PACE Modern British School is a new UK curriculum school that has launched (somewhat late in our view) in time for the 2021-22 academic year in the Rashidya area of Dubai.
With a somewhat late arrival on the Dubai educational scene, given its aim of opening in August 2021, PACE Modern British School is the sixth school operated by the PACE Group in the UAE and the first in Dubai.
Set in the heart of Al Rashidiya, this is a new school, offering affordable high quality education without compromise” which will open in August 2021. It is one of three UK curriculum schools to be operated by the group - preceded by PACE British School in Sharjah and Creative British School in Abu Dhabi (which the group purchased from its original owners).
PACE Education group was founded in 1999 by Dr P.A. Ibrahim Haji by forming a trust, P.A. Educational Trust. In 2001, the group opened India International School in Kuwait offering the CBSE Indian Curriculum (KG to Grade 12) which today has a strength of 2,500 students today.
Currently, the group, with its origins in India, operates 16 institutions, employing 1,200 teaching staff, 500 non-teaching staff, and educates 20,000 students from 25 different nationalities.
The group’s entry into UAE started in Sharjah, with Gulf Asian English School from KG to Grade 12 which has some 5,400 students. India International School is at Muweilah, Sharjah, which opened in 2011, is CBSE curriculum and has a student population of 6,200. Among the more recently opened schools, PACE International School, which opened in 2016, returned to its Indian roots offering the CBSE curriculum.
The Group says that it is “dedicated to promote an effective learning environment that encourages excellence and diversity in thoughts and endeavour. We propose to have many more modern educational institutions in view of the high demand from parents and the respect and reputation our institutions gained over the years.”
The school’s vision places children, their interests and learning needs, at the centre of everything the school will do. “Passionate teachers work tirelessly to facilitate fun, engaging, relevant, memorable and highly effective learning experiences”.
The school's mission is “To create a safe, respectful and collaborative environment, conducive to promoting creativity, and develop compassionate, tolerant global citizens, through dedicated leadership, committed staff and engaged community”.
Founding Principal, Graham Howell in his introduction to the school says, “I bring with me 23 years leadership and teaching experience at outstanding schools both in the UK and the Middle East. Born and bred in London, I would describe myself as a hardworking, positive, contingent leader. At PACE Modern British School, we have an opportunity to shape the leaders of tomorrow and I am excited to work with these flourishing young people here at our school”.
Mr. Howell is British born and bred, educated in London, having graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Design & Technology Education and has subsequently achieved a Masters’ degree in Education. Prior to leaving the UK, Mr. Howell was Assistant Principal at the John Taylor High School, a specialist science and leadership academy located near Burton-on-Trent in England.
Mr. Howell latterly worked as Boys' School Principal at the King Faisal School, Riyadh, from August 2019 to July 2021, and prior to this as an Assistant Headteacher at Nord Anglia International School Dubai where he was IB Design and Technology Coordinator from September 2016 - August 2019.
According to Mr. Howell, “As a new school in the centre of thriving community, we work to build strong relationships with all our students, parents and beyond. Joining us as PACE MBS will be a journey, a journey of discovery, a journey of growth and a journey of success. Through PACE MBS, we will learn, grow and create together. Our world is ever developing and, as such our students and our school will continue to grow, learn and create as greater citizens for a greater world”.
Unfortunately, there is no further information in relation to the remainder of the school's staff. WhichSchoolAdvisor.com would be very surprised if the school has recruited more than a very small number of British staff, given the school's fees. As is increasingly the case, many more affordable UK curriculum schools rely heavily on a senior leadership of UK qualified and experienced staff who then take responsibility for on-the-job professional development of teachers from less costly countries.
The school will follow the UK National Curriculum through EYFS, Primary and Secondary, eventually offering GCSEs, BTECs and A Levels. It should be added that the UK Government has just announced that BTEC qualifications are to be discontinued in the coming two to three years, so it is possible that PACE Modern British School may have to rethink this - more vocational - element of their curriculum plans.
Unfortunately, the school's website (which seems to have been put together rapidly) provides very little information about the delivery of the curriculum,and extra-curricular activities that will be offered alongside the core academics.
It does state "We understand that outstanding learning and an excellent, rounded education are not only about you acquiring the best possible skills and academic qualifications, but also about developing your personal qualities, enjoying school and following your interests and passions in a range of other activities, such as athletics, the arts, outdoor education, community service and much more".
Little information has been provided about the facilities of the school and there are no images available. This may well be because the school is taking over an existing site in Rashidiya - as happened with US curriculum Bright Learners School which opened in 2020 in a previous Ministry of Education school.
What little information is provided suggests that the building includes Smart classrooms, interactive learning facilities, smart classrooms and indoor play areas.
The school is marketing itself as an affordable school and its fees reflect this. During the 2021-22 academic year, the school is offering an incentive of a further discount of AED 2,000 to the first 200 children enrolled. This is on top of a 25% discount on the KHDA approved tuition fees for all students joining in the school's opening year. This discount will be reduced to 15% in 2022-23, and there will be no reduction in 2023-24.
Thus fees for 2021-22 are AED 14,475 (reduced from AED 19,300) for FS1 and FS2, AED 15,525 (reduced from AED 20,700) for Years 1 and 2, AED 16,575 for Years 3 and 4 (reduced from AED 21,700 for Year 3, and AED 22,100 for Year 4), and AED 17,700 (reduced from AED 23,600) for Years 5 and 6.
There are a number of additional discounts including a 10% Special discount for Emiratis and a 15% Special Discount for Martyrs' Children on tuition fees. From Academic year 2023-24 the approved KHDA fees will resume without any discount (except the discount for Emirati and Children of Martyrs).
Additional fees include a New Admission Entrance fee of AED 300 which is a one time fee to be charged on admission. Although described as 'optional' parents will also be expected to pay AED 600 for school uniforms (though the school says that it is optional for parents to purchase uniforms from the School store), AED 1,000 for Extra Activities (not defined) and Language Support (AED 1,000 - 2,000) which will be charged on a case-by-case basis, subject to parental consent.
The school is also offering transport within Dubai (AED 4,500 pa) and Sharjah (AED 5,000).
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