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ISSUE 9 | JUNE 2019

ISSUE 9 | JUNE 2019


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Values-Led Education: Teaching our students personal and interpersonal qualities

Parent engagement: The value of face-to-face communication with parents

Opportunities in KSA: GEMS Education expands in Saudi Arabia




©Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi/ Photo by Waleed Shah


LET THEIR IMAGINATIONS RUN FREE Art Explorers: Summer Camp at Louvre Abu Dhabi Children aged 6 – 11 | 14 – 18 and 21 – 25 July Teenagers aged 12 – 16 | 7 – 11 and 14 – 18 July AED 294 per day / AED 1050 four-day pass. Children’s Museum: A Costume Adventure Adventure through the wardrobes of history. Opening 9 July. Admission: AED 63, children under 13 free.



IN THIS ISSUE 16 GEMS Education schools Shine in KHDA Results 30 Staying Cybersafe 32 Values-Led Education 39 All That Jazz

GEMS People Team

40 Quality Assurance Programme 50 Hassana and GEMS Education Sign JV to Acquire KSA Operator

GEMS EDUCATION Adelle Calumpang Benny Thomas Hfu Reisenhofer Joanna Andrews Niovi Anagnostopoulou Reem Hindieh Rose Youssef Shauna McHenry CPI FINANCIAL FZ LLC Nigel Rodrigues Jamie O'Loane Jessica Combes Jun Jaluag


CONTACT Jamie O'Loane T: 04 433 3521 M: 056 534 2885 E: Jessica Combes T: 04 364 2024 E:



39 We see genius in every child




Printed by Al Ghurair Printing & Publishing Dubai, UAE



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… 6  New GEMS Cambridge International Private School to Open September 2019 8 Ban Ki-Moon Appointed Ambassador for GEMS World Academy Schools SOCIAL @ GEMS 9 A Guide to Amazing Social Media Content TELLAL 10 Unpacking the Tools to Great Leadership GETTING TO KNOW 12 Jonathan Dey, Principal & CEO, GEMS Al Barsha National School for Boys 13 Michelle Forbes, Principal & CEO, GEMS Al Barsha National School for Girls


KHDA RESULTS 16 GEMS Education schools Shine in KHDA Results TEACHER TALK 20 Bringing AI into the Classroom 22 Raising the Standard of Reading 23 Spanish Made Easier 24 Good Apples 28 GEMS Innovation Awards 2019 GREEN GEMS 29 Bye Bye, Bottles IT 30 Staying Cybersafe





BEST PRACTICE 32 Values-Led Education 34 Be Kind to Yourself 35 Parent Engagement WELL-BEING 38 Breaking the Cycle of Bullying 39 All that Jazz QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAMME 40 Quality Assurance Programme DOWNTIME 42 Get Reading 44 At the Movies SECRET LIVES 46 A Peek into the Lives of SSC Staff Outside of Work VARKEY FOUNDATION 48 A Hero’s Welcome GEMS AROUND THE WORLD 50 Hassana and GEMS Education Sign JV to Acquire KSA Operator

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Dear colleagues, As we approach the summer break I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work, dedication and commitment. Together we have achieved great things this academic year. 2018/19 has seen the introduction of many exciting new initiatives and the success of these would not have been possible without the support from all our schools. Each school has embraced values-led education and it has been heartening to see the different acts of kindness undertaken by our students as part of the GEMS Jewels of Kindness initiative. We are currently piloting the Quality Assurance Programme and parent engagement is something we all need to keep front of mind. It is designed to deliver a more personalised education experience, centred on quality assurance and more bespoke teacher-parent communication. Our intention is to strengthen the partnership that exists between teachers, students, parents and our schools. In terms of technology, we are leading the way in the education space and have just launched the GEMS Connect App, which has been designed with our GEMS families in mind. We also launched Yammer this year to communicate and collaborate internally and I encourage you to start posting and sharing content. Finally, we also recently formalised a joint venture to enhance and grow the education sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi is one of the most attractive growth markets for GEMS Education and we are committed to supporting the education sector in the country. We are excited about the journey ahead and the opportunities it opens up for our staff. Wishing you a pleasant break and safe travels to those who are taking a vacation. Sunny Varkey



NEW GEMS CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE SCHOOL TO OPEN SEPTEMBER 2019 The latest addition to GEMS Education’s Sharjah footprint, GEMS Cambridge International Private School, will offer a robust, value-based approach to education. Set to commence operation in September this year, the student capacity is over 2000 when full. Enrolment for pupils for grades Pre-KG — G5 has commenced and the fees will range from AED 20,000 – 30,000 per academic year, depending on the grade. GCS will place a strong focus on design thinking and problem solving, which are embedded in the curriculum and enable students to explore solutions to complex problems. The GCS campus has state-of-the-art facilities, including a spacious school library which offers a panoramic view of Sharjah University. The school will have advanced science labs, ICT laboratories, a multi-purpose hall, audio-visual facilities, an art and music room as well as a range of dedicated sports areas.

Albie Huyser, Principal of GEMS Cambridge International Private School


GEMS Education has successfully completed its ISO certification process and has transitioned from the previous standard (BS OHSAS 18001) and achieved ISO 45001, the new global standard for health and safety management. The certification emphasises the importance placed on Health and Safety across the GEMS Education network and it is now one of the few ISO 45001 education providers within the UAE/Middle East.



(Grade 10) 2019 EXAMINATIONS


(Grade 12) 2019 EXAMINATIONS


students appeared

students appeared

batch average

batch average



of students scored above




ISSUE 9 | JUNE 2019

87% 48%

of students scored above



Results Grade 10:


students appeared

99.9% pass rate

32% of the students scored above 90% Results Grade 12:


students appeared

99.8% pass rate

26% of the students scored above 90%

KALTHOOM ALI SALEM JOINS GEMS Kalthoom Ali Salem reports to Dino Varkey, Chief Executive Officer of GEMS Education. Her primary areas of focus includes: cultivating new strategic partnerships with relevant local, regional and international organisations; focus on growth within Emirati schools; and provide support to leadership teams in GCC new markets to execute their strategy. Kalthoom was the Executive Director of Education Development at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), where she has had a distinguished career spanning a decade. She provided the KHDA and its Board of Directors with both strategic and operational leadership, on a unified strategy to attract, retain and enhance the quality of education provision by leading private educational brands from across the globe. Prior to that she served as Director of Institutional Development for KHDA, where she was responsible for the development of laws and guidelines governing all private K-12 schools in Dubai.  She has taken on various pivotal positions in KHDA that makes her the subjectmatter expert in all things Education in the region.


The Sports Industry Awards Middle East (SPIA) recognises the achievements and impact of sport in this region and were held on 30 April. The Best Sports CSR Initiative of the Year was won by GEMS Sports Series – Managed by

ESM, and the Best Youth Development Project of the Year was won by the GEMS Education / ESM Sports Development Programme. “I would like to thank and dedicate these awards to all of the schools, principals, PE teachers, and stakeholders who have embraced ESM’s vision within the GEMS Network to provide the best sports provision and opportunities available in the UAE and beyond to our students,” said James Bowring, Managing Director, ESM.

THE GOLD STANDARD Hosted by GEMS Wellington International School, 29 young people from eight schools were recognised and presented with the top international honour, receiving their Gold Award from His Royal Highness Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex and Chair of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global, non-formal education framework which challenges young people to develop new skills, get physically active, volunteer within their community, and break out of their comfort zones. Operating in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, the Award inspires over 1.3 million young people every year.  The ceremony was part of a British Royal visit to coincide with the Global Education and Skills Forum, hosted by the Varkey Foundation, of which the Award was a proud partner for the first time. The Earl of Wessex said: “Today’s young people are growing up in a dynamic, fastpaced world and the development of skills like resilience, confidence and adaptability is important. Non-formal education – such as that offered by organisations that run The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – is a tried and tested way of enabling young people to challenge themselves, step outside their comfort zones and become positive agents of change, both for themselves and their wider communities. It allows them to develop the skills they need to step confidently into the world of today and tomorrow. It is a great honour to meet such inspiring young people, hear about their Award journeys and celebrate their achievements at the Award in UAE’s first ever Gold Award Ceremony.”

The Earl of Wessex poses with the winners of the Gold Award



BAN KI-MOON APPOINTED AMBASSADOR FOR GEMS WORLD ACADEMY SCHOOLS GEMS Education students will get valuable input and advice from the former Secretary-General of the United Nations


an Ki-moon, former SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations will be the official ambassador for all GEMS World Academy schools for the coming three years, assuring students the unprecedented opportunity to gain valuable insight from one of the world’s most admired leaders. Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary-General and co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens said: “I am delighted to join hands with GEMS Education as the Ambassador for the Model United Nations at GEMS World Academy schools. It is critical that today’s youth take on responsibility for the world we live in from an early educational platform, and it is essential that educators empower students to talk about issues such as the environment and sustainability so that we can limit any adverse effects on our future generations. In partnering with GEMS Education, the UAE’s leading K12 education provider, we can reach a far-reaching audience to instil change for the betterment of humankind.” “Ban Ki-moon is a true statesman who has impressed the world with his diplomatic skills and his decisive stance on a variety of pressing issues faced by humanity,” said Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman of GEMS Education. “We are honoured that Ban Ki-moon has graciously accepted to be the official Ambassador for the Model United Nations at our GEMS World Academy schools. With several student-led innovations, GEMS World Academy Dubai has set benchmarks for


ISSUE 9 | JUNE 2019

academic excellence and underlined its position as the leading IB education school in the country. With the generous support of Ban Ki-moon, our students have an unrivalled learning opportunity to take notes from such an inspirational figure. They can develop a stronger understanding of diplomacy and gain a clearer worldview on current issues, helping them become truly global citizens.” Students at GEMS World Academy schools, such as GEMS World Academy — Dubai (GWA), will be able to take part in Model UN conferences with Ban Ki-moon in person, and will participate in simulated sessions of the General Assembly or Security Council to develop diplomacy skills and

learn about key issues impacting the twenty-first century. Stuart Walker, Head of School, GWA — Dubai, said that the appointment of Ban Ki-moon as MUN Ambassador provides the school with the opportunity to engage with a true world leader. His experience in the world forum of the UN will be of vital importance as students embark on this new venture of hosting a large scale MUN at GWA. “For our students, it will be an opportunity to discuss the issues that they see as the global issues most important to them. To have someone of Ban Ki-moon’s stature working with them is something all the students are extremely excited by,” said Stuart.


