- Umm Suqeim Street, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Safa Community School in Umm Suqeim Dubai
Safa Community School in Umm Suqeim Dubai – A sister to the established Safa School (located between Safa Park and the Al Khail Road on Meydan Street), opened on its new site near Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road (opposite Motor City) in September 2014. Given that the school only received approval to commence construction in May, it has done remarkably well to open the two existing teaching blocks on-time, on what is a deceptively large plot next to the Dubailand Sales Centre. The area is being “greened” currently with hundreds of trees being planted around the entire area, including the school site.
Safa Community School is currently housed in two oval-shaped buildings which have been very carefully designed to meet the needs of children. There are currently 120 students at the site, a small number.
The architect is a US/Indian based practice, Fielding Nair, that has designed numerous schools in the US and India. Both buildings feature very light open classrooms (windows are on both sides opening to the outside area and to an internal central area that runs from front to back of the building). Purpose built furniture has been provided for the children of varying ages and special “soft” flooring used. The class-rooms are well resourced, as is the outdoor area where wood has been used for play equipment rather than plastic materials wherever possible. The central resource area for teachers and assistants is also a glassed area, which enables staff to keep an additional eye on children using the central area.
Every classroom has access to the outside area – either a patio area on the ground floor, or a balcony area on the upper two floors. One building is higher than the other by one floor, and this features a very large external area that will be used as an outdoor learning environment by older students. Although both the existing buildings are currently designated for Primary students, the larger one is being used by Secondary also, and it includes a Lab and Library dedicated to their use.
The next phase of development will be the Global Learning Centre which will house the Multi-functional Sports Hall with retractable seating, an Auditorium, Cafeteria, Drama and Dance Studios and a Theatre (again with retractable seating), Music practice rooms and a Library for Secondary students. There is also space for the development of a much larger Secondary school block between the current teaching blocks and Umm Suqeim Road, once this is required.
Beyond the two current buildings towards the rear of the site is a very large sports field (FIFA approved soccer size) and two outdoor covered swimming pools – one for Foundation students and the larger one for older children. These will all be ready for use by the end of the first term.
Like the original Safa School, Safa Community School follows the UK National curriculum and will offer GCSE and A Level studies in due course. It is currently open to year 8 (having transferred Secondary students from Safa School to the new site), although currently does not offer classes in year 5 and 6. Places are available in all year groups. The Head of the School, Andrew Prosser, has also transferred from the original Safa School and was Head of Primary there.
One of the strengths of the original Safa School is its support for children with learning difficulties (although it notes, children are subject to assessment) and the new school will continue to offer provision in this field.
A great deal of consideration has also been given to safe access to the school for parents and drivers and this is reflected in the planned parking arrangements, which will ensure that sufficient space and ease of safe access for children is provided.
While too early for a comprehensive review on performance, teaching and results, what is clear is that the school has achieved a very warm and friendly environment for both children and parents in a very short period.
Fees are at the middle- to high-end for Dubai schools – ranging from 47,000 for FS1 and rising to 65,000 AED for Year 8. There is an annual AED 1,500 Medical fee, which we have not heard of being charged by other schools.
Note: 2014/15 registered pupils have access to a discounted tuition fee, which ranges from 38,500 AED to 55,000 AED.
Each class has a low adult to student ratio which ensures quality interactions to move learning forward:
Year 1 & 2 – Class Teacher and Teaching Assistant
Year 3 to 6 – Class Teacher and a shared Teaching Assistant
Safa School follows the National Curriculum of England, in which the following subjects:
– Information and Communication Technology
– Geography and History
– Design and Technology
– PE and School Sport
– Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship
Level taught: K-8
Curriculum: EYFS, National Curriculum for England
Number of Children: 150
Year Founded: 2014
Owner: Andrew Prosser (Principal)
Safa Community School
Address: Umm Suqeim Street, Dubai United Arab Emirates
Nearest Landmark: Beside the Miracle Garden, Close to Arabian Ranches