Located in Al Barsha South, in close proximity to GEMS Founders school and GEMS World Academy, the GEMS Al Barsha National School is the first school aimed at attracting Emirati and expat Arab families to a school which will offer a mixture of the UK National Curriculum and the Ministry of Education Arabic and Islamic Studies programmes.
GEMS Al Barsha National School for Girls has been rated Good (the minimum rating sought by the KHDA for all Dubai schools) on its first inspection in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full reports have been published.
The story so far...
GEMS Al Barsha National School, housed in an impressive building which reflects the colours of the Emirati flag, opened with just over 120 students in mixed gender Foundation classes and gender-separated classes for children from Years 1-8. With approximately 20 children per class, this is a very low student to teacher ratio, in part driven by the curriculum delivery being split 50:50 from FS 1 to year 2 between Arabic and English. Spanish will be offered from year 6 as an additional language.
Note, GEMS Al Barsha National School follows The Early Years Foundation Stage. It will eventually offer IGCSE/GCSE and then A' Levels).
GEMS recognised that parents want a high quality international curriculum for their children together with equally high quality teaching of Arabic, Islamic and social studies. Koran recitation is included in assemblies. Not surprisingly 65% of children attending the school are Emirati and the remainder other expat Arab nationals. Approximately 60% of staff are native English speaking and from the UK. The majority are also female, teaching both boys and girls in the Primary School. From year 7 all teaching staff are female only. As demand increases, the separate Boys school is expected to open.
The school offers the usual range of high-quality facilities commensurate with the price point. These include a gymnasium, swimming pool, performance studio, specialist ICT, music, art, science, design technology rooms and two libraries (one each for primary and secondary schools).
The school is led by Lesley Isherwood who was formerly the principal of Al Yasat school in Abu Dhabi. This school was recognised for its success and involving local families through a strong programme of parental engagement which Mrs Isherwood intends to replicate at the new school in Dubai. She believes it is vital that parents support the ethos and discipline that the school wishes to inculcate in its students in order to ensure that they achieve academic success.
Although off to a slow start in comparison with the neighbouring GEMS Founders School, our expectation is that as the school's reputation grows (backed by the GEMS Education name and experience) increasing numbers of parents seeking a well-known international curriculum together with a focus on Muslim values will seek out the GEMS National schools.
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