A GUIDE TO AMAZING SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT PHOTOS: l They must be focused, good-quality pictures that are either square or rectangular with good light exposure. l Light exposure must be balanced. There should not be too much sun, white glare, or blurriness. l They must have context! A photo tells a story and should set the context of the activity/event/ accomplishment being communicated. This could be done by students faces, a student group shot, a student next to his/her project, a student with his/her award, or students doing a certain activity at an event. l Make sure to share the original photos – not screenshots or compressed, saved versions. l Ensure all students photographed/or in a video are in full school uniform. l The no-photo students should not be included in any photography or videography. If you are unsure about the student on this list, please contact school PRE. l Students and staff/teachers should not be in direct physical contact or in a pose that could be misinterpreted. Consider a child safeguarding point of view.

VIDEOS: l The shorter the better. One minute is ideal for Instagram and Facebook. l Make sure the video is of good audio and visual quality. Avoid shaky shots when taking the video. l Light exposure must be balanced in videos. l The content of the video should also set the context of the post. If it is a video about a football match it should show the players playing and celebrating, not showing a view of an empty football field and no action. l The video should be shot horizontally, especially if you’re using your phone. Make sure the rotation/screen lock is switched off. l Share the original video file, not a YouTube link or any link of where the video has been already uploaded.




OTHER MATERIAL: l Avoid posting pictures of other materials such as posters or flyers. You can share a simple visual with minimal text and a catchy image as an alternative. GOOD l Content from EXAMPLE third-party service providers should be avoided as it is considered marketing/ promotional content. If you must raise awareness about an event/information that they are providing create a simple school branded post instead. l Please provide short write-ups about content that you share, this could be a very basic and informative two lines about the event/subject/accomplishment. l If you have any major school events that go beyond impacting the immediate community, make sure to let the PRE know well ahead of time so they can notify GEMS School Support Centre to provide the necessary support, such as videography, photography, PR, or social media.


UNPACKING THE TOOLS TO GREAT LEADERSHIP TELLAL has started using virtual simulation as a tool to develop social intelligence in experienced and aspiring leaders.


ne of the key elements to the successful evolution of educational standards and student potential is undoubtedly found within the leadership of our schools and institutions. Visionary leadership that promotes inclusion, diversity and innovation is crucial to progressing the way we teach our students and shaping the environments that best promote their development.  By sharing research, both internally and externally of our industry, and collaborating on techniques and methodologies, we can collectively foster the kind of leaders and leadership practices that will provide a brighter future for generations to come.  At TELLAL our leadership training pathways are designed to look closely at the effect leaders have


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on their educational institutions and the ways in which we can adapt our training techniques to best befit current and potential leaders with the right skills to exceed in these vital positions. One of the major considerations we have been examining is the importance of interpersonal skills in good leadership and how our specially designed virtual simulation lab training can help to develop those skill sets in a safe and supportive environment.    Author, journalist and emotional intelligence expert, Daniel Goleman has written extensively in the Harvard Business Review about how social intelligence is a ‘must-have’ leadership skill, an ability that has become more and more evident in recent years.  Knowledge and expertise can be significantly diluted if the

individual isn’t able to effectively communicate or integrate well with the rest of the organisation. Social intelligence represents the fusion between emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. Traditional work environments often dismissed emotional intelligence as unnecessary, when in fact it is now widely considered to be a vital tool, particularly by the top performing brands in the world.  Strong emotional intelligence and good interpersonal skills have far more influence on developing positive organisational culture and high-performing teams.  According to Richard Boytazis, the author of Resonant Leadership, highly effective leaders must be able to “listen, communicate, persuade and collaborate” to produce the best results. 

LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN EDUCATION This new understanding of how to recognise and develop higher quality leadership skills is especially relevant in the education sector. School leaders in the UAE need to find the right approaches to encourage collaboration, communication and integration within the extremely diverse landscapes of their student body and teaching staff. Sticking to the traditional, ‘reactive’ methods of old, can alienate colleagues and often reflects a lack of vision or perception of low commitment.  Leaders who embrace higher levels of social and interpersonal intelligence have consistently shown to have developed better workplace cultures including building more effective teams and innovative

better results for the organisation. These types of leaders also displayed a greater ability to tackle adversity and use their resilience to grow and inspire their teams.  Since these vital competencies are now a globally recognised necessity for effective leadership, TELLAL wanted to ensure our programmes could help foster those skills in current and future leaders.  A key way in which we have been able to do that is through our Virtual Simulation Lab. The virtual simulation environment supports and scaffolds double-looped learning so that leaders get to ‘practice and play’ in the virtual sandpit, so they have more leadership readiness, confidence and self-concept for the real world. 

The virtual simulation environment enables leaders to have ‘practice and play’ experience in the virtual sandpit.

Leaders can master complex social skills by interacting with adult avatars in mimicked real-life situations.

SIMULATION TRAINING: When using mixed reality simulation training, experienced and aspiring leaders can master complex social skills by interacting with adult avatars in mimicked real-life situations. This allows them to practice a variety of methods and skills to find the best solution and get real-time feedback on their performance. The blend of artificial and human intelligence allows the avatars to enact ‘trigger’ behaviours that require leaders to respond using their social and technical leadership skills. The experience provides key skills development opportunities that are: n Authentic, hands-on, and models what research has determined is the most effective method for adult learners; n Targeted and focused on discrete skills to enhance specific behaviours or to address common performance errors; n Iterative and promotes selfreflection and accelerates professional growth; n Personalised to meet leaders at their ‘state of readiness’ and enables them to practice the skills they could start using tomorrow The safe space offered by the simulations creates opportunities for immediate reflection and correction, which provides individuals with a uniquely authentic rehearsal avenue.   It supports leaders in developing the ‘must-have’ social intelligence skills by helping them go beyond their underlying assumptions, challenge their preconceptions and reject their unconscious biases to ensure greater congruency with how they interact with others.  By being more aware of how your beliefs, intentions, emotions, words and actions are perceived and received by others, you can develop a far greater command of the right techniques and methods needed to be the best leader you can be. 

If you would like to find out more about TELLAL’s leadership pathways and training programmes, you can visit our website at www.tellalinstitute. com, call us +971 4 403 5146 or email us at




The Principal and CEO of GEMS Al Barsha National School for Boys discusses the school's vision to develop the UAE’s leaders of tomorrow.


ell us about your background and how you came to be principal at GEMS Al Barsha National School for Boys (NSB). I’ve been in education for 26 years. After seven years as a head teacher in the UK I came out to Dubai as the Vice-Principal and Head of Primary at GEMS Wellington International School (WIS). After a couple of years at WIS, I became the founding Principal of GEMS Wellington International School — Qatar (WSQ). I later came back as a consultant principal and worked with GEMS Founders School — Al Barsha (GFS) to support its growth, and then I moved across in that consultant principal role to GEMS Al Barsha National Schools for Girls and Boys (NSB and NSG), overseeing both schools and for a short time I was acting principal of both the schools. Last April I decided to take on and maintain the full principal’s role at NSB. What makes NSB special? We are a flagship school for Emirati education, and we offer a strong bilingual programme. It’s a global market and our students are going to compete against international graduates. They will need the skills that come from bilingual education, and strength


ISSUE 9 8 | APRIL JUNE 2019 2019

in English is going to be essential. Many university courses now are run by international lecturers; you can’t always get an Arabic lecturer. Our parents want their sons to have the values of hard work, discipline, good manners, good morals, as well as being strong academically. Our parents also want an immersion in UAE culture which they don’t find in international schools. They want their sons to feel proud of who they are. They want to build pride in the nation, and we are lucky enough to have a strong emphasis on cultural Islamic values. What is the vision for the school? We want to make sure that we can offer pathways and internships to develop workplace skills so our young men can

We are a flagship school for Emirati education, and we offer a strong bilingual programme. It’s a global market and our students are going to compete against international graduates.

build up their CVs, but also understand at 16 and 17 what it is to be a worker. Their parents want them to have the skills to be international businessmen and compete against international graduates. Even with Emiratisation, the private sector companies will still want the best — they want bilingual graduates with work skills, drive, and passion for their industry. We want our young men to leave with those skills. What is your leadership style? I believe in a distributive leadership style. I think there are times there are key areas such as health and safety that are non-negotiable. Those are put across firmly and with no negotiation. We have great senior and middle leaders and I am comfortable with their abilities in terms of delegating responsibility. I’m happy for them to drive their teams and their departments. Who inspires you? My parents. I’m Irish Indian, which is interesting in the year of tolerance. When my parents came to the UK from their home countries in the 60s, it was a time of prejudice. My father was one of the earliest non-English barristers in London and he had to fight to find his way. My mother, coming from Ireland, faced the same discrimination. I think about the hard work and perseverance that my parents showed to create very successful careers in law and nursing. When I reflect on myself, I think my morality of purpose comes from them.

MICHELLE FORBES Empowering women and developing female leaders is a priority for the Principal and CEO of GEMS Al Barsha National School for Girls, and she discusses her plans to achieve it.

I joined GEMS Education as principal of NSG in April 2018. My experience working with schools that have a high percentage of Emirati students was transferrable, and we can expand and develop this school based on that experience to be the flagship school that we want it to be.


ell us a little bit about your background and how you became principal at GEMS Al Barsha National School for Girls (NSG). I have over 20 years’ experience working in the education sectors in the UK and the UAE. Prior to moving to the UAE in 2011, I was an outstanding head teacher in the UK and my background is in school improvement. In 2011, we decided to move to the UAE. From 2011-2018 I worked in Abu Dhabi, initially as a founding school principal. I moved to a role within the same organisation where I was responsible for establishing new schools and nurseries for that provider.

