An all through school, GEMS Modern Academy, previously, Dubai Modern High School, looks after children from four to 18 years of age. The school is the only Indian schools to be ranked Outstanding by the KHDA. The schools offers the ICSE curriculum to grade 10 with an International Baccalaureate Diploma programme option in grades 11 and 12. The UK curriculum-based EYFS programme is offered in KG. Dubai Modern Academy is a GEMS Education school.
GEMS Modern Academy has been rated Outstanding for the eighth year running in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full report has been issued.
The Story So Far
GEMS Modern Academy was originally located in the Karama area of Dubai. It opened with 200 students in 1986 but grew rapidly, firstly after its move to a campus located near the Mazaya Centre just off Sheikh Zayed Road, and more recently to its purpose-built campus at Nad Al Sheba.
What are the Stats?
GEMS Modern Academy is currently home to over 3,939 students with 234 teachers and 70 support teachers. Teacher turnover is 5% - 4% lower than 2 years ago, remarkably low for the UAE, but more in line with Indian schools that suffer less from teacher attrition. The teacher to student ratio is a 1:17 - mid to low for an Indian curriculum school.
The school follows the Indian ICSE curriculum with the International Baccalaureate Diploma offered for the post 16 phase. GEMS Modern has offered the IB DP since 2014, and the option of this internationally recognised university entry curriculum makes some sense with the ICSE; certainly more so than with the CBSE which is less broad-based. This appears to be a recognition that many students will carry on their tertiary education outside of India.
What do the Inspectors Say?
According to the Dubai regulator, Dubai Modern Academy provides an Outstanding quality of education, with attainment and progress across all age groups (Primary, Middle and Secondary) ranked Outstanding for English, Maths and Science. In fact, the latest Inspection report is remarkable, with every measure across the 6 key areas of focus rated Outstanding. Islamic Education and Arabic as a second language (the main area of challenge for most international schools) fall a little behind the standard set elsewhere, but are both now rated as Good in attainment and progress across all phases of the school.
Outstanding leadership is noted by the KHDA who state that the "Visionary leadership, inspired by the principal, coupled with valuable participation by governors and the wider school community, ensures that very high student achievement is sustained and the school continues to improve".
Not only does the school perform academically, but students’ personal and social development, and their innovation skills are praised, with inspectors noting that "all children and students continue to be exemplary citizens of the school community and within their host country. They model Islamic values of respect and care for others". Considerable emphasis is put on the safety and well-being of all children and students with comprehensive and useful guidance provided to students for their lives in school and beyond.
The key to the quality of the academics clearly lies in large part with the quality of teaching and assessment, and the school’s curriculum. All teachers have at least a good understanding of current best educational practice. Most exceed this expectation. They assess students’ learning accurately to provide appropriate levels challenge and support for individual students. The extended school day offers rich curriculum pathways that support students’ aspirations, enjoyment and interests. Timely review ensures that the curriculum remains relevant to meet evolving needs and challenges.
In addition to the focus on the 6 key areas, Inspectors also considered the school’s performance in meeting the National Agenda targets (the preparation and progress towards participation in International Benchmarking tests PISA and TIMMS) which was found to be above expectations. The school's implementation of the UAE moral education programme and of UAE social studies was found to be well developed.
In the area of Innovation, the school’s promotion of a culture of innovation was found to be developing. The inspectors noted that students, across all phases, "exhibit skills of reflection and creativity. They regularly, effectively and sometimes in innovative ways, use a range of technologies to support their learning. A culture of innovation and a continuing drive for improvement permeates all levels of the school. Leaders, at all levels, model innovation in their search for extending the already high levels of learning. Parents and students follow their lead and encouragement".
How Well do the Students do?
As with other GEMS Education schools, Dubai Modern also aims to develop the person as well as the student, acknowledged by the KHDA which notes the school produces well rounded and confident individuals, as well as fostering talent at the school. In their 2016 report inspectors noted "very high levels of attention were given to each student in both the personal and academic fields.
Caption: Dubai Modern Academy's version of Matilda. We're not theatre critics, but we think it's a bit wow...
This is important. Previous feedback from parents to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com had suggested too strong a focus on the academic over the 'human'. GEMS Modern seems to have taken this on board and acted upon it.
Unlike most GEMS schools, information about exam results is posted on the school's website.
For the 2016/17 ISC results, 55.9 percent of GEMS Modern Academy's 145 students who sat the exams, received an aggregate of 90 percent or above in the Grade 12 Examinations and achieved a 100 percent pass rate. 15 students scored 100 % in Mathematics, 2 students scored 100% in Economics, 3 students scored 100% in Computer Science and 33 students scored 90% and above in all subjects they appeared for. In the May 2017 exams, Atharva Pulujkar, 17, set a record for his school when he became the first valedictorian to be named the UAE’s top science pupil. He plans to attend Imperial College, London, to study Chemical Engineering.
