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GEMS Wellington Primary School – WSA Q&A

GEMS Wellington Primary School – WSA Q&A

Which School Advisor: What is the official name of your school?
GEMS Wellington Primary School Dubai. (See the Which School Advisor review)

Which School Advisor: What is your school’s Web site address?
http://gemswps.com

Which School Advisor: How many nationalities are represented in your school?
75

Which School Advisor: Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?
Yes there is

Which School Advisor: Which nationality (ies)?
European

Which School Advisor: What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?
1:12

Which School Advisor: Does your school have a waiting list?
Yes it does

Which School Advisor: Kindly add details. Can you also supply a link and/or contact person where a prospective parent could find out more information?
All school information can be accessed via our website www.gemswps.com. We actively encourage parents to come in and meet with our registrations and admissions team. Using the website please click on the ‘admissions tab’, proceed to the ‘student registrations tab’ and the you will find the link ‘online registration.’

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Please contact us on +971-4-3433266 or email registrar_wps@gemsedu.com

Which School Advisor: How does the school promote healthy lifestyles? 
GWPS were rated by the DSIB in January 2013 as ‘Outstanding’ in this area. The school actively promotes health and well being for all its community members.

Which School Advisor: Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity? 
GWPS currently employs 6 full time Physical Education specialists and two associated support personnel who facilitate an extensive and thorough series of primary school level PE programmes. These align closely with the mandates provided by the UK curriculum and the KHDA. Teachers in this area of the school have consistantly been rated as outstanding.

Children have the opportunity to participate and develop skills in all areas including; aquatics, athletics, creative-fundamental movement, ball skills, fitness, agility, gymnastics and coordination.

Our PE programmes are also supplemented by our Extra Curricular Programmes and Paid E Sports provisions.

Which School Advisor: How do you promote healthy eating?
Healthy eating is promoted throughout all levels of the school as part of our integrated Wellington Way Curriculum. Workshops are also facilitated for parents throughout the year and as part of Induction and the Talk, Share, Encourage parent support programmes. Our teachers, medical team and PE staff also complete units of work and assessments to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of what is ‘good eating’ and ‘how healthy we are?’

Our children are all familiar with healthy snack boxes, Five Plus a Day, the food pyramid and eating smart. Evidence of this can be sourced via newsletters, units of work, classroom displays, induction training notes and school policy.

In addition our school collects extensive data on our childrens health and well being and this includes: fitness testing, beep test data, obesity checks, dental review, lunch box scrutinies and the annual medical survey. All data is utilised to support families and improve outcomes for children.

Which School Advisor: Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?
No, it does not

Which School Advisor: What is the starting and finishing time of your school day? 
FS1 – 7:30 am to 12:30pm. FS2 – YR 6 – 7:30 am to 2:15pm.
Extra Curricular: Please refer to Extra Curricular time table
Note that school ends at 1:30 pm on Thursdays.

Which School Advisor: Is there a school uniform?
Yes there is

Which School Advisor: Where can parents buy it? 
The GWPS uniform can be purchased via:
ZAKS Store – Jumeirah Branch
Tel #: +971 4 3429828
Timings: 10:00am to 8:00pm
Saturday to Thursday

Which School Advisor: Please advise on your discipline policy…
GEMS Wellington Primary School ensures that, at all times, there is an atmosphere and ethos that supports and encourages learning, based on respect for the individual.

The purpose of sanctions is to allow the children and others within the school, understand their behaviour is unacceptable and to help the children to make better choices…

It is a primary aim of our school that every member of the school community feels valued and respected, and that each person is treated fairly and well.

The school expects every member of the school community to behave as responsible, thoughtful and caring individuals to conform to sensible, practical rules, designed to ensure the smooth running of the school and the safety and wellbeing of all.

Rewards and sanctions:

We praise and reward children for good behaviour in a variety of ways:
• teachers congratulate children;
• teachers give children team points or house points;
• a child is nominated and congratulated every week for excellent work , behaviour or attitude in the whole school, year group or phase assembly;
• competency awards, merits or principals visits;
• every week a child in each class is chosen to be the “Star of the week“ or the “Principals” award
• Children are awarded achievement awards from the Principal for outstanding work , behaviour or attitude. Winners are acknowledged in the newsletter an in corridor displays.
• students receive ‘Golden Time’ to be utilized on Thursdays.