What makes NSG special? NSG is segregated from year 1 and above, which is unique for our girls. I do believe, and certain research has shown, that girls thrive in a single gender school because they can gain greater confidence in their school environment which is specifically adapted to support their learning. We have 71% Emirati students and the majority are Arabic first language speakers, but they’ve chosen the British curriculum. We offer a bespoke bilingual programme where our students in Foundation Stage have two teachers in the class to deliver the curriculum in English and Arabic, and we can ensure early years English and Arabic language development is really strong. In Primary they move to specialist teaching with

We’re dedicated to developing and delivering bilingual, bi-literate, female Emirati and Arab leaders.

Arabic-medium teachers and we focus on delivering the British curriculum in English because ultimately their exams will be taken in English. What is your leadership style? I think you must be flexible. My most commonly used leadership styles in this setting are authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching. In a new school, the most effective style initially is authoritative because it’s quite direct — it helps to drive aspects of performance in a new school when you’re establishing policies and procedures while ensuring the vision is communicated clearly. What is your vision for the school? We aim to be a world-class, innovative, and inclusive national school. We’re dedicated to developing and delivering bilingual, bi-literate, female Emirati and Arab leaders. We want them to be respectful, creative, lifelong learners with a strong national identity, firm foundations in their faith, and to be happy, resilient, and adaptable. Who inspires you? Growing up I was always inspired by the natural world, I loved explorers and adventurers like Ranulph Fiennes and athletes like Steve Redgrave. They demonstrate leadership, determination, teamwork, and endurance. They’ve pushed themselves beyond the boundaries. I’ve been really inspired by women I’ve met here. In Abu Dhabi I met Dr Amal Al Qubaisi and she’s extremely passionate about the importance of education for young people and she was the region’s first female leader of the National Assembly, so she’s a fantastic role model.




We chat to Deborah Wareham, PA to the Principal/CEO of GEMS Wellington International School about arranging the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Ceremony.


aving GEMS Wellington International School (WIS) host this event is quite an accolade. What did coordinating the event entail? Organising this inaugural event was initially daunting, but as soon as I realised that the School Support Centre (SSC) was going to assist me, my worries evaporated. I was able to concentrate on the small details that would ensure that the event ran smoothly. From the onset the whole WIS team was involved in the organisation of the ceremony; at every stage of the planning from the initial meetings with the staff from His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex’s office and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award representative in Dubai, Tom Shorrock, to greeting the guests on the day. Everyone’s meticulous attention to detail made the organisation of this event a fairly straight forward event to host.

The staff of the Royal Household visited the school on numerous occasions to ensure that correct protocols were being followed and that all the Gold Awardees from across schools in Dubai would receive their Gold award with all the pomp and ceremony that could be mustered. The SSC event guide was invaluable and ensured I thought about every eventuality of running the event; as did my endless lists and action plans. Although I was nervous before this high profile event I was keen for everyone to enjoy the celebration and for everything to run as smoothly as possible. It was an honour to be involved in the planning of such a prestigious event, welcoming HRH Prince Edward, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), and our esteemed Chairman, Sunny Varkey, to our school.

Tell us about the added element of preparation that goes with hosting an event including a member of the Royal Family.

What was your highlight of the event? Our Gold Awardee Obaid Al Jallaf’s speech was the highlight. It was lovely to hear his Duke of Edinburgh journey.

I felt that the event was a huge success for our team at WIS; the whole school was involved in its planning, execution and enjoyment. The event afforded us a tremendous opportunity to showcase some of our extremely talented students who entertained our guests both during the event and afterwards at the reception. Our visitors were treated to pieces on the piano, violin, harp and vocalists. I felt that the event was a huge success for our team at WIS; the whole school was involved in its planning, execution and enjoyment. If you are organising a high profile event, contact menasacorpcommsteam@

Obaid Al Jallaf delivers a speech about his Duke of Edinburgh journey

The WIS support staff who worked tirelessly to ensure the event went off without a hitch


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GEMS Founders School — Al Barsha (GFS)


We look at some of the noteworthy achievements in this year’s DSIB inspection results particularly the three schools rated 'good' in their very first inspection. National School for Girls (NGS), GEMS Founders School — Al Barsha (GFS), and GEMS Heritage Indian School (GHS) — each received a ‘Good’ rating.

Janet Foley, Vice Principal, GFS


staggering 93% of GEMS Education schools across Dubai achieved a rating of ‘Good’ and above in the recently announced Knowledge & Human Development Authority’s (KHDA) 2018-2019 Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) results. Furthermore, 26 out of 28 GEMS Education Dubai based schools that were inspected maintained their current rating while three new schools to be inspected for the first time – GEMS Al Barsha


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PREPARING FOR THAT FIRST INSPECTION New schools have their first inspection after their first three years in operation and the inspection is underpinned by a framework which has six performance standards: student achievements; student personal development, social development, and their innovation skills; teaching and assessment; curriculum; protection, care, guidance and support; and leadership and management. According to Darryl Bloud, Executive Principal — GEMS Heritage Indian School (GHS), the leadership of the school had to build trust among the teachers and middle leaders, 50% of whom were new to the school. Team building and professional development, without the fear of being judged, made a huge difference to the morale of the teachers, who have remained committed ever since. “We have support from GEMS School Support Centre, and we’ve gone through internal reviews. In terms

of looking towards the inspection, most of the senior leadership had been through the DSIB process, we had a good idea of what the inspectors were coming to look for,” said Janet Foley, Vice Principal of GFS. For GFS the priority was to ensure that the students were making progress because many of them had come from other schools where the style of teaching was quite different, and they had to adapt to a new way of working. Many of the school’s teachers are either newly qualified teachers coming from the UK, or qualified teachers coming from a non-UK background. “We must ensure that we have consistency in teaching, and in order to do that we have a teaching and learning team who go into lessons to monitor the standards of teaching, and make sure that the students are making progress in their lessons,” added Janet. GFS has a strong focus on qualityfirst teaching and making sure that teachers are trained, via internal and external training, and sharing best practice within the school. Bespoke training is offered within the school and teachers can sign up for what they are interested in and what they think they need to improve.

GEMS Al Barsha National School for Girls (NGS)

GEMS Heritage Indian School (GHS)

We want our teachers to grow and flourish as well. In order to go on to greater success, they must put the time and the work in and they must keep a log of how many hours of continuous professional development (CPD) they do. – Janet Foley “We want our teachers to grow and flourish as well. In order to go on to greater success, they must put the time and the work in and they must keep a log of how many hours of continuous professional development (CPD) they do. There is a minimum expectation, and that can be delivering training or participating in it. Rather than having to top-down and make them do it, it’s more driven by the teachers and we have their buy-in,” said Janet. Michelle Forbes, Principal of NSG agreed: “As the minimum, we wanted to achieve ‘Good’ so to prepare for it, effectively the most important thing is to make sure we’re delivering a highquality education where children are happy and safe.” WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PARENTS? “Dr Abdulla Al Karam from KHDA has sent an email to all our parents to say that they’ve chosen well for their daughters because there’s obviously a commitment to ensure that Emirati students are not in a school that isn’t at least ‘Good’,” said Michelle. But ratings aren't the only things that matter. Michelle added that whenever parents select a school for their child, they want to be confident that their children are safe and are learning and making really good progress. They want to know that their children are happy.

“We believe in our offering and we’ve never swayed from that. We decided what kind of school we wanted to be from the beginning and we’re almost there. I think parents like that reassurance that we’re not suddenly going to switch. They know what they’re getting,” said Janet. Darryl added that all parents while seeking admission for their children, look for an exceptional school; a school which brings out the best in their children, in and beyond the classroom. “Parents who visit us, almost always see our school’s unique infrastructure, designed to meet all their children’s holistic needs. All parents are now well informed about our knowledge of their children. Our periodic meetings are designed to share and make parents and students know how teachers use their children’s international and internal assessment scores, to learn more about their children’s learning styles. These scores go beyond just being academic in nature.” LOOKING AHEAD A progressive school goes beyond just preparing for inspections and the philosophy at GHS is simple. All its teachers have a desire to prepare children for the world they will step into. “It is therefore our mission to develop our teachers, through regular and continuous professional development, keeping their well-being at the heart, in our drive for excellence,” said Darryl.

When GFS opened three years ago, it only offered up to year 9. Now, the school has its years 10 and 12 cohorts, so GCSEs and A-levels are now priorities. In 12 months’ time when the management team looks what the result indicators are likely to be, they will be a yardstick for the school’s level of success. Michelle said NSG will work towards what they need to do to get a rating of ‘Very Good.’ “But in order to do that, we need to continue to increase the consistency of the high-quality teaching in our school. Our focus is on continuing to provide at least ‘Good’ teaching and learning. We need to get as many teachers to be outstanding as we can. To move to the next level the most important things are the learning and the outcomes, so the quality of the teaching is the driver. As a new school, we’re on a leadership journey. We wanted to achieve ‘Good’ in our first inspection and then build towards ‘Outstanding’ year on year from that point.”

