United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Barsha / GEMS Nations Academy

GEMS Nations Academy Review

Open for one year, GEMS Nations Academy will now merge with GEMS Dubai American Academy.
At a glance
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
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Availability 2020/21
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Annual fee average
AED 104,000
Price band help
Premium
Status
Closed in 2017
Opening year
2016
Principal
Tom Farquhar
Owner
GEMS Education
Community
Main teacher nationality
US Citizen
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities

Nearby nurseries

2.8km
3km • EYFS curriculum
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LET'S GO
This school is closed
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 104,000
Price band help
Premium
Status
Closed in 2017
Opening year
2016
Principal
Tom Farquhar
Owner
GEMS Education
Community
Main teacher nationality
US Citizen
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
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First Published:
Friday 18 November, 2016

Updated:
Thursday 26 October, 2017

Open for one year, GEMS Nations Academy will now merge with GEMS Dubai American Academy.

NOTE: Although open for the 2016-2017 school year, it has been announced that GEMS Nations Academy will merge with GEMS Dubai American Academy starting September, 2017. 

Al Barsha located GEMS Nations Academy is currently a KG1 to Grade 8 school that had plans to expand to Grade 12 in subsequent years. It will now run as a full KG-Grade 12 American Curriculum school, but as GEMS Dubai American Academy. 

For more information on the GEMS DAA/ GEMS Nations Academy merger, read the FAQs here

The school follows an American based curriculum with fees starting at 84,000 AED at KG1 and reaching 118,000 AED by Grade 8. Grades 9 and 10 will be 124,000 AED (subject to KHDA approval). Next year the fees will follow GEMS Dubai American Academy's pricing schedule. 

The school clearly set a whole new benchmark when it comes to premium pricing and while the school expected to grow to 2600, it presently has less than ten percent of that number. At this price point, during these times, it is clear that parents have adopted a much more cautious wait and see approach than they have in the past. GEMS Founders not Nations is austerity's star.

Students of the school will leave with mastery of the digital world, because it is this world that today's students, tomorrow's leaders will need to be masters of, not Wall Street. To this extent there is a real blend of younger educators in the teaching mix because they have a "native" understanding of the digital world. These educators will now also be joined by many of the teaching staff from Dubai American Academy. 

In terms of languages, Arabic is taught from KG1 to Grade 12, French and Spanish from Grade 6 to 12 and Coding Languages from KG1 to Grade 12. English as a Second Language support is provided by trained full- time specialists. 

Nations has implemented the co-teacher/lead teacher model. The co-teacher model introduces a second teacher in the classroom, able to support the lead teacher by cutomising the delivery for individual students within the classroom. It is an increasingly adopted system where classrooms have mixed abilities - something Nations as an inclusive school will have. Farquhar told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com he wants “more classroom dynamism and less testing, while encouraging diversity". To this extent class sizes are kept small, but given each has two teachers, not so small - 18 pupils at KG1, 20 pupils at KG2 and up to 24 students from Grades 1 to 12. It is not yet clear how this will change once the merger is complete. 

In terms of inclusion the faculty at Nations Academy includes professional educators "explicitly trained to meet the requirements of students with special learning needs". It also has full-time counseling services available on staff from the start who will be guiding students throughout.

All teachers at Nations have been recruited from the United States. The school follows a US based curriculum having signed up to the Common Core standards. However the school also offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, an option for more academic students and especially those seeking access to top end universities.



Aside staffing, the other area parents will be able to feel where their money is being spent is in the facilities of the school. Classrooms are equipped with iPads, laptop computers, and large screen touch -screen displays. There are special resources for design technology, "maker-hacker design labs", and music technology labs - all equipped with state of the art equipment.

In addition, Nations Academy has a 400 meter track; 52-meter Swimming Pool with ability to split into two 25-meter pools; learner pool; Main Sports Hall equal to 3 full-size basketball courts with retractable seating; tennis courts; Soccer/Football fields; Elementary Sports Hall, indoor running track; fitness trail and shaded play areas.

Extra-curricular activities include soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, track & field, cross-country running, badminton, rowing, riding, and dance will be offered. "Additional offerings as the school grows, with expanded options according to student interest". Activities are included within the school fees.

Our visit to GEMS Nations Academy was very early on in the school's evolution, and at the moment, all that is really evident is that this is a well resourced school finding its feet. How interesting Nations will actually prove to be will become known as the ideas, philosophies, practices and particular goals of the school combine, interact and take root in an entirely new culture.

What we do believe is that this is a school that to fully realize its potential will need nurturing and support from GEMS Education itself. This does not change now that the school has merged, and in fact, it is a great opportunity to build on the success of DAA in world class facilities. If DAA was able to maintain an Outstanding ranking in a building that was one of the older and less technologically geared in Dubai, imagine what can be achieved in this new building, built to maximize the student experience and push individual student progress and attainment. 

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