The school acknowledges all the efforts and achievements of children, both in and out of school.

However, children are aware that if they break the school rules and behave unacceptably that consequences / sanctions will be applied. Sanctions are chosen carefully to match the behaviour and stage of development of the child.

The purpose of sanctions is to allow the children and others within the school, understand their behaviour is unacceptable and to help the children to make better choices about their behaviour in the future. Possible sanctions for less serious misbehaviour could include:

• To be moved away from friends/group;
• To be asked to apologise;
• To lose a privilege or treat;
• To be asked to tidy any mess;
• Time-out;
• One to one talk (parents may be involved).

If a child’s behaviour is of concern we contact the parents and ask for their support in dealing with any issues that arise.

Only the Principal has the power to exclude a pupil from school having sought written permission from the UAE Ministry of Education and Youth.

If the Principal excludes a pupil, she/he informs the parents immediately, giving reasons for the exclusion.

At the same time, the Principal makes it clear to the parents that they can, if they wish, appeal against the decision to the GEMS management and the UAE Ministry of Education and Youth.

Appeals are to be made in writing and the school informed.

Which School Advisor: What is your policy on mobile devices such as mobile (cell) phones in school?
The use of personal cell phones for primary aged students is not encouraged. (Unless authorised by the Principal under special circumstances.)

Which School Advisor: How does your school differentiate learning?
All teaching and learning with classrooms is differentiated according to need, interest and ability. The GWPS Curriculum was rated as ‘Outstanding’ in January 2013.

In most instances the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. If a child’s need is more severe, we if necessary, use the support provided by Learning Support Assistants, and we involve the appropriate external agencies…

Our Wellington Way curriculum has breadth and balance throughout the areas of learning with particular emphasis of Science, Literacy, Numeracy and integrated e-learning opportunities.

It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum for England, but also the range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children.

We recognise that each child is a unique individual with his/her own contribution to make to the life of the school. We value the social and moral development of each person, as well as their intellectual and physical growth.

The Wellington Way Integrated Curriculum aims to:
• Provide a broad and balanced curriculum.
• Build up children’s confidence and motivation to learn through the use of a range of learning and teaching styles.
• Embed key skills in order to prepare children for real-life and everyday situations.
• Provide opportunities to apply knowledge and learning in practical ways.
• Provide a creative approach to planning and delivery that will incorporate and embed key aspects of the National Curriculum focusing on skills and the Primary Frameworks’
• Provide enrichment opportunities where learning and teaching can take place beyond the classroom.
• Enable children to be creative and to develop their own thinking
• Support the Every Child Matters Agenda.
• Develop social skills and encourage children to become more active citizens within the school community and beyond.
• Promote a positive attitude towards learning, so that children enjoy coming to school, and acquire a solid basis for lifelong learning;
• Enable children to have respect for themselves and high self-esteem, and to be able to live and work co-operatively with others

If we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individual children, then we do so only after the parents of the child have been consulted.

If a child displays signs of having special needs, his/her teacher makes an assessment of this need.

In most instances the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. If a child’s need is more severe, we if necessary, use the support provided by Learning Support Assistants, and we involve the appropriate external agencies

Which School Advisor: Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?
How Long is Enough? NPTA suggest: FS to Year 2 – 10-30 minutes per day, Year 3 to 6, 30-60 minutes per day. (Note: We believe that reading is not home work, it is a life skill and a form of recreation that should be a daily occurance, supported by the parent).

However, it is important to remember that home learning is a choice and your childs ability to complete an assigned task with or without support, will vary from day to day.

Within GWPS we strongly advocate home learning and believe it has sustainable outcomes. Our children are all assigned tasks weekly which include; spellings, literacy crafting challenges, research, reinforcement of daily learning and integrated activity.

Parents have a vital role to play in their child’s education, and home learning is an important part of this process. We ask parents to encourage their child to complete the home learning tasks that are set.

Which School Advisor: How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?
Progress and attainment data is fed back to students continually throughout the year in a bid to facilitate improved learning outcomes. This is achieved through sharing; assessment tests, copy book feedback, awards, merit programmes, student target displays, student conferencing, three stars and a wish, APP profiling and one to one teachers-student discussions. Success is celebrated via; assemblies, awards, Principal visits, teachers blogs, newsletters, the GEMS Weebly, displays and the Year Book.

