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Admissions Guidelines and Overview

A Brief Introduction

GEMS World Academy-Dubai is a co-educational international school providing world-class programs and facilities to a culturally diverse student community aged 3 to 18 years old. GWA-Dubai is an International Baccalaureate World School offering the continuum of IB programs: the Primary Years Program (PYP) in the elementary school and the Middle Years Program (MYP) and Diploma Program (DP) in the secondary school.

Our Early Childhood department includes the PreK to Kg2 classes and is part of the elementary school division. All three programs are fully authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization. For more information about our curriculum, please click HERE.

Community Diversity

GWA-Dubai is a great fit for parents who are seeking an international, co-educational schooling environment for their children. With over 80 different nationalities, and no single group over 10% of the total, the student population is truly diverse. Our staff diversity echoes the student population with more than thirty different nationalities represented. This diversity provides an ideal platform from which to explore the GEMS Core Values of universal values and world citizenship, as well as the IB and CIS commitment to international mindedness.

Grade Level Placement

GWA-Dubai places students in age-appropriate grade levels in accordance with the Ministry of Education/KHDA regulations. The IB programs allow for a great degree of academic differentiation and therefore we do not accelerate children into higher grades and only rarely retain children in a lower year group.

Families are encouraged to use the country comparison chart below to ensure that they are applying to the correct grade level, taking into account the differences that exist in the naming of “grades” around the world. (As an example, Year 2 in England is equivalent to Grade 1 at GWA-Dubai although both programs are for 6 year olds that turn 7 during the school year).

If there are questions about the correct grade-level placement, please contact the Registration Team.

Age as of September 15
GWA-Dubai
North America
England
Australia/ NZ
South Africa
"Grade"
"Grade"
"Year"
"Year"
"Year"
3 years old (potty trained)
PreK
--
FS1 (Nursery)
--
--
4 years old (potty trained)
Kg1
PreK
FS2 (Reception)
Kg
--
5 years old
Kg2
Kg
1
Prep
Reception
6 years old
1
1
2
1
1
7 years old
2
2
3
2
2
8 years old
3
3
4
3
3
9 years old
4
4
5
4
4
10 years old
5
5
6
5
5
11 years old
6
6
7
6
6
12 years old
7
7
8
7
7
13 years old
8
8
9
8
8
14 years old
9
9
10
9
9
15 years old
10
10
11
10
10
16 years old
11
11
12
11
11
17 years old
12
12
13
12
12

 

English Language Instruction and Support

English is the language of instruction at GWA-Dubai and we aim for all students to be able to read and write at level for their age. However, in keeping with the IB philosophy, GWA-Dubai also recognizes the importance of mother-tongue language development and values and supports the acquisition of additional languages.

To maintain the integrity of the curriculum as an English language program, the school places a limit on the percentage of English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners in each grade level. Our EAL department supports this limited percentage of students from Kg2 to Grade 10 who require assistance in order to be successful in the mainstream program. If a student is identified as requiring EAL pull-out support, the service is provided for an additional fee. Should further additional support be required, parents may also be encouraged to provide outside tutoring support at their own expense.

The English language requirements increase as students approach the IB Diploma in grade 11 and 12 as indicated below:

  • PreK-Grade 5 – students may enter as non-English speakers until mid-year in Grade 5
  • Grades 6-8 – students must be within 3 grade levels of the grade applied for
  • Grades 9 – students must be within 2 grade levels of the grade applied for
  • Grade 10 – students must be within 1 grade level of the grade applied for
  • Grade 11 and 12 – students must be able to function independently in English

Arabic Language Requirements

All students from Grade 1-9 are required to learn Arabic as per the UAE Ministry of Education by-laws. Classes are differentiated for native and non-native speakers and the programs incorporate the Ministry of Education syllabus within the curriculum. GWA-Dubai believes that an early start in Arabic is beneficial and therefore begins its Arabic instruction a year early in Kg2.

As an additional requirement, students who are registered with a passport from one of the Arab countries listed below are required by law to attend Arabic A for native speakers until the end of Grade 12. Students who are not fluent in Arabic and are from an identified Arabic country may take Arabic B after KHDA approval.

  • UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, Mauritania, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Union of the Comoros.

Islamic Education Requirement

In accordance with the UAE Ministry of Education by-laws, students who are Muslim (as identified on their passport or during the admissions process via the “religion” option) must take Islamic Education until the end of Grade 12. Students may take Islamic A (in Arabic) or Islamic B (in English) regardless of their nationality based on their Arabic language proficiency. The Islamic A and B courses incorporate the Ministry of Education syllabus for Islamic Education within the curriculum.

Please note that although we aim to minimize the scheduling impact that the additional Islamic Education requirements have on students, lessons in other subject areas will be affected.

Special Education Needs (SEN)

GWA-Dubai is an inclusive learning environment that meets the needs of our learners’ intellectual, social and emotional development. The school offers limited support for students with mild to moderate learning differences, but does not have a comprehensive special education program. Students with moderate to severe learning differences must meet the criteria for admission and/or continued enrolment at GWA-Dubai as indicated below:

Admissions Criteria and Continued Enrolment for SEN Students (non-EAL)

Academic Level

(Evidenced by prior reports and GWA Placement Assessment)

Admissions Category School Support Notes
> 1 grade level above expectations

Regular admission possible

Differentiation through regular class program

+ High-End Learner (HEL) protocol

None
< 1 grade level below or < 1 grade level above expectations Regular admission possible Differentiation through regular class program None
1 – 2 grade levels below expectations Conditional admission possible

Differentiation through regular class program

+ SEN support for teacher to plan learning strategies

No IEP required
2 – 3 grade levels below expectation Conditional admission possible

Differentiation through regular class program

+ SEN pull out support for student

+ SEN support for teacher to plan learning strategies

SEN fee charged yearly for pull-out support (AED 3750)

Quarterly IEP produced

Shadow TA if appropriate (parents pay TA salary)

> 3 grade levels below expectations Not admitted or exited Beyond the scope of the program None
Other Criteria
Severe physical disabilities (ie. wheel chair, CP, MS, etc.) Considered on a case-by-case basis Often beyond the scope of the school facilities None
´╗┐´╗┐Severe behavioral difficulties (ie. those that disturb others’ learning) Considered on a case-by-case basis Often beyond the requirements in the student behavioral code of conduct None

Class Size and Adult to Student Ratio

The current class sizes and adult to student ratio are as follows, however they are subject to review depending on the requirements of the school:

  • PreK – 16 students, one teacher, one TA
  • Kg1 – 18 students, one teacher, one TA
  • Kg 2 – 20 students, one teacher, one TA
  • Grade 1-5 – 24 students, one teacher, one TA
  • Grade 6-12 – 24 students, one teacher (TA support dependent on the subject area)

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