Darryl Bloud, Executive Principal, GHS




l GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA) l GEMS Modern Academy (MHS) l GEMS Royal Dubai School (RDS) l GEMS Wellington International School (WIS) l Jumeirah College — Dubai (JCD) l Jumeirah Primary School (JPS)

THE ONLY OUTSTANDING AMERICAN AND INDIAN CURRICULUM SCHOOLS GEMS Dubai American Academy and GEMS Dubai Modern Academy are currently the only American and Indian curricula schools in Dubai to have an ‘Outstanding’ rating. Dubai American Academy offers both an enriched American curriculum and the IB Diploma to its students while GEMS Modern Academy offers the CISCE curriculum for PreKindergarten to Grade 12, and the IB Diploma Programme option for Grade 11 and Grade 12.


l GEMS Our Own English High School (OOD) l GEMS Wellington Academy — Silicon Oasis (WSO) l GEMS Wellington Primary School (WPS) l GEMS Worlds Academy (GWA) l The Millennium School (TMS) l The Winchester School (WIN)

DAA is proud to be recognised as the only American School rated Outstanding for the last eight years. This is a testament to our exceptional students, teachers and parent community. – Tammy Murphy, Superintendent/CEO, DAA


WIS achieved ‘Outstanding’ status for the 10th consecutive year. “We are delighted that the overall quality of education at GEMS Wellington International School, for the tenth consecutive year, has been graded as outstanding and recognises the commitment and hard work of not just those in the WIS team, but the entire school community. We are pleased that the KHDA report acknowledges the impact of the work of the leadership team in accurate self-evaluation, linked to our more focused improvement planning process,” said, Maryssa O’Connor, Principal of GEMS Wellington International School. She added that this has led to a rise in the rating for school self-evaluation and improvement planning from last year. This is hugely significant and exemplified in how key recommendations refer to areas which the school has already identified and is working to improve on tangible positive outcomes.


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F45’s creators identified an opportunity to deliver premium team training services in a boutique studio environment. Training places emphasis on the three key factors of motivation, innovation and results. The F45 challenge is a complete programme designed to help members lose body fat, increase lean muscle and transform the way they look and feel over an eight-week period. Workouts feature no power lifting or technical lifting, and the facilities are highly systemised, feature integrated technology in the form of video workout demonstrations, and strive to be beginner friendly. Our team of nutritionists provides weekly meal plans and recipe ideas for both males and females, educational videos, meal plans, blogs, goal tracking tools and updates. You will also find additional support through the F45 Challenge Facebook page and weekly newsletters with updates from the challenge team. Finally, the F45 Challenge nutrition portal and mobile app is FREE for members, providing all the meal plans, recipes, goal tracking systems, and weekly education on nutrition and health to support anyone taking the challenge.

Sign up for your free two-week trial today by downloading the F45 training app from the Apple store or Google Play store, or simply scan the QR code below with your phone’s camera:

Sign in with your email, select our studio from the menu where you can see the class schedule, and book and manage your sessions from there. Please note that the two-week trial is available for Dubai residents only. Each person can only do the trial once and only in one location.

We are offering all GEMS staff a 15% discount on our 3, 6, and 12-month memberships in both locations. Our locations : F45 Training Dubai Motor City 2nd floor, Kojak Building, Unit 206 Dubai Motor City +971503839445

F45 Training Dubai Marina

Trident Grand mall, 1st floor (above Choithrams) Dubai Marina +971501800354

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(Shutterstock/Pavel Vinnik)


BRINGING AI INTO THE CLASSROOM AI is making its way into all sectors, and Sreejit Chakrabarty, Director of Robotics & Artificial Intelligence at GEMS Dubai American Academy tells us how education can benefit.


s the Director of Robotics and Artificial intelligence at GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA), Sreejit Chakrabarty is often approached by conference producers and companies to share his views on how AI is/will be used in the K-12 ecosystem. Among these companies, Silicon Valley AI startup, Roboterra, approached him to be a speaker for the world’s biggest conference on AI for Education — Curiosity 2019. The topic for his talk was “The School of the Future” which is apt given that Roboterra has also invited DAA to Pilot the world’s first Artificial Intelligence Robotics Kit. “AI is in its nascent stage, and educators are now realising that this is the ideal time for them to integrate AI and other emerging technologies into the curriculum. They must ensure that the current and next generation of students


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develop the skills required to tackle the AI implosion that we are witnessing in every field, be it medicine, arts, technology, engineering, food, retail, and banking,” said Sreejit. Encouraging students to think of new applications of technology will allow for a real change in education. Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, humanoid robotics, big data, and blockchain are exponential concepts which need to be integrated with the everyday learning of the modern student. “As educators, it is imperative to equip ourselves with these shifts in traditional practices. The flipped classroom, studentled lessons, personalised assessment and maker approach to learning are just a few of the many tools that can have a massive impact in shaping this education revolution which is taking place now,” he said. Sreejit added that as we move into a world dominated by technology, homes filled with the internet of things, cars driving autonomously and drones delivering coffee, a truly global lifestyle is fast becoming a reality, and students need to be prepared. As educators, it is imperative to prepare and equip these modern learners for the world that awaits them. AI AND GEMS EDUCATION The conference wasn’t only a series of panel discussions but included startup pitch session to investors and seed fund

companies from the Bay Area. “I got the inside scoop into what investors are looking for in a business pitch. This will help us at DAA to guide our young inventors and innovators to create a pitch that will attract investment," he added. He said some CEOs of AI companies are willing for DAA students to interact with current AI professionals and work alongside them on current projects as part of an internship or mentorship.

THE INSIDE SCOOP Most of the Silicon Valley incubators and investment firms tend to shy away from investing in ed-tech companies, because l Ed-tech companies focus more on the tech and less on the ‘ed’. l Lack of teacher and student feedback makes gauging the sales potential of the solution difficult. l A lack of basic sales knowledge. l Entrepreneurs not being open to criticism. l Over ambitious valuation. What an investor would like to see: l Beta testing done. l A letter of intent. l An understanding of the customer and their needs. l A strong logistics and distribution network. l Being open to change.


RAISING THE STANDARD OF READING (L- R) Ghazala Ghani, Teaching & Learning Co-Ordinator; Shameena Abdul Nazar — Assistant Primary Supervisor; Sumi Vinodh, Teacher of English, former; and Nisha Sadhasivan, Head of Student’s progress, English (Primary)


EMS Our Own English High School — Al Ain initiated and action research project to improve reading levels. The subject and the setting of the research were the Grade 4 students of the primary school. Data on students' reading levels, abilities and motivation were collected through teacher observations, anecdotal records, interviews, and by giving the students reading tests. The team of teachers reached their conclusions using both quantitative and qualitative data and accordingly planned a two-step process to address the issues that emerged. The first step focused on improvement by teaching reading strategies. The second, following analysis, aimed to modify the reading curriculum and resources to adequately meet the needs of the learners. Crucial considerations included context, cultural differences, reading age, access to rich content, socio-economic backgrounds, and motivation. “It was overwhelming to see a gradual change in students’ attitude towards reading. The positive


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GEMS Our Own English High School — Al Ain improves reading skills through innovative action research.

response from the students was very satisfying. The students were happy and interested in experimenting with different reading strategies which helped them attain better scores in external exams too,” said Ghazala Ghani, Teaching & Learning Co-Ordinator. The team planned its investigation and then laid out a strategic path to achieve the desired improvements, and the result appeared as a small rise in reading outcomes. A second round achieved a much better result than before, which proved the classroom action research was worthwhile to both the students and the researchers. “The project infused lessons with excitement and enthusiasm, students were involved every step of the

way which made them feel like they were a part of something important. Reading levels began to show gradual improvement, but the more obvious signs of impact were confidence, the willingness to learn new and unfamiliar words and the ability to skim and scan for information,” said Nisha Sadhasivan, Head of Student’s progress, English (Primary).


l Extensive reading activities in lessons improved both the quality of the teaching and the learning process of reading, seen by the positive response from the students and external experts. l Students showed improved performance in the postreading test. The comparison of pre- and post-tests results showed 40% of below average students moved to average and above average. There was a 16% improvement in above average readers. l The implementation of a reading calendar and specific activities successfully motivated the cohort and improved the students’ reading comprehension.


Kasturi Anil Bagwe, Secondary Spanish Teacher, GEMS American Academy — Abu Dhabi can now add published author to her list of achievements. course. The book supplies all the basic grammatical tools that students need to practice, to improve from a beginner to an intermediate level.

Kasturi Anil Bagwe


asturi Anil Bagwe, Secondary Spanish Teacher, GEMS American Academy — Abu Dhabi (GAA) has taught Spanish as a foreign language for nine years, five of which were spent teaching the IB curriculum. She had previously worked with Rafael Angel Mendoza, the author of the main Spanish book used for the IB curriculum examinations, on several projects. When Hodder Publishing approached her and her co-author, Monia Voegelin, to write a workbook to supplement the Spanish Ab Initio textbook, Rafael told her she should do it. “When students learn a foreign language and reach an intermediate level, they require a lot of grammar to support their acquisition of speaking and writing skills. We had to consider the students’ perspective and ask what they would need to practice more. Or, as a teacher, what would come in handy in the classroom. Resources when teaching a foreign language are very welcome because they’re not easy to make or to find, particularly resources tailored to the IB programme,” said Kasturi. When compiling the book, she and Monia realised it will not just help the Spanish Ab Initio student, but any IB student taking an IB Spanish

IB COMPREHENSIVE Kasturi and Monia tried to align the workbook with the main Spanish Ab Initio book in that when doing IB language acquisition courses, students are not expected merely to do fillin-the-blank exercises or grammar exercises in isolation. “We try to present grammar in a more conceptual way. Students do not learn the past tense just to be able to say ‘I saw, I ate, slept, I woke up’ but to use the tense in context to describe their daily routine or their last vacation, how to describe a good or bad day at school. We try to make exercises that are more contextual and conceptual. We tried to make the examples we used relatable to the students,” said Kasturi.

Resources when teaching a foreign language are very welcome because they’re not easy to make or to find, particularly resources tailored to the IB programme. They also incorporated writing styles into the book, so students can learn how to write different formats such as an email, a diary entry, and a blog post. The book also features written tasks by anonymous students so the students can see examples of what they should do versus what they shouldn’t do. One thing that helped her with the book was an ongoing reflection on what was happening in her classroom. “If we constantly reflect on what we’re doing in our classrooms and how we are doing it, it helps us become better. The whole education space is changing so rapidly, the way that students learn is changing. We cannot no longer teach them using the same methods we learned, we really must find different ways, every time, with every group that we are dealing with,” she said.

