Windsor School, by Kings Education, is the first school under the new brand which was due to be launched by highly regarded Kings in August 2021 as a Primary only school. The launch had not taken place by mid-September 2021.
Kings’ Education announced the opening of ‘Windsor School’, in time for the 2021-22 academic year, the first addition to what is expected to become a sister brand to the highly regarded Kings' Education schools in Dubai.
However, for unspecified reasons, the opening of the school did not go ahead as planned - WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has requested comment from Kings Education but to date has not received further feedback.
In June 2022, without fanfare, the Windsor School website had been updated ahead of an anticipated opening in August 2022, one year after the initial launch date.
The planned new school is located in the traditional Al Satwa area, directly behind the high rise buildings on Sheikh Zayed road between the Trade Centre and junction 1 (formerly Defence Roundabout) and will serve families living in the districts of Jumeirah 1, Downtown, DIFC, Al Satwa, Business Bay, Deira and Karama, according to the Kings' Education group.
Clearly Kings' are keen to attract families from the older, more established areas of the city, for whom the journey to Umm Suqeim, Al Barsha or Nad Al Sheba (the locations of the existing Outstanding-rated Kings' School Dubai, and Kings' School Al Barsha, and Very Good-rated Kings' School Nad Al Sheba) may be simply be too difficult with the traffic involved.
The school will be a co-educational, offering a UK curriculum education to children from FS1 (aged 3+) to Year 6. In so doing, it becomes the second Primary-only school in the Kings' group (together with Kings' School Dubai, which has been rated Outstanding by the DSIB inspection teams since inspections began).
At the time of the initial launch in 2021, Kings' had hinted that it may either expand to Secondary on the current site, or potentially, provide a route to a Windsor Secondary at a separate location which has not yet been determined. According to the Director of Corporate Services, Akshay Khanna, the building will be “adapted carefully to both its location and available space on 34B street” which is located behind the high rises of Sheikh Zayed Road, opposite DIFC. Commenting further, Mr. Khanna noted that “Although the initial development will be for primary-aged children, we are advancing plans for secondary school options (subject to KHDA approval) within the Windsor School brand.”
Until April 2021, the building housed GEMS Wellington Primary School for a period of close to 14 years. Whilst GEMS may not have been in a position to invest further in the building to add Secondary facilities, given the large number of all-though Premium-priced UK curriculum schools the group already operates, it may be that investment in a secondary section at Windsor School will be the way to ensure the long-term success of this new venture.
Rebecca Gray, Director of Education at Kings’, introducing the new school, said "Every child is an individual and at Windsor School, our ethos ‘foundations of character’ recognises that when immersed in our rich and creative curriculum, all pupils will go on to achieve more than they ever thought possible.
Our holistic approach provides a genuinely rounded education that goes beyond academic excellence. We empower each and every one of our children to be leaders, whether that be leaders of their own learning or leaders within our school community. We strongly believe that the pupil’s voice is the key to success".
The new school will be led by Principal Lisa Passante who joined Kings’ Education as the Principal of Windsor School in 2021, after a career spanning over 20 years in education, bringing with her a wealth of experience, both from the UK and internationally. With the delayed opening, Ms. Passante has had an additional year to ensure that the school gets off the ground efficiently in 2022.
In 2006, Ms. Passante relocated from the UK to China, where she joined Nord Anglia Education, undertaking senior leadership roles including Head of Primary and Principal, working in highly competitive education markets in both Shanghai and Beijing. As a member of Nord Anglia’s Executive Leadership Team, Ms. Passante was involved in partnerships with The Juilliard School of Performing Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UNICEF. Prior to joining Windsor School, Ms. Passante was Principal of Mount Kelly School, Hong Kong and Al Shohub Private School in Abu Dhabi.
Ms Passante will be supported by Charlotte Davis as Deputy Headteacher, Curriculum and Assessment. She joins Windsor School from Kings’ School Dubai, where she latterly filled the position of Acting Assistant Headteacher. Bryce Long, Assistant Headteacher Pastoral and Enrichment, joins from Kings School Al Barsha where he was appointed Head of Primary PE. The fourth member of the leadership team is Sonia Smith who is Assistant Headteacher Inclusion and Wellbeing. Sonia is a qualified SENco (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) with 20 years of experience in the UK, Europe and UAE.
With a clear goal of attracting working parents, in addition to offering its core curriculum, Windsor School will also offer a Kids’ Club offering “wraparound care”, which will provide working parents with on-site childcare “in a safe and fun environment”.
In addition, Windsor School will offer an extensive programme of extra-curricular activities for all children. Activities will take place before and after school, and will include both teacher-led clubs and externally-run clubs with external partners. Clubs will change termly and cover a wide range of interests. Students will be involved in generating ideas for activities to ensure everybody has a chance to pursue and develop their passion.
Again, in an evident effort to support working parents, the school has teamed up with Ecoventure and Engineers To Be to deliver school holiday programmes for children aged 3 to 12 years old.
According to the school website, the most popular programme enjoyed by students at other Kings’ schools is the Multi Activity programme, which includes activities such as climbing, kayaking, pool games, archery, fun science, baking, performing arts, arts and crafts, team building challenges, sensory trails, STEM challenges, and a variety of sports and games.
Windsor School will follow the other Kings schools and offer a combined Engineering and Multi-Activity programme, which introduces children to the world of engineering. Children work on one main project and are taken on a journey, understanding and designing their own projects whilst also taking part in many of the activities from the Multi-Activity programme.
The Windsor School is taking over the site that previously housed GEMS Wellington Primary School, which closed in April 2021. Since GEMS took over the school in 2007, it has been significantly upgraded and expanded from the original all-girls school that was located there prior to GEMS’ involvement.
Windsor School offers an excellent range of facilities to support teaching and learning across the curriculum. According to the school, the pace of learning will be enhanced by wireless, interactive technology throughout the campus and all students will have access to laptops and iPads.
The facilities are said to be "an impressive platform to nurture students’ talents" and include a Library, STEM Labs, Science Labs, ICT Suites, Music Rooms, an Art Room and a Parent Café. Sports facilities include a large Multipurpose hall, two swimming pools, a multipurpose 4G field, a Dance Studio, and Basketball Courts.
Windsor School has partnered with Mastercook Catering Services to provide fresh, high quality, healthy and affordable school meals to students.
With its reputation for high quality provision and facilities, we have no doubt that Kings' will be keen to show that they can deliver to the same standard as the Kings' branded schools even with a different label. There is no question that, physically at least, this is a very different school to the three purpose-built and highly modern facilities offered by the other schools in the group - and this may well be the reason behind the change of brand.
However, with the strength of the Kings' team behind it, ensuring the quality of delivery of education for which they are recognised, we believe that whilst Windsor School may well offer a different name, the package is likely to be very similar.
KHDA approve fees start at AED 43,388 for FS1 and rise to AED 54,691 for FS2 to Year 6. However, Founders’ fees are being offered to students from FS2 to Year 6 at a reduced sum of AED 52,500. These fees will apply throughout the child’s time at the school. These fees are in line with, or below those of Kings' School Nad Al Sheba, higher than those of Kings' School Dubai but lower than those of Kings' Al Barsha.
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