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GEMS FirstPoint School is led by the belief that a great school should provide the right environment for every student to flourish and succeed, no matter what their aspirations. The school was recently rated as Outstanding in every area by British Schools Overseas, and part of the strength of the school lies in its genuine inclusive approach. It ensures all learning needs are supported, whether these are specific and diagnosed, or aspirations to attend a Russell Group university or other top institutions around the world. High performance for all learners is achieved in a caring and nurturing environment with a strong sense of community, where students and families are placed at the heart of everything the school does.

Genuine inclusive approach

Students with the highest academic aspirations thrive at GEMS FirstPoint School. Experienced and expert UK-trained teachers ensure the highest standards of teaching and learning. Teachers attend regular research-led professional learning to ensure the latest effective pedagogies are used, allowing each learner access to a personalised education that unleashes their individual potential. Each year, top-achieving students gain A* and A grades at A-level and go on to study anything from architecture to medicine at prestigious universities around the world. To provide suitable options for all post-16 learners, a wide range of BTECs are also available for those students who prefer a more practical focus to their studies.

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A purely academic path is not for everyone. There is an increasing trend towards internships as a legitimate pathway for students of all aspirations. As an example, the big four accountancy and management consultancy firms in the UK now offer internship pathways where young adults complete a degree alongside their first few years of work from age 18. Increasing in popularity, these schemes see young people become university graduates with four years of valuable work experience and, importantly, no debt carried forward into their working lives.

GEMS FirstPoint School is committed to providing access to these kinds of internship opportunities and already operates partnerships with several firms across the UAE. Such was the success of the programme at FirstPoint, the previous Principal has been appointed to lead student employment across the entire GEMS Education group as part of its GEMS For Life initiative.

It is important that families in Dubai feel that a school can meet all the needs of their children. The Inclusion Team at GEMS FirstPoint School is led by highly qualified, experienced and respected experts in the field. They are supported by a team of teachers and Learning Support Assistants. The team also works in partnership with a range of specialist professionals and providers in Dubai to ensure all needs are met and families have access to the expertise they need. The aim is to ensure that effective cooperation leads to excellent education; for each learner to achieve personal success, everyone involved in the education of the child must communicate well and work towards shared goals.

High Performance Learning

GEMS FirstPoint School has embraced High Performance Learning (HPL), which is an educational framework that encourages children and young adults to develop the skills necessary to become effective self-directed learners. HPL is not a programme or a course. There is no exam, there is no scheme of work; it is a framework that focuses on the 20 characteristics learners need to develop, to be able to perform to their own highest level and potential, to find personal success. It focuses on the Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPs), and the Values Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs) necessary to develop the learning dispositions essential for cognitive and life success. It is a holistic approach with the child firmly at the centre, one that complements the educational philosophy and culture at GEMS FirstPoint School.

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HPL is not merely a passing trend. It is based on a significant body of evidence and research. Schools that have implemented HPL have seen significant improvements in teaching, learning and academic performance. It has been effective in school improvement in many different contexts and is proven to be highly impactful in schools with diverse cultural and linguistic factors. As an international community of teachers, learners and parents, GEMS FirstPoint School has embraced the HPL ethos enthusiastically and is on track to achieve the prestigious World Class School status this year.

The robust educational framework of HPL dovetails perfectly with GEMS FirstPoint School’s commitment to enabling and empowering every learner to achieve their potential and find personal success. It allows the school to have high-performance expectations of all learners, whatever the context of their education.

A community within a community

To have high-performance expectations for all learners within an inclusive educational setting is an admirable ambition, but GEMS FirstPoint School aims to achieve this while retaining a genuine family and community feel. Situated within Dubai’s The Villa residential development and close to other popular areas for families such as Villanova, Arabian Ranches, Damac Hills and Town Square, GEMS FirstPoint School encourages a family-first approach to education. Parents are welcomed warmly, genuinely and regularly into the school and there is a real sense that all stakeholders matter to the leadership and teachers of this community school.

The school advocates a strong relationship between the three points of the all-important effective education triangle: student, school and home. The most effective education outcomes are only achieved when all three elements work in collaboration and synergy. GEMS FirstPoint School is committed to working with families to better understand children, communicate frequently and effectively, and provide guidance and support for the most effective home learning. This school has it right: high-performance expectations for all students, within a welcoming community in Dubai. At FirstPoint, the message to all learners is clear: Achieve your potential and find personal success at FPS.