Education UAE - Issue 17

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Editors Foreword



s the year draws to a close and the festive spirit envelopes the sands of the UAE, there’s a special magic that illuminates the lives of students, parents, and teachers. In this latest edition of Education UAE, we gather the warmth of the season and the camaraderie of our community to create a tapestry of stories, experiences, and joyous reflections. Amidst the bustle of lesson plans and the cultural mosaic of this vibrant land, teachers forge connections that transcend borders. So we celebrate the resilience and dedication of those who, far from their homelands, create a home within classrooms filled with laughter, curiosity, and the exchange of knowledge. We also recognise the challenges that come not only during the festive season but throughout the year, homing in on Repton Al Barsha as it prioritises the mental well-being of its students and parent community. The Aquila School also comes under the spotlight, as it honoured Jessica Smith, a leading global disability inclusion consultant, former Australian Paralympic Swimmer, public and motivational speaker, and children’s author. Through heartfelt narratives and shared experiences, we aim to sprinkle this edition with a sense of belonging, offering solace and a reminder that, in this collective tapestry of educators and students, no one walks alone. Moreover, we present insights and tips for navigating this celebratory period, ensuring that our readers are equipped not only to embrace the festivities but also to savour them in a healthy and mindful manner. As the glittering lights of the season adorn the skylines and the warmth of friendship fills the air, Education UAE stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of the education sector; its dedication, adaptability, and willingness to create magic in the lives of the young learners. And we look not only at home ground in this issue, but travel to Hong Kong to discover exactly what the educational landscape looks like in the ‘Pearl of the Orient’. And while you have your passports out, journey with us to Tokyo, where the bustling, neon-lit streets pulse with culture, technology, and tradition.

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TEAM Belinda Breeze Bryony Salmon Daniel Murad Emily Wordley Gemmalyn Cruz Ocampo Laura Wojciechowski Leah De La Hunty Louis Rayner Rod Millington


SOCIAL MEDIA @educationuaemag @educationuaemag @education-uae @education-uae

Join us in this festive journey—a celebration of unity, diversity, and the shared joy of living and working in the UAE. Cheers to the season, the community, and the remarkable stories that bind us together.

Rod Millington Editor-in-Chief Rod Millington has been active in the commercial writing sector for over 30 years, with work published throughout Europe, North America, the Far East, and the Middle East. During this time, he has had the privilege to speak to a wide range of fascinating and entrepreneurial people, from captains of industry through to pop icons such as Sir Paul McCartney. In total, Rod has had over 25 million words committed to print across more than 35 publications for clients as diverse as FIFA, Cunard, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and Dubai Municipality.

All our publications are printed using recycled paper.















6 KHDA - Growth and quality of Dubai’s private school sector 8 Indian curriculum schools continue to Improve 9 Emirates Literature Foundation using recycled materials 10 KHDA Interview with Atma Belrehif, CEO Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau 11 MOE - strategic partnership with ASI 12 ADNOC and ADEK partnership, master’s in Energy Transition and Sustainability

60 Renaissance teachers actively use education technology 62 Hong Kong Government international and diversified quality education


70 Merex Investment – Nurture Green Revolution 72 Atlantis Atlas Project $1 initiative 76 COP28 Listen to the children

14 ORA Nursery of the Future 16 Bloom World Academy collaborates with Jameel Arts Centre EXCELLENCE IN SCHOOLS 20 Repton Family of Schools, student learning at Louvre Abu Dhabi 24 Repton Al Barsha nurturing students’ holistic development 26 ALDAR launch of Noya British School 28 Al Futtaim Education Foundation 34 Emily Hopkinson, English College Dubai, brings a visionary leadership approach 40 Mark Ford, Principal of the English College Dubai, empowering pupils to explore 44 The Aquila School hosted Jessica Smith, a global disability inclusion consultant 46 The Royal Grammar School – New appointments EXCELLENCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION 48 Heriot-Watt University, Dr Tadhg O’Donovan navigating tomorrows workforce 52 King visited Heriot-Watt University Dubai 56 American University of Ras Al Khaimah honours 186 graduates 58 Middlesex University Jan 2023 enrolments

SPORTS 66 Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge 68 Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum DSC merits of sports OUR WORLD

PARENTS CORNER 80 Embrace Autism - Ambreen Suhaib 84 Tell Dovie – mental health app TEACHERS CORNER 88 Innovation in Medical History 92 The International Schools Partnership (ISP) - Federico Olivie Fund THE LOUNGE 94 American Comedian Kevin Hart 95 Abu Dhabi Festival Ancient Andalusia and Hespeira FESTIVE SEASON 98 Kempinski Palm Jumeirah 102 Raffles Dubai 104 Grand Plaza Movenpick Media City 106 Five Hotels HEALTH AND NUTRITION 114 Joyful Moderation FASHION 116 Cheekee Monkey Winter Wardrobe



Did You Know



Growth in the size and quality of Dubai’s private school sector has more than doubled since the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) was established in 2007. The announcement follows the recent release of annual student enrolment figures, which grew by a record 12 per cent since the previous academic year. The total number of students attending Dubai’s private schools now stands at 365,572 – more than double the 156,504 students enrolled in the 2007/08 academic year. Similarly, Dubai now has more than twice the number of schools, increasing from 136 in 2007/08 to 220 in 2022/23. Five new schools opened in Dubai in the 2023/24 academic year.

the standard of schooling in Dubai, and for their contribution in making our city a truly global destination for education.” Dubai’s private schools offer 17 different curricula. The UK curriculum remains the top choice for families, with more than one-third of students (36 per cent) enrolled in British curriculum schools, followed by the Indian curriculum (26 per cent) and the American curriculum (15 per cent). The International Baccalaureate (seven per cent) and Ministry of Education curriculum (four per cent) round up the top five curriculum choices. KEY DATA: PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN DUBAI 220 schools, 17 curricula 5 new schools opened in 2023-24 365,572 students in Dubai private schools 17,257 students of determination 186 student nationalities

The quality of education offered by Dubai schools has also improved since KHDA’s establishment. More than three quarters (77 per cent) of students were enrolled in schools rated Good or better during the last academic year, compared to 30 per cent during the first inspection cycle during the 2008/09 academic year.

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Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of KHDA said: “Dubai is increasingly recognised for the diversity and excellence of its private schools. The latest data show the progress that schools have made since 2007 and is a strong indication of the improvement they will continue to make in future. We’re grateful to school leaders and teachers for their invaluable role in elevating

Number of students and schools receiving high-quality education doubles since 2007


The latest landscape data for Dubai private schools click this link


Did You Know



Eighty-three per cent of students now attend Indian curriculum schools rated Good or better, compared to 73 per cent during the 2022-23 academic year, according to results released by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). This equates to 15,000 students. Commenting on the results, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of KHDA said: “Dubai has ambitious targets for the growth of its economy and population and high-quality education will be central to achieving these targets. Our vision is to transform Dubai into a global destination for education and this starts with every school and every classroom. We are grateful to Dubai’s Indian curriculum schools for their support and for being part of a school community that reflects the innovation and excellence that exemplifies Dubai.” Wellbeing was introduced as a key focus area during inspections last year. Twenty-nine (91 per cent) Indian curriculum schools provide Good or better wellbeing provision.

Four schools improved from Acceptable to Good. No schools declined in their ratings. Fatma Belrehif, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau said: “As Dubai’s private schools sector has grown, so has the access to high quality education for families. This is indicated by the 83 per cent of students in Indian curriculum schools rated Good or better this year, compared to 45 per cent when inspections first started in 2009-10. We remain focused on increasing the proportion of students receiving Good and better education each year.

A total of 32 Indian curriculum schools with 94,499 students enrolled were inspected this year.

“The inspection reports are being published before the end of the second term for Indian curriculum schools to offer parents better and more timely access to the information they need to decide on the best school for their children.” Two schools offering the Pakistani curriculum were rated Acceptable. Individual parent summary reports and full inspection reports are now available on the KHDA website and mobile app.

One school was rated Outstanding, 10 were rated Very Good, 14 Good and seven acceptable.



The unique event fosters collaborative learning, recycling efforts, and literary exploration as participants create dioramas representing their chosen books or book scenes using recycled materials The highly anticipated ‘Arcadia Book in a Box’ competition returns to inspire creativity and imagination among primary school students in the UAE. Organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation, in collaboration with Arcadia School, this unique event fosters collaborative learning, recycling efforts, and literary exploration as participants create dioramas representing their chosen books or book scenes using recycled materials. Kicking off the competition on the right note, Arcadia launched the competition with a workshop at their school, featuring the artist and curator, Ahmed Al Enezi. The ‘Arcadia Book in a Box’ competition encourages teachers and students to embark on a collective journey of visual storytelling aiming to showcase the originality of young minds, emphasising the importance of recycling and creativity in education. After collectively reading the chosen book, students of the same class collaborate on dioramas crafted solely from recycled or natural materials, like

sand, shells, or driftwood. Each class collaborates to create a shared ‘Book in a Box’ masterpiece. Submissions, due by 12 January 2024, should include a brief explanation of the book’s selection and representation. Judging criteria encompass creativity, imagination, originality, use of recycled materials, and relevance to the book or scene. The panel of judges, including a representative from Arcadia School, the competition sponsor, and selected Festival authors and illustrators, will determine shortlisted entries. The final judging and award ceremony will be held on 5 February, 2024, during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (31 January – 6 February 2024).

The competition is open to full-time students in UAE schools, with only primary school classes eligible to enter, allowing for one submission per class. More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and yearround news of #ELFDubai on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. ELF DUBAI



Did You Know




elcome to a short informative chat with KHDA, a beacon in the realm of education. Steeped in profound knowledge and hands-on experience, KHDA stands as a guiding force in shaping modern educational paradigms. As a revered authority in the field, its innovative approaches have redefined teaching methodologies, enriching the lives of countless learners and educators alike. Education UAE: What is the raison d'etre of KHDA? KHDA: We are committed to improving the quality of education provided at all educational institutions in Dubai, including early childhood centres, schools, and universities. We are currently working with our partners in the community to implement a differentiated quality assurance mechanism for early childhood centres to give parents the information they need to make more confident decisions about their children’s learning and care.

informed decisions based on the quality of education provided. Also, the online publication of results enables schools to compare their performance with peers, fostering healthy competition. This benchmarking encourages continuous improvement, contributing to an elevated standard of education across our private schools in Dubai.

These reports explicitly demonstrate how insights from the most recent inspection have been addressed. Inspectors report on the school’s self-evaluation as part of the inspection process and it contributes significantly to determining the school’s overall performance rating.

Education UAE: What measures are in place to ensure that the recommendations made during inspections are implemented and lead to improvements? KHDA: To apply inspection recommendations and drive improvement, schools complete self-evaluation reports annually.

Education UAE: In general, how do school inspections contribute to overall educational quality and student success in Dubai? KHDA: In Dubai's private school sector, where parents choose their children’s education, school inspections play a crucial role. The inspection reports empower parents with insights into each school's quality, aiding informed decisions. Additionally, inspections introduce a language of quality, enabling targeted improvements in specific areas, fostering collaboration and elevating overall education standards, positively impacting student success. Education UAE: How do school inspections promote accountability and transparency in the education system? KHDA: The annual publication of detailed and parent-friendly inspection reports on the KHDA website holds schools accountable to parents. This transparency allows parents to make

In Dubai's private school sector, where parents choose their children’s education, school inspections play a crucial role




MINISTRY OF EDUCATION PARTNERS WITH ASI TO DEVELOP AI TUTOR TO BOOST EDUCATION FOR ALL to that goal, allowing me to give back to the country where I grew up and received my own education. By combining ASI’s personalised and inclusive AI tutoring assistant with the MoE’s capabilities and reach, we have the potential to empower millions of students. The collaboration will allow us to enrich learning experiences tailored to each student’s unique needs and drive more real-world success stories. We could not be more excited to partner with the UAE and look forward to the tremendous impact we will make together in shaping the future of education."


he Ministry of Education (MoE) announced a strategic partnership with ASI (formerly Digest AI) to develop an AI-powered tutor (AI Tutor). The ministry partnered with ASI because the UAE-based pioneering educational technology company has achieved remarkable success in developing AIbased tutoring solutions. The strategic partnership falls within the ministry’s commitment to bolstering the UAE’s educational system to align with future needs, as well as empowering students to cope with future challenges. It also builds on the ministry’s initiative that was announced during the World Government Summit 2023 (WGS 2023) to incorporate AI into the educational system as part of the MoE’s proactive approach to harnessing cutting-edge technologies to boost the educational system. His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, noted that education paves the way for societies to build a better future. He emphasised how keen the MoE is to continue working to enhance the educational sector by

utilising top-notch technologies such as generative-AI, fostering innovation, and offering digital educational content that caters to the needs of all students. “At the Ministry of Education, we aim to stay aligned with the rapidly changing global technology landscape across various sectors, particularly the educational sector. The sector has a large share of this development, especially with the advent of AI-powered tutor that will play a significant role in integrating the role of teachers with AI,” said His Excellency Dr. Al Falasi. “Our collaboration with ASI to develop an AI Tutor demonstrates our commitment to keeping pace with the latest innovative AI-powered educational solutions and harnessing them to foresee the future of the educational sector.” ASI CEO and Founder Quddus Pativada said: “At ASI, our mission is to reimagine education and make quality learning accessible to students across the globe, and it was a mission that began in the UAE when I was still studying here. This strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education brings us one step closer

Under the partnership, the MoE will provide the necessary support and cooperation for the successful implementation of the advanced AI Tutor pilot programme and facilitate access to relevant educational content, curriculum guidelines, and data required for the AI Tutor’s alignment with the UAE’s national curriculum. ASI will be developing and customising the advanced AI Tutor platform in accordance with the UAE national curriculum. The company will also be deploying the AI tutor in partnership with the Ministry. The project’s implementation plan will be executed in well-structured phases, starting with the development stage, and progressing through the soft launch in December 2023.



Did You Know




DNOC, The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi – Abu Dhabi (IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi) have announced a partnership to provide scholarships for the newly launched master’s programme in Energy Transition and Sustainability for the upcoming campus in Abu Dhabi to equip UAE talent with the skills required to build successful careers during the energy transition. The transformative partnership, coinciding with the country’s ‘Year of Sustainability’, will see ADNOC offer up to 15 scholarship places in the Master’s program. The proposed programme is the first academic offering of the upcoming campus of IIT Delhi – Abu Dhabi in the UAE capital. Up to 15 students selected for the programme will be chosen from ADNOC employees, and 10 more students with a distinguished academic background will be selected from the UAE, India, and other countries. The Master’s programme provides a firm foundation in technologies and policies related to the energy transition, which is one of the most important topics of the present times. It also allows candidates to specialize in two areas based on their interests and aspirations. Successful candidates will pursue Master’s degrees with a choice of two specializations: ‘Technologies for Decarbonization’ and ‘Economics, Policy, and Planning for Energy Transition.’ Students can also choose a blend of courses from these specializations. “ADEK stands at the forefront of forging an extraordinary path in the UAE’s higher education sector and recognizing the importance of industry partnerships to align our education ecosystem with emerging jobs in evolving sectors,” said Dr. Ahmed Sultan Alshoaibi, Acting Executive Director of the Higher Education Sector at ADEK. “Together with ADNOC and IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi, we are embarking

on a journey that will revolutionize the energy sector’s leadership landscape. With plans of expanding its scope to encompass a diverse range of programs in the future, this partnership sets an inspiring precedent for innovation and advancement on a global scale.” “IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi reflects the shared vision of the two countries in areas of educational excellence, research, innovation, knowledge creation and exchange, and investment in human capital,” said Prof. Rangan Banerjee, Director of IIT-Delhi. “Our first offering, the Master’s in Energy Transition and Sustainability, reflects an important area central to UAE and India’s future and is also relevant for COP28. Understanding and managing the challenges of energy and climate transition need specialized skills. We are delighted that the Abu Dhabi Government through ADEK and industry leaders ADNOC have joined us to support the scholars. The challenge of designing cost-effective and sustainable future energy systems and steering the globe to net zero futures provides exciting opportunities for the graduates of our new Abu Dhabi campus. Along with this Master’s programme, we plan to initiate a leading global research program in IITDelhi Abu Dhabi in sustainable energy systems, renewables, and climate.”

The proposed ETS Master’s, scheduled to start in January 2024, aims to prepare professionals and scholars of the energy industry and associated sectors by offering a comprehensive and multifaceted understanding of technology, public policy, and environmental sustainability issues in the energy sector. It comprises a two-year inperson program at IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi’s temporary campus. Prospective candidates will have to undergo a rigorous selection process, in line with IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi’s stringent academic standards. Prospective students must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree in any engineering discipline, of the following science disciplines: physical science, chemical science, environmental science, earth science. Alternatively, a Master’s degree in the any of the above science disciplines is also acceptable as a qualifying degree. For more information on admission criteria and requirements, please visit the following link: https:// IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi follows the vision outlined in a historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by ADEK and the revered Delhi-based technology education leader and in July 2023.


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Excellence in Preschool

ORA, NURSERY OF THE FUTURE: A STELLAR BEGINNING TO THE ACADEMIC YEAR As the new academic year dawns, parents and guardians eagerly prepare their little ones for the exciting journey of early education. This year, Ora, Nursery of the Future, stands out as a beacon of innovation, ready to welcome children aged 45 days to 5 years with open arms and a cutting-edge curriculum.


ra’s commitment to excellence shines through its innovative curriculum. Gone are the days of passive learning; instead, Ora nurtures curious minds with hands-on, experiential learning. Their curriculum is designed to foster creativity, critical thinking, and a love for exploration. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education is the cornerstone of Ora’s approach. Even the youngest learners are exposed to age-appropriate STEAM activities, igniting their interest in these fields. Ora believes that early exposure to STEAM concepts fosters problem-solving skills and prepares children for the challenges of the future. Inclusivity is a core value at Ora, ensuring that children of all abilities are welcomed and supported. Their classrooms are equipped with tools and resources to cater to diverse learning needs, creating an environment where every child can thrive. Inclusion isn’t just a buzzword at Ora; it’s a daily practice. Ora understands that the world is changing rapidly, and today’s children

Ora places strong emphasis on nurturing futuristic skills like digital literacy, adaptability, resilience and a global mindset

will face challenges that we can’t even imagine. Therefore, the nursery places a strong emphasis on nurturing futuristic skills. These include digital literacy, adaptability, resilience, and a global mindset. Ora’s educators are trained to instill these skills in young minds, preparing them for a dynamic future.

