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North London Collegiate School Dubai – WSA Q&A

North London Collegiate School Dubai – WSA Q&A

What is the official name of your School?
North London Collegiate School Dubai

What is your school’s Web site address?
www.nlcsdubai.ae – expected to go live in the first week of November 2016.

What qualities and characteristics would you say define your school?
At NLCS Dubai, we will support every child develop their own unique gifts, and to become grounded, self-confident individuals, with no limit to their potential. Opening in September 2017, our school is located in the Sobha Hartland development at Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum City, just three kilometres from the Burj Khalifa. NLCS Dubai will be an International Baccalaureate Continuum School, offering the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma on a world-class, purpose-built campus.

Our students will leave us with a clear sense of where their passions and interests lie, having experienced a wide variety of activities and opportunities: academic, sporting, and artistic. They will be prepared for the challenges of a world in which borders are fading, in which international mindedness and compassion are essential. They will be equipped with the skills and attributes to think flexibly, to be independent, balanced, and to take risks where appropriate. They will welcome and be curious about other cultures and recognise a breadth of perspectives on world history and events. We believe that the IB programmes provide the ‘gold standard’ in education for today’s world and for tomorrow’s.

Since 1850, NLCS (UK) has maintained its reputation for providing an outstanding education. Founded by Victorian pioneer of education, Frances Mary Buss, in her family home in North London, the original vision of the school was to give to girls the quality of education and the aspirations that, at the time, were only afforded to men. The vision of our founder remains true to this day – we are a school which believes fundamentally in what students ‘can do’, in never placing ceilings on what they can achieve, never ‘labelling’ them, and never ‘writing them off’. Strong in tradition yet forward-thinking and outward-looking, North London Collegiate schools provide an ambitious academic education, led by highly qualified, knowledgeable teachers through engaging and inspiring lessons.

The Sutton Trust has described NLCS as the most successful school in the United Kingdom in placing its students into the country’s most competitive universities. Our 2016 average IB Diploma score of 41.7 places NLCS as the number one IB school in the UK for the twelfth consecutive year, and among the very best IB schools in the world. Students at NLCS Dubai will enjoy a quality of teaching and learning that enables them to strive for the highest levels of academic attainment. Our students will have confidence in their abilities and will be encouraged to believe in themselves, take risks and stretch themselves beyond what they thought possible.

We recruit some of the best teachers from around the world; they are highly qualified and inspire their students to discover a love of learning that will last a lifetime. Teachers are carefully selected for their love of their subject. They encourage students to explore beyond curriculum boundaries and discover their own passions. The school will feel busy and purposeful, with warm and respectful relationships developed between staff and students and between the students themselves. It is a place where everyone matters.

We believe that a happy student is a successful student, and that with the right guidance they will be able to flourish academically and socially. Our teachers guide their students to understand academic excellence and recognise that it is attainable. We strive to provide our students with an exceptional platform for life after school, as evidenced by the many Old North Londoners in public positions across film and media, and in leadership roles within the arts, sciences, engineering, law and commerce.


Each member of our teaching staff has a specific pastoral responsibility, ensuring that every student receives the individual support that they need in order to flourish. NLCS students exude a grounded self-confidence and a willingness to step outside of their comfort zone to try new things. Our pastoral care is designed to help students overcome any difficulties, whether academic, social or personal; we give up on no-one.

At NLCS Dubai, we understand that often it’s what students do beyond the curriculum that helps to shape their personalities and differentiate them from the crowd. All students will take part in an extensive range of extra-curricular activities, clubs and societies to pursue their interests and to discover a love of activities that perhaps they’ve never had the opportunity to try before. Whether your son or daughter is keen musician, performer, artist or sports-person, there are a multitude of activities to cater for everyone. Alongside all that you would expect from a world-class education, we are keen to offer activities in keeping with Dubai’s location and unique heritage and intend to offer shooting, equestrian, water sports and falconry as part of our extra-curricular programme.

This is an exciting time to be a part of the North London Collegiate family of schools. For over 160 years the London school has remained at the forefront of academic excellence. Its alumnae have gone on to assume leading roles across all sectors. It would have been easy to remain content in our corner of North London. But as an outward-looking school with globally-minded students, we recognise the benefits that a family of international school scan bring, both the our students in London and to our students overseas.

With this in mind, we were invited to open our first overseas campus on Jeju Island, South Korea in 2011. NLCS Jeju has rapidly established itself as one of the leading international schools in North East Asia. Its class of 2016, just the third graduating class, obtained an average IB Diploma score of 38 points. With our Dubai and Singapore campuses poised to open in 2017 and 2019 respectively, our teachers and pupils will have the opportunity to interact with their fellow NLCS students across continents – through the sharing of best practices, online learning activities, debates and staff/student exchanges.