Parents are regularly communicated with and information is sent home through: the communication booklet, the Learning Portfolio, email and through access to the GEMS Learning Gateway. Parents are actively encouraged to visit the classroom and book meetings with teachers. Formal meetings are facilitated four times a year. Class teachers regularly host open mornings, parent training sessions and provide additional information to parents to further develop the home school partnership.

Which School Advisor: How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?
GEMS Wellington Primary School reports formally to children and their parents every term.

In the first two terms the report highlights whether the pupil is working below, in line with or above the national average for their age group in Literacy, Numeracy and Science with a comment about the child’s progress in each area.

A comment is also included from the specialist teachers (Languages in the first term and P.E. and Music in the second term.)
During the second term students in KS1 and KS2 write their own progress reports and review goals. This information is then shared as part of the three way conferencing process.

The end of year report in the third term highlights achievements across all subjects and against the Core Competency skills.

Similar to previous terms, the report highlights whether the pupil is working below, in line with or above the national average, however it does this across all subjects. A summary of the children’s achievements and progress as well as targets for the next academic year are detailed for Literacy, Numeracy and Science.

Our school also provides parent consultation evenings three times a year. The first meeting is a chance for teachers to set out expectations. These will include the importance of reading in the home, active parental involvement in educating their child, homework being completed on time and punctuality. It also provides an opportunity for the pupil’s targets to be discussed.

The remaining parent consultation evenings are for reporting the achievements for the academic year. This should highlight the pupil’s strengths and areas for development for each subject and should attempt to indicate ways in which the pupils can move forward. The reviewing of individual targets can be discussed.

Which School Advisor: Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language in your school?
Yes. The school operates in full accordance with KHDA/ DSIB mandates and is fully compliant in regards to curriculum delivery.

Which School Advisor: Which other languages are taught?
French
Chinese

Which School Advisor: Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?
Yes we do

Which School Advisor: Is Islamic Education/Studies for the Arab Muslim students delivered in Arabic for them?
Yes it is

Which School Advisor: Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for the Muslim students?
Yes we do

Which School Advisor: If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?
SATS

Which School Advisor: What is you medium of instruction?
English

Which School Advisor: Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?
GWPS is currently rated as ‘Outstanding’ in both Personal and Social Development and Protecting and Supporting Pupils.

Our school has the ‘Think Tank which supports pupils with specific special educational needs inclusively. This facility has had a significant impact on the provision for pupils who meet the ‘Wave’ criteria for additional support.

The facility provides curriculum support for pupils with additional educational needs including: Speech and Language Therapy; Occupational Therapy; Dyslexia; Autism; Down’s Syndrome and Global Developmental Delay. Learning Support Assistants are employed to support children with severe additional needs to help them access the curriculum. (see Think Tank database for details). GWPS also utilises the strengths of the specialist ELL, Gifted and Talented and Inclusion Coordinators to ensure progress and attainment outcomes for all learners. This is achieved in conjunction with teachers, learning support shadows, associated support agencies and the home.

The school provision for inclusion and well-being is ‘outstanding’.

Physical resources linked to the provision for children with abilities or identified needs is continually being developed. Teaching Assistants feature in all classes from FS1 to Y2. Y3-6; share TAs as a finite resource. The school also uses carefully screened and monitored parents to support students in their learning and attainment of set targets. Provision and differentiation for all classes is led by curriculum leaders and phase leaders to ensure challenge/ personalisation is evident for all.

The wellbeing of children is of foremost importance in the creative GWPS curriculum and ensures the systematic inclusion of personal, social, moral, emotional, spiritual and cultural development including the promotion of healthy living. The Healthy Schools Programme is being incorporated into all learning areas.

The coordinator for well-being has implemented many initiatives to support the well-being of all learners through intervention, assemblies, class-based and individual-based SEAL programmes. (See SEAL Programme and Head of Well-Being/ Inclusion files.)

Detailed plans and systems are in place to support the transition of our students through the varying levels of GWPS. This includes across phases and in and out of the school. Support is also provided for parents and caregivers. The GEMS network also allows for support to families and students transitioning from GWPS.

