IB Elementary through to IB Diploma
GEMS World Academy is an IB School located in Al Barsha South, Dubai, UAE. It is a private independent school managed by GEMS Education.
The GEMS World Academy was founded in 2007. It follows the International Baccalaureate curricula from the Primary Years Programme (three-11-year-olds) to the Middle Years Programme (12-16-year-olds) and the Diploma Programme (17 and 18-year-olds). Rated ‘good with outstanding features’ by KHDA, its facilities include a gymnasium, a 50m pool, an astro turf field, ICT suites, a library as well as a planetarium and recording studios.
At GEMS World Academy,every student is assessed to determine the level of support required. It has an extensive EAL program to help students learn English in the elementary school. It also has a special education department to support students with any additional educational requirements they have.
Class sizes are 16 in pre-kindergarten, 18 in KG1, 20 in KG2 and 23 in grades 1-5. After-school activities include creative play, film club, golf, horse riding, jewellery making, mad science, sewing and quilting, cooking, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese workshops and more.
GEMS World Academy teachers come from 11 different countries with a majority coming from either the US, Canada, UK, or Australia. It is a truly international school with a focus on creating internationally-minded students through an inquiry-based, developmental programme, geared towards developing the whole child.
The Academy has a range of facilities providing excellent opportunities for students. The IB Program K-12 provides an excellent experience in school life for students. Grade 12 opens this year. GEMS World Academy (GWA) Dubai offers the IB Diploma Program. The Academy is an associate member of The Council of International Schools (CIS). The Enrichment program at GWA-Dubai already offers a wide range of after school activities (ASAs) for students, directed by both school and private facilities and services. These change several times a year.
Who runs the school?
The school is owned and operated by GEMS Education, a private international company headquartered in Dubai that owns and manages schools around the world.
Is this a non-profit school?
What facilities does it offer?
The Discovery World
At the very centre of GEMS World Academy is Discovery World. It is a multipurpose facility which offers a range of educational activities for the students including the library, science laboratories, design and technology workshops, computer suite, planetarium and peace garden.
The proximity of these learning centres to one another will allow for inter-disciplinary educational opportunities to flow freely, opening up new ideas, expanding creativity and out of the box learning and thinking.
The heart of Discovery World is the library. GEMS World Academy currently have 16,000 titles suitable for Grades 1 – 10, with a smaller library for the little ones in Early Childhood.
It is an open library with areas for quiet, reflective work and reading. Students are asked to be respectful instead of silent and the library hums with discussion and group work. The library is the focus for literacy initiatives such as Dubai Cares link to Dubai cares see end, Stop Drop and Read, and the Book Club catalogue.
Special guests have included HRH Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and the library will continue to host reading activities with visiting authors, writing workshops and displays planned through the term.
The books in the main library represent the international nature of GWA with titles ranging from the Travels of Ibn Battuta and Japanese Mythology to the latest Caldecott Medal winners. Teachers with years of Primary Years and Middle Years programme experience personally selected many of the books and we encourage parents and students to offer their thoughts on the genres and authors they would like to see in Discovery World.
The students are an important part of the library as it is, after all, their library. Pupils from Grade 3 and up volunteer as Student Library Assistants and play an active role in encouraging fellow students to read by creating displays and book reviews.
The library collection continues to grow but as well as books, the library has a selection of newspapers and magazines for students to keep up to date with the world news and the issues that will affect and influence the next generation.
Computers are also available and will be fully integrated with the library management system in 2009, which students can access for bibliographical research.
Clustered around the library are the science laboratories. These multipurpose rooms are spacious, state of the art facilities which encourage collaboration and investigation of biology, physics, chemistry and general science. In the biology lab, each workstation has the ability to connect directly to laptops and digital microscopes so that images, experiments and student work can be shown directly through HD televisions.
Physics provides the latest data logging technology with full internet capabilities and chemistry is ideal for both group work and independent study and encourages further research to develop the minds of future scientists.
A well resourced, professional design and technology workshop allows students to use their imagination to create masterpieces whilst also teaching them to investigate important design concepts, vital to successful project work.
ICT is an important part of learning throughout the academy and is used daily by teachers and students. Both Computer Labs in Discovery World offer a dedicated suite for whole class training as well as independent work.