Ora is ready to welcome children from as young as 45 days, up to 5 years old Ora welcomes children as young as 45 days old, recognising the critical importance of early development. They provide a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Ora’s approach is ageappropriate, ensuring that each child’s unique developmental needs are met. Ora, Nursery of the Future, is paving the way for a new era in early childhood education. Their innovative curriculum, STEM approach, commitment to inclusion, and focus on futuristic skills make them a standout choice for parents looking to provide their children with the best start in life. As the academic year begins, Ora is ready to inspire and empower the next generation of learners, setting them on a path to success and lifelong learning. “At Ora, the future isn’t something children simply look forward to; it’s


something they actively participate in shaping. The nursery’s futuristic approach to education is characterised by a forward-thinking outlook, where children are encouraged to explore, experiment, and develop skills that are vital for the world they will inherit.”, said Tanja Nikolic, General Manager of Ora, Nursery of the Future. Central to Ora’s educational philosophy is the belief that learning should be an immersive and enjoyable experience. To this end, they employ a hands-on, project-based approach that engages children in meaningful activities, allowing them to grapple with real-world concepts. From an early age, children at Ora are introduced to the fascinating world of machine learning and coding. They integrate these concepts into their curriculum by employing child-friendly coding platforms and tools designed to make coding accessible and fun. Children learn the basics of coding through interactive games and story telling

activities. As they progress, they start creating their own understanding while fostering computational thinking. Ora’s one-of-a-kind approach furthers creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a strong foundation in critical thinking skills, setting children on a path to becoming confident, techsavvy individuals ready to thrive in a fast-evolving world. At Ora, the future of education is already here, and it’s a future where children are active participants in shaping their destiny.

Ora’s one-of-a-kind approach furthers creativity, problemsolving abilities, and a strong foundation in critical thinking skills



Excellence in Preschool

BLOOM WORLD ACADEMY COLLABORATES WITH JAMEEL ARTS CENTRE, DUBAI’S HUB FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS AND IDEAS Bloom World Academy (BWA), the UAE’s leading progressive school, is proud to announce its collaboration with Jameel Arts Centre, an independent institution dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art to the public and engaging communities through learning, research and commissions, as part of its continuous efforts to enriching the educational experience for Bloom World Academy’s students by fusing a rich tapestry of artistic initiatives into the school’s curriculum. Jameel Arts Centre, founded and run by Art Jameel, and known as Dubai’s contemporary arts museum, is located in Jaddaf Waterfront, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.



Excellence in Preschool


ohn Bell, Founding Principal of Bloom World Academy said: “At the heart of this collaboration is the integration of art as a core element in the curriculum and in Jameel Arts Centre, we have discovered an ideal partner that aligns perfectly with Bloom World Academy’s dedication to holistic development. We will now provide a wide spectrum of artfocused initiatives, designed to cater to the multifaceted passions of our students on campus and at Jameel Arts Centre.” Kholoud Sawalha, Head of Art and Advanced Practitioner at Bloom World Academy, shared her excitement, stating: “Our partnership with Jameel Arts Centre

is incredibly inspiring. This collaboration will enrich our curriculum, offering students real-world artistic experiences. At Bloom World Academy, we are dedicated to exposing students to diverse creative aspects in art, guiding them on their artistic journey, and opening doors to endless possibilities. It is with this vision that we selected Jameel Arts Centre as our partner for the art department." This collaboration between Bloom World Academy and Jameel Arts Centre will bring a host of enriching experiences, both on the school’s campus and at the Centre.

It encompasses a range of engaging opportunities including; special Artist Talks featuring Art Jameel’s experienced artists visiting the school to share their experiences and techniques with students, fostering direct interaction, questions, and learning opportunities about their work. School Workshops conducted at the school and led by Art Jameel’s Learning Manager, Hadeel Al Heeti which will allow students to actively participate in clay, painting, and other art activities. In addition to special School Tours organised by Art Jameel inviting the school’s students to visit the prestigious Jameel Arts Centre. During these tours, BWA’s students will engage in interactive


art activities, providing them with a valuable opportunity to acquire new skills and gain exposure to contemporary art practice. Uns Kattan, Deputy Director and Head of Learning and Research at Art Jameel shared her enthusiasm, stating: “Jameel Arts Centre welcomes schools and colleges from Dubai and across the UAE throughout the year, to take in exhibition tours and discussions, library sessions and making workshops. We are delighted to embark on this collaboration with Bloom World Academy, offering guidance for the school’s curriculum development, tailored to contemporary arts and the Art Jameel Collection, spanning various student age groups from PK to 10, plus facilitating activations, tours and workshops at Jameel Arts Centre for the school’s teachers. In line with our approach to embedding research within learning, and the arts within the breadth of life itself, the collaboration includes

explorations within the invaluable resources of the Jameel Library – the Gulf’s open-access arts and learning library – for Bloom World Academy’s art educators." This collaboration also presents the school’s students with exclusive earlybird registration seats at Jameel Arts Centre’s seasonal camps, offering them exciting opportunities to further explore their artistic passions. In addition, Jameel Arts Centre will extend a warm invitation to Bloom World Academy’s students to volunteer in the Jameel Arts Centre’s annual public events, including workshops, camps, and pillar projects such as the annual sustainability festival Down to Earth (next taking place on November 25, 2023) and the Jameel Arts Centre’s Ramadan Nights.

Bloom World Academy introduces an expansive array of art-centric programmes for its students

BLOOM WORLD ACADEMY  +971 4 371 4774


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Excellence In Schools

REPTON FAMILY OF SCHOOLS ENRICHES STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES AT LOUVRE ABU DHABI The Repton Family of Schools in the UAE, part of Excella, the leading operator of high-performing K-12 schools, hosted a full curriculum day at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Reptonians from Year 2 – Year 13 engaged in an exciting day of innovative classes and creative activities, immersing themselves in a unique educational experience.



Excellence In Schools


s part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi ‘Take Over the Museum' series, over 2,200 members from the Repton community from Repton Dubai, Repton Abu Dhabi and Repton Al Barsha attended syllabus classes, drawing inspiration from the renowned museum's enriching art collection and exhibits. The curated syllabus complemented the museum's exhibits, featuring a spectrum of subjects, including Mathematics, Science, Music and Art, intertwining the academic curriculum with the rich tapestry of artistic expression. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s ‘Take Over the Museum’ series invites schools to engage with the museum inside and out, on a day dedicated especially for them. Students interact in creative encounters with artworks and participate in specifically designed making and thinking activities inside the galleries. The programme celebrates teachers' creativity and gives them agency to design activities connected to the museum collection, international exhibition, Children’s Museum, and architecture. With real-world learning embedded into the innovative curriculum, Reptonians from Year 5 visited the ‘Greek and Roman Empires’ exhibit to explore the influential history of the majestic empires. The young student warriors examined the armour of a Japanese Samurai in the ‘Art of War’ exhibit, while in the ‘Polynesian Mask’ section, students investigated exceptionally crafted artworks. Repton Family of Schools’ Arabic and Islamic Departments welcomed students to explore the ‘Letters of Light’ exhibition and organised a thrilling scavenger hunt for Reptonians to photograph and analyse their findings. In the Art sessions, students from Year 6 – Year 8 created digital replicas of stained-glass windows while Year 9 – Year 10 crafted unique Death Masks using the digital platform, Sketches School.

Louvre Abu Dhabi transforms to host over 2,200 members of the Repton community for a curated day of learning in a captivating educational environment


''I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Repton faculty and the dedicated team at Louvre Abu Dhabi for making this day a resounding success.” In the Literature classrooms, students explored the fine tunes of ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘Ozymandias’ poems to produce and record dramatic performances inspired by the exhibit ‘Armour for a rider and horse bard’ and the statue of Ramses II, respectively. The music classes transcended students to the rhythms of the Baroque era and held an expressive and energetic Rapping workshop. Sharing her enthusiasm for the day, Gillian Hammond, Chief Education Officer of Excella and Principal of Repton

School Dubai said, “We are excited to offer Reptonians the opportunity to attend classes and workshops within the inspiring walls of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The seamless integration of exhibits into our curriculum made for a rewarding day of learning. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Repton faculty and the dedicated team at Louvre Abu Dhabi for making this day a resounding success.” Maral Bedoyan, Education and Learning Resources Manager at Louvre Abu Dhabi said, “I am thrilled to open the museum to the Repton Family of Schools

in the UAE. This exciting collaboration reflects our commitment to fostering a love for art and culture within the local community. Together, we have created a memorable experience that transcends traditional boundaries of the classroom, bringing the wonders of our museum directly to the heart of education”. This unique day underscores the Repton Family of Schools' commitment to nurturing creativity, cultural appreciation, and interdisciplinary learning within its community.


Excellence In Schools

REPTON AL BARSHA FOSTERS FUTURE LEADERS THROUGH HOLISTIC MENTAL WELL-BEING DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES Dedicated to nurturing students’ holistic development, Repton Al Barsha – part of the Repton Family of Schools in the UAE, prioritises the mental well-being of its students and parent community. The Al Barsha campus has implemented a series of long-term strategies within its curriculum to cultivate positive relationships and emotions, digital well-being, and safety.


ental well-being remains at the forefront of the school’s educational framework, driven by dedicated long-term initiatives that foster the values of positive mental health and wellbeing in the classroom and beyond, offering enriching support to students, parents, and the wider Repton community. Chandini Misra, Principal of Repton Al Barsha says: “At Repton Al Barsha, we know that nurturing academic growth starts with mental and emotional wellbeing. In an increasingly complex and fast-paced world, the ability to deal with stress and anxiety is a critical life skill. By addressing these challenges within our supportive community, we are equipping our students to be future leaders who can confidently navigate any obstacles they may encounter in their professional and personal lives.” The Al Barsha campus recently participated in Cognita Group’s ‘Global Be Well Day’ initiative, engaging students and parents in meaningful discussions and activities focused on improving mental well-being and highlighting the importance of digital well-being and safety. The event provided the Repton community with a platform to openly discuss the importance of wellbeing, followed by a soothing yoga session led by expert yogi – Rakhi Jutla, which highlighted practical techniques to manage stress and anxiety. Furthermore, Repton Al Barsha regularly invites parents and students to engage in insightful workshops and panel discussions led by professionals

to address well-being topics such as sleep, nutrition, and more. These include the compelling ‘Importance of Sleep’ led by Dr Edward Cody from Mediclinic Parkview Hospital, and the ‘Repton Wellness: Healthy Eating and Nutrition’ panel discussion with insightful information from clinical dietitians, Alison Diamond and Tina Chagoury. also delivered an informative step-by-step presentation for parents and students to follow, to help them live a nutritious and healthy lifestyle. The campus also looks forward to welcoming Barry Cummings from Beat the Cyber Bully to discuss safeguarding with parents around online gaming and personal devices. To continuously augment its longterm strategies, Repton Al Barsha administers the Pupil Attitudes to School and Self (PASS) Survey, a valuable tool for assessing students' well-being and understanding their perspective on various aspects of school life. The insights gained from these surveys enable the school to tailor student and parent support accordingly. The recent survey findings indicated that Repton Al Barsha pupils have highly positive feelings about school and attitudes toward teachers. The school has also implemented the Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (PERMA) model within the curriculum, providing students with a framework for nurturing their mental well-being. Recognising the pivotal role of parents and guardians in promoting mental health awareness, Repton Al Barsha

also offers informative workshops, newsletters, and direct communication channels that empower parents to engage in meaningful conversations with their children. Repton Al Barsha also actively explores collaborations with local mental health organisations and community partners, including Mediclinic, Insights Psychology, and Lighthouse Arabia, to provide an enhanced range of resources available to students and their families. From staff wellbeing weeks each term to creative activities such as padel tennis, the school’s strategies encompass embedding wellbeing initiatives into academic programmes, broadening professional development opportunities for staff, and cultivating an environment where open discussions about mental health are encouraged as standard practice.

REPTON AL BARSHA  +971 4 818 8600



Incorporates the PASS Survey, PERMA model, and long-term well-being strategies to offer students a nurturing and holistic educational framework within its curriculum


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ALDAR EDUCATION EXPANDS EDUCATIONAL PORTFOLIO WITH THE LAUNCH OF NOYA BRITISH SCHOOL Aldar Education, a leading education provider in the UAE, has announced the official launch of Noya British School, a significant addition to its portfolio of educational institutions. Located in the heart of Yas Island, Noya British School is set to welcome its first cohort of students at the commencement of the 2024-2025 academic year in September 2024.


his marks an important milestone for Aldar Education as Noya British School becomes the flagship greenfield school under its newly established Aldar Schools segment. Aldar Schools is dedicated to bringing exceptional education to prime areas in Abu Dhabi, with a focus on excellence, well-being, and value. Strategically located in North Yas Island, Noya British School is close to The Sustainable City and Yas Acres, making it conveniently accessible for students and their families. The campus offers state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities including spacious classrooms, multi-functional halls, senior common rooms, specialist teaching areas, technology zones and two swimming pools. Students at Noya British School are set to receive a comprehensive and wellbalanced education based on the British Curriculum. In addition to its rigorous academic programmes, the school will provide a wide range of extracurricular activities that promote physical, social, and emotional growth, such as creative arts, music, and digital literacy. This holistic approach ensures that students receive a solid foundation for their future success. Commenting on the launch, Sahar Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of Aldar Education, said: “With the launch of Aldar Schools, we embark on a journey to redefine education accessibility. Noya British School, our pioneering institution under this segment, embodies our commitment to providing exceptional

education at an affordable cost. Our mission is clear: to create an inclusive, nurturing, and inspiring learning environment that equips students for a bright future. We aspire to make top-tier education a reality for more families, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive and become a leader of tomorrow.”

Applications for enrolment at Noya British School for the 2024-2025 academic year will open in January 2024. To learn more about the school, academic programme, and admission process.

Aldar Education’s first greenfield school under the newly established Aldar School segment promises highquality and accessible education.


Total capacity of 3,000 students, with an initial 400 students expected to join in its inaugural year. Set to open doors in September 2024, the school will offer the British curriculum to students ranging from FS1 to Year 6 in the first year and eventually to Year 13.



Excellence In Schools

AL FUTTAIM EDUCATION FOUNDATION: SHAPING MINDS TOGETHER Within Al Futtaim Education Foundation, Deira International School and Universal American School are bastions of academic excellence. Both schools prioritise nurturing well-rounded individuals, equipping students with the tools to excel in a rapidly evolving world while instilling values that resonate beyond the classroom.

TRIUMPH IN ENGINEERING: DEIRA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL STUDENTS SECURE FIRST PLACE IN RIT UNIVERSITY COMPETITION In a display of exceptional talent and ingenuity, students from the IB1 class at Deira International School (DIS) ventured into the world of engineering, participating in the prestigious annual RIT University Engineering Competition held in November. The competition, known for its challenging tasks and diverse engineering styles, saw the DIS team rise to the occasion, often competing against students older and more experienced.

The team, comprised of Joe, Daniel, and Saif, tackled various tasks that spanned the spectrum of engineering disciplines, showcasing their skills, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities. Undeterred by the challenges and determined to make their mark, the DIS students demonstrated a level of maturity and expertise that belied their age. Amidst formidable competition, the DIS team’s efforts culminated in a remarkable success as they clinched the first-place position in the Industrial Engineering category. This outstanding achievement not only reflects the

students’ dedication to their craft but also highlights the exceptional standard of education and mentorship provided at DIS. The crowning moment came with the announcement that the DIS team had been awarded a substantial $30,000 scholarship to RIT University. This scholarship not only recognises their exceptional performance in the competition but also serves as a testament to the potential and capabilities of the young engineers from DIS.


The achievement is particularly noteworthy considering the team’s successful navigation through tasks that required a comprehensive understanding of industrial engineering principles. The students’ ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world challenges demonstrated a practical approach to learning, a hallmark of the IB programme at DIS. Joe, Daniel, and Saif’s success is a source of immense pride for DIS and the Al Futtaim Family, showcasing the school’s commitment to nurturing excellence in various academic disciplines. Their triumph in the RIT University Engineering Competition exemplifies the effectiveness of DIS’s educational approach, which encourages students to explore and excel in their chosen fields.

As we celebrate this accomplishment, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to the winning team and express our gratitude to the educators and mentors at Deira International School who have played a pivotal role in shaping these budding engineers. The journey of Joe, Daniel, and Saif serves as an inspiration to their peers and a testament to the limitless possibilities that await those who are dedicated, passionate, and driven to succeed in the field of engineering. CELEBRATING SUSTAINABILITY IN ISLAM: A DAY OF INSIGHT AND CREATIVITY AT UNIVERSAL AMERICAN SCHOOL In a harmonious blend of insight, creativity, and a shared commitment to environmental responsibility, Universal

American School recently hosted a day dedicated to celebrating sustainability in Islam. The event brought together students, faculty, and a special guest speaker, Ms Eman from Dubai Municipality, who shared impactful initiatives and perspectives on the intersection of Islam and sustainable living. The day commenced with a discerning and engaging presentation by Ms Eman, who highlighted various sustainability initiatives undertaken by Dubai Municipality. Drawing connections between Islamic teachings and environmental stewardship, Ms Eman provided valuable insights into how communities can align their actions with the principles of sustainability embedded in Islamic teachings.


Excellence In Schools

The artwork on display featured innovative and visually stunning representations of sustainable living, recycling practices, and nature conservation


Following the guest speaker's enlightening session, students participated in a thought-provoking discussion panel. The panel explored the role of individuals and communities in promoting sustainability from an Islamic perspective. The dynamic exchange of ideas and perspectives showcased the depth of understanding and awareness among Universal American School students regarding the significance of sustainability in the context of their faith. The pinnacle of the event was a captivating exhibition where the artistic talents of Universal American School students took centre stage. Through a diverse array of artwork, students showcased their creativity while conveying a powerful message – their unwavering commitment to

sustainability. The exhibition served as a visual representation of the students’ dedication to living in harmony with the environment, in accordance with the principles of Islam. The artwork on display featured innovative and visually stunning representations of sustainable living, recycling practices, and nature conservation. Each piece resonated with the ethos of Islam, emphasising the responsibility bestowed upon individuals to act as stewards of the Earth. From vibrant paintings to intricately crafted sculptures, the exhibition demonstrated the students' deep understanding of the interconnectedness of faith and environmental consciousness.

The day of celebration was not only an opportunity to gain insights into sustainable practices but also a manifestation of the school's commitment to fostering holistic education. By integrating Islamic teachings with contemporary issues, Universal American School aims to instil a sense of responsibility, empathy, and active participation in its students. As the event concluded, the resonating message was clear – sustainability is not merely a contemporary concept but an integral part of Islamic principles. The day of insight and creativity at Universal American School served as a testament to the school’s dedication to nurturing socially conscious individuals who, inspired by their faith, actively contribute to a sustainable and harmonious world.