Monia Voegelin, Kasturi’s co-author of Spanish Ab Initio Grammar and Skills Workbook



GOOD APPLES We speak with three GEMS Dubai American Academy teachers who have been accepted to the Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) Class of 2019.


n 1994, Apple created the Apple Distinguished Educators Program (ADE) to recognise K-12 and higher education professionals who use Apple technology to transform teaching and learning. Now in its 25th year, the programme has grown into a global community of over 2,800 visionary leaders in education, helping their peers rethink what’s possible with iPad and Mac. GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA) has three team members taking part in the class of 2019 –

Aarti Daswani


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Aarti Daswani, Instructional and Innovation Activator; Cheryl Haney, Instructional Design and Innovation Specialist; and Lauren Angarola, Innovation and Digital Coach. They will attend a summit held over three days in July. Apple opens the application process once every two years and applicants are required to submit a two-minute video demonstrating how they used Apple learning technologies, how it has transformed their students’ learning and evidence of success.

Cheryl Haney

Last year Aarti and Lauren became Apple Professional Learning Specialists, meaning they can train teachers across Dubai to use the Apple curriculum. “Apple has their own curriculum on coding which is called ‘Everyone can Code’ and this year they released a new programme called ‘Everyone can Create’. We got certified by Apple last year to train other teachers in using this curriculum or go in and design a bespoke workshop on how to use iPads in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning,” said Aarti.

Lauren Angarola


Why become an ADE? Aarti has worked with Apple Learning Technologies very closely for the past two years and can see the benefits in how it caters to different learning styles, helping teachers and students engage in learning content. “Being part of this [Apple] community is a privilege because it’s very limited in number and you get direct access to like-minded educators who share their learning processes,” she said. Lauren had been following the ADE network on social media, particularly Twitter. “The types of educators that are ADEs are innovative, creative, and always pushing the envelope with teaching and learning. I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of because of the amount of growing and learning that can happen just by being a part of the community,” said Lauren. She added that participants remain a part of the programme for as

long as they remain active. If they participate in the community, they can remain a part of it and take part in events and workshops that are held. Because the network is so large on Twitter, they hold global chats globally every week, and there plenty of hashtags to follow for regular sharing and learning. For Cheryl, becoming an ADE meant an opportunity to continue learning and she is very comfortable with the Apple suite of products — she has an iPhone, an iWatch, an iPad, and a MacBook, so it seemed logical to continue to learn how to use the devices to their full capacity. “There’s always more that can be learned, but if I’m in this distinguished cohort I will be given opportunities to go to special training and become an expert, or more of an expert, and I can continue to share that information with teachers and students,” she said.

To any teacher thinking of becoming ADE qualified, all three ladies said that their favourite part of compiling their application videos was the opportunity to reflect on their practice over the last couple of years. They had to build an immense catalogue of photos and videos to document their teaching journey, which gave them the chance to see how much they have improved. It’s important for potential candidates to remember that applications open every two years, so they should start keeping a record of their teaching journey now. Teachers should also become active on social media, sharing their videos and photos, and Lauren strongly recommends joining Twitter and interacting with the existing ADEs in the network.

Cheryl said this process has had a positive impact on her teaching. She was able to create lesson plans at home on her MacBook, and once at school, airdrop individual lessons to students on their iPads. During a lesson, she can be across the room and if she sees a student is ready for the next step, she can airdrop it to them immediately. She can airplay

a lesson onto the board while walking around the room with her iPad to assist students, or airplay a student’s iPad onto the board so that they can share something they’re doing. “I no longer need a desk; I have no reason to sit down. I am always walking around the classroom, interacting with the students,” said Cheryl.


In an ADS school, students have one-to-one devices which they utilise at a higher academic level. Instead of passively going to a website or an app, students can use apps to create what they’re doing and lessons can be more interactive. Becoming an ADS is a two-year long process. In the first year the school must set up and put systems in place, and in the second year, evaluate those systems. DAA is now in the second year with the final touches going into the ADS iBook. The iBook will be available in the Apple iBook library and showcases the school’s learning, shares all the research done, and how iPads have impacted the learning at DAA as well as the students’ achievements, and what teachers are doing in the classroom. In September Apple representatives will come from London and do a tour and observe if what has been put in the book is really happening.




Foundation Stage students at GEMS Royal Dubai School got together to tell us collectively what they love most about their teachers and school. One of our favourite things about school is playdough. – Shark Class, Foundation 1B

We love playing outside with our friends. – Lion class, Foundation 2E

Painting is one of our favourite things to do.

Learning phonics is fun.

– Dolphin Class, Foundation 1A

– Monkey class, Foundation 2E

We like it when our teacher teaches us numbers. – Monkey class, Foundation 2

Drawing and colouring makes us happy. Our teacher reads us stories using different voices. – Monkey class, Foundation 2E

We are happy when our teacher gives us stickers. – Dolphin Class, Foundation 1A


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– Lion class, Foundation 2E

We like hugging our friends. – Monkey class, Foundation 2F

It’s fun to learn about the police. – Shark Class, Foundation 1B

People magazine ad_GEMS connect app_june 2019.pdf













GEMS New Millennium School — Al Khail (NMS) was crowned this year’s GEMS Innovative School of the Year.

Held in March and April the programme provided students with financial and nonfinancial support, mentoring around their products. Students took part in workshops and the programme culminated in a Demo Day, where each team pitched to the region’s leading technology venture capital firms, investors and corporate innovators. Winner: Conntext (GEMS Wellington Academy — Silicon Oasis) A web search engine delivered through SMS, empowering developing regions and areas without internet access at the cost of sending a text message.

GEMS INNOVATION AWARDS 2019 The competition recognised the top young inventors and aspiring entrepreneurs across GEMS Education schools.


n 1 May, over 200 students from across the GEMS Education network of schools were recognised at the GEMS Innovation Awards. Held at GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA) the awards were handed out to top performers in four separate challenges — Global Innovation Challenge, GEMS Xcelerator Programme, GEMS ENBD Future of Digital Finance Challenge, and GEMS Innovative School of the Year. The 2018-19 Global Innovation Challenge, in partnership with Silicon Valleybased Singularity University, was launched in October last year and has seen thousands of GEMS Education students apply their skills and knowledge to develop solutions to a range of global problems. The most innovative projects were shortlisted and about 100 students across 35 teams have benefitted from mentorship from industry professionals, seed funding, and entrepreneurship workshops. Teams then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges during special ‘Demo Days’ held on 28 and 29 April at GEMS World Academy — Dubai (GWA), after which the winners were selected.


l Moov (Cambridge International School — Dubai) A mobile tele-surgery vehicle complete with robotic arms, cameras and equipment for virtual first-stage emergencies. l Foodie Mini Refrigerator (GEMS Millennium School — Sharjah) A solar-powered, self-regulating food refrigeration and storage unit designed to tackle food wastage and benefit construction workers. l Project Meraki (GEMS Modern Academy — Dubai) A weather-proof, light-weight, modular and portable shelter designed to help those displaced by natural disasters.


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Winner: iSafe (The Cambridge High School — Abu Dhabi) A digital savings product for children aged six to 18, enabling parents to transfer money, track expenses and assign chores.


l SHERO (GEMS New Millennium School — Al Khail) A wearable ring that acts as security for women courtesy of a built-in low-voltage taser and GPS tracker that sends SOS signals to guardians. l Smart Bandages (GEMS Millennium School — Sharjah) A sensor-loaded bio-compatible bandage for chronic wounds that displays moisture, PH and temperature levels, leading to efficient healing. l Alivean (Our Own English High School, Sharjah — Boys), an aid for the visually impaired that uses real-time image and object classification to inform users what is in front of them via an earpiece.


The first initiative by GREEN GEMS was to phase out 500ml plastic bottles by the end of March from all offices and by the end of May 2019 from all schools within the UAE.


The school building uses TermoDeck technology for its structure, cutting energy consumption by 30-50% and AC capacity by up to 50%.

Ramsey Jouzy, Vice President-Procurement, Varkey Group & GEMS Global


he bottle reduction drive went smoothly with centralised control, and it could be monitored quite easily. The announcement at schools received plenty of positive feedback, and some schools had already taken the initiative to do it themselves. Green initiatives have always been on GEMS Education’s radar, said Ramsey Jouzy, Vice President-Procurement, Varkey Group & GEMS Global, adding that the students are very in tune with what they would like to see in the world once they graduate. “They help to inspire us on initiatives, we help to inspire them by showing action, by showing them that we are listening, by showing that we are putting things in place that are in line with their expectations,”said Ramsey. This reinforces the message that education is not always about curricula, it’s also about being aware of the environment and surroundings adapting to that, learning from that, and showing others how they can actually achieve their goals — which goes hand in hand with what GEMS Education is about in providing quality education for all. Without giving too much away, Ramsey said in the future GEMS Education will touch upon all major areas where successful contributions can be made, with further initiatives on plastics, paper, energy, and water. Participate and contribute to this initiative by joining the GREEN GEMS Group on Yammer!


EMS Dubai American Academy (DAA) recently became the first school in the region to win the Innovation Award for adopting an energy-saving and industry-leading build technology, TermoDeck, establishing it as the first thermal energy storage school of its kind. The win follows an agreement with EcoStructures International, which focuses on providing the best building envelopes and indoor air quality systems. The project was also recognised as the UAE’s Education Project of the Year and as the GCC winner at the recently concluded MEED Project Award under the ‘Best Innovation Category’. Tammy Murphy, Superintendent and CEO at GEMS Dubai American Academy, said: “In the GCC, approximately 70% of power is used for air-conditioning alone. With the installation of advanced technology following our agreement with Eco-Structures, our eco-footprint can be significantly reduced while saving costs and providing students and teachers with the best air quality possible.” The GEMS Dubai American Academy campus, spread over an area of over 40,000 square metres, includes classrooms, cafeterias, offices, lecture halls, theatres and a gymnasium. The TermoDeck design concept uses the building’s structural mass to regulate internal temperatures for a wide spectrum of building types.




