At a glance
NOTE: OUTSTANDING ranked schools do not have an updated KHDA report for the 2016-2017 school year.
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 most recently to Nad Al Sheba where it now based.
What are the Stats?
GEMS Modern Academy is currently home to over 3741 students (up 1000 in two years, and almost 1,500 in three years) with 228 teachers and 68 support teachers. Teacher turnover is 11%, 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 IB Diploma offered for the post 16 phase. GEMS Modern has offered the IB DP since 2014, and the curricula makes some sense with the ICSE, certainly more so than with the CBSE which is less broad based.
What do the Inspectors Say?
According to the Dubai regulator, Dubai Modern High School provides an Outstanding quality of education, with attainment and progress across age groups (Primary, Middle and Secondary) ranked Outstanding for English, Maths and Science. Islamic Education and Arabic as a second language fall a little behind standard set elsewhere. Islamic education is rated Good, while Arabic is Good in Primary and Middle school, and Acceptable at Secondary level.Outstanding leadership is noted by the KHDA.
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 most recent report (2016) inspectors note "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.
While GEMS Education does not allow its schools to publish how well it does (or does not) do in external examinations, some clue that GEMS Modern does well is given by the note by the KHDA that "performance on external examinations and outstanding academic achievement allowed students to pursue their personal aspirations and career goals..."
For exam results, for the the 2015-2016 ISC and ISCE results are posted on the school's website. As the school notes, "57 percent of GEMS Modern Academy students received an aggregate of 90 percent or above in the ISC ( Grade 12 ) Examinations [and]GEMS Modern Academy students achieved a 100 percent pass rate in the ISC examinations."
It would be interesting to see how well the school has fared at the IB, where a more international benchmark can be applied. If hard work is any indicator our guess is well: "The commitment of students and their dedication and devotion to the school made significant contributions to the dynamic learning environment," note inspectors.
Where do Students go?
Dubai Modern does publish university destinations. 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 10 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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