GEMS Westminster School Ras Al Khaimah teaches the National Curriculum for England and prepares students to take the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) course and A Level Examinations of the Universities of Cambridge and London (UK).
GEMS Westminster School Ras Al Khaimah (WSR) is based upon long-established, successful The Westminster School in Dubai. The school offers a English National Curriculum education for students from KG1 (FS2) to Grade 12. It is one of the most established schools in RAK with more than 3,400 students from over 90 different nationalities.
Feedback to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has been limited, but the following parent comment was made in the current academic year - "School is very supportive and has good teachers. Good facilities too. I can’t think of any weakness."
Teacher and student feedback has been equally positive - The school’s priority is first and foremost the well-being, safeguarding and academic success of students. They also take care of all their employees like a family." Evidently not only parents and staff are happy as shown by this comment from a student - "U can have a bright future" [sic].
Find out more about parents' feedback under The Buzz.
Located in Seih Al Uraibi, Ras Al Khaimah, GEMS Westminster School RAK opened in opened in 2013 and now offers a full K-12 (FS2 to Grade 12) education culminating in International GCSE, AS and A Level examinations.
The school Vision for WSR is:
"to educate and empower our students to be self-directed progressive learners who are confident, compassionate and accomplished global citizens."
Its Mission states:
We recognise that each child is an individual; that all children are creative; that all children need to succeed. Our school promotes a safe, orderly, caring, and supportive environment that follows a strong moral code. And we will continually strive to have our parents, teachers, and community members actively involved in our students' learning.
The school motto is One Tribe, One Family, which reflects the belief that it takes a community to instill and reinforce excellence.
In her introduction to the school, Principal and CEO, Ms Nicole Haynes, describes it as “a real community that combines tradition and innovation in teaching and learning, enabling pupils to be the best they can be in all aspects of school life.”
Adding to her comments, Ms. Haynes notes that “GEMS Westminster School Ras Al Khaimah is a values-driven school, providing an outstanding education through our four core values: Leading Through Innovation, Pursuing Excellence, Growing by Learning and Global Citizenship. These values are woven into all GEMS schools and are the essence of our DNA. They are not symbolic; we live and breathe them.
In common with most GEMS affordable schools - tuition fees range from AED 12,128 for KG1 and 2 to AED 22,050 for Grade 12/Year 13 - the leadership and teaching staff come from a wide range of nationalities, in line with the diverse population of the families whose children attend the school. According to the school, "Teaching is delivered by qualified and experienced staff who know the children as individuals, and tailor their lessons to address the needs of each child. Teachers operate with a growth mindset that allows them to model what it means to be a lifelong learner to their students."
GEMS Westminster School – Ras Al Khaimah teaches the internationally recognised National Curriculum for England using the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in KG, and prepares students to take the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) course and A Level Examinations of the Universities of Cambridge and London (UK).
The school describes its key characteristics as high expectations, aspirations, excellence and a belief that all can succeed; contributing creativity, innovation and enterprise alongside tradition and heritage; developing young people who are confident, resilient, compassionate and global citizens. Through close collaboration with WSR families, from home to school, students are raised to be kind, caring and bright, and to excel in academic subjects, creative arts and sports.
Teachers use the latest teaching methods and through up to date facilities, to “pull out all the stops to stimulate the children’s intellect and captivate their imagination.”
GEMS Westminster School RAK teachers aim to plan challenging, well-organised, interesting lessons with good pace, and incorporating a range of teaching and Assessment for Learning pedagogies. There are regular opportunities for students to take on leadership roles, decision-making and problem solving, and students are encouraged to take an active role in the learning opportunities they encounter. All staff have high expectations of both their students and each other.
The school provides detailed information about the curriculum at each grade level which can be found here
At Grade 9, students commence their International GCSE studies where they are offered a relatively limited range of subjects including Mathematics, English (both as a first and second language), Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Business Studies, Geography, History and ICT. There are no arts subjects offered, though the school endeavours to address this through its after-school activities. In addition, students continue to take part in Arabic A/B, Islamic Studies or PHSE, Social Studies, Moral Education and PE.
For AS and A Levels, which commence at Grade 11, students may take up to 4 options at AS and 3 at A Level from a similar range of subjects, though History is no longer an option, and instead Economics, Psychology, Sociology and Digital Media and Design are added. Arabic, Islamic Studies, Moral Education and PE also remain on the subject list.
After school activities are provided for Grades 1-11, and offered each term. Students have the opportunity to sign-up for activities across a broad range of subjects, including sports, information technology, performing arts, visual arts, music, dance, EAL (English as Additional Language), cooking, junk modelling, public speaking, magazine and newspaper. The lessons are offered once a week, for 45 minutes after school. School teams and clubs are established in basketball, football, cricket, badminton, table tennis, and athletics, ecology, Arabic and EAL (English as Additional Language).
A dedicated SEN team and facilities are provided where individual needs of students can be accommodated. These staff and physical areas are accessible to all students who may need separate sessions apart from the learning that takes place inside their classes. All areas have appropriate resources that the staff can use to aid the learning of the child. When a student with additional learning needs is identified, he/she is provided with additional support within and outside the classroom, as appropriate.
