Dubai British School, Emirates Hills: The Pinnacle of International Education in Dubai

Emirates Hills
Dubai British School, Emirates Hills

Educational institutes are one of those places that enjoy diverse environments. Students from all walks of life gather for their overall development along with teachers to contribute to a particular cause for society’s welfare. In places like these, it is essential to forget the dissent of opinions and work for a common goal.

Schools play a major role in instilling collaborative culture among its diversity and ensuring that each and every individual know their fundamental rights. In international schools, the environment is likely to be more diverse, and thus, inclusion practices are more necessary in this particular school environment. In such schools, pupils pursue international standards of education to access global opportunities. While doing so, they get introduced to a new culture, can learn new languages, and reach a broader educational experience.

The number of parents choosing an international education for their children is steadily increasing, and there has never been a more wide-ranging or diverse selection of foreign schools. More guardians are looking forward to international schools as the global community becomes more interconnected, and the necessity for critical thinking outside of the traditional educational framework acquires a significant focus. It is crucial for pupils to have the ability to collaborate and innovate in today’s society that embraces various cultures and cutting-edge technologies.

Students from international schools strive to excel on global platforms, where the environment is likely to be more diverse. These students will have to interact, collaborate, or assist people from different corners of the world; thus, nurturing them with inclusive practices since childhood is mandatory.

Dubai British School, Emirates Hills has been doing impeccably in the last few years. Being at the heart of the residential community, it has become an ideal place to pursue an education of international standards.

Journey of the Phoenix

The journey of Dubai British School Emirates Hills (DBSEH) to what it is today is remarkably inspiring. Since its opening in 2005, the school’s vision of ‘Enjoy – Aspire – Achieve’ has been its driving force; the commitment to this vision from the teachers and leaders has been the secret to its continued success. At the heart of a residential community, the school’s location enables home-school relationships to thrive, and its this that makes the school so special. Unusually for Dubai, the majority of Dubai British School Emirates Hills’ students are able to come to school on foot, bike, or scooter. In a country where a commute to school by car or bus is the norm, this adds to a unique sense of community, clearly well-received by the locality; the school has been full of healthy waiting lists since its opening.

Over ten years of quality assurance visits from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau have witnessed the school’s steady rise in provision for students and their outcomes, with inspections ratings as ‘Good’ in 2011, ‘Very Good’ in 2015 and ‘Outstanding’ since 2017, with the British School Overseas inspectorate following suit judging the school ‘Outstanding’ in the same year.

Pursuit of Good Cause

The approach of the school to education is rooted on their Vision, Mission, and Values – a framework of ideas used to guide its development. These are statements to which the school would like to be held accountable by the community. Dubai British School Emirates Hills is a safe and happy community where achievements and efforts are celebrated. Embracing local and British values, they strive to inspire and challenge young minds in a supportive and tolerant international environment. The school believes in supporting all members of the community to develop the necessary life and learning skills to thrive in an ever-changing global world.

At DBS Emirates Hills, it is believed that people who have high levels of emotional, behavioural and social well-being live happy, purposeful and productive lives. The school’s approach is to develop a learning community which is positive, engaged and connected in line with the school’s vision statement, which is

  • Pioneering – Challenge the norm. Visionary, Authentic, Aspirational, Focused
  • Professional – Attract and retain the best people. Insightful, Diverse, Distinctive, Excellence, Creative
  • Nurturing – Put students first. Inclusive, Holistic, Respectful, Compassionate, and Communicative.
  • Spirited- Have a passion for life. Courageous, Determined, Engaging and Adaptable.

Catalyst in Success

With the tangible sense of community that permeates the school, it would be difficult to attribute its success to just one person, but the role of the school’s principal has been crucial. “A principal has the privilege of steering the ship in the right direction, but it is all the leaders, the staff and ultimately, the students who live and breathe the school’s values, ensuring the culture of excellence,” says Sarah Reynolds, the school Principal.

The achievements of DBS Emirates Hills are a collaborative effort of all the stakeholders in the past 17 years; governors, leaders, teachers and of course, students.

Hand in Social Cause

Inspired by the OECD Conceptual Framework Student Agency for 2030, the school is developing a systemic approach to student agency. For a long time, students’ independence, positive behaviour and learning skills have been commented on as an indicator of the school’s high standards. Developing student agency is a natural next step that seeks to help students unlock even greater potential while helping them strengthen skills and confidence that will serve them well in later life.