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As part of the Al-Futtaim Group's partnership with the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) as the Strategic E-Mobility Partner and the Group's unwavering commitment to sustainability and e-mobility, the Al-Futtaim Education Foundation, in collaboration with AlFuttaim Automotive, has invited students from Deira International School and Universal American School to participate in the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. The event is organized by Al-Futtaim Automotive and is taking place at the vibrant Dubai City Walk. The objectives of this initiative align seamlessly with the global call for environmental responsibility. The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is more than just a competition; it is a platform that encourages young minds to express their imaginative visions for the future of transportation. Students aged 9 to 15 embarked on a creative journey, using art as a medium to convey their dreams of sustainable and eco-friendly vehicles. Participants were tasked with illustrating their

dream cars, focusing on the theme of sustainability and envisioning a world where transportation is both innovative and environmentally conscious. The contest was launched on 27th October 2023. The deadline for the submission of the artwork was on 15th November 2023. Ten entries were shortlisted from each school, and these will be displayed at the Al-Futtaim City Walk Green Zone. As the results of the competition are eagerly awaited, the contest results and final winners will be announced on 4th January 2024. Additionally, the shortlisted students will receive appreciation certificates from Al-Futtaim Automotive. By involving students from Deira International School and Universal American School, the competition not only encourages creativity but also fosters a sense of environmental consciousness among the future leaders of tomorrow. Students from both schools recognized the significance of participating in such a meaningful initiative and are excited to showcase their artistic talents.

The competition venue, Dubai City Walk, provides the perfect backdrop for the young artists to display their creations. The vibrant atmosphere of this iconic location adds an extra layer of excitement to the event, elevating the overall experience for both participants and spectators. We're excited to find out who the winners are! The anticipation builds for the impact this competition will undoubtedly have on these young minds and their perception of sustainability in the automotive industry. In supporting initiatives like these, Deira International School and Universal American School consistently nurture a holistic approach to education, emphasizing not only academic excellence but also the development of socially responsible and environmentally aware global citizens. Beyond COP28, Al-Futtaim Group will continue to be a key player in Green initiatives and remains firmly committed to change through the resolute "From Pledge To Change”.


The panel explored the role of individuals and communities in promoting sustainability from an Islamic perspective




Excellence In Schools

BUILDING A COMMUNITY: HOW EMILY HOPKINSON SHAPES THE CULTURE AT THE ENGLISH COLLEGE DUBAI Dedicated to fostering a dynamic educational environment, Emily Hopkinson, as the Head of Secondary School at the English College Dubai, brings a visionary leadership approach to empower both students and educators. With a distinguished career, Emily is renowned for their unwavering commitment to academic excellence, holistic development, and creating a culture of inclusivity.

Emily Hopkinson holds a BSc in Psychology from the University of Lincoln and is a qualified Psychology teacher. Her journey in education began as a teacher and a senior Psychology examiner for AQA. Building on her experience, she furthered her education with an MA in Educational Leadership and Management at the University of Warwick. Emily is also a proud recipient of the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) from University College London’s Institute of Education. With an extensive background in leadership, Emily has served in various senior roles both in the UK and internationally before joining The English College as Head of Senior School in 2020. Her dedication and leadership skills led to her appointment as the Head of the Secondary School in 2021.



Excellence In Schools

We are a responsibly inclusive school and as such, it matters to us that we celebrate the individual talents and passions of each of our students Education UAE: What is your vision for the secondary school at the English College Dubai, and how do you plan to achieve it? Emily Hopkinson: We are a responsibly inclusive school and as such, it matters to us that we celebrate the individual talents and passions of each of our students. We want them to grow and flourish holistically; academically, socially and personally. It matters to us that we are nurturing responsible, well-mannered children who embody our school values. We have a targeted approach to achieving this, through the lens of academic care - our PSHCE programme and our assembly programme are used to communicate board messages to our school community. Alongside this, one-toone meetings, focused on the individual child’s needs, ensure that each child is visible and has a plan to help them to thrive. Education UAE: Can you describe the school’s approach to curriculum development and student learning?

Emily Hopkinson: As a British curriculum school, we prepare students for A-level and GCSE examinations at KS5 and 4 respectively. However, at key stage we follow a backwards-by-design approach, identifying the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding for success at key stages and map these backwards through key stage 3. This ensures that our teachers are focussing on what students know and can do, rather than endless delivery of content. As a school, we base our teaching and learning approach on Barak Rosenshine’s principles of instruction, using evidencebased practice as to how students learn best. This has been embedded throughout the school with all teachers following a framework for how to ensure students learn while adding their own individuality and flair. Education UAE: How do you ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all students, including those with diverse backgrounds and needs? Emily Hopkinson: Safeguarding is at the forefront of what we do. Our number one priority is our students feeling safe, happy and well. With this in mind, our teachers undertake half termly safeguarding training, focussing on various issues, so that they can spot signs of potential concerns and support students where necessary. Furthermore, we use several pieces of data to ensure that our students have daily, weekly and monthly opportunities to identify how they are feeling and seek support if they

need it. Our school counsellor gives oneto-one support to those students who need more targeted and personalised intervention. All of this is underpinned by an incredibly robust set of policies including an anti-bullying policy and a positive behaviour policy, which ensures that every member of our diverse community is safe and welcomed. Education UAE: What strategies does the school employ to engage parents and the local community in the educational process? Emily Hopkinson: Parents are essential to the learning process. This is why our parents have immediate access to attendance and punctuality data, as well as live behaviour points being awarded in school. This enables them to have meaningful conversations with their children about their broader academic performance. We also have regular reports and parents’ evenings to keep parents up to date on their child’s current progress and attainment. On top of this, we have a programme of parent workshops at EC that are delivered onsite weekly. The topics of these workshops are diverse in nature - they range from why we sleep, to the cognitive science behind learning and all the way to our PERMA positive psychology curriculum. All of these combine to ensure that our parents are equipped to have high-quality, meaningful conversations with their children about their learning.



Excellence In Schools

We have an extensive ECA programme, run by our head of PE, which offers something for everyone!


Education UAE: How do you support the professional development of your teaching staff to ensure high-quality instruction? Emily Hopkinson: All our staff have professional learning goals that support their individual development and reflect the size and scope of their role. They are encouraged to engage in reading and research in the pursuit of this goal with learning and development as the key focus. Our staff undertake fortnightly CPD sessions, based on our school strategic focus. These sessions are personalised, with regular opportunities for staff to select their own learning opportunities, in line with our focus. Many of our teachers across the school are undertaking additional development, such as through completing NPQs or Master’s qualifications. It matters to us that when our staff leave school, they do so as better professionals than when they joined. Education UAE: What measures does the school take to promote and maintain student discipline and a positive school culture? Emily Hopkinson: Nurturing well-behaved and well-mannered students is important to us. We take our responsibilities here very seriously and have robust policies to underpin our expectations and our values. All of our staff play their role in ensuring students adhere to the school values and demonstrate respect and care at all times. We’re fortunate that our parents recognise what we are trying to achieve and are incredibly supportive of the actions we take. It matters that our students care about themselves and their community and respect all of those within it. Education UAE: Can you provide information on the extracurricular activities and opportunities available to students? Emily Hopkinson: We have an extensive ECA programme, run by our head of PE, which offers something for everyone! Students are encouraged to participate in activities to follow their passions, but also activities that promote positive physical and mental health. There is a broad range on offer, including chess club, Duke of Edinburgh’s award, and

sustainability club, mixed in with all of our competitive and non-competitive sports teams. We monitor the few students who do not engage in the EC programme so that we can drive individual conversations and we seek feedback from students and parents each term in order to inform our programme for the following term. Education UAE: How does the school handle the integration of technology and digital learning tools into the curriculum? Emily Hopkinson: All of our students have their own device, which is used to support teaching and learning across the curriculum. When devices are used, they are used purposefully so that they add value to learning. Alongside this, all of our students in key stage 3 engage in a compulsory computing programme so that we are enabling them to develop the necessary knowledge and skills that they will need to succeed later in life. Education UAE: What is the school’s approach to university and career readiness for its students? Emily Hopkinson: We have a full-time higher education and careers advisor in school who ensures that students are fully prepared for the next phase of their careers. Our philosophy is that students will attend the best university that they can, in the best location, as long as it meets their needs. Education and guidance start early - as early as year 7! Of course, our programme is tailored so that it is suitable for students at each stage. Students are encouraged

to follow their dreams and passions and pursue study and a future career that is right for them. Naturally, many of our families face financial restrictions, and we support them to ensure that they are prepared and informed well ahead of time of the financial implications of further study. Education UAE: How does the school track and communicate students’ progress and academic performance to parents and guardians? Emily Hopkinson: We have a calendar of data reports, written reports and parents’ evenings that are suitable for each year group. Each year we review this offer with our parent community to ensure that it is fit for purpose and inform them of what they need to know, when they need to know it. Attainment matters but progress equally matters - it’s important that we recognise and celebrate those students who try their best each day, working diligently to achieve their outcomes.




Excellence In Schools

Mark Ford is a seasoned educator with an extensive career spanning more than thirty years. He holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Nottingham and earned his PGCE at York University. Mark's educational journey has taken him across the globe, with teaching experience in the UK, Kenya, France, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates. He played a significant role in the success of Abu Dhabi's ‘Outstanding School’, The British School Al Khubairat, and later served as Principal at Dubai British School, recognised for its excellence. In 2016, he embarked on a new chapter in Kuala Lumpur, where he took the helm of the prestigious British Garden International School. His dedication to education and wealth of experience led him to join The English College in August 2019. Under his leadership at The English College, the school achieved a DSIB Very Good rating for the first time in its history and a BSO Very Good rating, marking a significant milestone in its educational journey.

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: EMPOWERING STUDENTS TO EXCEL Dedicated to fostering a vibrant educational environment, Mark Ford, Principal of The English College Dubai, has an unwavering commitment to student success. Championing innovation and inclusivity, Mark is approachable, empathetic, and a proactive advocate for academic excellence, implementing dynamic initiatives and ensuring a holistic approach to learning.



Excellence In Schools

Education UAE: How do you define English College Dubai’s mission and vision, and how does that guide decisionmaking and daily operations? Mark Ford: The core purpose of the English College Dubai is to inspire confident and passionate learners who will thrive and make a difference. Our vision is to encourage students to always try their best and aspire to excellence. We strive to develop lifelong learners who flourish in all they do and embrace, with passion and confidence, their responsibility to support others and make a difference both locally and globally. We constantly refer back to these principles to ensure that our actions align with our overarching goals. Education UAE: What are the school’s goals and strategies for promoting student engagement and motivation in the learning process?

Mark Ford: We believe that students should be equal partners in the learning process and we have a number of mechanisms and strategies in place to engage them in dialogue about how they learn best and what we can do to ensure that we are getting the best out of them. Education UAE: What are the key strengths and unique features that set your school apart from others in the area? Mark Ford: Our school distinguishes itself through a blend of tradition and innovation. We take immense pride in our rich heritage, traditions, and values, which form the foundation of our forward-looking approach. Key strengths include high-quality teaching, comprehensive learning experiences, and unwavering pastoral care. Moreover, our diverse extra-curricular offerings enrich students' education.

The school takes a comprehensive approach to incorporating environmental sustainability and ethical values into the educational experience

We address individualised student needs through a systematic cycle of assessment, planning, action, and review What truly sets us apart is that we're not just a British curriculum school; we're a vibrant, diverse community that fosters excellence and celebrates individuality. Education UAE: How does the school approach the individualised needs of students, including those who may require additional academic support or enrichment? Mark Ford: At the English College, we are committed to responsibly inclusive education. We address individualised


student needs through a systematic cycle of assessment, planning, action, and review. Our approach focuses on three key areas: More able and talented (MAT) students, English as an additional language (EAL) learners, and students with determination (SEND). For more able students, we provide tailored challenges and support to help them reach their full potential. Talented students receive opportunities for further development. EAL students benefit from a comprehensive support package to overcome language barriers, and students with determination receive bespoke provisions to help them succeed. Our dedicated staff works diligently to ensure every student can thrive and reach their full potential. Education UAE: What initiatives has the school implemented to promote innovation and adapt to changing educational trends and needs? Mark Ford: School leaders are innovative and keep up-to-date with the latest educational research to ensure that we are adapting our provision, based on evidence-based practice, to meet the needs of the ever-changing educational landscape. We have a rich professional learning programme that ensures that all of staff - both academic and support - are supported in their professional growth, enabling them to deliver a highquality of provision. Education UAE: What methods or programmes does the school have in place to address student mental health and well-being? Mark Ford: Aligned with the PERMA model, which focuses on Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement, our school places a strong emphasis on student mental health and well-being. We incorporate mental health education, counselling services, peer support programs, well-being workshops, physical activity, and a supportive environment. This holistic approach ensures that students thrive emotionally and academically. Education UAE: Can you provide insights into the school’s partnerships with local businesses, organisations, or

higher education institutions that benefit students? Mark Ford: We have established strong relationships with higher education institutions across the UAE and also beyond. We regularly have guests from overseas universities addressing our students and supporting their future pathways aspirations. Education UAE: What is the school’s approach to incorporating environmental sustainability and ethical values into the educational experience? Mark Ford: The school takes a comprehensive approach to incorporating environmental sustainability and ethical values into the educational experience. Our efforts encompass both education and action. We have a dedicated group of students known as the ‘EC Ecowarriors’ who actively seek out new sustainability initiatives. We have established a compost garden in our primary section, reinforcing the importance of responsible waste management. We have also begun using large recycling bins for paper and plastic, promoting recycling and reducing waste. Notably, the plastic collected by Simply Bottles is recycled by DGrade into Greenspun™ yarn for textile production, closing the recycling loop and reducing environmental impact. Furthermore, our school has invested in solar panels to harness renewable energy, demonstrating our commitment to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. These initiatives collectively

instil ethical values and environmental consciousness in our students, fostering a sense of responsibility towards the planet and promoting sustainable practices. Education UAE: How does the school measure its success and continuously evaluate and improve its educational programmes and outcomes? Mark Ford: We have strong selfevaluation mechanisms and processes across the school, identifying what we do well but also, more importantly, our areas for development. These then inform our strategy and action plans to drive school improvement Education UAE: If you had to choose a school mascot based on your personality, what would it be? Mark Ford: An owl - I would like to think I am perceived as wise and insightful, able to make decisions based on a deep understanding of my environment. I believe I am also perceived as being independent and self-sufficient, preferring to observe the world from a distance and make decisions based on my own insight. THE ENGLISH COLLEGE DUBAI  +971 4 394 3465



Excellence In Schools

RENOWNED DISABILITY INCLUSION CONSULTANT AND FORMER PARALYMPIC SWIMMER, JESSICA SMITH, INSPIRED STUDENTS AT THE AQUILA SCHOOL The Aquila School was honoured to host Jessica Smith, a leading global disability inclusion consultant, former Australian Paralympic Swimmer, public and motivational speaker, and children’s author. through her work as a public speaker, writer, lecturer, and influential social media presence. She has been instrumental in facilitating honest conversations about the importance of diversity and accessibility, as well as providing practical solutions to improve inclusivity within society. Born missing her left arm and having endured a traumatic accident as a toddler, which resulted in burns to 15% of her body, Jessica defied the odds to represent her country in the sport of swimming for seven years. Her incredible journey culminated in her selection onto the Australian Paralympic team in 2004. Through her dedication to sport, Jessica found ambition and focus, which helped her confront societal obstacles related to body image and disability acceptance.


uring her visit to The Aquila School, Jessica Smith engaged with students in a series of inspirational sessions where she presented to students from classes spanning from year three to year six. As part of her mission to promote kindness, building resilience, selfesteem, healthy self-confidence, emotional and social intelligence, and social and interpersonal skills in children, Jessica shared details of her life. For the youngest pupils she read from her book, “Jessica Goes to School”, which was based on her own experience of her first day of school. Wayne Howsen, principal at The Aquila School, expressed his happiness for the visit and said: “Jessica’s visit aligns

with The Aquila School’s mission of encouraging its pupils to embrace diversity and inclusion, and also provided them with an opportunity to learn from an accomplished Paralympian, author and overall inspiring person. At the moment as a school, we are focused on nurturing kindness and positivity, so her visit fits this theme quite nicely. Her visit also fits under our ISP Educates ME banner, an initiative that provides the ISP community of families, students, and staff with the opportunity to take part in sessions with inspirational speakers, free webinars, and training all aimed at providing further learning opportunities.” Jessica is an athlete and a passionate advocate for diversity and accessibility

Jessica Smith shared her thoughts on her visit to the school and said: “I had the pleasure of visiting The Aquila School to share my personal story and the importance of diversity and inclusion. It was evident that students across all year groups were familiar with the themes of kindness and respect, and it was wonderful to engage with such a dynamic and conscientious group of student and young leaders. I look forward to visiting the school again soon. The Aquila School provides pupils with opportunities to learn and be motivated by inspiring people who have progressed in their chosen fields, with the aim of ensuring pupils are able to understand and explore future pathways that suit their individual talents.


Born missing her left arm and having endured a traumatic accident as a toddler, which resulted in burns to 15% of her body, Jessica defied the odds to represent her country in the sport of swimming for seven years

THE AQUILA SCHOOL  +971 4 586 2700



Excellence In Schools





ith over a decade of leadership experience in Dubai, Louise Ford brings a wealth of educational and contextual understanding to her role as Head of Senior. Being instrumental in the exponential growth and popularity of a leading Dubai school, Louise has experience of building and maintaining a school’s reputation and culture, providing clear vision and direction for the whole school community. Holding a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from UCL and having been awarded her NPQH Qualification in 2021, Louise is well placed to lead and maintain the academic excellence associated with the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai (RGSGD). Graduating from the University of Wales, Swansea, with a History Degree in 2000, Louise worked in TV and Radio before following in her family’s footsteps and pursuing a career in education. With over 20 years of teaching experience in the UK, USA, and the UAE, Louise has excellent and wideranging curriculum knowledge, coupled with extensive pastoral experience in her role leading a large, ‘outstanding’ Sixth Form. As RGSGD senior school grows into Year 9, the school is delighted to announce that it will offer a breadth of IGCSE and GCSE subject options; Art & Design, Computer Science, Dance, Design Technology, Music, Drama, Economics, Physical Education, Food Technology, Geography, History, Islamic Studies, MSC, French, Spanish, Latin and Mandarin alongside the core curriculum subjects of English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry & Combined Science. Clare Turnbull, Principal of RGS Guildford Dubai, expressed her delight in the new appointment: “We are absolutely thrilled to announce the appointment of our new Head of Senior School at RGSGD. In welcoming Louise Ford, we are embracing not only her wealth of experience but also her profound understanding of the Dubai educational landscape. Louise offers a fresh perspective and a steadfast dedication to delivering a world-class learning experience for our pupils. We


are confident that under her leadership, the Senior School will flourish, and our pupils will continue to thrive academically, emotionally and socially.” Charlotte Grieves, who has served as Deputy Head of Prep at RGSGD since August 2022, will step into the promoted role of Head of Prep. An instrumental part of the leadership team at the school, Charlotte was a former leader of an accredited world-class school in Dubai and has been committed to delivering highperformance teaching for more than 17 years, having taught in three outstanding rated schools across the UAE. Passionate about pupil wellbeing, Charlotte is a leader who believes that every child deserves the absolute best in education and immerses every one of her pupils in a motivating and enriching learning environment, from the minute they walk through the school gates. In her role as Head of Prep School at RGSGD, Charlotte will ensure that the school builds on its success,

driving innovative practices and guiding pupils towards becoming well-rounded, kind, young people, whilst nurturing a learning environment that is both challenging and supportive. Commenting on Charlotte’s appointment, Clare Turnbull added: “Charlotte Grieves’ unwavering dedication, passion and exemplary commitment to our pupil’s wellbeing and academic rigour, has proven to be an invaluable asset to RGS Guildford Dubai. I am delighted that she will be stepping into the role of Head of Prep, taking the school to new heights.”



