GEMS Winchester School, is an affordable UK curriculum school located in Oud Metha, Dubai which took over the premises previously occupied by a GEMS Indian curriculum school. GEMS Winchester School should not be confused with The Winchester School in Jebel Ali which is highly rated as Very Good school.
GEMS Winchester School Dubai has been rated Acceptable for the seventh year in a row in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update to this review will be completed once the full report has been published.
The story so far...
It's a rare thing for a GEMS UK curriculum school to be ranked anything other than Good or Outstanding, but that dubious distinction goes to GEMS Winchester School, a FS to Year 11 school located in Oud Metha, Dubai. The reason could largely be due to its rapid expansion: GEMS Winchester School opened in 2011 with around 500 students. Within three academic years that figure has jumped to a rather incredible 3,605 with 210 teachers and a teacher:student ratio of 17:1.
The school follows the National Curriculum for England and Wales.
To have teething pains in the face of such uncompromising growth is perhaps unsurprising, but then it will also have been a conscious decision of GEMS to grow so quickly. As a result, the list of "to dos" is significantly bigger than its list of boxes ticked...
The KHDA noted the need to accelerate student progress and raise attainment in all key subjects. This is largely still in progress. Across the core subjects of English, maths and science, the school is rated acceptable only, save for science in secondary where it is rated unsatisfactory.
Perhaps the biggest worry of 2012/13 was the recommendation to "improve teachers’ spoken and written English so they can communicate effectively with their students". For a UK curriculum school that's an unusual comment to say the least. This recommendation is not made in its latest report, however almost as worrying is the comment that some teachers "have a poor concept of educational concepts". Oh dear...
In the 2015/2016 report, the KHDA notes that the school needs to drive the agenda for overall school improvement is for governors and leaders to review staff recruitment, remuneration and retention issues by governors and leaders. This is a critical issue as the last report notes a 52% teacher turn-over rate, which is extremely high.
The KHDA does have some positive things to say about Winchester. Key strengths include the improvements in a number of significant areas at Foundation Stage; the improvements in health and safety throughout the school; the inclusive nature of provision for those with a special educational need; and the good support offered by parents.
The school has an Weak rating for Arabic as a first and as an additional language in terms of attainment and progress. Schools are expected to have a minimum grade of Good.
Unusually the school's web site does not detail its facilities or extra-curricular activities, but on the very limited feedback WSA has received these are said to be satisfactory, but not up to the level of other GEMS schools.
Fees for GEMS Winchester are very much at the low end for a GEMS Education school, ranging from AED 11,261 in FS2 to AED 19,473 per annum in Year 11 for tuition.
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