We chat to Vivek Gupta, Vice President - Head of Information Security, GEMS Education about the relevance of winning the CISO100 category at the Middle East Security Awards 2019.

access certain information. This kind of digital architecture is implemented by the Chief Information Security Officer. They understand the business, what data resides where, how to protect the data, and which safeguards to put in place,” said Vivek. The need for data protection meant organisations started recognising the people who were succeeding in this area. GEMS Education participated in the Middle East Security Awards 2019 as a yardstick to ensure that the practices in place put the organisation on the right track to data protection.

Vivek Gupta with the CISO100 award


he CISO100 category at the Middle East Security Awards 2019 acknowledges the Chief Information Security Officers who have the task of securing their firm’s data. Held in early April, this year’s recipient was GEMS Education’s Vice President - Head of Information Security, Vivek Gupta. “They have to protect the data by putting controls in place, defence in depth. Before, when records were kept manually, employees would keep documents locked in their desk or cupboard, then lock their office, then their building, and they would place a security guard outside. Similarly, if the data is on a laptop, we need a firewall to restrict public access. Then, we need another layer of protection that only allows designated internal people to


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CREDIBILITY Vivek said that the award recognises that the information security team is taking the right steps to safeguard GEMS Education and raise its security profile. “In the security world, we never say we have arrived. Technology and digital threats develop too quickly. When our parents know we have this award, they know their children are going to a school where there are data protection activities in place; the organisation believes in best practices,” said Vivek. Moving forward, Vivek said there is a three-year roadmap in place which outlines activities to keep elevating the level of protection.

When our parents know we have this award, they know their children are going to a school where there are data protection activities in place.

GEMS EDUCATION HAS THREE PILLARS TO PROTECTING BUSINESS AND STUDENT DATA: l People Staff are given regular training and reminders not to leave confidential information on their desks, on the printer, or in the dustbin. Some documents need to be shredded. The best technology won’t mitigate human error. l Policies Policies have been created and rolled out across the organisation regarding passwords, using firewalls on the servers and laptops. Data has also been classified in varying levels of confidentiality. Role-based access control has also been implemented in terms which departments can access which information. Levels of authority have also been delegated in terms of who can sign documents and make decisions. l Technology Trained people and the right policies are irrelevant without the right technology. The company uses digital infrastructure such as firewalls, and company data is encrypted. Hardware is also regularly updated.



BOUNCE allowed GE MS staff members to reach new height


GEMS Rewards team host staff event at BOUNCE.


n Tuesday, 30 April the first ever GEMS Rewards Staff Night was held at both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi venues of BOUNCE, as one of the many benefits of the GEMS Rewards Programme. GEMS Education staff came out in force to see what was on offer. Arriving at BOUNCE, they were greeted by a party atmosphere: a live DJ, BOUNCE Tribe performing and teaching new skills, lights flashing, and pizza on offer for them to refuel.  In the course of a few short hours, there were first-time jumpers feeling the thrill of free fall, experienced trampolinists showing their moves in the performance area, speed demons racing through the X Park, and fitness freaks sweating it out in a BOUNCE Fit Class. Laughter came from every corner.  No matter what skill level each person had, they had an amazing time and, hopefully, improved their abilities while they were there. The BOUNCE Tribe was there every step of the way to ensure that everyone was safe and having an amazing time.  One of the highlights from the night was the impromptu team slam dunk contest.

Staff line up for the slam dunk contest

Mastering advanced skills




The GEMS Jewels of Kindness initiative has been developed to encourage empathetic qualities in students.


t GEMS Education students are encouraged to grow their interpersonal qualities. With a focus on values education, the development of values in the home is important. GEMS Jewels of Kindness has been created to encourage students to think about showing all the qualities of kindness, such as respect, empathy, helpfulness, and compassion, towards their family members.

There is a straightforward procedure to recognise students for their acts of kindness. Once they have shown a kindhearted act, their parents can send a message to the school explaining what their child did. The school will decide how to reward the act. As part of the rewards, each primary school will receive 10 GEMS Jewels of Kindness mascots; each secondary school will receive an initial 100 GEMS Jewels of Kindness pins.


Schools can decide how many completed pages in the sticker will qualify the students to receive: - A certificate - The chance to take home the mascot for a few days

REWARDS FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS - Receive a GEMS Jewels of Kindness pin - Be interviewed to have their achievement featured in the school newsletter or foyer


A template of the GEMS Jewels of Kindness certificate, and the GEMS Jewels of Kindness sticker books and stickers are available. They can be ordered through the marketing team.

Sarah Saleh Date


Please email


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EMS cares about a valuesled education and seek to encourage our students to grow and develop their personal and interpersonal qualities. A variety of initiatives designed to instil values in students have been rolled out across GEMS schools, with teachers, student and parents all actively involved in special values-themed assemblies, PSHE lessons, well-being programmes, Learning for Life programmes and more. At the same time, we also value our partnership with parents, because children learn best when there is close collaboration between home and school on similar core values.



The GEMS Jewels of Kindness programme connects seamlessly with the UAE’s Moral Education curriculum introduced in 2017 as well as the various Year of Tolerance 2019 initiatives underway. They all combine to form one full-scale package of Values-led Education in our schools.

Order your A3 poster for your school by emailing




Gabriel, Rafael and Eva Freire travelled to Bangladesh with their parents to visit the four children that they have been sponsoring for the past three years

The Freire's organised numerous activities during their stay, including sports days

Eva always helps her mum to wash the dishes

Muhammad cares for animals and feeds birds at his window

Ishat says nothing can stop him from loving his brother

These students all made thank you cards for their friends

Charize knows sharing is caring

Remas knows the value of giving a little bit extra

Brady volunteered to prepare school bags for the needy

Please share your examples of kindness in action on Yammer and social media using #GEMSJewelsofKindness Luke and Lee take care of their little sister


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Zairah loves taking care of her baby cousin Kale

PARENT ENGAGEMENT When it comes to parental engagement in our schools: whilst we should continue to utilise the latest technologies to great effect for ongoing regular contact and progress updates, there can be no substitute for the value of face-to-face communication. We asked Jodh Singh Dhesi, Head of School Performance and Standards, for his thoughts…


n one of my previous roles as a Principal, I would do playground “duty” at the end of the day every day, supervising the students as they left. It was always the perfect opportunity to interact with students, staff, and those parents who were picking up their children or coming into school. It also gave me a chance for a catch up

with members of the senior leadership team in the brief interlude between the bustle of the teaching day and the time for administrative tasks. Sometimes our discussions would be about the occasionally challenging conversations with parents about their children’s experience. No matter the issue, and no matter how contentious or demanding the concern, we would always conclude with a version of this phrase: “Aren’t we lucky that the parents of our school are so involved and interested in their children’s education?” We knew that having a community of families who cared about their children’s school experience, often passionately, meant that we had the opportunity of working together for a common purpose. Fast-forwarding to GEMS, I have the pleasure of sitting on the Local Advisory Boards of five schools, and I see first-hand the passion, commitment,

We knew that having a community of families who cared about their children’s school experience, often passionately, meant that we had the opportunity of working together for a common purpose. and enthusiasm of parents. I also see it in parental organisation at sports days and fairs, parental turnout at concerts and shows, and parental fund-raising and profile-raising on the part of PTAs. Our schools here are lucky to have such commitment and will thrive because of it. — Jodh Singh Dhesi, Head of School Performance and Standards




Sara Hedger, Head of Safeguarding & Child Protection GEMS, looks at the importance of self-care.


oderate amounts of stress can be helpful when revising for exams or meeting deadlines, and it is a relief once you have tackled the issue. I have been watching the effect of this on my own family going through exams, and on colleagues and friends in education living through every part of their students’ journey to success.  Teachers will go to great lengths to ensure that their students succeed in their exams and are equipped to deal with anything that comes their way. Most teachers enter the profession to make a difference, and to ensure that students do as well as they can academically and emotionally, and we put ourselves under pressure to deliver.  As teachers, we celebrate the successes of our students with an attitude of ‘you did it yourself’, down-playing our influence on the outcomes for students. But we take failures personally, attributing every moment to our influence and feeling that we have also failed.  Reflection is healthy; blame is not. How do we look after our emotions at particularly stressful times? Physical nourishment Immediate coping skills Deep breathing exercises Eat a variety of food; it can add to our negative feelings if we don’t Visualisation Positive self-talk to calm Exercise our inner critic Rest Just for fun Social connection Do the things that you enjoy Spend time with family, Listening to or play music friends and pets Find time to recharge your batteries Do something for someone else e.g. buy a coffee for the next person in line Emotional well-being Write down what you are feeling Think optimistically Nurture a positive self-image Source: Lighthouse Arabia


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Paul Slater, Vice President — Health, Safety and Environment at GEMS Education says prevention is necessary, but schools should also be ready to handle unforeseen circumstances.


mergency preparedness is a vital part of any effective health and safety management system. However, even the most mature organisations may face an emergency at some stage, and it is imperative to ensure that the correct framework for managing emergencies is in place, communicated, and understood. Emergencies may include fires, major injuries, and outbreaks of infectious diseases. Schools should look to establish the following mitigation actions: Ensure that each school has a specific emergency plan established by relevant stakeholders within the school and support departments. It should include defined roles and responsibilities, simple and easy to follow procedures which may include flow charts, emergency contact details; and communication methods. Regular training will ensure our employees are aware of what to do in the event of an emergency. Training should include all teaching, administration, and support staff. The plan must be tested consistently, which can include fire drills in line with any local regulatory requirements and lock down exercises. Physical tests of the procedures should be conducted, table top exercises may be considered. Schools must communicate their plans to their employees, relevant stakeholders and new joiners. Contractors attending the premises must also be aware of the correct procedures to follow, this can be arranged through an induction session. Clear communication will guarantee that the correct messages are relayed, to the correct people, at the correct time, and is consistent with the organisation’s overall communication strategy.


