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Foremarke School, Dubai

Foremarke School, Dubai

FM Hall

Foremarke School Dubai, located in Al Barsha South, is a co-educational junior school catering for pupils from Foundation Stage 1 (Nursery) to Year 6. It follows the Early Years Foundation Stage for FS1 and 2, and the National Curriculum for England and Wales leading to 11+/Common Entrance* for Key Stage 2.

For a Q&A with Foremarke School, go here…

Foremarke School is the partner school of Foremarke Hall, Repton’s Preparatory School in the United Kingdom. Foremarke Hall is a very well-respected British prep school that succeeds both academically and in terms of developing the person.

Small class sizes are said to be a “cornerstone of the Foremarke curriculum delivery”. Foremarke School currently has 500 pupils. This is a school designed for pupil numbers in the hundreds, not thousands. Even its sister school in the UK only has 450 pupils aged from 3 to 13.

The school opened in 2013 and has grown organically with Year 6 opening this coming academic year; 2016-17.

The teacher to pupil ratio is currently 1:8 in the Foundation School and 1:10 in the Prep School. Class sizes have a maximum of 16 pupils and all classes in Foundation have a full time teaching assistant. All teachers are UK qualified, and many have UK Prep School experience.

“At Foremarke we have an uncomplicated and straightforward ideal. Inspiring excellence, nurturing respect. This reflects the importance we place on the development of the whole child.” Mrs Naomi Williams, Headmistress

Foremarke aims to provide a genuine prep school experience in Dubai. To help create that Foremarke School has become the first school in the UAE, and only the second school globally, to have been given the status of an IAPS World Hub School, by The Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS).

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Highly regarded Tanglin School in Singapore, was the first school, to be awarded the status.

IAPS, an association for the world’s preparatory schools with some 600 member schools, allows prep schools to carry the IAP kite-mark only after accreditation.

British ‘prep schools’ are the equivalent of primary and middle schools of the UK’s state education sector. Privately funded, they – in general – offer higher academic standards, more specialist teaching, more teaching time, place greater focus on ‘traditional, moral values’, and offer wider extra-curricular opportunities than their state-owned counterparts.

Foremarke says it aims to build “well-rounded, well grounded, confident young people who display a love for learning and a zest for life.”

The school also says it places a strong emphasis on “respect for others, care and courtesy; combined with academic rigour appropriate to ability, [that] will lay a strong foundation for the successful transition to one of a wide range of quality senior schools both locally and overseas.”

In terms of academics the 11+, Common Entrance exams focus means an emphasis on providing the 3R’s of reading, writing and arithmetics necessary to perform well. Note: 11+, CE exams are key to entering into higher performing selective private (and some state) schools. Foremarke effectively prepares pupils for entry at some stage into schools in the independent sector in the United Kingdom. See the note at the end of the review.

The school says it does not sacrifice the breadth of teaching in its focus on the 3Rs however. The school also has a focus on the arts with instrumental music as part of its core teaching time. All children are taught an instrument, including violin and keyboard. In addition, extra curricular Sports, Music and Drama are offered, while some additional academic studies are offered before lessons start in the morning. French is taught as part of the curriculum. Latin is taught in Year 6.

Note: All staff-led activities are free of charge, although there are additional fees when external specialists are required – for Karate and Ballet for example.

Foremarke School also places emphasis on physical activity with three hours of physical education scheduled into each week by Year 3.

The school is selective on intake, with an assessment for all ages and informal interview with parents prior to a place being offered. In total 33 different nationalities are currently represented in the student body, 80% of which come from the United Kingdom. Gender is equally split between male and female pupils.

The school, a partnership between Repton School UK and Evolvence Knowledge Investments (EKI), a Dubai-based investment company, was put together from scratch by founding Head, Mark Atkins and his team. The team worked very closely with the architects and designers to ensure that the school provides the “perfect teaching environment” on its purpose-built 10 acre campus. Mrs Naomi Williams, the current headmistress, has continued to build on firm foundations, and the school has seen significant changes under her leadership.

Perhaps the most significant of these is in the school’s inclusiveness. Foremarke School Dubai previously had limited SEN provision with no specialist support in place. This changed from September 2016 with the appointment of a Head of Inclusion with responsibility for pupils with SEN and EAL needs. The school has a visiting Occupational Therapist and a Speech and Language Therapist two days each week.

The Head of Inclusion has also taken on the responsibility of the school’s “gifted and talented students”. Small classroom sizes mean Foremarke is able to offer differentiated activities in class, and also extension groups in its dedicated ‘Curriculum Plus’ time before and after school. With small class sizes, classroom planning is also used to ensure any work introduced is aimed at pupils’ current requirements.

“At Foremarke we focus closely on how children learn and our curriculum actively develops strong personal learning skills alongside traditional academic knowledge. Our focus on building the development of characteristics such as perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness and reflectiveness in children, encouraging them to think critically and learn actively helps to make Foremarke a school focused on progress, producing confident individuals and successful learners.” Mrs Naomi Williams, Headmistress

One thing that has not changed are the impressive range of facilities at the school. The school was initially operational only in its “Early Years”, Foundation stage wing. The remainder of the school was completed around May 2014. Foundation stage pupils are in a completely separate building from KS1/2 students with the two parts of the school having separate entrances and separate facilities.

Foremarke School either already has, or will have once all construction is completed, a 25 meter competition swimming pool (with the Foundation School having its own swimming pool); three netball and tennis courts, two multi-purpose outdoor courts, three multi-purpose sports halls, two junior cricket fields including one grass wicket, four junior sized football/rugby pitches, indoor and outdoor cricket nets and a Sports Pavilion. The school also has specialist Sports, Music and Drama rooms and facilities in each section. The school has even thought about parking, the perennial Dubai problem, with staff parking underground so that there is sufficient external parking for parents.

The school is clearly too new to have been subject to independent reports, aside this one. However, applications have been made to BSME and BSO. The school has been subject to a “Quality Assurance visit” led by Repton UK using ISI standards that took place in January. This report is available on the school’s web site, and may be found here. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it did rather well. A second inspection took place in May 2015.

Fees for Foremarke School start high, and move higher – this is a premium school, and that requires funding. Fees start at 65,000 AED for nursery, move to 69,000 AED for reception, 79,000 AED for Years 1 and 2, and are 85,000 AED for Years 3 to 6. This is below the 90,000 AED KHDA approved fees.

The admissions process also requires a registration fee of AED 500 and an assessment fee of AED 1000. Both of these fees are non-refundable.

The school will charge a Facilities Fee when all facilities are completed. It is not currently charged by Foremarke, but will be a one-time, non-refundable fee of AED 20,000 per family payable on acceptance of place. The Facilities Fee is not required if a pupil joins in Year 6.

Notes
Common Entrance Examinations are taken by some children in the UK as part of the admissions process for academically selective secondary schools at age 13 or (for girls) 11. They are set by ISEB (Independent Schools Examination Board).
Most of the secondary schools that use Common Entrance for admission are fee paying public schools; and most of the schools that routinely prepare their pupils for Common Entrance are preparatory schools. The 11+ is used by academically selective state schools – although these are somewhat of a rarity in the UK today. However where they exist (usually as Grammar Schools) they usually top the academic league tables, certainly for state schools, and the best of them give private schools a good run for their money.

 

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Update on September 25, 2016 | Reviewed by WhichSchoolAdvisor.com on March 8, 2014

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