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NAVIGATING TOMORROW'S WORKFORCE: THE EVOLUTION OF FUTURE SKILLS IN A GREEN ECONOMY Professor Dr Tadhg O’Donovan, Deputy Vice Principal – Academic Leadership at Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

Professor Dr Tadhg O’Donovan is the Deputy Vice Principal, with responsibility for Academic Leadership on the Dubai Campus of HeriotWatt University Dubai. He has a research background in thermal science focusing on solar energy conversion, systems design optimisation, and integration and storage technology. Professor O’Donovan has established collaborative links with industry and employs a techno-economic approach to support various renewable energy companies.



Excellence In Higher Education



he future of work is green. As per the United Nations, there is a global shift towards a more environmentally conscious economy, with sectors such as energy, transportation, and construction embracing ecofriendly practices. This transition has the potential to generate an additional 24 million jobs worldwide by 2030, leading to a heightened demand for individuals possessing skills related to environmental sustainability. The UAE has taken significant strides in preparing its youth for future challenges and attaining the fundamental objectives outlined in its Centennial 2071 initiative. According to the Future Skills 2030 Report from Abu Dhabi Sustainability

Week, five influential factors are shaping the future landscape of jobs and skills globally. These factors include technological advancements that will unveil unprecedented opportunities, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, automation, advanced manufacturing, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), big data, and data analysis. The worldwide push for sustainability also leads to new job categories in alternative energy and waste management.

renewable energy, and incorporating hands-on projects. We collaborate with industry experts, provide internships for practical experience, and adopt an interdisciplinary approach, ensuring a holistic understanding of sustainability challenges. With a global perspective, we prepare students to address international environmental issues. Our curriculum equips students with the knowledge and practical abilities to contribute effectively to a green and sustainable future.

Heriot-Watt University's curricula are designed to instil green skills by integrating sustainability principles, offering specialised courses in sustainability engineering and

WHAT ARE GREEN JOBS? What defines a ‘Green Job’? As per the International Labour Organisation, ‘Green Jobs' contributes to reducing energy and raw material consumption, mitigating


Heriot-Watt University Dubai is dedicating two floors of its campus in Dubai Knowledge Park to serve as a Climate Hub greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste and pollution, safeguarding and restoring ecosystems, and enabling businesses and communities to adapt to climate change. There is a growing demand for green skills, surpassing the available workforce. According to the Global Green Skills Report from LinkedIn, job postings requiring at least one green skill increased by 22.4% between 2022 and 2023, while the proportion of green talent in the workforce only saw a growth of 12.3%. What is driving this shift? The World Economic Forum attributes it to many countries striving for net-zero emissions by 2050. Consequently, both governments and businesses are propelling the transition towards green practices.

Our curriculum equips students with the knowledge and practical abilities to contribute effectively to a green and sustainable future Currently, most of the green job expansion occurs in some of the most pollutant-heavy industries, such as energy and transportation, and in countries with high greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S., Germany, and India—nations that emit substantial amounts of greenhouse gases are leading the charge in green job creation. THE STATE OF GREEN JOBS IN THE UAE The UAE is rapidly overhauling its economy through substantial investments in sustainable ventures, including renewable energy, energy

efficiency, public transportation, cleaner vehicles, and eco-friendly construction. Through the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, the UAE aspires to emerge as a worldwide hub of the burgeoning green economy. The goal is to position the UAE as a global leader in this field, serving as a focal point for exporting and re-exporting green products and technologies while fostering a sustainable environment. UAE GREEN JOBS PROGRAMME In 2019, the UAE published a document titled ‘The UAE Green Jobs Program: Jobs and Skills for the UAE’s Green Economy Transformation’. This report provides insights into the existing landscape of green jobs and associated policies in the UAE. According to the findings, the count of green jobs is anticipated to increase from 49,520 in 2018 to 83,422 by 2030. While the public sector retains its significance as a critical contributor to green employment, renewable energy, waste management, and transportation sectors are expected to dominate the green jobs market by 2030. WAY FORWARD Establishing a clean-energy economy involves generating new employment opportunities. While some of these jobs will be in specialised fields like installing solar panels and exploring innovative building materials, the majority will be within existing employment sectors across all Emirates. Leading up to COP28, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is taking the lead in a campaign to ensure that the upcoming negotiations in the UAE acknowledge the pivotal role that green skills and jobs will play in addressing the global climate crisis. With numerous global leaders and corporate figures confirmed to attend the event, Heriot-Watt University Dubai is dedicating two floors of its campus in Dubai Knowledge Park to serve as a Climate Hub. This hub will serve as a meeting point for participants from around the world, given the expected congregation of over 70,000 individuals in the UAE over the two-week event. Specifically, Heriot-Watt University Dubai plans to host and showcase CleanTech startups by providing them with exhibition space on campus.

Furthermore, Research Engineers at Heriot-Watt University in Dubai have launched a solar energy testing facility to assist companies in the UK and other nations in developing and testing new solar technologies. Situated on the Southwest wing of the university’s campus in Dubai, the rooftop Solar Energy Test Site takes advantage of Dubai’s abundant solar resources. This initiative is part of the university’s commitment and series of activities leading up to COP28.

The count of green jobs is anticipated to increase from 49,520 in 2018 to 83,422 by 2030 As industries transition towards more environmentally friendly production methods, products, and services, the shift also presents opportunities to create ‘green jobs,’ offering economic benefits in the process.




Excellence In Higher Education

KING CHARLES III VISITS HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY DUBAI The King visited Heriot-Watt University Dubai’s campus in Dubai Knowledge Park. He was joined by Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf.


peaking on the occasion, Richard Williams, Principal and ViceChancellor of Heriot-Watt University said: “We are deeply honoured by the visit of His Majesty King Charles III to our campus in Dubai. “Heriot-Watt was the first British university to open a campus in Dubai back in 2005 and since then, we have grown to become the largest international university in the UAE. “When our University was founded more than 200 years ago, it set out a clear purpose to benefit society by making education accessible, inclusive and industry-focused – helping our students and academics to have a positive impact on the world. “We are committed to taking a global lead on sustainability and, as the UAE hosts

COP28, we will be showcasing some of our deep expertise in areas including industrial decarbonisation, energy transition and sustainable logistics. “Universities play a vital role in advancing knowledge and solutions around climate change, and we are proud to be hosting a dynamic Climate Hub here at HeriotWatt University Dubai, to help move conversations into action.” The King also heard outcomes from a roundtable on climate action through partnership and met with the academic leaders and students from commonwealth universities. Youth engagement is a key theme of the Climate Hub, and several students are participating as volunteers, and actively assisting cleantech exhibitors.

During his visit, the King toured the CleanTech Exhibition at the Heriot-Watt Climate Hub accompanied by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, and Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf



Excellence In Higher Education

The Climate Hub embodies Heriot-Watt’s ambition to take a distinctive lead in defining the route to global sustainability

VISIT TO HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY’S CLIMATE HUB The King, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron, visited Heriot-Watt Climate Hub and met with several British companies who were part of the Cleantech exhibition and displaying innovative solutions to the threat posed by the climate crisis.

Set up at the Dubai campus to run alongside COP28 which is being hosted by the UAE, the Climate Hub embodies HeriotWatt’s ambition to take a distinctive lead in defining the route to global sustainability. The university is utilising its convening power in collaboration with event partners to host a schedule of daily events that will mirror and complement the themes of COP28.


innovation and discovery. We recognise that higher education institutions have a role in society beyond just the curriculum they teach, and we greatly look forward to bringing people together to discuss the climate crisis, find real solutions and drive positive action for a more sustainable future." The Cleantech exhibition at HeriotWatt Climate Hub is partly funded by the UK government and will give exhibiting companies a chance to meet policymakers, potential investors, and industry leaders who are visiting the UAE for COP28. Exhibits include the world’s first selfassembled, flat-packed solar thermal collector from Heriot-Watt spinout company, SolarisKit. The system reduces carbon emissions by converting solar energy into affordable hot water. Other exhibits include Smartrawl, a robotic underwater sorting device that uses artificial intelligence to help fishing trawlers avoid wasteful fish discards and bycatch.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Vice Principal Professor Tadhg O’Donovan said: “Building flourishing communities, through our positive influence and impact as a university, is one of our key values at Heriot-Watt – and our Climate Hub embodies this in its role as an interactive space for collaboration,

A separate Research Showcase at the Climate Hub displays selected outputs from Heriot-Watt’s Global Research Institutes (GRIs) and looks at their impact. The GRIs are centres of excellence and collaboration, created to address global challenges by leveraging our global reach, our significant international collaborations and our longstanding connectivity to business and industry. Finally, a Future Skills Showcase at the Climate Hub will include initiatives that Heriot-Watt is leading to shape the graduates of the future. These include a carbon literacy training programme

to enable participants to make more sustainable decisions, and the Empower programme, which teaches purposedriven leadership. ABOUT HERIOT-WATT CLIMATE HUB Heriot-Watt University Dubai is transforming the 5th and 6th floors of its campus in Dubai Knowledge Park into Climate Hub for the duration of COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The initiative will showcase the Scottish University’s deep expertise in sustainability research, with specialisms in areas including industrial decarbonisation, energy transition, sustainable logistics, sustainable building design and plastics in the environment. Heriot-Watt’s Dubai campus is 20 minutes away from Expo City Dubai, which will host the main COP28 programme from 30 November 2023 to 12 December 2023. Journalists attending COP28 are being invited to base themselves at the Climate Hub, which is hosting a programme of events and media facilities including a recording studio.




Excellence In Higher Education

THE 12TH COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY OF AURAK HONOURS 186 GRADUATES A mix of Emirati and international students received their degrees at the 12th Commencement Ceremony of the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), presided over by Sheikh Khalid bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Vice Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah’s Investment and Development Office and Chairman of Marjan.


heikh Khalid conferred degrees on a total of 186 students – 148 bachelor’s degree recipients, 37 master’s graduates, and one postgraduate certificate in Education – at the formal ceremony, with the US Ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Martina Strong, as the guest of honour. Delivering the Commencement Speaker’s address, the US Ambassador H.E. Martina Strong focused on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the AURAK graduates in relation to the historic deliberations at COP28 in Dubai.

US Ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Martina Strong, delivers Commencement Speaker’s address





Our directory provides a comprehensive review and virtual tour of each school in the UAE, allowing you to make the best decision for your child’s education. Simply filter by your requirements and look through the quality providers listed.




Excellence in Higher Education Reviews

Middlesex University Middlesex University Dubai is the first overseas campus of the world-renowned London-based Middlesex University. Middlesex’s first Dubai campus opened in January 2005 in Dubai Knowledge Park and its second opened in International Academic City in September 2021. The university is Dubai’s largest UK university licensed by KHDA, with over 5,000+ students from more than 120 nationalities studying on over 70 Foundation, Undergraduate, and Postgraduate programmes.


Providing challenging academic programmes underpinned by innovative research and career-led education informed by industry, Middlesex University Dubai prepares its students to be dynamic, skilled individuals, committed to lifelong learning and able to make a positive impact on the communities in which they live and work.

January 2005 School Type:


University Curriculum:


Fees from:

Depends on programme; scholarships available Age range:


Inspection Rating:

5-Star Rating (2022 KHDA Higher Education Classification) Location: Dubai Knowledge Park and Dubai International Academic City, Dubai

Contact us: +971 4 367 8100

With a global reputation for excellence in teaching, learning, and research, Middlesex University is committed to preparing its graduates to be resilient, agile leaders in their chosen fields. Excellent scholarships, and grants, plus a thriving social scene, allow students to obtain a quality, affordable British degree that prepares them for professional life while making connections and friends from all over the world. Vision Middlesex University Dubai aims to transform outcomes for individuals, communities, and organisations, empowering people around the world to change their lives. The university’s vibrant international community puts practice at the heart of its education, research, knowledge exchange, and engagement, working together with government, industry, and academia on initiatives that create impactful solutions to complex global challenges. Values Driven by its mission to develop fairer, healthier, more

prosperous and sustainable societies for future generations, the university works with its students, staff, faculty, and the wider community on initiatives that aim to achieve: • Equity and improvements in health and wellbeing • Inclusive socio-economic development and enriching lives through culture • Sustainability of communities and the environment Campus Information Middlesex’s main campus at Dubai Knowledge Park features an array of state-of-the-art labs and classrooms, including a fully equipped Film Studio with industry-grade editing suites and a Screening Room; research labs for virtual reality, cybersecurity, and robotics; and dedicated studios for Graphic Design and Fashion Design. In the MDX Social Hub, students have access to unrivalled social and collaborative facilities, such as a gym, gaming room, arcade, dance studio, music room, tabletop sports, and study spaces. The university’s Library offers an extensive collection of digital and print journals, textbooks, articles, and study resources.






“Middlesex University Dubai is the largest UK university in Dubai for a reason. We equip our students with the tools and resources they need to thrive, not only in academics but also in their future careers. Our approach empowers students to take charge of their learning, engage in real-world experiences, and absorb knowledge from industry experts and our accomplished faculty to prepare themselves for success.

Dr Cedwyn Fernandes


Through continuous innovation in our cutting-edge facilities and a curriculum that reflects industry trends, we are committed to providing a top-tier British education to a broader spectrum of students, helping them seize career opportunities in the thriving UAE economy.”

Excellence in Higher Education Reviews


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New research from Renaissance, a global leader in education technology, has revealed that 48% of teachers actively use education technology to motivate student learning by offering a range of activities such as quizzes and comprehension activities. Other popular responses included using EdTech to access data and insights on pupil progress, setting tailored work for individual pupils, and assisting pupils as they learn at their own pace.


The research asked over 130 senior school leaders, department heads, and teachers about their thoughts and concerns as the new school term got underway

using myON and Star Reading. We’ve seen a huge amount of progress from the children. The benefits of these EdTech tools are immeasurable,” commented Sarah MacAskill, Head of Primary at Smart Vision School. “The integration of computer-adaptive solutions into our school has streamlined our assessment process, leading to significant growth in student attainment and progress. It allows us to identify and bridge gaps in learning while challenging our high-ability students. The Star reports, for instance, shared directly with parents, provide valuable insights and foster parental involvement.” “At Renaissance, we believe the right technology can unlock a more effective learning experience, one in which every student grows to their full potential and teachers are freed up to do what they do best – teach,” commented Crispin Chatterton, Director of Education at Renaissance Learning. “Through the findings of this latest survey, we are delighted to see how teachers in the Middle East are incorporating EdTech to cater to the needs of each student and support their path to success. As technology and education continue to change, Renaissance will continue to develop tools and insights that help teachers enhance students’ learning, development, and performance.” TO READ MORE FROM RENAISSANCE CLICK HERE


he research asked over 130 senior school leaders, department heads, and teachers about their thoughts and concerns as the new school term got underway. Respondents cited addressing the attainment gap (26%) and meeting the academic year requirements (20%) as the biggest challenge in returning to the classroom for the 2023/24 academic year. When asked about how education technology had helped in the previous academic year, the most popular responses included facilitating blended learning (21%), tailoring the education experience for each pupil (20%), and highlighting the pupils most in need of additional support (17%).

According to 43% of teachers, pupil attainment targets increased in comparison to last year. 54% said they felt ‘very prepared’ to measure these differences, and 34% said they felt ‘very prepared’ to act on these differences. When asked about the core skills where they felt there had been the biggest learning loss among pupils, in comparison to the previous year, 55% cited ‘English literacy’, while 36% cited ‘maths’. Over 70% of the surveyed teachers said they plan to use EdTech more this academic year. “We’ve been on our journey with Renaissance products for three years now,

RENAISSANCE  +44 207 184 4000




EMBRACE WISDOM, EMBODY PROGRESS: EDUCATION, THE HEARTBEAT OF HONG KONG The Hong Kong government, giving full play to the strength of Hong Kong’s international and diversified quality education system and in line with the strategy of invigorating the country through science and education, is committed to attracting and nurturing talent for the good of the nation. Education UAE spoke to the Hong Kong Under Secretary for Education Jeff Sze Chun-fai, who, prior to joining the government, served as a school teacher at HKUGA College and as the Executive Director of Savantas Policy Institute. We first asked about the education system in Hong Kong and the standards it upholds. Jeff Sze Chun-fai: IIn Hong Kong, we offer 15 years of free education from the age of three; kindergarten education followed by 12 years of primary and secondary education. University education is four years. The Hong Kong government has always been committed to investing in education because nurturing our younger generation represents the future of our society. The standard of Hong Kong education is high, according to international benchmarking research, like the OECD PISA research study. As for our higher education sector, Hong Kong is home to five top 100 world-class universities and it has one of the most dense concentration of world-class universities among world cities. So, we are quite proud of our education achievement and the Hong Kong government will continue to stipulate policies to enhance our education system.


Education UAE: How many schools are there in Hong Kong? And what is the breakdown between the public and private sector by school and by student? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: Let me focus on primary and secondary education. For primary education, we have a total of 477 public schools and 116 private schools. That would be a total of 593 primary schools in Hong Kong, and for secondary schools, we have a total of 510 schools. Among them, we have 450 public secondary schools and 60 private schools. Education UAE: How many teaching staff does Hong Kong have? And are you able to give an insight into the qualification and recruitment of these teachers? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: For primary education, we have around 27,000 teachers, and in the secondary school sector, we have about 30,000 teachers. In order to become a teacher, the prospective applicants must fulfil the legal requirements by registering as a Registered Teacher (RT). For RTs, they will need to obtain a teacher qualification. There are a few ways for a teacher to obtain this qualification. The teacher could finish a Bachelor of Education degree at one of our teacher training institutions, or could finish a postgraduate diploma in education, meaning after first finishing the undergraduate degree, the teacher needs to complete a graduate diploma programme in education. Usually, for parttime studies, the duration is two years. For the full-time, it’s one year. Teachers without teacher a qualification can still be registered as a PT. The minimum academic qualification required of a PT teaching in a school providing primary and secondary education is an associate degree, a higher diploma, or an equivalent. We also have ongoing, continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers in order to maintain the highest standard of our teaching force. The CPD requirements oblige each teacher to complete 150 hours of training over a three-year cycle. On average, our teachers will have 50 hours of training per year. Education UAE: What are the challenges that teachers could face when they start teaching?

