AN INCLUSIVE APPROACH
While some international schools measure success by exam results, Dubai British School (DBS) prides itself on the individual development of its students, encouraging each child to evolve in line with their capabilities, talents and interests. This ethos, and the nurturing environment that supports it, is partly responsible for the excellent academic record of the school, which has a knack for bringing the best out in its students.
“For an upper-tier school in Dubai, we are very inclusive; we don’t just take A-grade students,” says Principal Brendon Fulton. The long-term success of this approach is clearly reflected in the school’s academic performance, with GCSE and A-level results consistently above UK national averages for the past five years. In addition, over 90 per cent of students have been accepted into their first choice of university in the past three years.
Many of the students attending DBS perform better than expected. Fulton cites the example of a Year 11 boy who left his former school having failed to achieve the required grades. Since arriving at DBS, the same student has flourished, recently gaining a B grade in an English GCSE paper after being predicted an E. “That grade represented outstanding progress,” says Fulton, “which for us is as much a reason as any to celebrate.”
The school’s A-level students are required to meet a set academic standard, but alternative curricula, such as its BTEC courses, are open to all. “We look for students who will fit into, and build on, the DBS ethos of social capital,” says Fulton. “Children and families who believe in the bigger picture and want to be a part of developing responsible citizens and agents for change in the world.”
This philosophy is fundamental to the DBS way of life, which focuses on developing social empathy and understanding in its multicultural student body. Critical thinking and problem-solving exercises are set in a way that encourages the students to consider different perspectives and think “outside the box”. Fulton describes DBS’s approach as “purposeful”, attributing the harmonious environment of the school to this actively inclusive and open-minded atmosphere.
“DBS is unanimously spoken of as a happy place,” says Fulton. “Students love the opportunity to be themselves and to be given every chance to experience success in a way that is meaningful to them. We are always mindful of our students’ personal circumstances and predispositions.”