For pupils who are on the special needs register, individual education plans and termly reflection profiles reflect the individual needs and next steps for development. Pupils are also targeted to develop their personal, social and emotional well-being. For pupils who are English language learners the ELL continuum allows teachers to target their individual language needs. The inclusion coordinator has developed new IEP/IBP templates, meets with classroom teachers monthly to review SEN goals and keeps all stakeholders informed and involved.

Students with SEN needs perform very well in Numeracy and Literacy. Most students exceed IEP target expectations, highlighting the outstanding impact of our support systems. (See the Think Tank Register and DSIB reports.)

Which School Advisor: Do you have a learning support team in your school?
Yes we do

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?
Provision for Gifted and Talented children is led by year group leaders/ curriculum leaders and teachers to ensure provision for all. Curriculum leaders provide opportunities for acceleration and enrichment through invite lessons and clubs. In addition they advise on monitoring and planning for more able, gifted or talented pupils within the classroom.

We recognise that gifted and talented pupils have particular educational needs and, just like pupils with other special needs, these need to be met in order that they realise their full potential.

Our school also facilitates a strategic ‘Thinking Culture’ programmes wwhich empowers all children with a hierachy of levelled thinking strategies. This is initiated in FS and finishes in Year 6.

Many of our curriculum subjects are enriched by delivery of specialist teachers. These teachers, in PE, IT, Art, Arabic Studies, Islamic Education, French and Music, provide skilled and expert provision of the respective subjects as well as extra-curricular opportunities to a high standard.

The schools gifted and talented provision is multifaceted and ensures that children requiring acceleration or enrichment are catered for. Activities for these children occur both inside and outside the classroom. The G&T register is consistently being updated and reviewed and is based on definitive criteria and rigorous screening programmes.(See provision maps, withdrawal group registers and target tracker.)

Our school has also facilitates a comprehensive range of extra-curricular activities (ECAs) offered to all pupils twice a week, through our After Schools Activities programme. This is additionally enhanced by the partnership of even more ASAs through E-Sports, although this is at an additional cost to parents. Many of these activities are based on teacher recommendation and are strategically designed to enhance student progress and attainment levels. (Termly audits of progress are used to identify children who require additional support or extension. ECA’s are developed accordingly.)

GWPS is committed to the development of excellence in an environment that has high expectations of students. We recognise that gifted and talented pupils have particular educational needs and, just like pupils with other special needs, these need to be met in order that they realise their full potential. We aim to improve provision for Gifted and Talented pupils through the development of an ethos where academic and creative achievement is expected and celebrated.

Which School Advisor: Does your school have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?
Yes it does

Which School Advisor: Kindly provide details on the support for specific learning needs your school provides?
We currently provide outstanding programmes of learning for children in KG to Year 6. We are able to support some identified children with associated learning needs. We currently support children with low degrees of; ADHD, Dyslexia, Autisim, Downs Syndrome and Global Learning Delay. Each child is individually assessed and accepted on a case by case basis. As we are a mainstreamed school we need to carefully ensure that we can meet the needs of all children entering and that they can effectively access our curriculum.

Which School Advisor: Does your school have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?
Yes it does

Which School Advisor: Does you school offer activities to students from other schools after school hours?
No it does not

Which School Advisor: Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?
Yes we do

Which School Advisor: Please pass on contact details of the parents’ group.
We currently have several parents groups in operation. These include:
Parent Class Representatives
The VGF Charity Support Group
Arabic Mums Network
The International Fair Committee

Parental Engagement Coordinator: Mrs Clair Southam. Phone +971 04 343 3266 Email c.southam_wps@gemsedu.com

Which School Advisor: Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?
Yes there are

Which School Advisor: Kindly add details of such parent group activities you deem will be of interest.
See Above.

Which School Advisor: Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?
No there is not

Which School Advisor: Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?
Yes. For information on parents training, school visits, induction processes, school vacancies, GEMS opportunities or parental support, please contact: c.southam_wps@gemsedu.com

Which School Advisor: Finally, what qualities and characteristics would you say define your school?
GEMS Wellington Primary School is a Premium International Primary School that bases its teaching and learning on the National Curriculum for England.

GEMS Wellington Primary School opened its doors at the beginning of September 2007 and rapidly established itself in the community. Our population over the past six years has increased by from approximately 50 pupils (in year 1) to over 1100 (as of today). We believe this is a testament to our success and ability to deliver quality teaching and learning programmes.