BREAKING THE CYCLE OF BULLYING Elena Aldridge, Director of Positive Education and Counsellor, GEMS World Academy Dubai lays out some of the steps the school has taken to address the issue of bullying. 


ullying is not a new phenomenon, even though it has become a “hot topic” in recent times. Bullying refers to intentional aggressive behaviour, which involves physical or verbal harassment, either faceto-face or online. Experts have concluded that bullying always includes three elements: an intention to harm, an imbalance of power, and repeated acts or threats of aggressive behaviour.  There are no schools in the world that can confidently call themselves bully-free. However, all schools strive to eradicate bullying.  At GEMS World Academy Dubai, we have a strong Student Support System in place to prevent bullying as much as possible and to assist in any challenging situations.  Students will only reach their academic potential if they feel happy


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and safe. As a result, many resources are put into the training of the members of the Student Support System which is made up of advisors, grade leaders, house leaders, departmental leaders, counsellors, senior leaders, and importantly, student peer mentors. We have seen the success of this vast yet necessary prevention and intervention system over the last four years, shown by a gradual increase in academic results, a steady decrease in unjustified absences, incidents, and student and staff retention rates. Some of the elements that contribute to the success of our Student Support System are: l Regular advisory sessions or assemblies with a socialemotional focus Positive psychology-based activities include mindfulness, expression of gratitude, breathing and relaxation exercises. l Student peer mentors (PMs) are regularly trained and supported by staff When students do not feel comfortable enough to talk to an adult, the PMs can support them both on an individual level, and in groups. The PMs also teach some of the advisory lessons for younger grades. l Opportunities for student leadership To provide students with a clear focus outside of academics, to

increase their sense of belonging and to forge positive relationships, students have the chance to fill several leadership roles. l Restorative justice techniques These are used by trained staff in conflict resolution situations. l Avoidance of negative terms such as “detention” or “punishment” Students — especially those suspected to be bullies — are given opportunities to reflect and, where suitable, get involved in house or service activities. Bullies are usually individuals who are struggling emotionally or feel out of control, and this approach helps them refocus and gives them a sense of ownership. l Parental support and engagement opportunities: Counsellors run social-emotional support book clubs and coffee mornings aimed at communicating various support strategies based on the latest research. l Anti-bullying whole school initiatives From school displays to participation to anti-bullying student conferences, anti-bullying week, role plays, and large-scale discussions, students are familiar with what bullying is, what needs to be done, and that victims or witnesses need to come forward, and will be fully protected.


David Holland, Secondary School Music Director at GEMS American Academy — Abu Dhabi, discusses opening for Alicia Keys, his love of music, both in and out the classroom, and how it lends itself to a greater work-life balance.

David Holland on stage with Swing Revue


t the end of February David Holland, Secondary School Music Director at GEMS American Academy — Abu Dhabi (GAA) played at the Dubai Jazz Festival and opened for Alicia Keys with the band Swing Revue. He also plays with Jaye & Foe, an original band in Dubai, his own group Souled Out, and the National Symphony Orchestra Big Band. His love of the saxophone goes back to when he started playing at 13 years old, which he studied right the way through to his Honour’s degree from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He embarked on a life as a professional musician and a session musician in the UK, and for a further eight years in South Africa. In 2014 he moved to the UAE where he teaches by day and plays by night and finds the balance between the two by being very clear about his priorities. “First and foremost, we are here to teach. I’ve been a freelance session musician for so much of my life, so if I’ve got an hour off, I’m going to fill it with something related to music,” said David.

Having my students at the gigs makes being a musician it a bit more real for them, especially when working with artists or for artists that they’re familiar with.

He adds that many of his students attend his gigs which lends itself to providing relevant education and provides a practical context to his teaching. He’ll discuss something that happened at the gig and ask the students how they would handle it. “Having my students at the gigs makes being a musician it a bit more real for them, especially when working with or for artists that they’re familiar with,” said David. MAINTAINING WELL-BEING David credited having a musical outlet to an improved sense of health and wellbeing, adding it is the best remedy after a day getting into the detailed, analytical parts of music. Being able to completely switch off is incredibly important. He touched on the tendency of many people today to spend so much time online or on social media, instead of pursuing a hobby or developing a skill.

David Holland and nine-time Grammy Winner Wynton Marsalis pose during a workshop for GAA music students in 2017

When he was growing up, he couldn’t rely on the internet for resources, given its lack of content and speed for streaming. The responsibility was on him to spend hours behind his instrument, listening to recordings, attending live performances, and transcribing other people to learn from them. “Students want to know the life hack. They want to do what I do but are not willing to take their instruments home, or practice over the weekend or the summer. You get a handful of students who will put the effort, but the majority won’t. But their laptop and phones will go with them on holiday and they’re going to be connected over the break,” he said.




he Quality Assurance Programme is a new initiative being piloted in some of our schools. The aim of the programme is to provide more regular and consistent communication to parents so that we can better understand their needs and identify issues early. We already give GEMS Education students a personalised learning experience and we want to extend this to deliver a more personalised service to GEMS parents so that they can be more involved in their child’s education and progress. “Great communication is one of the hallmarks of a great school. The Quality Assurance Programme looks to take communication to a truly outstanding level, providing personalised channels of communication that aid a positive and open relationship between the school and its families.  At GEMS FirstPoint School we are already seeing the benefits of this programme, with parents appreciating the opportunity to discuss their child and the benefits there are to attending a GEMS School. Parent feedback has been positive with many reporting that they feel more valued and part of the learning journey their child is on.  As a school, we are getting an even better understanding of our students and we can therefore provide even better support in maximising the progress every child makes with us,” said Matthew Tompkins, Principal / CEO, GEMS FirstPoint School. Darryl Bloud, Executive Principal, GEMS Heritage Indian School & Vice President — Schools, added that while life at Heritage revolves around the child, the essence of being a good teacher is to understand the child and know his strengths and skills and bring out their true potential. “The core responsibility of every school


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leader is to ensure parents play a vital role in the life of a school. What the Quality Assurance Programme does is to create important links between the

school, it’s parents and their children. It is my view that there is no better person to provide this vital link than the child’s teacher.”

TRAINING BY TELLAL TELLAL’s role is to: l Support the successful implementation of the QA Programme and resultant QAE Framework through high quality, situational and online training (initial and continuous) l Make clear the mandated expectations, benefits and incentives l Help make sense of the three key principals underpinning the approach to “quality assurance”: accountability; professional autonomy and trust l Develop a shared understanding of the SLT and teachers’ role in enhancing teacher-parent communications in their local context through: 1. the creation of efficiencies and effectiveness of existing practices; and 2. consideration being given to more creative and innovative ways of working i.e. “doing things better” vs “doing better things” l Support SLT and teachers in building trust-based relationships, through which experimentation, innovation, and shared learning occurs Objectives l To explicitly value the central role that teachers play in sustaining relationships with parents and children l To enable GEMS teachers to align their work and that of their school with GEMS Education’s wider goals and values l To empower GEMS teachers; through valuing their central role and their active participation in designing and agreeing a local, school/cluster-based response to ensuring successful teacher parent communications l To further incentivise teachers to play a more active role by becoming Ambassadors of their school l To roll-out training across all schools (face-to-face, online, simulation)



The GEMS Teacher Ambassador Programme is our way of saying thank you to teachers who actively promote and advocate for their school and GEMS as a whole. This tiered inventive programme is based on the number of successful student referrals garnered by teachers over the course of an academic year. For each referred child successfully enrolled in a GEMS school, the referring GEMS teacher receives 4% of that child’s annual tuition fees paid in cash.


By empowering our teachers to get closer to the parents in their class we can offer a more bespoke service centred on customer care while being able to gain invaluable insight to the trends emerging. Sir Christopher Stone, Global Chief Education Officer — GEMS Education



GET READING NEW ON THE SHELVES Will AI Replace Us? - Shelly Fan This well-balanced, comprehensive and engaging review surveys the development of Artificial Intelligence over the last 60 years and highlights the likely transformative effects of AI on society over the next few decades. Available from: Virgin Megastore Price: AED79

The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee - Tristan Stephenson This is the ultimate guide to the history, science, and cultural influence of coffee according to coffee aficionado and master storyteller Tristan Stephenson. You’ll explore the origins of coffee before discovering the varieties of coffee and the alchemy responsible for transforming a humble bean into one of the world’s most popular drinks. Available from: Virgin Megastore Price: AED59

BOOKS BY GEMS EDUCATION TEACHERS Toby and the Falcon – Christiana Gonzalez Toby and The Falcon follows Toby the travelling toy poodle’s journey in becoming an internationally-minded global pup when he makes a move from the USA to the UAE. The first book in the series addresses the fears and worries most families face when relocating to a new country, such as making new friends, dealing with a possible language barrier, and missing friends and family. Toby meets an unlikely companion on his journey who helps to ease his worries with words of wisdom and friendly advice. Available from: Price: AED70


ISSUE 9 | JUNE 2019

RECOMMENDATIONS The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle The present changes the past, therefore there is no better time than the present. As a person who takes a keen interest in knowing the value of philosophy, I would recommend Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now to anyone who wants to move past pain, stress, and anxiety with the help of ancient teachings and modern thought designed to balance your life by living in the moment. If you are a person who can’t get out of their own head and is waiting for happiness to come to you, this book is for you. – Shaima Gourh, Media Teacher, Cambridge International School — Dubai

The Skillful Teacher on Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom – Stephen D. Brookfield We all agree with the fact that teaching is not easy. The moments we spend in our classroom are best known to us if we become reflective teachers. I would recommend this book because of the fascinating tips and advice it offers to both novice and experienced teachers. The activities and strategies he shares are hands-on and engaging and accommodate 21st Century skills. – Diana Wilson, Secondary English Teacher, Cambridge International School — Dubai

If you have a book recommendation, submit it to

Haqq Al-laila by Enas Meatermawi Haqq- Al-Laila is a cultural tradition that the countries of the Gulf practised back in the day for the joy of young children and adults. During the night in the middle of Sha’baan children wear their best clothes and go around the houses in the neighbourhood before the Maghrib Prayer to collect candy and nuts in bags called Kharayet. They also say special chants for this occasion. Haqq-AlLaila remains to be a continued tradition to this day to assure the connection between society and its cultural traditions. The book explores this rich cultural tradition and how it is celebrated. Available from: Abdul Raheem at Marayah Publishing House (055 624 1269) Price: AED20




The Hustle UAE release date: 6 June 2019 Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson Two female scam artists compete to swindle a naive tech prodigy out of his fortune.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix UAE Release Date: 6 June 2019 Starring: Alexandra Shipp, Evan

Peters, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Munn, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.