For the first time, the school also published its IB Diploma Results. Of the 30 candidates registered for the May 2017 session, 24 were Diploma Candidates and 6 were Diploma Course candidates. The average overall point score obtained by Diploma candidates was 33 points, far exceeding the world average of 30 points. In addition, 8% of our candidates achieved 40 points or higher, 29% achieved 35 points or higher and 71% achieved 30 points or higher. One student secured 44 out of a maximum of 45 points.
Where do Students go?
Dubai Modern no longer publishes university destinations for its students - this is now covered by a GEMS-wide brochure. However, based on previous years, by far the biggest destination is the United States, which receives more students from the school even than India. Destinations include Columbia, Northeastern, University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech, Wharton and Yale. The school also sends a significant number of good Redbrick universities in the UK. The US bent for school leavers supports as commonsense the switch away from to ISC to the IB DP as an examination that carries international weight.
GEMS Modern Academy's strong points clearly considerably outweigh the areas it needs to focus on. Students make outstanding progress in most key subjects, and the school serves as an example of parents as partners in their children’s learning. Students’ display excellent behaviour, "confidence, personal and social development and work ethic," and there is a high quality of teaching across almost all the school, and outstanding support for students with special educational needs (1 in 9 students has been identified as having some form of SEN requirement).
What are the Fees?
Fees at Dubai Modern are relatively affordable for a GEMS school, ranging from 33,056 AED at KG1 rising to 49,011 AED at Grade 12. Compared to Indian curriculum schools, the fees are very, very top end. Compared to IB schools, they are in the Value range.
A registration fee of AED 500 is due at the time of application. This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable - a practice which is increasingly raising concerns among parents.
When an offer of a seat in the school is extended, there is an additional fee of AED 1000 "needed to secure the seat". This again is non-refundable, but is adjustable against the first term's fees.
Tuition fees must be paid by the 10th of every month, and are collected in 10 installments except the months of July and August.
What do the Parents Say?
Few parents seem to be complaining overall. If you look at the feedback we have received in the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey this is clearly a much loved school that is considered by parents to be performing well. All parents who responded would recommend the school to other parents, three-quarters of respondents say their child has a tremendous amount of belonging at the school. The other 25% say their children have "quite a bit" of belonging.
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I studied in this school from Grade 4 to Grade 12. Apart from academics, what stands out in this school is the day boarding programme. Apart from the actual activity/sport that you learn in this programme, it teaches students to manage time and be involved in a number of activities and still not be left behind academically. This experience specially helped me in college where I could stay in college and work for extra curricular activities and still not worry that I have a test the next day or classes in the morning because I had learnt from school on how to plan these things in advance/deal with them as they come.
My child studied at GEMS Modern from KG through Year 12.
Children at Modern High are very well behaved. This is in sharp contrast to the kids at other schools especially Western schools which have a more "laissez faire" attitude to raising kids.
Birds of a feather flock together. Parents who expect their children to be academically focussed will choose Modern High.
Many of the teachers show amazing level of commitment considering how poorly paid they are both in isolation as well as compared to their peers at Western schools. There is no link between teachers salaries and their ability or commitment when one compares teacher pay across schools with high fees and low fees.
Note all teachers are competent. Sending our child for tuition [in a specific subject] resulted in the marks going from 50 to 95 which is where they stayed thereafter.
The school lays too much emphasis on academics. It is absolutely vital that the School encourage a base level of sport so that every child develops a sound body to house a sound mind. Not to forget the team building and leadership skills that sport provides.
I'm here to ask if this school accepts Arab/ Non- Indian students to be enrolled
The school info here needs to be updated. E.g Darryl Lancelot Bloud is no more the Principal now. It is Ms Nargish Khambatta.
This has been updated.
Hi: Can anybody provide me an insight into the admission tests for Grade 1 kids at Gems Modern Academy - What is the school looking for and what kind of questions/subjects does the kid need to prepare for. Thanks in advance to those who reply.
One of the top 3 Indian schools in Dubai, for sure.
Can we get some feed back about Gems Modern Academy!!!!
I have my child enrolled in this school. I have to say that although the ratings are excellent and the school seems structured, I find the teaching staff could be better and the focus should be on developing well rounded individuals. Teachers are given a target and that target soon becomes a problem for the parent if your child interferes with the 100% success rate and outstanding KHDA rating. I think the Indian curriculum is great, but we should focus on the joy of learning. If I could go back, I would have enrolled my child in another school
"becomes a problem for the parent if your child interferes with the 100% success rate"
That is always an issue with "for profit" schools.