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An education at the Dubai British Schools can take you far
An education at the Dubai British Schools can take you far

School is an integral part of discovering one’s passions, interests and callings in life. For many children, it’s the starting point to a bright future — one that not only opens doors to well-respected universities but acts as a space for exploration and connection.

Two schools that best exemplify this are the Dubai British School Emirates Hills (DBSEH) and Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (DBSJP). Connected by a common vision of providing an all-rounded experience to growing young minds, these institutions are firmly establishing themselves among the top British schools in the UAE.

At the heart of this is designing a curriculum with a focus on strong academics as well as providing a wealth of diverse extracurricular activities. Alongside this, students are encouraged to form friendships with their peers and teachers — leading to a warm, welcoming and supportive environment.

Located in The Springs and Meadows area of Dubai’s Emirates Hills, DBSEH delivers high-quality education to students between the ages of 3 to 18. Here, children evolve to become high academic achievers, compassionate social citizens, and goal-oriented future leaders.

Forming the backbone of this is a community of students and staff that is constantly lifting each other up. “The community is so welcoming,” recalls former student Salma Shamseldin. “Everything from the reception I received from students and teachers to the wide variety of extracurricular activities — I just knew that I wanted to be there.”

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The Dubai British School Emirates Hills experience

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Excellence in academics

DBSEH embodies the best of a British international school. Here, classes are structured around equipping students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at university and beyond.

This was the case for Shamseldin. A music lover, she immersed herself in the subject throughout her primary years, both in classes and after school. Pursuing music at DBSEH was a turning point in deepening her love and knowledge of the art. It eventually led her to where she is now: a film-scoring student at the Berklee College of Music.

“Before I even joined DBSEH, I thought of myself as more of a performer than a composer,” she explains. “When I entered DBSEH, I was able to explore writing compositions in my music classes. My teacher saw how passionate I was and gave me extra things to listen to and activities to refine my skills. He helped me realise that music, and specifically composing, was not just a hobby — it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

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Outside of music, Shamseldin indulged in her passion for learning languages by taking up Spanish as an A Level subject. “It was so interesting to learn about Spanish culture and see how different things are from a student perspective,” she explains. “I can now communicate with people that I wouldn't otherwise be able to.”

Such an approach produces results. DBSEH students have a 100% pass rate for their A Levels, with 52% of all students achieving an A* to A. They go on to study at the world’s most distinguished universities, including Oxbridge, Ivy League and Russell Group institutions.

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“We want to give students targeted opportunities to develop their independence and agency,” she explains. “Our leadership programme, starting from as early as Year 5, is a huge part of this. Older students teach younger students playground games, cookery skills, or dance choreography, for example. In the secondary school older students take the lead with academic pursuits such as Medical Society and the School Newspaper.”

Shamseldin was active in such pursuits. Outside of her classes, she took the initiative to create a school choir, participated in school musicals, and was a lead Peer Mentor in Year 13.

“Our hope is that by providing such opportunities, we can help students work out who they are and build the sense of enjoyment in their daily activities,” says Reynolds.

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At DBSEH, students have the chance to try their hand at everything, thanks to a vast extracurricular programme. “There are so many opportunities here,” says DBSEH principal Sarah Reynolds. “It’s doubly beneficial, as students can prove themselves as well-rounded citizens whilst supporting and upholding our school culture.”

From baking classes to competitive sports, DBSEH’s range of extracurricular activities caters to every student’s interests. Much of this is student-led — an initiative, Reynolds says, that’s integral to promoting student agency in school.

A thriving extracurricular programme

This sense of community is something that’s afforded out of the school’s small community, with just over 1,000 students. It means that students not only develop close-knit friendships with each other — they connect and form meaningful relationships with their teachers and other staff members, too.

“Our children are not seen as just numbers, which is the risk that larger schools have,” explains Reynolds. “Consequently, our staff get to know all of the students really well and recognise the value that they bring to the school.”

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Upon entering DBSEH, the first thing most parents and students recognise is a tangible sense of community and support. “I made friends very quickly during my first week of school,” shares Shamseldin. “On my first day, my form tutor asked if anyone in the class wanted to show me around. Everyone raised their hand. The girl who ended up being picked was someone I became very good friends with.”

