Bright Learners School is a relatively new US curriculum school that opened in the traditional Al Rashidiya area of Dubai in September 2020.
The story so far...
Bright Learners Private School (BLS), an American curriculum school in Al Rashidiya, Dubai, opened in August 2020 just in time for the start of the 2020-21 academic year. The school serves a wide range of surrounding communities including Mirdif, Dubai Festival City, and Umm Ramool to Nadd Al Hamar and beyond.
One of a small number of US curriculum schools to open in Dubai in recent years, Bright Learners provides families living close to the heart of the city access to a genuine American staff-led, US curriculum school at affordable fees. Class sizes are a maximum of 25 students.
Bright Learners School initially provided education to students from pre-KG to Grade 4, growing over time to Grade 12. In February 2021, the school announced that it had received KHDA approval to open to Grade 5 in September 2021. School hours are from 7:30am to 14:30.
The school's Mission is "to nurture creative, inspired, collaborative, and innovative learners who are equipped with the tools, knowledge, and skills to make a positive impact on themselves and their environment. Through a comprehensive education, parents can expect their children to receive learning experiences designed to promote their maximum potential."
Bright Learners School’s goal is to teach young minds how to become global citizens, be curious about their world, think critically, solve problems, and become independent learners. Prospective members of the school’s community can expect to see that the school is dedicated to academic excellence and to ensuring a bright future for every child.
The school employs mainly American teachers, and at the start of its second year, is led by Mr. Sulaiman Akbar. Principal Akbar holds over two decades of educational experience, a Master’s degree in Special Education from PACE University in New York City, and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University.
In November 2021, ownership of Bright Learners was clarified with the announcement that it forms part of Star Education, the education arm of ETA Star Group, original developers and owners of Star International School Al Twar, newly opened Star International School Al Qusais (to which the Secondary section of the Al Twar school is relocating) and Star International School Mirdif.
Commenting on Star Education's announcement of Bright Learner’s as their first American School, Principal Akbar noted “Having Bright Learners become part of Star Education offers many benefits such as senior leaders' sharing of professional knowledge, and schools allocating resources more efficiently, learning from and supporting one another by sharing practice and opportunities for children to reach their highest potential”.
Bright Learners School aims to help meet the demands of an ever-changing education sector, equipping pupils with skills in a variety of different subjects, and nurturing them to become lifelong learners.
"What makes the school so special is that we are built on a foundation of care and community. We hold the belief that every adult and child will be enriched by just being part of our school. Every child and every teacher will have the special privilege of meeting, talking to, learning with, and playing with children and families from all over world. We offer a first-class education at a rate that is affordable to our parents. At Bright Learners, our parents will not have to make a decision between a quality school and an affordable school. We will live and learn together with joy, understanding, and delight in what each of us offers each other."
What about the curriculum?
Bright Learners School offers its students a US Common Core Standards-based curriculum in combination with the UAE’s National Curriculum for Arabic and Islamic Studies. The school aligns with Massachusetts state standards, and in line with requirements for all Dubai-based American curriculum schools, will achieve accreditation through NEASC, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
This ensures that the education delivered - and more especially the High School Diploma awarded to graduates - will be recognised not only in the US, but by colleges and universities around the world.
The curriculum offers a combination of 21st-century, digital technology, and traditional student-centered learning practices to ensure the children achieve academic success and social growth. Bright Learners strives to promote inquiry-based learning, independent thinking, and social and emotional holistic development.
The core subjects from Pre-K through to Grade 5 are delivered through the framework of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and National Standards for Social Studies (NSSS). Arabic and Islamic studies are carried out through the approved Ministry of Education (MOE) framework.
Complementing the curriculum, Bright Learners Private School has recruited professionals from all ends of the United States to fill the positions of various staff members including teachers. This will be a genuine US curriculum school led by experienced US teachers and leaders, ensuring that students experience an authentic US education. Teaching assistants are used to support the learning process with the aim of offering an individual learning experience to each student.
Since opening, Bright Learners Private School has developed a strategy to not only help parents, but their children who are starting their academic journey.