The GEMS World facility is the most technologically advanced Planetarium in the UAE. The 70 seat installation features a digital three dimensional starfield and real-time rendering capabilities, coupled with a database of over 300,000 stars the dome can be filled with an incredibly realistic starry night. Along with the eight planets of our solar system, star constellations, and deep space objects, the planetarium brings the night time sky to the day time classroom.
A digital planetarium differs from a traditional setup in that it is not just an earthbound view of the stars that we can see. The custom built computer system drives two High definition video projectors that seamlessly blend to create a 360 degree wrap-around image producing a truly immersive environment.
Using a special type of video projection known as Fulldome video, highly detailed and realistic images, videos, and computer generated animations of the most incredible sights in our universe can be projected across the surface of the ten metre diameter domed ceiling in incredible detail. Whether it is witnessing the formation of the Universe, or watching the explosive death of giant stars, every student is guaranteed a front row seat.
GWA has an extensive range of top-class sports facilities that are used by students in our three educational divisions PYP,MYP and DP. We have an Olympic-size 50m swimming pool with 6 racing lanes; each of the lanes having diving blocks at either end. The pool depth ranges from 1.8m to 3.4m. To complement the main pool, a smaller training pool is situated on one side that varies from 0.5m to 1 m for use with our youngest students or for those just learning to swim. Both swimming pools are fully shaded and heated for year-round use.
There are three tennis courts on the roof which are flood lit as well as sun-shaded, along with a fully equipped skateboard area. The multi-purpose sports hall includes a competition standard basketball court that hosts a variety of activities from basketball and volleyball to netball and badminton, among others. Around the peramter of this hall is retractable seating for those attending major games and activities.
Located next to our sports hall is the Junior Gym, that facilitates a very teacher-friendly environment with our very young students. Opposite the Junior Gym is our Fitness Center.
This has a variety of cardiovascular equipment, running machines, steppers, rowers, bicycles, and a full range of weight training equipment. GWA provides both pool (wet) and dry changing rooms with private shower facilities.
We also have an 8m high Rock Climbing Wall (the largest fibre glass wall in the UAE) with true rock features in place. Two indoor, air-conditioned, courts in the sports hall.
Outside we have a 400m weatherproof rubberized running track that circles a full sized astroturf sports field where a variety of activities take place, including rugby and soccer/football, baseball and rounders. Our track also has jumping pits for both the long jump and triple jump.
The Symphony Centre is a designated area that supports the development of the performing arts. With this wing, there is a diverse range of facilities that combines traditional philosophies whilst supporting our students for the future of music making and media technology.
Is a learning space for those students studying drama and used as an alternative performance space from the GWA Auditorium. The theatre can seat up to 70 people, has a projector screen, integrated sound system, theatre lighting and back stage area.
There are 6 dedicated practice rooms that are used to support the instrumental program.
Rooms are acoustically treated and include ipod dock, CD player and Steinway Boston pianos.
Music classrooms and ensemble suite
There are 2 general music classrooms with the addition of the ensemble suit- an open classroom that is utilised for large group activities, music workshops and band rehearsals.
Within these rooms there is acoustic treatment for undisturbed classes and transfer of sound, ceiling speakers, promethean boards, and connections to the recording studio.
This allows our teachers to keep audio records of all classes and to introduce the students to the process of recording.
Music technology and media
There are dedicated rooms for students to further their knowledge and skills about the music industry with an imac music technology lab, recording studio and live room (for recording live performances), green screen room, and editing suite.
Students gain knowledge in Logic Pro, Sibelius, and Final Cut Pro which allows them to develop film and music content to post throughout the school.
It is these facilities in particular, which students use to support and enhance their learning throughout other subject areas.
The Auditorium is at the heart of the Academy and is used for many activities. The space seats 620 people and can support a variety of activities such as assemblies, orchestras, choirs, theatre productions and conferences. The auditorium has a control room for balancing lights and sound, a large backstage area with change rooms and the adaptability for disabled seating spaces and VIP seating solutions.
GWA is the first educational institution and venue in the UAE to own a Steinway D grand piano. This quality instrument signifies the intentions of GWA towards the performing arts and is used for student and professional performances. Previously the Steinway has supported groups such as the Vienna Boys Choir.
What is the school’s philosophy?