A supportive and safe community

DBSJP was first established in 2015 and has quickly risen the ranks to become one of the most distinguished British institutions in Dubai and the UAE. Today, it educates children between the ages of 3 to 18 from all around the world.

What drives this? A passion for developing the student in every aspect of the word. “We offer a broad curriculum to allow children to develop their curiosity, explore a wide range of subjects and uncover their interests, which enables them to leave us as well-rounded and passionate learners” explains DBSJP principal Rebecca Coulter.

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The Dubai British School Jumeirah Park experience


“We’re very stringent with the quality of teachers that we bring in,” says Coulter. “Among our faculty, we regularly look out for the latest pedagogy and tap into our close network of professional colleagues to share ideas. Our teachers are driven individuals — taking part in regular training with the UCL Institute of Education and other global networks”.

A major aspect of academics at DBSJP is centred around giving students exposure to their future careers. “We have a careers programme that starts from as early as Year Five,” says Coulter. “Children can explore a variety of career pathways through various means, from meeting with our careers counsellor to taking part in internships, interview workshops and university fairs. Our Sixth Formers go all over the world to take up university placements, such as the UK, the US, Europe and Canada.”

This exposure, says Coulter, helps students visualise and craft their pathways to university and beyond. It is a winning strategy: students achieve outstanding academic results, with 71% of the A Level cohort graded A* to B. Students go on to the world’s best universities, from the University of Warwick to the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland.

In choosing a school, Egyptian-born student Ali Alhashmi wanted a place that would provide him with opportunities as well as challenge him in his existing interests.

“One of the reasons why I was interested in going to DBSJP was because of the subjects offered,” he says. “Here, I’m able to take A Levels in music, English and media studies. Not many international schools in Dubai offer the same.”

An unparalleled academic programme

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DBSJP is committed to academic excellence — which is why it has adopted a research-driven approach to teaching.

An exciting extracurricular programme

Students at DBSJP have the opportunity to pursue their passions without limits. With over 160 extracurricular activities on offer each term, students have the chance to do everything — and decide for themselves how these activities should be run.

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Alhashmi comes from a music background, so integrating this into school life was essential. “I play the drums, piano and also sing,” he shares. “So one thing I’ve done is create a DBSJP Sixth Form band with my friends in school. We meet every Monday and rehearse songs to play. We perform both in and outside of school. It just gives us a good opportunity to collaborate.”

Allowing students to take charge of their after-school lifeis important to Coulter. “For some students, school itself is quite challenging,” she explains. “We hope to act as a space where they can decide what they want from their ECAs, even if it’s just a fun activity and that’s all they’re going to get from it. But it also ensures that for students who are really pushing to be top sports people or performers, the experience can chase their talents to the global stage as well.”

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DBSJP is committed to providing students with the tools and resources to help them explore their interests. “We have our Year Five and Six students who are in charge of our monthly podcast, which is available on Apple and Spotify,” she says. “They decide on the topic, do their own research, and bring in guest speakers. They’re able to gain the technical expertise to record and produce the episodes from our radio station, which are then broadcast to the community.”

Such facilities are what make DBSJP stand out. Here, students can take advantage of the Innovation Centre for STEM learning, Design Technology Suite, 550-seat performing arts theatre, Food Technology Laboratory, Multi-Purpose Sports Hall and many more.

The school excels in helping students navigate the wider world. For example, regular sessions around social media and online safety are hosted to keep students updated and informed about internet risks.

The result? A community of bold, intelligent and forward-thinking students ready to face the world’s greatest challenges. “Children get one chance at education,” says Coulter. “It's so important for every child to experience an amazing time at school and the chance to really explore their interests.”

DBSJP was carefully designed to be a campus that fosters camaraderie. Alhashmi certainly enjoys the Sixth Form common room for this very reason.

“It's just a really nice space for when you want to work, wind down, or if you’ve got exams to revise for,” he says. “But its open-ended nature also helped me develop friendships with other people. In the first few weeks of school, it really pushed me to speak to as many people as I could.”

Support is always available. “There's a very strong approach here to ensuring the children’s well-being,” says Coulter. “Students can build strong friendships with their peers and teachers. If they need extra support, they have access to counsellors to help them manage their emotions or other things that might be happening outside of school.”

A friendly and warm student body

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