We aim to ensure that each child has the individual attention necessary to do as well as he/she is able.

Our curriculum is creative, integrated and focussed on developing core success competencies in our learners. We also have implemented a thinking skills programme for all years aimed at facilitating a metacognition culture throughout the school.

Alongside the NC, WPS uses the Creative Wellington Way Curriculum, International Primary Curriculum, The National Primary Strategy and several other supporting programmes as tools to deliver the NCE+W 2000. The school also delivers the Ministry of Education’s curriculum for Islamic Education and Arabic Studies.

Our oustanding teachers and children are encouraged to work hard, to give their best at whatever they undertake and to behave in a way which shows mutual respect for all members of the school community. This includes working in conjunction with the aims ideals of the Varkey GEMS Foundation. We also promote the GWPS competencies, global citizenship, sustainability, leadership and charitable awareness.

GWPS expects the highest professional standards and we are ambitious for continued success. All staff ensure that they work together;
– To provide a very high quality education and schooling for children from 3 years to 11 years old based on the Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum for England.
– To exemplify and lead best practice in UK preparatory and international education.
– To develop leadership skills and attain personal levels of excellence.
– To teach the importance of citizenship on global scale – world citizenship.
– To teach the importance of the universal values, attitudes, conduct and ethics that are respected, admired and accepted in cultures around the world.
– To develop the skills needed for life-long learning.
– To provide an excellent school environment where information and communication technologies play an integral part in learning.
– To respect and foster understanding for the United Arab Emirates, its rulers, people, customs and beliefs.
– To provide all stakeholders with up to date information about their child’s progress and attainment compared to UK assessments and standards.

According to the DSIB report issued in January 2013 we have identified outstanding elements in assessment, curriculum, health and safety, support and guidance, leadership, self evaluation, links with parents, facilities, behaviour, community and environmental responsibility and foundation stage.

The school provides a comprehensive, working partnership with parents in support of pupil development. Partnership initiatives include: Family learning (e.g. Parental Engagement sessions/ ICT/ Sports), the Talk, Share, Encourage Initiative; a comprehensive After School Activity programme involving approximately 800 children weekly; additional external coaching agencies (E-sports); Curriculum workshops for parents, Parental support booklets; meet the Principal coffee mornings; meet the teacher events; formal consultation evenings and charity events (e.g. Kai’s Orphanage, Kibera Project, The El Noor Centre work) and ICT Academy providing MICROSOFT-accredited courses for parents to support their child’s learning within the home.

Our school also promotes the CPD partnership with GEMS Corporative office and the ICT Academy.

GWPS has the ‘Think Tank which supports pupils with specific special educational needs inclusively. This facility has had a significant impact on the provision for pupils who meet the ‘Wave’ criteria for additional support. The school, through the Think Tank, offers swift and easy access to additional learning support services for individual pupils with particular needs.

Many of our curriculum subjects are enriched by the support of our specialist teachers. These teachers, in PE, Arabic Studies, Islamic Education, French, Art, IT and Music, provide skilled and expert provision of the respective subjects as well as extra-curricular opportunities to a high standard.

Our school has a comprehensive range of extra-curricular activities (ECAs) offered to all pupils twice a week, through our After Schools Activities programme. This is additionally enhanced by the partnership of even more ASAs through E-Sports, the Language Acacdemy and Peri Music tutors, although this is at an additional cost to parents.

GEMS Wellington Primary School opened its doors at the beginning of September 2007 and rapidly established itself in the community. Our population over the past six years has increased by from approximately 50 pupils (in year 1) to over 1100 (as of today). We believe this is a testament to our success and ability to deliver quality teaching and learning programmes.

This year 2012-13 has seen significant development and structural change within GWPS. Recent changes have seen the construction of new; FS facilities, developmental play areas, KS2 classrooms, performance areas, a FS pool, new playground apparatus, prayer room facilities, science and technology suites, media rooms and shared learning provision. (All of which have been rated as outstanding by the DSIB.) Our school really is a thriving family focussed school within the vibrancy of Dubai – we pride ourselves on getting to know not only the child but the whole family group. By doing this we are able to work successfully in partnership to develop the world’s future citizens.

 

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