In Hong Kong, we offer 15 years of free education from the age of three Jeff Sze Chun-fai: Just like any other jurisdiction, a newly joined teacher may find the classroom situation to be a bit daunting. It is necessary for the newly joined teachers to have more experienced teachers as mentors to offer advice to them. The Education Bureau of the Hong Kong Government also organises training sessions for newly joined teachers and serving teachers in general. For every newly joined teacher, we have a specialised training programme for them in their first three years of joining the profession. There are certain training sessions for the newly joined teachers in order to get them accommodated to the teaching environments. In addition, we organise mainland study tours for all the newly joined teachers. We partner with teacher training institutions in mainland China. In order to broaden teachers’ horizons, we organise mainland study tours that last for three to four days so that teachers can experience the development of our country and learn education policy areas that would strengthen their professional knowledge. Education UAE: The education funding system in Hong Kong for both private and public sectors is funded by a number of sources. Can you explain a bit more? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: The way we define public schools in Hong Kong is if the school receives government funding on a recurring basis, then we classify the school to be a public school. There are different types of public schools in Hong Kong. We have government schools, we have aided schools, and we have DSS (Direct Subsidy Scheme) schools. Let me explain what aided schools and DSS schools are about. These schools are actually operated by a non-profit making entity. It is usually a religious group or a charitable organisation in Hong Kong. The government provides funding to schools operated by this kind of nonprofit making entity, which is called the school sponsoring body. Then the school sponsoring body goes on to hire the principal and the teachers and organises



the curriculum for the school. The school is not exactly operated by the government directly, because different religious groups or charitable organisations may have a vision or mission of education. And then for DSS schools, they can be fee-charging. In addition to receiving government subsidies, DSS schools may charge a certain amount of tuition fee in order to provide additional support services and school facilities for their students. Education UAE: Is education free in Hong Kong? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: Yes, we offer 15 years of free education in Hong Kong, although parents can opt for feecharging schools if they so wish. Education UAE: Can you tell us about the education curriculum reform and how this promotes the development of students? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: Since the early years of the 2000s, the Hong Kong education system has gone through a major revamp. In the past, our secondary school was seven years. Now it’s six years. University education used to be three years like the British system. Now we have added one more year to make it four years in order to provide students with a broader university education. In the past, students took a public exam at Secondary 5 and another at Secondary 7. We have combined the two public exams into one, namely the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination. The existing academic structure has been in place since 2009 when the first cohort of Secondary 4 students embarked on the three-year senior secondary curriculum. Basically, schools now offer four subjects, namely Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics, and Citizenship and Social Development. In addition to taking the four core subjects, students are free to choose from a wide range of elective subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Economics, Visual Arts, Music, and Physical Education. We equip students with 21st-century skills because the world has been changing and we need to prepare our young people to keep up with the times. With this in mind, we have been constantly reviewing the school curriculum and keep on renewing areas that need to be improved.

We partner with teacher training institutions in mainland China In tandem with the ongoing curriculum renewal, we have been working on STEAM education in order to nurture more talent for scientific and technological development. Even our Music Visual Arts curricula have been under review. Recently, we have sought to introduce new learning elements to the curricula in collaboration with experts. Education UAE: Are there any strengths or weaknesses in the Hong Kong education system? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: The strength is definitely the level of achievements and international recognition. Let me also say a few words about the higher education sector. Just now I mentioned the rankings. Hong Kong is a city of 7.4 million people, yet we have five top 100 world-class universities, which are pretty internationalised and diversified. We are also a popular study destination for many foreign students.

In the year 2016/2017 academic year, we launched the Belt and Road Scholarship scheme. To date, we have a total of over 430 students being awarded scholarships under the scheme. These students are from 39 countries, and our universities have offered various kinds of exchange programmes and international opportunities for foreign students. Our Chief Executive recently announced in his annual Policy Address some new measures to further promote and internationalise our higher education sector. Starting from the next academic year, we will further increase the quota of non-local students in Hong Kong universities. We will also increase the Belt and Road Scholarship quota by 50%, with a view to attracting more foreign students to further their studies in Hong Kong. Education UAE: What is the Belt and Road Scholarship?


Jeff Sze Chun-fai: The Belt and Road initiative was advocated by Chinese President Xi Jinping 10 years ago. The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was recently held in Beijing, where President Xi announced eight major steps that China will take to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. The Belt and Road Scholarship fosters people-to-people bonds by encouraging students from different countries and economies along the Belt and Road to Study in Hong Kong. Education UAE: How can newly arrived children from foreign countries obtain a school place in Hong Kong? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: That would depend on which school level we are talking about. If we are talking about secondary school or primary school, then foreigners can of course choose to attend international schools or local schools. Because of the language barrier, it may be easier for foreigners to study in an international school. In Hong Kong, we have 54 international schools offering over 46,000 school places, primarily catering to non-local students of various nationalities. You can find all kinds of non-local curricula in Hong Kong, including those of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. Students who are interested in pursuing further studies in Hong Kong can apply directly for our universities. I would encourage them to visit the websites of our universities so that they can learn more about the programmes offered. Education UAE: How do schools in Hong Kong rank on a global level? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: We don't grade individual schools in Hong Kong because even though it is a small city, we still have over 1000 secondary and primary schools and not every school has a ranking per se. But as I said earlier, we make reference to international benchmarking research, like the PISA study, and our students perform consistently well when compared to other economies and jurisdictions. Looking forward, we will continue to develop a student-centred curriculum and strengthen our science education because of the technological

We set up the Hong Kong Academy for gifted education developments in what is a fast-changing global economy. We need to continue to renew and update the school curriculum so that students will have the skills to cope with the challenges that they might face when they enter the workplace. Education UAE: Do you put a lot of focus on gifted and talented students in Hong Kong? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: We put a lot of effort into catering to students’ individual needs. We have students with special educational needs. We also have a lot of non-Chinesespeaking students in Hong Kong, and we also have special measures to cater to students from a lesser socio-economic background. For gifted education, we adopt a three-tier approach. There’s the class level, there’s the school level, and then there’s also the territory-wide level of support that we provide to the students. We set up the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education. For the gifted and talented students, in addition to the school-based support that we provide, we provide specialised training in our Academy. The Academy partners with different professional bodies and universities to run certain advanced courses for gifted students. They train their students to compete in international competitions, like the International Mathematics Olympiad competition, the International Physics Olympiad competition, etc. The Academy also runs its own courses. In addition to helping gifted students develop their potential to the fullest by challenging them with a higher level of learning, we also put emphasis on nurturing their whole-person development, such as developing good social skills and do not simply focus on their areas of strength. Education UAE: When you have gifted students, are there specific areas you would focus on; for example, architecture, science, maths, the environment? Jeff Sze Chun-fai: We have different streams of giftedness. There’s mathematics, there’s science, there’s language, there’s music, arts, sports,

etc. The Academy relies on school nominations to admit gifted students, but at the same time, it also accepts selfnominations. In addition, besides the Academy, there are other specialised academies to support students who have different types of strengths. For example, we have the Hong Kong Sports Institute. Obviously, as the name suggests, the Hong Kong Sports Institute focuses on nurturing elite athletes. Some of these athletes can achieve outstanding results in regional or international competitions at a very early age. We want to make sure that these athletes, who are still in school, can balance their academic learning, as well as their sports training. For these gifted students in sports, the Hong Kong Sports Institute works with the schools to tailor-make certain programmes for these students. For instance, we may have a table tennis player who needs to be away for extended periods of time for training and competition outside Hong Kong. The player may not have time to attend school but with the support of the Sports Institute and the school, we can offer tailor-made online classes to cater to the needs of those athletes.



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REGISTRATIONS OPEN FOR THE SPINNEYS DUBAI 92 CYCLE CHALLENGE JUNIOR RIDES After a record-breaking start, the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge, in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, is bringing back its beloved Junior Rides, allowing young riders to take part in the highly anticipated cycling festival in February 2024. The iconic event will also see the return of the TotalEnergies Outride, perfect for 13 years and above and those looking for a fun, shorter Spinneys Dubai Cycle Challenge experience on traffic-free streets in Dubai.


he Junior Rides rides are all about having fun and encouraging children to discover the joy of the outdoors on a bike. Kids between the ages of 2 and 12 can experience an unforgettable time riding their bicycles without any pressure, as these rides are untimed and solely for the enjoyment of the sport. The Junior Rides will comprise of four categories of non-competitive races that are catered to children

of various age groups. For toddlers, the first easy-going ride is a length of around 900m and suitable for 2-to-3-year-olds. Parents are encouraged to get involved and run alongside, acting as co-pilots while their little ones navigate the course. Children aged between 4-to-5-years-old can have their time to shine as they tackle a slightly longer course.


CATEGORIES FOR ENTRY TO JUNIOR RIDES (distances approximate):  Tiny Tots – Ages 2 to 3, 900m course  Kids – Ages 4 to 5, 1800m course  Junior Short Ride – Ages 6 to 11, 4.5km course  Junior Long Ride – Ages 9 to 12, 9km course With registrations now open, the Junior Rides will take place at the iconic Expo City Dubai as part of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge weekend. Held in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, Spinneys and Dubai 92, The Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge is one of the Middle East’s premium sporting races, regularly attracting thousands of riders from all over the world. REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION



MANSOOR BIN MOHAMMED HONOURS WINNERS OF HAMDAN BIN MOHAMMED ORDER OF MERIT FOR SPORTS His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), has emphasised that the leadership places the utmost importance on education, with sports being a key element in nurturing a generation capable of contributing to the nation’s future.


is Highness said that schools play a vital role in inspiring up-and-coming generations to reimagine the future of the UAE and the world in every area. He added that the vitality and joy imbued in young minds through sports and physical education help hone innate talents and intellects. HH Sheikh Mansoor was speaking during a visit to honour winners of the second edition of the Hamdan bin Mohammed Order of Merit for Sports Education School, awarded by the DSC to one public school and one private school in recognition of their outstanding sports programmes and achievements. This year, the honours were conferred on the Dubai International Academy and Al-Maaref School for Boys.

Al-Maaref School for Boys won the honour among government schools. The school hosts the National Academy of Sports Science for Public Schools, featuring 59 students. Of the school’s total of 630 students, 210 are affiliated with national teams and various Dubai clubs. The school’s team participates in the annual Rugby Sevens Tournament. Some 90% of the students in each class at the institution participate in sports. The school also follows an innovative approach to sustainable health that is applied to all classes.

DSC and the International House of Experience visited and evaluated 72 public and private schools for the second edition of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Order of Merit. The evaluation process was based on four factors: sports excellence, infrastructure, sustainable health initiatives, and competence and efficiency of school management. Dubai International Academy won the medal among private schools as it enables its students to practice 19 sports. Some 1,600 students, representing 70% of the school’s enrolment, are involved in various sports activities. The school was represented by 164 teams competing in various tournaments nationally and overseas – in Britain, Spain, Italy, Sri Lanka, and India – through the academic year. Teams from the school won 19 titles in the 2022–2023 academic year, and 25 students also won sports scholarships. The school hosts 23 championships every year, and several of its students have gone on to represent clubs in Dubai and also national teams.

DSC and the International House of Experience visited and evaluated 72 public and private schools


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Our World

MEREX INVESTMENT LAUNCHES SIX-MONTH INITIATIVE TO NURTURE GREEN REVOLUTION AMONG STUDENTS Merex Investment has launched a six-month sustainability programme at its lifestyle destinations – City Walk and The Beach, JBR – to engage young minds and artists in envisioning a more environmentally conscious tomorrow.



he initiative is aligned with the UAE’s efforts towards collective action for the environment as part of the Year of Sustainability. Merex Investment’s destinations will offer students and artists a platform to collaborate and spread the message of a greener, brighter future, on a larger scale. Students from educational institutions across Dubai will be working closely with local sustainability artists to bring their artistic visions to life using only waste and recycled materials. Their one-of-akind pieces will be displayed across City Walk and The Beach, JBR, providing an engaging experience for visitors to the destinations. During the six-month programme, students will receive the necessary knowledge and resources to catalyse efforts aimed at confronting urgent global environmental issues. The institutions will join forces with renowned local eco-artists, known for using art as their voice to promote environmental awareness. Together, they will craft captivating installations using recycled materials.

Additionally, a bootcamp featuring workshops and interactive sessions will be conducted to enhance students’ understanding of recycling and sustainable practices. Led by experts, these sessions will cultivate an understanding and appreciation for the environment, encouraging students to embrace methods for its preservation. The primary focus of this initiative is to tackle two significant challenges – urban

”We firmly believe that education and awareness serve as the cornerstones for building a more eco-conscious and resilient future.” waste and marine pollution. According to global data, there is a shocking annual consumption of five trillion plastic bags and 500 billion plastic cups worldwide. A study in the UAE found that plastic and its irresponsible disposal has led to the unfortunate death of hundreds of camels over the past decade.

Moreover, residents in the UAE reportedly use an average of 450 plastic water bottles per person annually, resulting in a significant total of four billion plastic bottles being utilised within the country. These findings reflect the global concern surrounding plastic waste, a leading cause of pollution in rivers and oceans. statistics indicate that nine out of ten deceased turtles had ingested plastic, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue.

“At Merex Investment, our initiatives resonate with the United Nations’ 14th Sustainable Development Goal, emphasising the crucial need to preserve oceans, seas, and marine resources in a sustainable manner. It also harmonises with the UAE leadership’s vision to establish the nation as a global pioneer in green technologies, export, and the maintenance of an environmentally sustainable ecosystem to foster a ‘green economy for sustainable development’. Our comprehensive strategy is centred around amplifying awareness and igniting proactive measures, nurturing a profound understanding of everyone’s pivotal role in upholding the planet’s sustainability. Collaborating with artists and educational institutions, we want to actively promote sustainable practices. We firmly believe that education and awareness serve as the cornerstones for building a more eco-conscious and resilient future,” said Shahram Shamsaee, CEO, Merex Investment. Set to launch in November, the initiative will focus on the collection of material for the artworks in the first two months, followed by the installation build phase with the artists and the interactive workshops in 2024. MEREX



Our World

ATLANTIS DUBAI ANNOUNCES THE 2023-24 PROJECT PARTNERS SUPPORTED THROUGH THE $1 CONTRIBUTION PROGRAMME; THIS YEAR TOTALLING $140,000 Atlantis Dubai announces the selection of nine local and international conservation and sustainability projects set to receive funding from the Atlantis Atlas Project $1 initiative. From June 2022 to May 2023, for every marine animal experience participated in by a guest, Atlantis Dubai contributed $1, resulting in a $140,000 (USD) fund, which aims to support projects that help protect the ocean and our environment. In the programme’s first year Atlantis contributed $120,000 of funding, and since launching in June 2021, the $1 contribution initiative has raised over a quarter of a million dollars.


ince April, organisations around the world were invited to apply for funding, after which proposals were solicited and assessed against their contributions to scientific advancement, conservation, and sustainability by the internal Atlantis Conservation & Science Committee. Atlantis Atlas Project currently focuses on four key groups of wildlife; sharks, rays, dolphins, and corals, and two key threats to the ocean; unsustainable seafood and plastic pollution. With this in mind, projects were selected based on their support of these conservation goals. This year, the 1 USD contribution fund will continue to support five organisations from the previous year (with United Arab Emirates University securing support for two projects), as well as welcoming three new organisations to the programme. 2023-24 NEW PROJECT PARTNERS A new partner this year is the Emirates Environmental Group and the ‘For Our Emirates We Plant’ campaign. The project funding will help foster a deep connection between individuals and nature through urban afforestation programmes, educational workshops, and

community engagement programmes. This campaign will also actively involve Atlantis Dubai’s colleague base through tree planting events scheduled throughout the year. A debut year of funding will go to the Fujairah Research Centre to support research providing important information about local species and biodiversity in the Gulf of Oman using Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods. The team will collect water samples and extract DNA to determine species in the water, monitor water quality and detect any harmful bacteria in the water. The research is the first eDNA analysis being conducted in Fujairah waters. The $1 contribution initiative will provide a year of funding for the Veterinary School of Toulouse and a study led by Dr Fabienne Delfour to understand the impact that human activities can have on wild dolphin populations. The team will collect skin and fecal samples through non-intrusive methods to assess dolphin stress levels within multiple species, which will help inform future conservation actions.



Our World

The 2023-24 $1 contribution programme resulted in $140,000, a 17.5% increase over the previous year

2023-24 RETURNING PROJECT PARTNERS Another year of funding has been initiated with the United Arab Emirates University to support their study of two critically endangered chondrichthyan species in local waters. Last year the project successfully tagged 25 sharks and stingrays in the Arabian Gulf. This year, the project will investigate population genetics, providing critical insight into the status and population dynamic of these animals. In addition, funding will support a new research project from the United Arab Emirates University to develop and enhance Fujairah coral reef restoration by creating artificial reef shapes from recycled oyster shells. This study will provide key information on the optimal use of artificial reefs in supporting UAE biodiversity through the rehabilitation of its ecosystems.