Aladdin UAE release date: 23 May 2019 Starring: Marwan Kenzari,

Men in Black

Billy Magnussen, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Nasim Pedrad, Navid Negahban, Will Smith

UAE release Date: 20 June 2019 Starring: Chris Hemsworth,

Disney’s latest live-action remake, filmed in Jordan, tells the story of a street urchin who finds a lamp with a genie inside. He uses the lamp to turn himself into a prince in order to win the heart of a beautiful princess, but an evil vizier is after the lamp too.

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organisation.

Rebecca Ferguson, Tessa Thompson

John Wick 3: Parabellum UAE release date: 5 June 2019 Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle

Berry, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head - he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.

Information according to VOX Cinemas


ISSUE 9 | JUNE 2019

2 FOR 1 Log on to the GEMS Rewards app to see all the available 2-for-1 deals.



This summer, Fairmont The Palm has a sizzling offer that will ignite your vacation-planning mode to book and experience the ultimate holiday away.


ffering a picture-perfect escapade for family and friends whilst savouring modern Arabian touches in the most elegant way, the five-star resort on the iconic Palm Jumeirah invites you to experience its Ultimate Summer Offer. Between 15 May and 30 September 2019, the Ultimate Summer Offer includes a stay within a luxurious spacious room and a sumptuous daily buffet breakfast for two enabling you to start your day the right way. Between relaxing and enjoying the facilities, we invite you to explore a selection of different cuisines for either lunch or dinner

for two, daily. Choose from authentic and delectable restaurants such as the multi-award-winning Indian restaurant, Little Miss India, Asian Ba Restaurant and Lounge, the modern-European Seagrill Bistro, and International buffet Flow Kitchen.

Take a dip in one of four temperature-controlled swimming pools or flaunt your sun-kissed skin on a private beachfront with unrivalled views of the Arabian Gulf and stunning Dubai Marina Skyline. Bottled water on ice and cold wet face towels are prepared for your refreshment. You can opt to sweat it out at the impressive health and fitness centre with the latest equipment and a schedule offering over 60 different fitness classes a week. Try yoga and spinning or try new innovative workouts such as the local favourite, Aquaspin™, LED-based hit work out PRAMA, and SUP paddleboard workouts in the sunshine. Got kids? There’s no place like home, but Fairmont The Palm is rightly a home away from home as kids can enjoy their own luxury time and access to the happiest place in the resort — the Fairmont Falcons Kids Club with two hours of complimentary access per child per day. Whilst the kids are occupied, find your inner peace and pamper yourself in the Willow Stream Spa. As part of the package, receive a complimentary bonus 30-minute spa treatment when booking 60 minutes or more. Finally, don’t miss the chance to explore the most promising city of Dubai too where the resort’s proximity to local attractions is second to none. A shuttle bus service to Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates is provided for a spot of retail therapy, or perhaps have a family day out at the thrilling Dubai Parks and Resorts and our other entertainment partners, hit the slopes at Ski Dubai, tee-off at Jumeirah Golf Estates or explore the city’s iconic landmarks — all within an easy 25 minute drive. Complimentary daily newspaper, Wi-Fi access, and valet parking during the entire stay are also provided without any hassle.

n Visit from 15 May 2019 until 30 September 2019 to avail the offer n Rates start from AED 650 Fairmont Room category and above n Exclusive of 7% municipality fees, 10% service charge, 5% VAT and Tourism Dirham Fee of AED 20 per bedroom per night n Subject to availability. Blackout dates apply. Valid for all room types n For bookings, please email, call +9744573388 or visit



A PEEK INTO THE LIVES OF SSC STAFF OUTSIDE OF WORK I have been growing herbs on my flat’s huge balcony since 2015. I have an aquaponics garden with Red Tilapia and I have grown mint, lettuce, chillies, basil, rosemary, Ajwain, lemon balm, and spinach. – Ahmad Bhatti, Sourcing Manager — Schools

I like to be occupied, so during my free time, I love to play the piano, go for horse riding in the desert (by night under the full moon is the best), release my stress with boxing and yoga, and do dune bashing in the desert. I love to learn ASL (American Sign language). – Sophie Gernigon, Manager — Taxation and Financial Reporting

In my spare time, I love reading and recommending the best English and Arabic children’s books. I have an Instagram account called @ where I share my favourite children’s books and some tips and tricks on how parents can nurture the love of reading in their children. I recently started to do workshops on weekends for parents to learn about the best children’s books and how to read them. I also do yoga and I have been practising regularly for the past three years. – Deema Al-Alami, Vice President — Arabic & Islamic


ISSUE 9 | JUNE 2019

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“Africa is a continent bursting with the promise that I see every day in my classroom. From my students, I see raw talent and great creativity. I also see hard work, a determination to defy the odds and be the best they can be. It’s not just my students who are at the beginning of life’s journey. You can taste it in the air across Africa — from the remotest village to the largest megacity. You cannot stop the change. For we finally have the chance to make atta all the hopes for Africa- so Kenyan President Uhuru Keny e receives Peter Tibichi at Stat often crushed in the past — a House Nairobi. reality,” said Peter. As he entered Nakuru County on the homeward stretch of his long journey, he was greeted with roadside billboards congratulating him on his victory. When he was finally reunited with his students and staff at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Winning the Global Village, well-wishers lifted him on top Teacher Prize does their shoulders. Sunny Varkey, Founder of the not recognise me but Varkey Foundation and Chairman and recognises this great Founder of GEMS Education, said: continent’s young people. “I hope Peter’s story will encourage others to enter the teaching I am only here because profession and shine a spotlight on of what my students the truly inspiring work teachers do to have achieved. make tomorrow brighter than today.”


Over 20,000 people welcomed Peter Tabichi home after winning the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019.


t was a homecoming to remember for Peter Tabichi as his plane touched down in Nairobi, Kenya just days after being announced the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019. Over 20,000 people lined the streets of Nakuru County to give him a hero’s welcome. Holding his trophy aloft and posing for pictures, he was first received at State House Nairobi by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who called him an inspiration to society. Speaking at the various high-level events in the nation’s capital, addressing, teachers, unions and businesses, Peter said: “Every day in Africa we turn a new page and start a new chapter. Today is another day. Winning the Global Teacher Prize does not recognise me but recognises this great continent’s young people. I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything.” He added that, as a maths and science teacher, he believes science and technology can play a leading role in unlocking Africa’s potential. Scientific discovery and innovation fuel progress, facilitate development and can tackle issues such as food insecurity, water shortage and climate change.


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NEW EDUCATION AMBASSADOR ROLE FOR PETER TABICHI Peter has been appointed as the first Champion for Children in Conflicts and Crisis for Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in crisis. This is Peter’s first big role in the wake of winning the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019 winner in March. He will champion the cause of Education Cannot Wait and 75 million children whose education is disrupted by conflicts and natural disasters. This ambassadorial role, combined with his Global Teacher Prize duties, will see him travel to the world’s most crisis-affected children, along with planned engagements at the 2019 United Nations General Assembly and other highlevel events. Education Cannot Wait said his inspiring story and powerful voice will help raise the urgency on the world stage of investing in the future of girls and boys left behind in crisis. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Steering Group, praised Peter, saying: “The award is a testament to Mr. Tabichi’s dedication to the education of the children of Pwani, and inspiration to all involved in teaching and in learning. It gives me great pleasure to work together with like-minded people such as Mr. Tabichi to ensure that nobody is left behind in achieving our goal of universal and equitable education.”


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EMS Education, among the world’s oldest and largest K-12 private education providers, and Hassana Investment Company, the investment arm of Saudi Arabia’s General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI), have formalised a joint venture to enhance and grow the education sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Under terms of the JV, GEMS Education and Hassana plan to build a significant portfolio of more than 50 schools and provide highquality education to more than 100,000 students across the Kingdom. As an initial step, the JV partners signed an agreement to acquire the Ma’arif Education Group, the largest private school owner and operator in Saudi Arabia. The schools consist of both national and international schools across the Kingdom and have more than 22,000 students enrolled. The completion of the deal is subject to regulatory approvals.


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Dino Varkey, CEO, GEMS Education said: “We are delighted that we have formalised our joint venture with Hassana, who are the perfect partners to align with the government’s vision to build capacity, enhance educational standards and create jobs in the education sector in Saudi Arabia. The Ma’arif acquisition of 14 schools is an ideal platform from which to grow and we are incredibly excited about further expansion in the country. Saudi is one of the most attractive growth markets for GEMS Education and we are committed to supporting the education sector in the country.” Majed Al Mutairi, Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education, KSA added: “We look forward to working with teachers, students and parents who are currently enrolled in Ma’arif schools and are excited about welcoming new families. With the

public and private sector working together, we can help improve the standard of education in the country and enhance human capital development.” Saad Al-Fadly, CEO, Hassana Investment Company said: “The joint venture between Hassana and GEMS is a formalisation of our ambitious plan to invest in the education sector in Saudi Arabia. The joint venture aims at generating strong returns on investment over the long term whilst providing best-of-class education services. We believe that the combination of GEMS experience and successful track record in the education sector and Hassana’s strengths as a Saudi institutional investor gives the joint venture an unrivalled competitive advantage. We have been working closely with GEMS team and we are delighted to formalise the partnership today”.

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Profile for gemspeople

Issue 09 - June 2019  

Issue 09 - June 2019  


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