Standing Tall Against All Odds

The rise in popularity of Dubai as a sunshine-filled from home to expats has seen the market flood with new schools in recent years. Boasting new, cutting-edge facilities, state-of-the-art architecture and attractive ‘founding family’ fee structure, older schools are at risk of losing families to the promises of the newer, shinier competition.

However, the focus of DBSEH on forming strong and supportive relationships with students and parents, sees a relatively low loss of students to competitors. Teachers and leaders recognize the importance of establishing high-trust relationships with families for students to thrive, and it keeps families with them year on year.

As the school enters its 17th year, DBS Emirates Hills is seeing increasing numbers of students who have completed their full school careers from FS1 to Year 13 with them, which is rare for the transitionary nature of an international setting in such a highly competitive market, according to the school.

Beyond the Textbooks

The extra-curricular activities (ECA) programme at DBSEH seeks to inspire, nurture, and refine students’ interests, skills and talents in a wide range of areas to underpin their sense of self-worth and strengthen their positive attitudes toward school life. Each term, the school offers over 80 ECAs across both the Primary and Secondary phases. Throughout the year, more than 60 teams are entered by the school into the highly competitive, Dubai-based sports leagues as well as offering a range of recreational sports such as field hockey, cricket, lake running and yoga.

Classroom-based ECAs include jewellery making, sewing, interior design, debating and Model United Nations. As part of the school’s commitment to student agency, they also empower primary and secondary school students to lead their own ECAs. An incredibly popular initiative, students lead weekly sessions that reflect their own interests, such as Lego construction, Baking, Hip Hop Dance, Medical Society and a school newspaper team, with a staff coach who helps them to reflect on what went well in each session and identify areas in which they can improve in subsequent weeks.

USPs of Dubai British School

The school recognizes the importance of providing students with a rich range of opportunities and helping to build a bank of experiences that they can draw on as they enter their adult lives. With that in mind, the staff are passionate about seeking and maximizing opportunities that take learning beyond the school walls. The school is proud to work in partnership with PICO Kids, an Israeli initiative that seeks to provide quality educational experiences to its students by placing them in an outstanding international setting and providing a rich programme that benefits both the visiting and resident students concurrently.

The start of the collaboration sees students break the ice with traditional Israeli games and present to each other about themselves. This, along with the high-profile presentation at the end of the project, serves as an incredible opportunity for students to develop high-quality and effective communication skills; students’ creativity and collaborative skills are honed and refined as they work together to generate solutions to real-life, globally relevant challenges. And problem-solve their way through the design phase.

Additionally, students are presented with challenges that serve to develop their perseverance and resilience, such as the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, where tenacity and teamwork determine their success. Other residential excursions, both in the UAE and overseas, serve to develop independence and responsibility, including participation in the World School Games in Barcelona, Spain and Loughborough, UK. One of the aims of providing such opportunities is to inspire students to pursue healthy lifestyles, including a highly popular, through-school ski trip to La Tzoumaz, Switzerland for students aged 8 to 16.

Another one of the school’s USPs is the specialist STEAM provision delivered to students weekly in Key Stages 2 and 3 in a dedicated STEAM lab. With access to hydroponics, drones, robotics, sewing machines and 3D printers, the STEAM curriculum is regularly listed as one of the students’ favourite subjects.

Moments to Cherish

In it’s long journey since 2005, the school has achieved immense success and has witnessed days that will be forever remembered. The school has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by the British School Overseas inspectorate and Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau since 2017. In 2022 the school’s excellent A Level and GCSE results had further risen since the last set of exams sat prior to the pandemic, bucking the global trend, and the A Level results placed the school as having the fourth highest results in Dubai. The school’s commitment to nurturing relationships between home and school was acknowledged last year, as they received the Leading Parent Partnership Award (LPPA).

Tips to Worldwide Students

As a prominent international school, Sarah Reynolds, the Principal of Dubai British School Emirates Hills advises students: “Emotional intelligence is a far greater predictor of success than intellect. Never underestimate the importance of investing your time in building and nurturing positive relationships with those around you. This will serve you well both in your professional and personal lives for years to come.”

Future of Dubai British School

The school’s reputation for excellence is continuing to grow, attracting world-class teachers and leaders. It aims to become a widely recognized establishment for excellence in education that can support other schools globally in achieving the same.

The importance of education to international standards is expected to enhance in the future, which creates immense opportunities for the school. With constant innovation and pursuit of mission, vision and values, the school expects to stand tall in the competition.

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