A further year of funding has been initiated with the Zayed University and lead UAE-based researcher, Dr Ada Natoli, on the Dubai Dolphin Survey, which supports boat-based research of local dolphin populations. During the last two years, this project saw a total of 100 boat surveys spanning a distance of 8,759km along the UAE coastline and more than 450 man-hours, with dolphins spotted 28 times. This year’s project will focus on gaining more precise estimates of the marine mammals identified and engage with local authorities to support and advise on dedicated conservation measures. Funding will continue to support the UAE’s leading social enterprise Goumbook on their ‘Save The Butts’ campaign. This initiative sees the collection of cigarette butts littering beaches and public areas and uses

circular economy principles to recycle the waste to create valuable material from it. So far the project conducted 46 beach clean ups with over 1,800 volunteers including Atlantis Dubai colleagues, and recycled over 500,700 cigarette butts. This year will focus on establishing collection points around UAE and continuing with public awareness through ongoing beach cleans. The $1 contribution initiative will provide a further year of funding to support the position of Program Officer for the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group, led by UAE-based Dr Rima Jabado. Sharks and rays are a key conservation focus for Atlantis Atlas Project and this IUCN specialist group is the leading authority on the status of sharks, rays, and chimaeras globally. They remain pivotal in the development and implementation


of conservation strategies for these species. Funding will also be provided again to New York University Abu Dhabi to support their investigations into the impact of climate change on coral reef ecosystems in the Gulf. With rising sea temperatures, these insights will help scientists better understand the drivers of coral thermal tolerance that is critical for future conservation efforts. Kelly Timmins, Director of Marine Animal Operations and Sustainability, Atlantis Dubai, commented: “We are thrilled to embark on the second year of the $1 contribution initiative and continue working with existing and new partners in order to help protect the ocean and our environment. We remain dedicated to supporting organisations who are actively working in the field

and with local communities to make a difference. As these projects get underway, we encourage both our colleagues and our guests to get involved and learn more; such as volunteering to join a beach clean, or joining the UAE Dolphin Project Initiative as a citizen scientist. We look forward to supporting these incredible projects to drive local and international conservation and sustainability efforts." Tim Kelly, Managing Director & Executive Vice President of Atlantis Dubai, commented: “We are all extremely proud to announce the second group of projects supported by our $1 contribution programme. The nine projects we have chosen demonstrate significant expertise, ingenuity and innovation in their work to protect our environment and the ocean while sharing our conservation goals – and the need to

accelerate progress towards them. Driving conservation and sustainability initiatives outside of Atlantis Dubai as well as transforming operations inside the destination are critical to Atlantis Atlas Project’s long-term strategy – and through this, our collective aim is to make positive, measurable impacts on our planet and its people.”

ATLANTIS ATLAS PROJECT  +971 4 426 0000



Our World

COP28: TIME TO LISTEN TO THE CHILDREN COP28, like previous United Nations Climate Change Conferences, could significantly impact children, not least by directly affecting youngsters’ futures by striving to create a healthier and safer planet for them to inherit.


he US climate envoy, John Kerry, was spot on when he said that never have we had to make decisions where the result is one of life and death. And as Cop28 ended after two exhausting weeks, inside the halls of a lavish conference centre in Dubai Expo City, powerful governments negotiated texts, all with profound implications for billions of lives globally. No one was under any illusion about the scale of the task facing the delegates at COP28, but on the opening day of the conference, the loss and damage fund was finally put into operation. This was a good start, with the feeling of determination running throughout the entire 14 days. Indeed, as COP28 concluded, a historic agreement by 198 parties to deliver a new era of climate action was agreed upon, with a landmark text entitled The UAE Consensus, which sets out an ambitious climate agenda to keep 1.5°C within reach. The UAE Consensus calls on the world to transition away from fossil fuels to reach net zero, encourages them to submit economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs),

includes a new specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, and builds momentum towards a new architecture for climate finance. The UAE Consensus, which follows a year of inclusive diplomatic engagements and two weeks of intense negotiations, reflects the COP28 Presidency’s goal to provide the most ambitious response possible to the Global Stocktake and deliver on the central aims of the Paris Agreement. “The world needed to find a new way. By following our North Star, we have found that path,” said COP28 President, Dr Sultan Al Jaber during his closing speech. “We have worked very hard to secure a better future for our people and our planet. We should be proud of our historic achievement. “I promised a different sort of COP. A COP that brought everyone together – private and public…civil society and faith leaders, youth, and indigenous peoples. Everyone came together from day one. Everyone united, acted, and delivered.”



Our World

Major commitments contained in the final negotiated text include: • An unprecedented reference to transitioning away from all fossil fuels to enable the world to reach net zero by 2050. • A significant step forward in the expectations for the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by encouraging “economywide emission reduction targets.” • Building momentum behind the financial architecture reform agenda, recognizing the role of credit rating agencies for the first time, and calling for a scale-up of concessional and grant finance. • A new, specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030. • Recognising the need to significantly scale up adaptation finance beyond the doubling to meet urgent and evolving needs. CHILDREN’S LIVES AFFECTED DISPROPORTIONALLY Nevertheless, the world is still a long way from meeting all of its targets and it is time to recognise that children have a vital contribution to addressing climate change, and their voices and rights need to be placed at the forefront of global decision-making. COP28 took place in a milestone year when children’s rights to a clean and healthy environment and safe climate were explicitly affirmed by the United Nations. In August, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child issued General Comment No.26 on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change - a groundbreaking interpretation of all 196 Member States’ obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This comprehensive guidance assists in interpreting States’ commitment under the Paris Agreement to respect, promote, and consider their child rights obligations when taking action to address climate change.

“Everyone united, acted, and delivered

“Adults should stop making decisions for the future they won't experience”


It specifies the responsibility of States not only to protect children from immediate harm but also to prevent foreseeable violations of their rights in the future, also emphasising the impact of climate-related loss and damage on children. The general comment was developed with 12 child advisors and reflects the views and perspectives of 16,331 children from 121 countries. In her contribution to the consultations, a 17-year-old girl from Croatia declared: “Adults should stop making decisions for the future they won’t experience. We are the key means to solving climate change as it is our lives at stake.” As Valerie Ceccherini, Secretary General of the Terre des Hommes International Federation, a nongovernmental organisation working for the rights of children and equitable development with 730 projects across 67 countries, said: “Children’s lives and their futures cannot be separated from the environment: they are inextricably linked. What happens to the environment affects children disproportionately, with children more vulnerable than adults to environmental risks and bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. Millions of children are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change across their communities. The time to act, to prioritise children, and to protect children’s futures is now.” Three of the remarkable children who advised the General Comment 26 process supported by Terre des Hommes participated in COP28, sharing their insights and recommendations and those of many other children affected by the climate crisis. These recommendations include: • Bold, urgent action from governments, businesses, and adults in general • Stronger, effective international cooperation • For adults to listen to children and take them seriously • More accessible information and education on the environment and climate change • For children to be protected and supported when taking climate action and accessing justice

Children often have a fresh perspective because they approach situations with curiosity and an open mind. They have vivid imaginations and are more open to exploring various possibilities without being constrained by preconceived notions or societal norms. This allows them to see solutions and perspectives that adults might overlook due to conditioning or rigid thinking. Children don’t have the same level of experience as adults, which can be an advantage. Their fresh perspective allows them to approach problems or situations without the weight of past failures or assumptions. It also allows them to place the ability to breathe, eat, and drink above greed and profit – adults’ greatest downfall. COP conferences often highlight the importance of environmental education. Integrating this into school curriculums can empower children with knowledge about climate change, fostering a generation more aware and proactive about sustainability. Involving children in discussions or initiatives related to COP conferences can encourage them to become advocates for change, fostering a sense of responsibility and activism toward environmental issues. However, it’s also important to note that children’s perspectives might lack the depth and nuance that come with experience. They might see things clearly from one angle but might not have the broader context that adults often possess. Both perspectives—childlike curiosity and adult experience—can complement each other in understanding the world more comprehensively and saving us all from extinction.



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Parents Corner

EMBRACE THE EXTRAORDINARY: CELEBRATE AUTISM! Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects how a person interacts, communicates, and perceives the world. It's called a ‘spectrum’ disorder because it encompasses a wide range of symptoms, behaviours, and challenges that can vary greatly among individuals. Ambreen Suhaib, a writer and speaker for autism advocacy, is the mother to twin boys with autism, as well as a neurotypical five-year-old. Education UAE spoke to Ambreen about the challenges she faces and why acceptance, inclusion, and understanding are key to creating a world where people with autism can reach their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. Education UAE: Can you tell us a little about how and when your twin boys were diagnosed?

Ambreen Suhaib has been in Dubai for over 10 years and, with majors in politics and international relations, has spoken on different media platforms, including television and podcasts, to raise awareness of autism. Her social media page, 'The Warrior Mommy', provides a platform for all special moms across the globe to vent out, ask questions, and just have a non-judgmental platform where they can ask and talk about anything regarding their journey as special mothers. Ambreen’s goal is to make parents feel comfortable with autism in their lives and raise their voices for acceptance with their heads and chins up.

Ambreen Suhaib: My twins were officially diagnosed at the age of three. But, of course, I knew a lot earlier that they were different. They missed all their milestones. They never pointed at anything or followed us when we were pointing to something; they had laughing spells for no reason; they always preferred playing alone; they had no response to name; there was no eye contact; they toe-walked; they were very anti-social; never bothered about what was happening around them; they never liked being hugged; they hated sand; they were obsessed with wheels and ceiling fans spinning; they were infatuated with certain toys; they were extremely picky eaters; and they had no babbling or baby sounds. We waited until they were one, but after that, the symptoms got clearer, and I started reading about them. They never asked for anything until they were 2.8; they were just crying, and I used to ‘mom guess’ for their needs. Somewhere, I knew after reading about the symptoms that it was autism, but I am a mother. I just ignored it for a few weeks, but eventually, when the psychologist confirmed it at 2.8, I cried rivers because getting a diagnosis for two, not one, was a blow I never expected (tears roll down my cheeks while I write this because,

not in my wildest imagination, did I ever think that I would have not one but two kids with autism). Oh God, I love them so much. Education UAE: What impact did this have on you, both as a mother and a wife? Ambreen Suhaib: The whole dynamic of motherhood changes once you get the diagnosis. As a mother, I feel there are stages. I was hurt, depressed, angry, and upset for a good year. They are my firstborn; therefore, I was excited, but after the diagnosis, I had to rethink everything. They missed all their milestones, and seeing them be nonverbal used to break me every day at that time. But as I have always said, it’s a journey, and I've learned as I went along! I bounced back and unlearned many things to be the mother they needed. But yes, it’s a psychological war on a daily basis, but I fight, and there are days when I take complete rest too. I think the wife role suffers the most because it becomes more about helping your special child, and since I had two, it was double of everything, but my husband has been supportive; therefore, we managed. Education UAE: For parents experiencing something similar, what advice would you share?




Parents Corner

The whole dynamic of motherhood changes once you get the diagnosis Ambreen Suhaib: Breathe! You need to wholeheartedly accept your child’s autism. You can’t undo it for sure, but you can definitely help them live better with the condition. Focus on your child’s strengths and not their deficits. Celebrate their little achievements. Give your children time to learn; if they are not achieving a goal right now, take a break and try again. Autism is like a journey where you will need resources; therefore, spend wisely and save. Learn about your child’s condition and question their therapists and teachers. Remember, you have to work as a team with schools and centres to see progress in your child. It is okay if your child doesn’t go to mainstream school; special schools may be the places where they will learn more. There is no shame if your child is nonverbal; words are not the only form of communication. Using sign language, picture cards, or any device to communicate is absolutely fine. Take your special child out in public, let them enjoy life, and stop worrying about how people are looking. You have something different, and something different always catches your attention. Lastly, be your child’s advocate and tell people about their condition. Do your part to raise more awareness about the condition so that there is more acceptance in society. Education UAE: What resources have you found to be the most useful or beneficial? Ambreen Suhaib: The one book that I recommend all parents read is ‘Let Me Hear Your Voice’ by Catherine Maurice. It was the first book I read after the diagnosis, and it blew me away. There is another book, written by an autistic Japanese boy, Naomi Higashida when he was just 13, ‘The Reason I Jump’. It gives you an insight into how an autistic brain thinks while doing all those things we don’t understand. And lastly, ‘It Takes Two to Talk’ by Elaine Weitzman. Education UAE: Your youngest son is neurotypical, what is the relationship like between him and the twins?

My twins were officially diagnosed at the age of three


Ambreen Suhaib: That is the part where sometimes I struggle the most. He is five years younger than them. For his little brain initially, it was too much to absorb that his brothers are different. He tries to play with them; he will run after them, and after almost two years of him pushing, now I see the twins sometimes will go tap on his shoulder and say ‘run’ and ahhh, tears well up inside of me. He asked a lot of questions in between, like why they hit, why they don’t talk, etc. As of now, we just tell him that they are different and he should help them when they need it and be polite. Nowadays, sometimes when the twins are upset or crying, he will come to me and say, “Maybe you should calm him down,” or when he goes out alone with me, he will pick something up after his shopping and say, “Maybe we should take this for Hadi/ Ahmed?” Or if the TV is loud, he will tell me to lower the volume if the twins are closing their ears, saying, “It’s too loud for them.” Seeing two special brothers since his birth, I feel, has made him a sensitive child. All I hope and pray is that he grows up to be a nice brother to them. Education UAE: What hobbies do your children enjoy? Ambreen Suhaib: They love going out to malls and play areas. These days they enjoy swimming (something I thought they would never learn, but this year they surprised me), and they love music— listening to it or playing piano. I don’t know if I will have enough resources in the future, but I would love to put them in piano classes. They don’t speak, but they love singing; that’s how crazy awesome autism is! 'Unstoppable' by Sia is their top favourite to listen to and sing. Education UAE: What do you most want people to know about children with autism? Ambreen Suhaib: They are also like any other children you see around you, but their brains are wired differently.

The one book that I recommend all parents read is ‘Let Me Hear Your Voice’ by Catherine Maurice

They don’t speak, but they love singing; that’s how crazy awesome autism is! They are just different; they perceive things differently, and they do things differently. Acceptance and inclusion are their basic rights, not a favour from anyone. They should be accepted the way they are. Stop looking at them as anyone less. They are just different. And no, all autistic kids do not have an extra talent; only a few of them do! Stimming (repetitive behaviour) helps them regulate themselves, so let them be! Staring at them once is fine because I understand that different people always get attention, but staring at them as if they are aliens is uncomfortable. Please refrain. If my children are not being harmful to anyone in public places and you are still uncomfortable, then maybe you can leave because I won’t. Autism is not contagious, so if you want an autistic child to leave just because your typical child might pick up behaviours, no, he won’t! Lastly, please be tolerant of different children, be kind, and teach your kids to be kind too. Kindness doesn’t cost anything! Education UAE: Finally, what is your favorite time of the week with your boys? Ambreen Suhaib: I think it’s every night! When we are done with dinner, we all sit down in the lounge to watch TV together, snuggle, or just sit down in the lamp lights they love a lot. I feel so blessed in those moments. Those moments are a true depiction of how beautiful it is to have your own little world in this gigantic world. And when I take them out to their favourite trampoline parks or rides, the way they laugh, smile, and look at me laughing while enjoying themselves just makes me thank God for them because I don’t see autistic children; I see just happy children with the most beautiful angelic smiles ever.


Parents Corner

NEW SCHOOLS APP HELPS TEACHERS ENHANCE CHILDREN’S WELL-BEING WITH SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING TOOLS A new mental health app, Tell Dovie, has launched giving educators a proactive, digital solution to support children aged between 6-11 in school. In line with KHDA’s Wellbeing Framework, it offers a range of features, such as journaling and mood tracking to help children regulate their emotions and improve learning behaviour.

I’m Irish, I teach English and Humanities in Citizens School Dubai. I’ve been teaching in the UAE for four years, I have a degree in History and a Masters in Irish History from University College Cork in Ireland and a PGDE from Abu Dhabi University. I have a monthly column in a local Irish newspaper that talks about all things History and I’m passionate about teaching my students all types of History but particularly stories that are off the beaten track and less well known.



”Just as we have first-aid kits for physical injuries, we need access to mental health first-aid tools for prevention.”

In addition, Tell Dovie has a Growth Mindset Station and an Affirmation Station, empowering children to boost their self-confidence, particularly before tests or lessons they find difficult.

happiness, ultimately leading to his tragic suicide at the age of 22. I firmly believe that if our family and the education system had access to the right tools and services, his suicide could have been prevented. Just as we have first-aid kits for physical injuries, we need access to mental health first-aid tools for prevention.”

he app’s Calming Journal lets children take time out to reflect, rewind, and renew when a challenging situation occurs. They can record how they feel, the outcome of their choices and how to make things better. This feature teaches accountability, enabling children to understand how their actions impact themselves and others, thereby reducing disruption in the classroom.

Recognising that teachers have a lot of admin to juggle, the app offers a personalised platform for each child making it simple to identify their unique needs and craft intervention plans. Individual data is collected and displayed on the dashboard, effectively encouraging well-being practices without burdening teaching staff. Sherri Samuel, Primary Educator and Founder of children’s well-being company, The SEL Hub, explains: “Mental health problems among children and adolescents are on the rise, and as teachers we see the impact daily. In today’s fast-paced world, young people require a strong foundation in social-emotional learning, however, there are not enough tools available for teachers to offer adequate support.

Tell Dovie has three levels of access: administration, class teacher, and student. Schools pay a yearly registration fee of 1,000 AED, which is applied after the free three-month trial period. In addition to the schools app, The SEL Hub also provides monthly workshops for parents and children, well-being subscription boxes, and journals to be used at home.

“My own brother grappled with emotional self-regulation since childhood. These challenges persisted into his adult life, causing him to emotionally withdraw when he experienced anything other than

Tell Dovie has been designed by The SEL Hub, run by educator Sherri Samuel



Parents Corner



AED 150.38

‘A Teacher's Guide to Special Education’ by David F. Bateman and Jenifer L. Cline is a comprehensive and invaluable resource for educators navigating the complexities of special education. This book serves as a guiding light, offering practical insights and strategies to create inclusive and supportive learning environments for students with diverse needs.


ateman and Cline adeptly blend theoretical foundations with practical applications, making this guide accessible and relevant for both novice and experienced educators. They address various aspects of special education, from understanding the legal and ethical considerations to implementing Individualised Education Programmes (IEPs) effectively. One notable strength of this book is its structured approach. It covers a wide array of topics, including assessment, intervention strategies, collaboration with parents and other professionals, behaviour management techniques, and assistive technology. Each chapter is well-organised, providing clear explanations, case studies, and real-world examples that enhance understanding and application. The authors emphasise evidence-based practices, encouraging educators to utilise research-driven methods while maintaining a student-centred focus. They empower teachers to tailor interventions based on individual student needs, fostering a more personalised approach to special education. One minor limitation may be the extensive content, which could seem overwhelming for some readers. However, the comprehensive nature of the book also ensures that it covers a wide range of relevant topics, making it a valuable reference for various aspects of special education. In conclusion, ‘A Teacher's Guide to Special Education’ stands out as an indispensable resource for educators seeking a deeper understanding of special education practices. Bateman and Cline's expertise and dedication to providing practical guidance make this book an essential companion for teachers committed to creating inclusive and effective learning environments for all students.