Bright Learners is one of a relatively small number of US curriculum schools to offer Pre-Kindergarten in its curriculum. Its programme differentiates itself from others through its school timings and teaching by professionally qualified staff. The school has aligned the Pre-K schedule to fit regular school hours to create a smooth experience for parents who are working and taking care of their children’s transportation.
Core subjects from Grade 1 include English, math, science, Arabic, Islamic, music, art, physical education and moral education.
In addition to the academic curriculum, Bright Learners intends to offer a broad range of extracurricular activities once Covid restrictions allow, with facilities in place to offer sports such as swimming, basketball and football. Planned clubs include Science Club, Leadership Council, Quran Recitation, Dodgeball Club, Newspaper Club, Funky Fitness, Drama Club, Lego Club, Origami Club, Eco Club, Multiskills Club, Construction Club and Star Orchestra.
In September 2021, the school announced a tie up with the Juventus Football Academy, an award-winning football academy in the UAE. The new partnership comes inline with the mission of Bright Learners’ Principal Akbar's of further enhancing students’ physical performance and overall well being while providing them unparalleled opportunities. The school grounds hold an array of state-of-the-art sporting facilities, including a multi-purpose sports hall, football pitch, swimming pools, and padel tennis courts in support of the Principal's mission.
What about students with additional learning needs and EAL requirements?
The school aims to cater for all children, whatever their needs. Those with SEND can include children with learning difficulties, those with emotional or behavioral problems and those with physical disabilities. Many children may have special needs during their time at school, but this is not seen as permanent. Some children may need extra help for a few weeks or months, some may need it for several years.
Children are assessed regularly by staff to see what help is needed. Needs can be identified at any time and referrals are made to the Learning Support Team as soon as a possible need is identified. The school aims to identify and provide for a child’s needs as early as possible.
Support and individualized instruction is provided for students who are not native English speakers. Teachers are equipped with best practices for teaching students to whom English is a second language.
What about academic achievement?
BLS will utilize NWEA and iReady assessments to benchmark and assess students. Additionally, grade 4 students will participate in TIMMS assessments to measure performance against UAE and national averages.
What about the facilities?
The school is housed in a former government school building with a capacity for between 1,800 to 2,600 students. The spacious, newly remodeled campus opened with a wide variety of facilities with a stimulating academic environment including spacious classrooms equipped with interactive boards and latest technology, iPad Technology Carts, Computer Labs, Science Labs, Library, Art Room, Cafeteria, Auditorium and Outdoor Play Areas.
Sports facilities include a Basketball Court, KG Splash Pool, swimming pool and soccer field.
There is very little independent feedback about Bright Learners Private School as yet - those parents who have commented (two in number) have been highly positive, but clearly this is not the basis on which to form an opinion. We do know that the Star International Schools are both well-regarded by parents based on limited responses to the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Surveys.
If you are a parent or teacher at Bright Learners Private School, please share your experiences and opinions with other potential members of your community by completing our Survey.
What about Admissions?
To enroll new students at Bright Learners Private School, please visit their website where parents can find more information about Bright Learners Private School and the admissions process.
All KG and Elementary students follow the same school hours, with the advantage that rather than working around a school’s multiple schedules, parents can expect to only work around the morning entry hour at 7:45am and the end of the school day at 2:00pm.
The school seeks to provide the necessary support to SEND students to the best extent possible; therefore the school needs to be aware of any known disability or special educational need at admission time. Parents are responsible for providing the applicable report before acceptance of admission can be considered.
What about the Fees?
Not only is Bright Learners ready to teach children to US standards, it is also one of the most affordable private schools in Dubai, starting with pre-KG fees at AED 21,000 and fees for Grades 1 to 4 at AED 26,000. In line with latest KHDA requirements, fees are fully inclusive of Books and Medical fees. Originally fees were to be paid in three payments, split 40%:30%:30% across the three terms, but the school is now offering monthly payments from AED 2,275 for Pre-K to AED 2,775 for Grade 4.
If there is a recommendation that the child needs a Learning Support Assistant to support learning, the cost of this will be passed onto parents in line with the school fee policy.
Bright Learners School 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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