The school aims to offer a high quality education based on the National Curriculum for England and Wales, and incorporate the strengths of the students’ own cultures. The school’s goal is to develop students’ basic skills as well as their capacities for critical thinking and creativity. A passion for learning, all-round development, character growth and a sense of civic responsibility are also emphasized.
Early Childhood (PreK – KG2)
GWA PreK classes provide 3 year old children the first gentle steps into the routines of school life. These are crucial to future success and GWA creates a warm and nurturing environment for this early childhood development stage.
KG1 and KG2 classes are oriented towards practical applications, social development and acquiring the skills, knowledge and understanding required to interact in a changing world. Encouragement and support are provided for children to achieve their full potential in a caring and stimulating environment in which the learning process is positive and meaningful.
Learning through structured play and regular educational visits are an integral part of the Nursery and Kindergarten.
Download the Early Childhood Philosophy Statement.
The Elementary School (Grade 1 – 5)
The Elementary School programme helps children to develop a love for learning, to think independently and encourages initiative, innovation and participation. It is based on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IBPYP).
The program is a child-centred inquiry based program. Parents should not expect traditional (old fashioned!) teaching. However, this does not mean that children do not make excellent academic progress. Learning through inquiry is being well developed at GWA.
For further information GWA elementary team offer regular information sessions for families to explain the methodologies that are based on excellence in international schools from around the world.
The Secondary/Middle School (Grade 6 – 10)
In the Middle School we lay the foundations for the Upper Secondary programs. Assessment is continuous and ongoing relating to targets in all subjects. Formal assessments take place at the end of each year. Students are well prepared for formal examinations.
During the Middle School years students have the opportunity to broaden their academic focus and develop a variety of skills because of the wide range of subjects offered. Courses equip students with many life skills that they require to become independent citizens of the world.
The Secondary School has exclusive use of the classrooms in the C wing of the school. This includes 12 classrooms plus dedicated rooms for Drama, Design Technology and Music Technology. Two other classrooms plus practice rooms are shared with the Elementary School for Music. In the A wing the Secondary uses 5 classrooms (for Maths and Science).
In addition to this, the Secondary has use of the Science Labs (3).GWA have their own Computer Lab on the First Floor, and share the Library and the Sports facilities with the Elementary School.
In the C block – second floor classrooms are used for English, Humanities and Art. Third floor C block classrooms are used for second languages (Spanish, French, Arabic and German). This also includes rooms for Special Needs, ELL and Speech Therapy.
The Diploma Centre (Grade 11 & 12)
Diploma students begin Grade 11 as part of their upper secondary studies. The programme offers Diploma students the possibility of greater independence and self determination which helps to prepare them for study in further education. GWA also offers the Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID)
Counselling for university placement begins in Grade 12. These one-on-one interviews for university and careers advice provides students with opportunities to focus their interests into potential careers and action planning their research. University representatives from the UK, Canada, U.S., Australia, New Zealand and India will hold regular exhibitions throughout the school year to enable students to ask specific questions about their university or further education choices.
Alongside the academic requirements of the Diploma, all students are involved in creative activities and a choice of physical activities and also take part in community service (CAS).
After School Activities (ASA’s)
Each term, students are invited to extend their day by attending After School Activities (ASA’s). Students’ choices are made in consultation with parents and are for attendance through a semester cycle (typically 8-10 weeks).
Academy staff and outside providers combine to deliver a range of clubs that extend, develop and enrich the students’ experiences. Activities may be chosen from sport, science, language, media and the arts. While most activities are hosted at the GWA campus, some activities (e.g. Golf, skiing) are just a short bus journey away!
Activities are for an hour after school and commence after a short ‘prep’ break at the end of school. Parents are requested to arrange collection of their children at 4:45pm from the main canteen area. Please note that some paid activities commence from 4:30pm and thus students will require a later collection.
Current activity choices range from rock climbing, tennis, to newspapers and public speaking.
After School Care Program – ‘Kidscare’
All incoming GWA students are required to complete a reading, writing, and numeracy assessment from Grade 1 to grade 12. Students entering PreK through Kg2 will be invited for an observational, practical assessment to determine school readiness. The assessment tools are designed to indicate appropriate grade-level readiness. Students re-entering GWA will be exempt from re-assessment (if absent no more than one school year) with documentation of continued education during the absence.
Please see the Admissions Policy & Guidance link in the sidebar to the right >>
Good (as of 2011)