At a glance
NOTE: As GEMS Royal Dubai School received an Outstanding rating in 2015/2016, there is no new KHDA report for the 2016/2017 inspection cycle.
GEMS Royal Dubai School is currently home to 1166 students (up approximately 100 students over the previous academic year), with 77 teachers, and 62 teaching assistants, giving the school the resources to be able to offer a good level of individual attention. The largest single demographic grouping of student is British, although over 60 nationalities are represented in total, and one in six of the school's pupils is Emirati.
Teachers are largely recruited from the United Kingdom, and the school currently enjoys a very low (and good) teacher turnover of 12% in the last academic year. The teacher:student ratio is 1:15 - average for this tier of school.
While teacher turnover may be low, previous KHDA reports have noted high student turnover, with pupils often staying for 2-3 years at the school, something fairly unusual for Dubai. This is not mentioned in the school's latest report, and it is not clear if as an issue it has been resolved. High pupil turnover is not noted in most other primaries, and as a GEMS school, the children in Year 6 are guaranteed a place in Year 7 at either GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis or GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail, without the need for an Entrance Test.
The number of students identified with SEN seems to have declined sharply. Two years ago some 27% of GEMS Royal Dubai's pupils were identified as having mild SEN requirements, including learning delay, mild behaviour difficulties, dyslexia and dyscalculia. In 2016, it is less than 10%. It is not clear if this is a real decline in numbers, or a question of definition.
The school has clearly done an awful lot right to move to an Outstanding rating. Students now make rapid progress in acquiring knowledge and understanding in English, Maths and Science according to inspectors. Students have also developed "exceptionally strong learning skills", while - unusually for a British school - "attainment has also improved in Arabic as an additional language, and in Islamic education". Students’ personal and social development is described as excellent.
The 2015/16 report notes a well planned and stimulating curriculum which, which along with teaching, "was often inspiring". Inspiring is high praise - and not a word that is used generously by inspectors.
Teaching, leadership and teamwork lie at the heart of improvements.
GEMS Royal Dubai School follows the English National Curriculum (offering FS and Key Stages 1 and 2), and has departments for Art, English/Literacy, Mathematics/Numeracy, Science, French (from Year 1 onwards), Arabic and Islamic Studies (from Year 1 onwards), ICT, Geography, History, Library, Social Studies, Music, Technology along with Physical Education (PE) and swimming.
Parents in general have very positive feelings towards the school, with good feedback on the level of friendliness and helpfulness of teachers, especially at foundation stage.
At the time of our last survey parents recorded under average satisfaction levels with the educational attainment of their children, something likely to have changed significantly over the last 24 months. In more interpersonal feedback to WSA, a strong belief the school offers a safe, warm and caring environment has been expressed. There had been some grumbling about access to, and parking at the school, however the school has told Which School Advisor that Arabian Shopping has ample parking, and the pedestrian crossing ensures a safe place to cross.
The school provides a number of after school and extra-curricula activities (including swimming lessons, ballet, karate, music, art, computers, clay modeling, chess, cookery and Indian dancing). Paid activities are provided by outside providers (for example E-Sports classes) and payment is above and beyond the school fee. Payment for both lessons and any equipment needed are made directly to the course instructor.
School fees for tuition are mid to top end of the range - but not out of the ordinary for a British curriculum school from a top tier private education provider. They start at 35,834 AED for FS1 and rise to just over 45,182 AED per annum for Year 6.
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