she had provided this feedback to school leadership and felt it was well received and taken seriously. 

There was considerable praise for the school’s leadership, whose openness and honesty is greatly appreciated by these parents. 

Meeting the Teachers

We met with a selection of teachers of different year groups and specialisms. Each member of staff had significant experience in international schools and expressed great enthusiasm for being a part of Bloom World Academy’s founding team. 

We found these staff members to be very open with us, sharing their own journeys in adapting to Bloom World Academy, and its different ways of operating. Some staff members had found they needed to learn new skills and develop a deeper knowledge in some areas of their educational practice, but the group unanimously expressed feeling supported and encouraged in doing so. The key, they explained, was having the right mindset, being eager to grow and learn. It struck us that in being so willing to stretch themselves and adapt, they likely made great role models for their IB students. 

The group expressed considerable appreciation for their colleagues, and the school’s leadership, sharing the sentiment that although the team is diverse in many respects, there is a notable alignment in thinking, and a feeling of cohesion between them. 

Our View

This new school appears to have gotten off to a great start, building an engaged community of parents, students and staff and keeping relationships at the core of what it does. Our impression was that this is a school that excels in meeting the needs of the individual; far from being a factory line of exam results it aims to provide the support needed so that every student can thrive. 

Of course, this is early days for Bloom World Academy. The approach in place, and the quality of what is provided, is certainly commendable, but the true test will be in how this is scaled up as the school continues to grow (and we believe it will, and fast). We hope to see the school continue to provide this high-quality unique offering of flexibility, family engagement, the embracing of individuality and student wellbeing, along with a high standard of education for all. 

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

Bloom World Academy Dubai is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:

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