One notable strength of this book is its structured approach


Teachers Corner



AED 49.43

‘Be You No Filter: How to Love Yourself and Stay #SocialMediaStrong’ is a timely and insightful guide by Latasha Blackmond that tackles the complexities of self-acceptance in the digital age. In a world dominated by social media, where curated personas often overshadow authentic identities, Blackmond's book serves as a beacon of empowerment and self-discovery.


t its core, the book delves into the importance of embracing one’s true self while navigating the pressures of social media. Blackmond adeptly addresses the detrimental impact of comparison culture, unveiling how constant exposure to idealized images and lifestyles can erode self-esteem. Drawing from her own experiences and research, she offers practical advice on building resilience and cultivating self-love in the face of these challenges. What sets ‘Be You No Filter’ apart is its blend of personal anecdotes, psychological insights, and actionable strategies. Blackmond doesn't merely highlight the issues; she provides readers with tangible tools to reclaim their authenticity and confidence. From mindfulness exercises to setting healthy boundaries online, the book presents a holistic approach to self-care in a digital landscape. The author's conversational tone creates an engaging narrative, making the content accessible to a broad audience. Blackmond's sincerity and vulnerability foster a connection with readers, encouraging them to embrace vulnerability as a strength rather than a weakness. Moreover, "Be You No Filter" doesn't demonize social media but instead advocates for mindful usage. Blackmond emphasizes leveraging these platforms as tools for selfexpression and positive engagement, promoting authenticity over validation-seeking behaviors. “By the end of ‘Be You, No Filter’, you will gain a better understanding of how easy it is to participate in sabotaging behaviours — and how to break free from them, discover the real you and love yourself just the way you are,” Blackmond said. In essence, ‘Be You No Filter’ is a pertinent and empowering guide that advocates for self-love, authenticity, and resilience in an era dominated by digital facades. Latasha Blackmond's wisdom and guidance serve as a compass, helping readers navigate the digital landscape while staying true to themselves.

What sets ‘Be You No Filter’ apart is its blend of personal anecdotes, psychological insights, and actionable strategies



Teachers Corner

INNOVATION IN MEDICAL HISTORY: FROM THE CLOCKWORK SAW TO AI SURGERIES By Shane Daly, Citizens School, Dubai “The tools and technologies we’ve deployed are really the first few drops of water in the vast ocean of what AI can do.” - Fei-Fei Li

I am Irish, I teach English and Humanities in Citizens School Dubai. I’ve been teaching in the UAE for four years, I have a degree in History and a Masters in Irish History from University College Cork in Ireland and a PGDE from Abu Dhabi University. I have a monthly column in a local Irish newspaper that talks about all things History and I’m passionate about teaching my students all types of History but particularly stories that are off the beaten track and less well known.

This week in my school, the students are learning about innovation in history. Particularly medical history. Citizens School, aptly named as it is the citizens of the school that are at the heart of literally every aspect of what happens here. Here, we are not referred to as ‘teachers’ but instead ‘mentors’, and on any and all documents, including job descriptions, this is what we are referred to as. This is taken incredibly seriously. We are here to mentor the students not only through lessons but also through life and to give them every opportunity to succeed. The aim is to future-proof our students for the world that is ahead of them. A world where it is estimated that 80% of the jobs they will have a career in have not even been invented yet. It is on this basis that the decision was made at the school’s inception in August 2022 that it would not follow other curriculums but instead write its own. This curriculum is called the Citizens Future Framework. As part of this curriculum, the students have lessons on entrepreneurship which teaches them about various aspects of starting a business as well as profit and loss. They are taught the difficulties of setting up a business, the pitfalls that can come with it, and also the many great advantages of being self-employed.


Many of the students’ parents are indeed entrepreneurs, so this was of particular interest to them and a large reason for their enrolment here. Students take this class from Year 1 upwards, which is the equivalent of Junior Infants at home in Ireland. We also have a CFF lesson (Citizens Future Framework) which aims to prepare them for all the eventualities of life that are ahead of them after school ends. As part of the curriculum, we have certain tenets that need to be met. The school’s ethos is woven into all subjects. For example, empathy and innovation are two of the main categories that the school insists are instilled across all age levels and subjects, and every Wednesday, we have a whole school assembly that everyone attends. They listen and take part in a presentation on the selected school ethos topic that week. This week, it was innovation. The aim of this is not for the mentors to present, but for the students to lead. This week it was my Year 7 class that was holding the assembly, and we decided to cover the innovation of medical instruments from the 1800s to the present day. Students researched the development of surgical methods and were completely flabbergasted that instruments like the clockwork saw were used by surgeons to amputate infected limbs. They researched and presented a beautiful presentation on Robert Liston, ‘The Fastest Knife in the West-End’, and were delighted to tell the school that he was able to remove someone’s leg with his special knife known as ‘The Liston Knife’ in under 30 seconds. They detailed the innovation in a short period of time, from the brutality of the clockwork saw to the speed of Robert Liston. The audience was astounded to learn that during all of these surgeries, there were no anaesthetic or painkillers! This meant that Liston became a superstar as speed was of the utmost importance, limiting the time taken and reducing pain for the patient. The next step in innovation came from Joseph Lister. He was the first person to realise germs existed, and

he formulated a germ theory. It was because of Lister that surgeons and hospitals began to wash instruments, clean their surgical clothing, and sanitise equipment. This led to a plummeting death toll in hospitals. Surgical deaths and infections dropped to a percentage of what they were previously. He is credited with saving the lives of millions of people, and the famous antiseptic mouthwash Listerine is named in his honour. After Lister came the introduction of proper sanitisation in hospitals and updated clothing, equipment, and professional care. Before Lister, operations were done in the homes of the patients. It was even seen as a luxury to have a surgeon operate in your kitchen or living room, as it was expensive and therefore only the very wealthy could afford it. It was a measure of your wealth and what social class you belonged to. Operations were done in garages, sheds, and barns. There are medical reports of rats and maggots being swept away and removed from buildings prior to surgery. We have Lister to thank for the sanitised conditions in our hospitals in 2023. In 2023, the year of artificial intelligence and the powerhouse that ChatGPT has become, it was inevitable that AI would become integrated into surgery. The power of the human mind, coupled with modern technology, has the potential to shape healthcare as we know it. The integration of AI in surgery is advancing surgical and procedural medicine to tremendous levels of sophistication. Artificial intelligence can be broadly defined as "the study of algorithms that enable machines to reason and perform cognitive functions including problemsolving, object and word recognition and decision-making." Functions like problem-solving, object and word recognition, and decision-making are all integral parts of the surgical process. By training machines to perform these functions, surgical procedures can aid and advance the skills of human surgeons.


Teachers Corner


The audience was astounded to learn that during all of these surgeries, there were no anaesthetic or painkillers! Elon Musk is most famous for creating the electric car company, Tesla, and he has another company called ‘Neuralink’, which is a neurotechnology company that’s building an implantable, brain-computer interface capable of translating thought into action. It hopes to solve paralysis in patients by translating their thoughts into moving limbs with the help of the surgically inserted chip. The operation to implant the chip into the brain is so complex and fine that it needs to be done by a robot. The threads of the Neuralink implant are so fine that they can't be inserted by the human hand. The robot has been designed to reliably and efficiently insert these threads exactly where they need to be.

Operations were done in garages, sheds, and barns AI and virtual surgery make it possible for the best surgeons in the world to operate on people in different nations without leaving their home countries. For example, in America, the best heart surgeons in the world can log into a system and operate on a patient in Ireland through the medium of robotic arms, controlled by the surgeon in the States and acted out in real-time in Ireland. An incredible innovation. In the span of 200 years, the advancement from the clockwork saw to AI surgeries has been truly amazing. The next 200 years of innovation in the medical industry are almost impossible to

AI and virtual surgery make it possible for the best surgeons in the world to operate on people in different nations without leaving their home countries

comprehend. Anything is possible. AI has already taken over education, and just last week, Citizens School purchased the educational-friendly version of ChatGPT called ‘School Hack’. This is a revolutionary app and website that allows students to research and submit work through the platform. The platform helps them to answer questions and also vets the work that they have submitted to see if the work they have written and submitted is original or if it is plagiarised. Similar to the ‘Turnitin’ system used in universities all over the world. In UCC, ‘Turnitin’ would allow you to submit your assignment and then give you and the lecturer a percentage of how much of the work was original. This mitigated cheating and simply copying pages of work from the internet. School Hack does something similar, and it also safeguards students by not allowing any ‘Haram’ questions, and in turn, the students cannot receive any inappropriate answers. The whole school staff is encouraged to use it to plan lessons and prepare for classes, which cuts down on work and creates a better work-life balance. This is the very beginning of AI in education, and it is exciting to see the possibilities of this technology and the potential it has to reinvent education.


Teachers Corner


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP LAUNCHES THIRD EDITION OF THE FEDERICO OLIVIE FUND The International Schools Partnership (ISP) has announced the launch of the third annual edition of the Federico Olivie Fund, which is designed to support education staff members at ISP Schools in the Middle East in their professional development plans for the year.



n the previous 2022-2023 edition, the fund was divided among seven deserving ISP staff members, empowering them to enhance their learning and skills through additional training courses of their choice. The recipients, Calum Rowland, Charlotte Clark, Elizabeth Barry Cutter, Joanne Salvamante, Ronali Nabong, Esli Boshoff, and Minhaz Uddin, were awarded portions of the Fund, fostering their commitment to providing higher-quality education within their respective school communities. Ms Elizabeth Barry Cutter, Curriculum Lead across Primary and the International Learning Opportunity coordinator at Aspen Heights British School, expressed her appreciation: “The Penta International Inspection Accreditation was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to reflect on current practices, strengthen our existing good practices, and address barriers to success, ultimately ensuring everyone's success.” Similarly, Ronali Nabong Lopez, Teaching Assistant at Reach British School for eight years, emphasised the significance of her training: “This teaching assistant course enhanced my communication skills, allowing me to demonstrate authority effectively, listen intently, and foster positive interactions with students.”


With applications for the 2023-2024 edition of the fund open, Rory Galvin, Director of Learning at ISP - Middle East, highlighted the importance of continuous learning, saying: “At ISP, we prioritise learning. First. We actively encourage and support our school teams to pursue personal growth and self-improvement, enhancing our students’ educational experiences and our academic professional practices. We look forward to more successful applications from our colleagues who share our dedication to providing enhanced learning experiences to our students.”

“We actively encourage and support our school teams to pursue personal growth and self-improvement”

The Federico Olivie Fund provides a financial contribution to support applicants from ISP schools

Kam Bhamra, Regional Managing Director, ISP - Middle East, shared the inspiring vision behind the scholarship, explaining: “Schools are embracing transformative changes in this era of rapid advancements by adopting innovative approaches, tools, and technologies. By equipping themselves with new skills, our academic and administrative staff are playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of their schools and enriching the educational journey of our pupils. The Federico Olivie Fund encourages these remarkable qualities, offering unwavering support to our employees in their pursuit of continuous learning and their commitment to becoming catalysts of positive change within their schools. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the recipients of the 2022-2023 edition and looking forward to seeing more outstanding applications for this year’s edition.” The Federico Olivie Fund was established in memory of a friend and colleague of ISP, who passed away in 2015. Federico was involved in the private education sector and made a significant contribution to ISP in the organisation’s early days. The Federico Olivie Fund provides a financial contribution to support applicants from ISP schools who wish to enhance their learning and skills by completing additional training. Applications are open annually to all teaching and non-teaching Middle East employees of ISP. ISP schools in the Middle East include The Aquila School, Nibras International School, Star International School, Al Twar, and Star International School, Mirdiff in Dubai; Aspen Heights British School and Reach British School in Abu Dhabi; and Park House English School and The Hamilton International School in Qatar.

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The Lounge


ELive Nation Middle East is presenting the much-anticipated performance by the renowned American comedian and actor Kevin Hart at Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on 4 March 2024. A regular visitor to the UAE, the much-loved funny man will be once

again bringing his rib-tickling standup show to Dubai for a night of hilarity that is not to be missed. Emmy and Grammy-nominated Kevin Hart, a Philadelphia native who kickstarted his career as a comedian during an amateur night at a local comedy

club, has evolved into a Hollywood box office powerhouse. With 11 films opening at number one and a plethora of the most loved globally renowned movies in his repertoire, Hart’s comedic genius knows no bounds.


‘ANCIENT ANDALUSIA AND HESPERIA’ CONCERT AT ABU DHABI FESTIVAL Esteemed musician and researcher Jordi Savall joined forces with over 20 Arab and international performers and musicians to deliver a captivating concert entitled ‘Ancient Andalusia and Hesperia’. The event, which was co-presented with the Abu Dhabi Festival and The Arts Center of New York University Abu Dhabi, showcased masterpieces of Andalusian and ancient Arab poetry and rhythms. Jordi Savall, celebrated for his versatility and tireless dedication to early music, was a pivotal force in the success of the concert. His participation added a unique depth to the performance, reflecting his more than 50 years of expertise as a gambist, conductor, and researcher in historical music. This event was a testament to Savall’s commitment to making early music accessible to a broad and diverse audience. Jordi Savall also shared his inspiring experiences in an intimate talk as a composer, conductor, and musician with the students of NYUAD. The discussion was moderated by the Senior Director of the Institute, Maurice Pomerantz..

A WORLD OF WINTERTAINMENT! Dubai Parks™ and Resorts, the Middle East’s largest theme park destination, is thrilling guests with a wide range of holiday experiences, including a new spectacular festive-themed laser show, festive events, workshops, live shows, and parades, along with the park’s exciting rides, rollercoasters, and attractions from Friday, 8 December 2023 to Thursday, 7 January 2024.




IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS! Make it a December to Remember! So, gather your family and friends and step into a festive wonderland over Christmas and enjoy the festive splendour with familyfriendly activities, festive food and entertainment. Let’s all gather together for an evening of cheer with sparkling lights.




KEMPINSKI HOTEL & RESIDENCES PALM JUMEIRAH This holiday season, let @KempinskiPalm Jumeirah be the stage for your exceptional memories. Step onto the shores of Palm Jumeirah and immerse yourself in wonder and merriment, from an enchanting Italian Christmas Eve Dinner at Brunello Restaurant to an extravagant Christmas Day family brunch at Brunello Garden and a spectacular carnaval-themed New Year’s Eve party on the beach, with a lavish international buffet, outstanding musical and dance performances, engaging kids activities, and the best view of Dubai's fireworks display!

99 24 DECEMBER: BELLA NOTTE: A SPELLBINDING CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER Join us for a magical Christmas Eve celebration at Brunello Restaurant, where an enchanting evening awaits. Experience the joy and wonder of the holiday season with live entertainment, a special visit from Santa Claus, and a delectable 5-course menu that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. AED 390 per person inclusive of unlimited soft beverages Add AED 190 per person for unlimited select house beverages Brunello Restaurant, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM FOR BOOKINGS 

MENU: Amuse Bouche: Chef’s Choice Antipasto: Octopus carpaccio, salsa verde, romesco, squid ink Primo: Confit duck cappelletti, parmigiano foam, demi glace, marjoram Secondo: Beef tenderloin, foie gras escalope, Swiss chard, sweet cranberry demi, parsnip puree, seasonal black truffle Dolce: Dark chocolate mousse, raspberry gel, mango, crunchy pistachio, assorted berries


Festive 25 DECEMBER: MERRY BRUNCHMAS (CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH) Step into a world of festive delights at Brunello Garden this Christmas Day! Our festive brunch promises an extravagant buffet experience with live entertainment, fun-filled kids activities, a special visit from Santa himself, and a menu that will tantalize your palate. AED 499 per person inclusive of unlimited soft beverages Add AED 199 per person for unlimited select house beverages Brunello Restaurant Terrace and Garden, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM FOR BOOKINGS 

BRUNCH BUFFET HIGHLIGHTS Oyster and Seafood Bar | Sushi Corner | Charcuterie and Antipasti Corner | International Salad Corner | Salad Bar and Condiments | Live Pizza Station | International Cheese Corner with Condiments Soup Corner | Cold & Hot Mezze Corner | International Hot Buffet | Live Carving: Beef Roast, Baked Salmon Fillet, Roasted Turkey | International Dessert Buffet | Kids Buffet


31 DECEMBER: PALMAVAL (BRAZILIAN CARNIVAL-INSPIRED NEW YEAR'S EVE GALA) Get ready to samba your way into the New Year at Kempinski Beach with our electrifying carnival-themed New Year's Eve gala party! This spectacular evening features a lavish dinner buffet with live stations that cater to every craving, 4-piece live band, mesmerising samba and Latin dance performances, kids' entertainment, and a DJ to keep the celebration going all night long. Package Rate: AED 3,500 per adult inclusive of free-flow premium beverages. Children ages 6-12: AED 1,500 per child. Children ages 5 and below dine with our compliments. Kempinski Beach, 8:00 PM - 2:00 AM

NEW YEAR GALA DINNER BUFFET HIGHLIGHTS Salad Live Station | Sushi Corner | Compose Salad Station | Cured Fish Corner | Cold Seafood & Caviar Station | Foie Gras and Terrine Corner | Cheese Corner | International Bread Corner | Charcuterie Corner (No Pork) International Cheese Corner | Live Carving: Wagyu Beef Roast, Whole Sea Bass Fish, Roasted Turkey | Arabic Levant Corner | Hot Mezzeh Corner | BBQ Live Station | Soup Station International Hot Buffet | Pizza Station | Vegetarian Buffet Corner | International Cold & Hot Dessert Corner | Kids’ Corner with Hot, Cold Buffet And Dessert Table KEMPINSKI HOTEL  +971 4 444 2000




NEW YEARS EVE 31 December – 8:00 PM

25 December – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM This Christmas, Raffles Ballroom and Raffles Garden are the perfect places to celebrate with loved ones. Expect a fun day with live music, fun entertainment for kids and a special visit from Santa with a sack of gifts for those children who have been good!

Welcome 2024 with friends and family and enjoy a delightful international buffet and fine beverages accompanied by live music. At midnight, head out to the terrace to toast the New Year as you watch Dubai’s spectacular fireworks display.

AED 625 per person, including house beverages AED 450 per person, including soft beverages AED 225 for children aged 7-12 years.

AED 495 including soft beverages AED 695 including house beverages AED 995 including one bottle of Champagne AED 250 children 6-11 years old


24 December – 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM


24 December – 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM Treat your loved ones to an evening of seasonal fun and feasting, with a delicious Italian-style family set menu. Indulge in the savoury goodness of Salumi E Formaggi for starters, four types of Italian cold cuts & cheese. For the main course, enjoy the rich flavours of Brasato Di Manzo Wellington, featuring 36-hour slow-cooked beef ribs. Conclude your festive feast on a sweet note with Panettone Pana Cotta, and a combination of classic desserts that you will surely love. A night that is guaranteed to be filled with fun, while listening to your favourite festive tunes. AED 425 including house beverages AED 299 including soft beverages.

Welcome the New Year in style at Raffles' freshly revamped pool terrace. At midnight, immerse yourself in a privileged view of the renowned Burj Khalifa fireworks. AED 3,000 minimum spend per cabana up to four persons.