The school follows a Graduated Response to Supporting Children with Additional Learning Needs - it recognises that all children learn in different ways and can have different types and levels of educational needs. The class teacher and subject teachers are responsible for working with the student on a daily basis, with support from the Inclusion Department.
The SEN team is responsible for both whole school and individual student support. Differentiation is a whole-school approach wherein the staff of the Inclusion Department suggests ways to modify teaching styles, content/ material, and assessment to suit the individual needs of the students.
Specific support efforts include Push in sessions where class teachers coordinate closely with the special educators to plan and initiate teaching strategies, activities, and classwork to ensure the progress of students with additional learning needs in their respective classes.
The next level of support includes Pull Out sessions, where students who require more individualised attention have one-on-one sessions with respective special educators (LSA, SEN Counsellor or SENCO) at the Enrichment Centre. The sessions focus on Individual Education Plan goals.
School Action is provided for the students who require an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) depending on the learning needs. There will be suggestions for differentiation, modification, and accommodation and pull out sessions based on the need of the student.
School Action Plus is applied to students who have complex needs and require the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) that would provide detailed support for differentiation, modification and accommodation. Push-in and pull out sessions are provided by the Inclusion Department as required by the student.
Finally, Specialist support and intervention such as occupational therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), and speech therapy, which are all delivered by qualified and trained professionals, have proven effective and beneficial for children with additional learning needs. The school works with three specialist clinics - Cambridge Centre for Family Counselling and Training RAK, Pulse Therapy and Learning Centre Dubai and Lighthouse Arabia Dubai.
In August 2021, in the second year of the Covid 19 pandemic, WSR shared its A Level and IGCSE results with WhichSchoolAdvisor.com.
With the cancellation of examinations for the second year, results were based on internal assessments by teachers and leaders - Centre Assessed Grades.
At A Level, WSR's cohort of 30 students were entered for 91 examinations. Of these entries, 7.5% were awarded an A* grade, 18.8% achieved A*-A and 52.5% were awarded A*-B. The school newsletter issued in August showed further details, showing that there was a 100% pass rate from A*-E. This is a strong achievement.
For a round up of A Levels results throughout the UAE for August 2021, go here.
At I/GCSE, 130 students took a total of 631 examinations. Of these entries, over one-quarter - 25.8% - were awarded the top A* grade, whilst 40.1% achieved A*-A grades, 64.2% achieved A*-B grades and 75% of all entries were awarded a pass grade at A*-C.
The UAE I/GCSE result round up for 2021 can be found here.
In 2016/2017 construction started on a AED 70 million building plan that included new learning zones.
The school now offers a wide range of facilities including an Indoor Multipurpose Hall (with facilities to play badminton, volleyball), a Conference Room, Junior Activity Rooms, School Canteens with outdoor serving areas, an open, green reading area, and external spaces where more than 2000 plants have been planted. Separate covered outdoor play areas are provided for primary and KG students with specialist play equipment for KG students.
Specialist classrooms are equipped with interactive Promethean Boards for Early Years Foundation Stage, Primary and Secondary Schools, and fully equipped Science Laboratories and ICT Laboratories are provided for Primary and Secondary. Additional facilities include General Labs, an Art Room, a Music Room, a second Library in Phase 2, and a Media Lab.
Sports Facilities include an outdoor football field, Basketball Courts (including two new ones on the roof) and two Cricket Pitches.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received limited feedback from parents of students at GEMS Westminster School RAK. Parents who have responded to our Survey have given the school an overall rating of 3.5/5 - or an approval rating of 70%. Parents who responded were almost evenly split between those with children in Primary and Secondary school - giving an overall view of the school.
Parents are extremely positive about their children's sense of belonging and enjoyment of school with over 70% in both cases saying that their children felt these emotions "a tremendous amount". A similar percentage rate the school's level of academic performance highly with over 70% being fully satisfied and with none of our respondents believing that additional tuition outside school is necessary.
Parents are also extremely positive about the feedback they receive from WSR - over 85% are fully satisfied compared with a UAE average of 70%. We are not surprised at this feedback from parents, given the very obvious efforts made by the school to hold regular weekly sessions by the Principal and other leaders which are promoted in the school newsletter and on the school website widely. An overwhelming 71% of parents would recommend WSR to other parents.
As is so often the case, if there is a niggle, this is in relation to fees. Whilst 57% of respondents agreed that they do represent value for money, 29% disagreed entirely with this statement. Presumably it was the same 57% of parents who had never considered moving their child to another school, whilst the balance (those who did not agree that fees were value for money or were partially in agreement that they were) said that they had considered moving their child.
It is also evident, due to the low number of surveys received, that a potentially disproportionate number of respondents have used the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey to make known their concerns. Please help us to ensure that there is a balance in feedback.
If you are a parent, teacher or student of GEMS Westminster School Ras Al Khaimah, please share your opinions and experiences with other potential members of your community by completing our survey here!
Tuition fees at WSR are affordable, ranging from AED 12,128 for KG1 and KG2 to AED 22,050 for Grade 12/Year 13. However, parents should note that these fees do not include Books & Stationery where fees are estimated to be AED 900-1400 per year and Uniforms: AED 350 - 450, or bus fees.
There is a AED500 admission fee payable once a place is offered,
The school also offers a sibling discount of 25% for the fourth child and 50% for the fifth and further children.
GEMS Westminster School Ras Al Khaimah is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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