GEMS Millennium School is an established GEMS Education school that opened its doors in 2010. A CBSE curriculum school, it promotes heavily its warm and friendly approach, with a strong focus on technology and current learning methodologies.
The story so far...
Located in the Muweilah School District of Sharjah, GEMS Millennium School opened in 2010, and was the education group's response to the demand for a more 'premium' CBSE offering in the emirate. The school describes itself as a Day Boarding School - an arrangement which offers a longer school day with after-school activities included within the time-table. The newer GEMS New Millennium School in Dubai has adopted the same approach.
While the fees are significantly higher than most others, the school does offer students bigger, better and more modern facilities and also appears to achieve strong academic results - which, unusually for GEMS Education schools - they publish in full.
In her introduction to the school, Principal, Teresa Varman, says GMS is a school that "provides a wonderfully vibrant learning environment that is hands-on, engaging, and fun. The school is filled with inspiring learning centres where students are encouraged to imagine and build, engineer and design, model and create. Science, technology, the arts and mathematics are masterfully integrated to create a wholesome curriculum with a wide range of activities for children of all interests and abilities. The interactive and interdisciplinary approach fosters critical thinking, active collaboration, creative exploration, and effective communication – skills, competencies and attitudes integral to future success. is now officially a Microsoft Showcase School."
With no formal inspection reports issued by Sharjah Private Education Zone as yet, we are reliant on schools in Sharjah providing basic information. According to the school's Q and A on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, GEMS Millennium School Sharjah (GMS) has approximately 2,500 students and a teaching faculty of more than 150. 82% of the teaching faculty are said to have advanced degrees and all have degrees in education, A claimed teacher:student ratio of 1:16 is definitely on the lower side for an Indian curriculum school, although as a premium member of the GEMS group, this is to be expected.
The school includes students from 14 different nationalities, but the majority is inevitably Indian, as is also true of the teaching staff.
GMS offers support to students with additional learning needs and disabilities and gives sibling priority for admission to students with SEND requirements. Further details can be found here.
What about the curriculum?
GEMS Millennium School (GMS), Sharjah follows the curriculum of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The syllabus is the same as that followed by all schools affiliated to the CBSE board in India and abroad. The medium of instruction is English, although students will also study Arabic in line with the UAE Ministry of Education requirements together with additional options of French, Hindi or Malayalam. Unfortunately, the curriculum is somewhat limited for graduating students with only Science or Commerce streams.
The curriculum is said by the school to be up-to-date with the latest educational trends and techniques offering a wide variety of hands-on applications designed to deepen learning and motivate students to learn. Memorisation has taken second place to understanding and all learning experiences in the classroom are linked with experiences in life outside.
In keeping with the recent directives of the CBSE Board, which is in the process of redesigning the CBSE curriculum, there is less focus on examination and more on continuous evaluation. Formal assessment takes the form not only of written examinations, but also increasingly self assessment, peer assessment, parental assessment and informal daily anecdotal reporting by the teachers. All assessments and reports aim to provide constructive feedback aimed at encouraging improved performance. .
As part of the Day Boarding arrangements at the school, a range of extracurricular activities is provided so that students from Grades 3 to 10 can develop their individual interests, passions, and talents. These programmes provide students with the opportunity to develop skills in a variety of areas including sports, swimming, visual and performing art forms, LEGO, robotics, aero-modelling, electronics and 3-D printing among others.
We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com were surprised - and very pleased - to see that GMS publishes its CBSE results on its website. Whilst results are not the be-all and end-all of education and a school's purpose, they are certainly an important factor for families when choosing a school. Unfortunately, GEMS as a group publishes results for only a limited number of its - generally highest performing - schools.
76 students appeared for the Grade 10 Board Examinations and achieved a Batch Average of 85.9%. 43.4% of students secured 90% and above, 89.5% students secured 75% and above (Distinction), 98.7% students scored 60% and above (First Class), and all entrants received a score of 57% and above. The school Toppers were Athmaja Kavia Bijo with a score of 96.6%, Almas Abdul Saif achieved 96.2% and Abhi Sharma achieved 95.8%.
70 students participated in the Grade 12 Board Examinations and achieved a Batch Average of 80.2%. The Science Average was 81.9%, whilst Commerce students achieved an average of 78.5%. 21.4% students secured 90% and above, 51.4% students scored 80% above, 74.2% students scored 75% and above, 97.1% students scored 60% and above and 100% students scored 59% and above. Toppers included Abhijith Ajith with 95.6% for the Science stream, whilst Zehra Fatima Khan with 94.2% for the Commerce stream.
Among other individual student achievements in 2018-19, Kashinadh Pranesh received the Sheikh Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic Performance.