Our purpose-built, 38,000 square metre campus has been carefully designed to provide an optimal learning experience and a close community feel. Our large, bright classrooms utilise the latest technologies. We offer 13 science laboratories, premium IT facilities, a state-of-the-art performing arts centre, a large dining hall and an array of sporting facilities, including tennis courts, basketball court, cricket/rugby field and an 8 lane indoor swimming pool.

How many nationalities are represented in your school?
When opening in September 2017, we expect there will be a large range of different nationalities represented amongst the students in the school.

What will the teacher: student ratio be?
We expect this to be between 1:10 and 1:12. Each child will benefit from a very high level of pastoral care. In pre-Kindergarten to Grade 1, there will be not more than 20 children in a class, joined by one teacher and one teaching assistant.

Between Grades 2 and 7, there will not be more than 24 in a class, again accompanied by one teacher and one teaching assistant (two teachers, rather than one teacher and one teaching assistant in Grades 6 and 7).

From Grade 8 onwards, class sizes will be smaller and will initially depend on demand.

Does your school have a waiting list?
As a new school opening in September 2017, we will have sufficient capacity and will not need to operate a waiting list. As the school grows, it is expected that in the future a waiting list will be introduced.

If a secondary school, what percentage of your students achieve entry to higher educational institutions and, in general terms, which countries?
In keeping with patterns at NLCS (UK) and NLCS Jeju in South Korea, we expect 100% of our graduating students to go on to further studies at the world’s leading universities, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States, but also Australia, Canada, Europe, The Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.

How do you promote healthy eating?
We are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles at NLCS Dubai. We will serve a wide range of healthy, delicious lunches and snacks in our school cafeteria. Children are taught about health and well-being, and all students will undertake regular physical activity through our PE lessons and numerous after-school sports clubs and societies. Our pastoral care programme ensures that students can access emotional and mental well-being support as required. Further details will be published at www.nlcsdubai.ae.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?
Yes. The school has a very spacious, comfortable cafeteria where students will be able to dine at lunch times.

If yes, does it serve hot food?
Yes. A range of choices will be on offer daily, including hot meals. Vegetarian options will be available.

What would be the amount spent by a student for their lunchtime meal?
20 Dirhams (current estimate), TBC.

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?
All children will start at 8.00am. Children in pre-KG to Grade 5 will finish at 3.20pm, with after school activities and clubs running until 4.05pm. Students in Grade 6 and above will finish at 4.00pm, with after school activities running until 5.00pm.

The main coach service will depart at 4.15pm, and the late coach service will depart at 5.15pm.

Is there a school uniform?
Yes. Parents will be able to obtain school uniforms by ordering online directly from our supplier, visiting our supplier’s store in Dubai, or by collection from the school at designated times prior to the start of the new school year. Contact details for our preferred supplier will be shared on the Uniform page of our website as they become available.

Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?
Children in the First School will undertake a small amount, approximately 20 minutes, of reading homework on a daily basis. In addition they will have another homework activity once per week, such as maths.

Students in the Lower School have about thirty minutes of homework in an evening and this rises to about forty minutes at the top of the Junior School. The school does not set homework over the holidays.

In the Senior School, homework levels will vary at different times of the year, and depending on which courses a student is following. However, we always seek quality over quantity, and recognise that all students need their down-time!

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?
Feedback is via Reports and Parents Evenings. Additionally, NLCS parents are always welcome to pop in for a chat with teachers.

Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language in your school?

Which other languages are taught?
In addition to English, which is our main language of instruction, we will offer Arabic, French and Spanish. As the school grows, where there is sufficient demand for additional languages, it will be our policy to meet this demand wherever possible.

Note: We had originally planned to offer Latin and Mandarin from September 2017, however a decision has been taken to postpone these initially.

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?
Yes. We will have a Head of EAL in post prior to opening.

Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for the Muslim students?
Yes. Prayer rooms for male and female students, as well as for staff members and visitors, will be available.

If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?
NLCS Dubai will be an IB Continuum School, adapting the assessments and methods of the PYP, MYP and IBDP.

What is you medium of instruction?

Do you have a learning support team in your school?
Yes, we will have a learning support team – further details will be published on our website as they become available.

Does your school have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?
Students with a variety of special educational needs and/or disabilities will be able to demonstrate their academic potential and hence access the curriculum. We recommend that parents consult with our admissions team as early as possible for further guidance regarding our learning support provision, in order to allow us to investigate and put in place any special requirements.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?
A parent’s group will be formed in summer 2017.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?
Absolutely – we intend to offer many opportunities for parents to be as actively involved within the school community as possible. Specific details will be available as we move towards our opening.

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?
Our Board of Governors is currently being formed. Upon opening the school, an invitation will be extended to parents to apply to join the Board of Governors. We anticipate having two parents as full-time board members.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?
Yes. In the run up to our opening we will be holding many information sessions for enquirers, applicants and for families who have accepted an offer to join the school.

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