FOR BOOKINGS AND MORE INFO: Call: +971 4324 8888 Email:



FAMILY FESTIVE CELEBRATIONS AT GRAND PLAZA MOVENPICK MEDIA CITY Starry Soiree NYE: Welcome the new year with elegance at Twenty-Three Rooftop Bar's Starry Soiree. Live entertainment, fireworks, signature cocktails, and tantalizing tapas. It's the grandeur you've been waiting for! From AED 699 Call / WhatsApp: +971 54 793 1425

New Year's Eve Gala: Ring in 2023 with your loved ones in a family-friendly gala at Bytes Restaurant. Delicious food, fine dining, and sparkling Palm Jumeirah views. From AED 389 Call / WhatsApp: +971 54 793 1424 +971 4 525 7777





CELEBRATE THE FESTIVE SEASON WITH AN EPIC LINEUP OF AWARD-WINNING CHRISTMAS BRUNCHES, TRADITIONAL TURKEY ROASTS AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT FIVE Palm Jumeirah MAIDEN SHANGHAI CHRISTMAS EVE NAUGHTY NOODLES BRUNCH & AFTERPARTY, SATURDAY 23 DECEMBER, 12:30 PM - 7 PM Unwrap the magic of Christmas with Naughty Noodle’s Special Edition on Saturday, 23 December! Savour gourmet Chinese delights, craft cocktails, live entertainment, and dive into most electrifying party atmosphere in Dubai. Get ready to jingle, mingle, and savour the season in style against a breathtaking backdrop of the Dubai Marina Skyline and the Arabian Gulf. Early bird : AED450 per person, house package | AED500 per person, premium alcohol package CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER, SUNDAY 24 DECEMBER FROM 7PM Experience the magic of Christmas Eve at Maiden Shanghai, nestled in the heart of FIVE Palm Jumeirah. It’s incredible terrace, adorned with festive charm and boasting stunning views of the Marina Skyline sets the stage for a memorable evening. Indulge in a specially crafted Christmas dinner set menu featuring gourmet Chinese favourites, festive drinks and more. The stylish surroundings make Maiden Shanghai the perfect place to celebrate the spirit of Christmas with friends and family. Early bird : AED380 per person, Set Menu (food only) | A la carte beverages.

CINQUE CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER, SUNDAY 24 DECEMBER FROM 7PM Executive Chef Mauro Di Leo invites you to experience the magic of the Amalfi Coast on this special day of the year. Delight in gourmet Italian dishes and the all-time Christmas favourite, freshfrom-the-oven, Panettone. Enjoy the festivities with exclusive handcrafted beverages and live entertainment while you dine, whether you choose the indoors or al fresco ambiance. Early bird : AED499 per person, non-alcohol package | AED599 per person, house package | AED699 per person, premium alcohol and Prosecco package | AED249 for kids (5-12 years old) CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH, MONDAY 25 DECEMBER, 12:30PM - 4:30PM Experience an Italian-style Christmas, featuring gourmet dishes by Executive Chef Mauro di Leo and an array of live entertainment to make your day delightful. Indulge in a selection of classic antipasti, followed by a variety of dishes, including fresh pasta and sizzling BBQ options. And, of course, top off your festive feast with a selection of traditional Christmas pastries and sweet treats. Early bird : AED599 per person, alcohol package | AED249 for kids (5-12 years old)



BLVD ON ONE CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER, SUNDAY 24 DECEMBER FROM 7PM Indulge in our lavish festive dinner buffet with an array of cooking stations serving up international classics including a live carving station and a delicious dessert selection, paired with entertainment for the whole family. Early bird : AED399 per person, indoor seating | AED499 per person, outdoor seating | AED249 for kids (5-12 years old) CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH, MONDAY 25 DECEMBER, 12:30PM-4:30PM Grab your friends and family, and take in the beautiful Dubai winter weather this Christmas Day with BLVD on One's al fresco Christmas Day Brunch. Indulge in a range of international live stations and enjoy live tunes by the band taking stage on our famous social pool. Early bird : AED399 per person, indoor seating | AED499 per person, oudoor seating | AED249 for kids (5-12 years old)

stracciatella, Risotto agli asparagi, Bistecche di cavolfiore, and Panettone! Early bird : AED250 per person, Set menu (food only) | A la carte beverages AED170 for kids (5-12 years old) | Includes complimentary Kids Club access CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH, MONDAY 25 DECEMBER, 12:30PM - 4PM No one knows how to feast on Christmas day quite like Italian families, and we’re bringing you all the delicious traditional Italian delicacies for you to enjoy with your friends and family. Chef Marco has carefully crafted a selection to transport you to Italy. Enjoy our pasta station – complete with everything from Cannelloni al ragu to Risotto funghi e tartufo; and BBQ station with live Scaloppine di vitello al limone e salvia, Gamberoni, and Spiedini di polpo e patate. Leave room for dessert because the Dolci station is packed with sweet treats that will blow your mind. At Trattoria by Cinque, we don’t skip dessert!

FIVE Jumeirah Village

Early bird : AED299 per person, indoor seating | AED350 per person, outdoor seating | AED199 for kids (5-12 years old) | Includes complimentary Kids Club access



What better way to celebrate the festive season than with a global street food celebration? Bring your squad to SoulCaliCool Brunch for a Christmas Eve you won’t forget. Feeling nostalgic and wanting to use the holidays to celebrate your roots? With buzzing festivalthemed live stations cooking up authentic cuisine from all around the globe, we’ll bet we have your home dish on the menu! Plus, get fezzy with our DJ, live entertainment, and social pool access if you fancy a dip!

Embrace the festive tradition of a classic roast dinner at Goose Island Tap House this Christmas Eve. Renowned for its awardwinning gastropub ambiance, iconic tunes, and exceptional roast dinners, enjoy a range of succulent turkey, lamb, chicken, and beef options to delectable plant-based dishes, complete with all the trimmings. Experience the unparalleled delight of a roast dinner crafted to perfection, making this Christmas Eve a culinary celebration like no other.

Early bird : AED349 per person, house package | Includes complimentary Kids Club access

Early bird : AED175 per person | AED90 for kids (5-12 years old) | Includes complimentary Kids Club access



and with all the trimmings– you'll find it hard to rival a roast dinner as good as this one.

Get into the festive spirit at Trattoria by Cinque with this hearty, family-friendly Italian feast. Our chefs have prepared a delicious 5-course set menu for you to enjoy this Christmas Eve, just as you would around Nonna’s table in Italy. We’re talking all the authentic delights from Tartare di fassona to Paccheri gamberini e

If a roast dinner is your festive tradition, then you will want to be at Goose Island Tap House this Christmas. Goose Island is an awardwinning gastropub, well-known in Dubai for its unique atmosphere, great tunes and of course, for its roast dinner. With options spanning from turkey, lamb, chicken, beef, plant-based dishes,

Early bird : AED175 per person | Includes complimentary Kids Club access



Hosting your nearest and dearest in the comfort of your own home? Take the stress out of the festivities and let our award-winning chefs do it for you. Simply place your order with us and collect it before your great gathering.

Takeaway Turkey with all the trimmings for AED495 - 6kg | AED750 - 8kg Pecan Pie AED220 Hampers AED550 - Small | AED950 - Large

For bookings, call 04 455 9989 or email



RING IN 2024 IN SPECTACULAR FASHION, JOIN US FOR EPIC PARTIES AND GALA DINNERS, UNFORGETTABLE ENTERTAINMENT AND PRIME FIREWORKS VIEWS FIVE Palm Jumeirah THE PENTHOUSE NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY, from 8pm #1 Nightclub in the Middle East, The Penthouse is the top spot to watch Dubai’s famous New Year’s fireworks against the Marina Skyline. Join the extravaganza at The Penthouse for an epic night of drinks, dining, dancing, and the best live entertainment with an international headline DJ until the sun rises. Make this a New Year’s Eve party of a lifetime, starting at 8pm. MARINA SKYLINE VIEW Early bird offer: VIP Sofa Row 1 – AED24000 (up to 6 guests) VIP Sofa Row 2 - AED18000 (up to 6 guests) Row 1- AED10000 (up to 2 guests) - Additional 5K per person Row 2- AED8000 (up to 2 guests) - Additional 4K per person Row 3- AED6000 (up to 2 guests) - Additional 3K per person MARINA INDOOR - AED2000 per person THE PENTHOUSE CLUB WITH ROBIN SCHULZ Club tables available from AED3000 per person Table prices include a AED2000 food and house beverages package per person from 8pm - 12:30am. The remaining amount is redeemable on à la carte

BEACH BY FIVE NEW YEAR’S EVE BEACH EXTRAVAGANZA, FROM 8PM Ring in 2024 with the most stunning skyline view of the city and the Arabian Gulf. Soak up those FIVE beach vibes this New Year’s Eve, dress to impress, feast under the stars and enjoy a lineup of highenergy entertainment, including hit international DJs. We’ll have the champagne flowing as you get ready to watch the stunning New Year’s fireworks! Early bird : AED2500 per person, Standard alcohol package | AED3000 per person, Premium alcohol and Champagne package | AED1000 for kids (5-12 years old) CINQUE FUN, ITALIAN DINING ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, FROM 8PM Italians truly understand the art of holiday celebrations, and New Year’s Eve is certainly no exception. Chef Mauro Di Leo has artfully crafted a delightful Italian menu, drawing inspiration from his Sicilian heritage for this special occasion. Discover a symphony of flavours with our thoughtfully curated festive menu, and select your preferred dining atmosphere—indoors or al fresco, where you can take in the breathtaking New Year’s fireworks. Early bird : AED1500 per person, Premium indoor package | AED1800 per person, Premium outdoor package | AED800 for kids (5-12 years old)




113 CALIFORNIAN GALA DINNER, FROM 8PM Sit back and savour the epitome of culinary opulence at Praia! With lobster, wagyu beef, and sushi as the stars of the menu, prepare for a night of unbridled extravagance with the stunning oceanfront view right in front of you. As the grand finale, you’ll also have a front-row seat to Dubai’s coveted New Year’s Eve skyline fireworks, ensuring an unforgettable evening of gourmet delight and spectacular views. Early bird : AED2000 per person, for Silver tier AED2500 per person, for Gold tier AED3000 per person, Premium alcohol and Champagne package for Platinium tier BLING THE MOST EXCLUSIVE & OPULENT NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY FT. FATMAN SCOOP, FROM 11PM Get ready for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve at BLING, headlined by Hip Hop’s ultimate hype man, Fatman Scoop! Join us on December 31st, 2023, as we welcome the undisputed ‘voice of the club’ to the stage. Known for hits like “Be Faithful” that rocked the club circuit and topped the UK charts, Fatman Scoop guarantees an electric atmosphere with his rambunctious baritone and charismatic presence. Arrive in style in your supercar, making a grand entrance to set the tone for a night of sheer opulence. Indulge in exquisite champagne and dance the night away to the hottest Hip Hop and urban beats. BLING’s New Year’s Eve party is your passport to a world where luxury and style converge, making it the most talked-about event of the year! Early bird : AED750 per person before midnight AED1000 per person after midnight Kids not permitted MAIDEN SHANGHAI GOURMET CHINESE NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER, FROM 8PM Get ready to ring in 2024 in style at Maiden Shanghai! Chef Bing’s culinary magic, live entertainment, and a DJ turning up the groove promise a night to remember. With Champagne, party vibes, and the most stunning Marina

Skyline and Arabian Gulf view, it’s the ultimate way to welcome 2024! Early bird : AED899 per person, 1st and 2nd floor indoor seating AED1500 per person, 1st floor terrace seating AED3000 per person, 3rd floor terrace seating, Premium alcohol and Champagne package AED800 for unlimited Champagne upgrade AED800 for kids (5-12 years old) BLVD ON ONE INTERNATIONAL GALA DINNER, FROM 8PM Ring in the New Year with a bang. Gather your loved ones and upgrade the last hours of 2023 with a family-style New Year’s Eve buffet at BLVD on One with plenty of live entertainment, several food stations featuring dishes from all around the world, a chocolate fountain and top views of the city’s fireworks. It’s the perfect way to ring in 2024 with your nearest and dearest. Early bird : AED1500 per person, Indoor and Outdoor seating, Standard alcohol package | AED800 for unlimited Champagne upgrade | AED800 for kids (5-12 years old)

FIVE Jumeirah Village SOUL ST. AND MIMI’S POOL CLUB NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY, FROM 8PM Get ready to wrap up 2023 with the ultimate New Year’s Eve bash as Soul St. the hottest street food hotspot in Dubai, and MiMi’s Pool Club join forces to present an epic celebration headlined by none other than Hip Hop icon, Charlie Sloth! Renowned for his magnetic charisma and charttopping hits, Charlie Sloth brings his magic to a New Year’s Eve party that promises to be like no other. Delight in an array of mouthwatering street food offerings featuring the best of Latin, Asian, Indian, and European flavours. Here’s to ringing in 2024 with a bang! Early bird : AED1000 per person, Indoor seating | AED1500 per person, Outdoor seating | VIP tables on minimum spend | Includes complimentary Kids Club access THE MANSION New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, From 10pm

Style, music, and memories collide at The Mansion, located at FIVE Jumeirah Village! Prepare to dance into the early hours, savour handcrafted cocktails, and be blown away by electrifying live performances. As the clock strikes midnight, welcome the new year with a night of unparalleled excitement and celebration. Secure your spot now and let’s start the year in the most stylish way possible at The Mansion! Table reservations starting from AED4000 TRATTORIA BY CINQUE RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH AN ITALIAN GALA BUFFET, FROM 8Pm Gather your friends and family and toast to the New Year! Feast on a selection of signature antipasti, authentic Italian mains including gamberoni king prawns, bisceta beef angus ribeye, and pasta live stations serving up homemade agnolotti pasta with Canadian lobster and tasty risotto zafferano & tartufo, paired with a selection of handcrafted cocktails. Be sure to leave room for the extensive dessert live stations featuring more than 18 sweet treats! Dine inside or al fresco to enjoy glittering views of the city, and simply celebrate la dolce vita with our range of live entertainment - just like the Italians do. Early bird : AED999 per person | AED499 for kids (5-12 years old) | Includes complimentary Kids Club access GOOSE ISLAND TAP HOUSE THE BIGGEST HOUSE NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY IN DUBAI, 8PM - 1AM Taking it back to basics, ring in 2024 with your mates and sample your way through the largest sips selection in town at the hottest Tap House. Goose Island Tap House at FIVE Jumeirah Village is the venue for your New Year’s Eve fun for the whole gang. Delicious foodie treats, music, and plenty of games await you at the biggest house party in Dubai before the final countdown to 2024. Early bird : AED399 per person, non-alcohol package | AED499 per person, house package | AED599 per person, Premium alcohol package | AED299 for kids (5-12 years old) | Includes complimentary Kids Club access

For bookings, call 04 455 9989 or email

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Health and Nutrition

IN THE SPIRIT OF JOYFUL MODERATION: MINDFULNESS GUIDES OUR FESTIVE CHEER! Remaining fit and healthy during the festive season can be a challenge when faced with all of those enticing treats and hectic schedules. Despite this, implementing mindful practices can help you maintain your well-being while still enjoying the holiday spirit.


BALANCED EATING Indulgence is a common part of the festive season, but so is getting the balance right if you are to regain your equilibrium. It’s okay to tuck into your favourite holiday dishes, but try to balance them with healthy options, including vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.


PORTION CONTROL Keep an eye on portion sizes. Enjoy smaller portions of richer foods to savour the flavours without overindulging. This approach allows you to enjoy the treats without compromising your health goals.


STAY HYDRATED Amidst the festivities, don’t forget to drink water. Hydration is crucial for overall health. Aim to drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated, especially if you’re consuming more salty or sugary foods.


MINDFUL EATING Practice mindful eating by savouring each bite. Slow down and pay attention to flavours and textures. This helps in recognizing when you're full, preventing overeating.








PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Maintain or start an exercise routine during the holidays. Even short workouts or walks can counterbalance indulgences and boost your mood. Consider fun holiday activities like ice skating or family walks to stay active.

PLAN AHEAD Plan meals and snacks to avoid impulsive eating. Bringing a healthy dish to gatherings ensures there's a nutritious option available.

PRIORITISE SLEEP In the midst of all of the celebrations, prioritise sufficient sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your mood and appetite. Make every effort to keep to a consistent sleep schedule to recharge your batteries.

ENJOY MINDFUL INDULGENCE Allow yourself to indulge in holiday treats guilt-free, but with mindfulness. Savour special treats rather than mindlessly consuming them.

MANAGE STRESS The holidays can be taxing. Practice stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Focus on self-care to relieve stress and maintain emotional well-being.

PRIORITISE MENTAL HEALTH Take time for yourself. The holiday season can be overwhelming; prioritise activities that bring joy and relaxation. Connect with loved ones and seek support if needed.

Remember, the key is moderation. It's okay to enjoy the festive season, and a few indulgences won't derail your health goals. Listen to your body and practice balance. By incorporating these practices, you can enjoy the festive season while nurturing your health. Embrace the joy of the holidays while prioritising your well-being, ensuring a healthier and happier celebration.

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CHEEKEE MUNKEE’S FUN AND TRENDY STYLE STAPLES FOR YOUR KID’S WINTER WARDROBE As the seasons begin to turn, it’s time to look for timeless seasonal staples that are perfect for your little ones this winter. Whether it’s a special occasion, a holiday celebration, or a chilly picnic in the park, Cheekee Munkee’s AW23 collection has the perfect styles to spread some holiday cheer this season. Designed for boys and girls between the ages of 0 to 7, the range features comfortable, trendy , and affordable pieces to ensure your little one is always wrapped up in fashionable warmth.

From fun fall colours, and prints to cozy textures, Cheekee Munkee has everything to make a versatile closet filled with endless outfit options. Explore the homegrown brand’s essential staples, functional outerwear, and dressed-up holiday looks with the two-piece hoodie and jogger sets featuring their friendly monkey mascot, designed with breathable fabric and plenty of stretch. These sets are not only perfect for layering, but can be easily worn with a comfy Cheekee Munkee Tee underneath to create a fun (yet warm) fall look for your mini-me.

For your little diva, Cheekee Munkee’s flowy floral dresses, long-sleeved tees, and printed leggings in baby pink and aqua tones are perfect to encapsulate the essence of their youthful energy and childhood wonder. The boys’ range offers matching sets in their favourite prints and playful imagery to cute onesies and long-sleeved separates. These fashionable and fun pieces are thoughtfully crafted with play and comfort in mind and can be easily worn for any occasion from a beach staycation to a holiday adventure.

Let your kids express themselves in style and comfort this winter with Cheekee Munkee’s new collection. Cheekee Munkee is available at selected Debenhams and Mothercare stores in the UAE. You can also shop online at Debenhams, Mothercare, and Namshi.


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