In 2017, GMS student Rishabh Java won the top award in the Dubai Olympiad competition. The 15-year old developed a working model of a humanoid robot - almost complete with its torso and head and also in 2017, Grade 10 student at GEMS Millennium School, Samiksha was chosen from among 500 global entrants to present her research based on United Nations Global Sustainable Growth goal on Challenge 2030. She was accepted into The Junior Academy (TJA), part of the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) for her concept based on revolutionary sustainable, clean and energy efficient method of electricity generation.
GMS welcomes children with a range of learning preferences, including Students of Determination (students with Special Education Needs and Disabilities) and students who are gifted and talented. Students are actively supported with appropriate education plans, accommodations and curriculum modifications, and Learning Support Assistants, if needed. The Student Support Centre supports the individual needs of the students.
The school requests that parents share full details of any special educational needs, individual education plans (IEPs) and any Educational Psychologist, Paediatric, or other specialist reports (e.g., Speech and Language or Occupational Therapy) as part of the application process. Admission is not conditional on the submission of a medical diagnosis and the school says that it has effective transition processes in place for all children.
Facilities at Millennium are good - this is a premium school after all! They include Wi-fi accessible throughout the school premises, classrooms equipped with Promethean (Interactive) boards, OHPs and white boards. Basic facilities include two libraries for Senior and Junior students which also provide computers and internet facilities. Three Learning Resource Centres enable students to bring out their creativity and talent in Art and Crafts, and the Performing Arts. The school offers Science laboratories that provide facilities necessary for demonstration, experimentation and project work in General Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Primary students also have regular lab sessions in accordance with their curriculum.
ICT is a focus of the school which has three fully equipped ICT laboratories and mobile computer trolleys with internet access. The ICT Labs have been designed to promote the early acquisition of fundamental computing and research skills. GMS also offers an 'Innovation Lab' - a STEM and Robotics laboratory - which offers students the opportunity to hypothesise, reflect and research by keeping pace with the technological advancement in the field of Science and Technology.
There is also a Makerspace Lab designed to promote learning through play, exploration and creativity. Various resources including KEVA Maple, 3 –Doodlers, Lego, Little Bits provide hand-on and challenging lessons for students in Maths, Science or Robotics. STEM and Robotics are available for students as one of the options in the afternoon’s Self Enhancement Programme.
A Rumpus Room and Free Flow Area are provided for Kindergarten students offering multi-sensory stimulation through the equipment provided, and extension learning in the Rumpus Room which includes Story –telling, Reading, Puppetry, Make-Believe and Free Play. Additionally, three separate shaded play areas, equipped with a variety of age appropriate indoor/outdoor equipment, have been specially designed for use by all students.
Further facilities include a multi-purpose hall and cafeteria, whilst sports facilities, include an indoor swimming pool, basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, and a large astroturf playing-field.
Sharjah has had a somewhat chequered history in regard to school inspection. For several years in the mid 2010's many schools were inspected following a process similar to that used by ADEK, but this was subsequently put on hold and very few reports were published.
Again, to the credit of GEMS Millennium School Sharjah, their Summary Statements, included on their website, provide information about both the Sharjah Education Zone inspection from 2014-15 (when the school was rated 'Effective with Accreditation') to the annual inspections, based on the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau criteria for the KHDA, that have been undertaken by GEMS internally.
In 2018-19, the school was rated Acceptable by GEMS internally having been rated Good in the previous internal inspection. Although the school does not publish the 'Inspection report', it does publish its strategic action plan with indications of improvements and actions. The 2019 Summary Statement can be found here.
After disappointing early feedback, we have had a reasonable number of responses from parents at GEMS Millennium School Sharjah to our Parent Survey. Parents are generally satisfied with the school, with 83% saying that they would recommend GMS to other parents. Their children enjoy going to school 'a tremendous amount' and have a tremendous sense of belonging to the school. 86% of parents were satisfied with the level of academic performance provided by GMS, although 10% (well below the UAE average of 28%) felt that additional tutoring was needed to supplement their children's learning. The majority of parents were extremely confident that the school can meet their child's learning needs.
Communication and disciplinary policies were well regarded, whilst 58% of parents believed that the quality of education offered is better than their children would receive in their home country and a further 31% believing to be on a par. As is often the case, if parents do have a niggle with the school, it is the level of fees, but even here a surprisingly high 78% said that they believed fees represent good value for money, with only 12% in disagreement.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at GEMS Millennium School, please share your experience with other potential members of your school community by completing our survey here..
Fees for GEMS Millennium for the 2019-20 year are set at AED 16,000 for KG. However, GMS is still offering a discounted rate of AED 14,400. These rise to and follow a fairly linear path upwards to AED 20,700 AED for Grades 11 and 12, (although approved fees are AED 23,000). Fees are paid monthly.
The school also asks an additional annual AED 250 medical fee and a AED 500 new registration fee.
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