The highly anticipated school Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai opened its doors in September 2021 and we have been eager to find out more about this fantastic state-of the-art school and how families are getting on! We asked British mum Nicole Seagrim to give us her opinion and thoughts on the school so far. If you are looking for a new school or just interested to know more about RGS, then read on!
How old are your children and what school year are they in?
My son is 9 and in Year 5 and my daughter is 8 and in Year 3.
How long have you lived in Dubai?
We’ve been in Dubai since August 2018.
How did you hear about RGS initially?
I saw an advert for RGSGD on my local community group as it was being built and then researched RGS Guildford in the UK and was so impressed by the kind, warm, caring feel of the school you see in the students, teachers, head and parents videos and to see how RGS instils the important values of kindness, tolerance and respect, as well as helping their pupils achieve academic success by encouraging them to be creative and innovative.
What was the main consideration for potentially moving schools?
My daughter fell behind at her previous school and lost a lot of confidence in her abilities and we lost trust in the staff and management of the school for a variety of reasons over the three years we were there. The main reason for leaving was that we wanted a school we could trust completely to care for our children with strong, kind, caring leadership and kind, passionate, creative and inspiring teachers.
Why did you choose RGS for your children’s education?
I was already very excited after seeing the website and videos for RGS Guildford and the videos of how this new school will look and feel and then after meeting the Head of Preparatory, Clare Turnbull at the British Mums RGSGD breakfast I was sold. Clare spoke of how RGS helps children to become independent, confident and reach their full potential, without arrogance. Her passion, integrity, understanding of how children really learn best and how she “lives and breathes RGS” is clear. The leadership team draw on years of experience founding and managing schools in the Middle East and other parts of the world and spoke of the way Cognita being a part of RGSGD and their worldwide network benefit the school. They have used their experience and network to connect with external groups like Dubai Sports City where the school has Platinum access to the sports grounds and the facilities and many other organisations that provide a really lovely range of after-school-activities.
Moving schools can be daunting, have you faced any challenges?
None whatsoever. The school was so organised and warm and welcoming for the opening day. Teachers and heads were outside to meet and greet the children and help them to their rooms and after meeting their teachers the week before in their classrooms and having done a tour of the school previously the children walked in and walked out as if they had been there forever. They were very happy with their teachers from day one and love the school building.
Your children have been attending since the school opened, how are they adapting to a new environment?
The school itself is beautiful. It is a stunning space to learn and be in, with lots of natural light from the award-winning building’s glass roof and has trees and plants growing inside. The school won the Sustainability award for the Middle East for it’s eco-design and our family took a big interest in and appreciation in it’s sustainable design that also has links to the Tudor stained glass design at RGS Guildford. The pastoral care and wellbeing at this school is incredible and academically the staff understand exactly where each child is and how they can help them as an individual very early on after assessing them all in the class. Many schools say they care about the individual but don’t necessarily have the resources or know-how to really do that. RGS has care for each individual’s wellbeing and academic success at it’s core and the care and attention my children are receiving has been mind-blowing.
My daughter really enjoys school again, loves her teacher and is getting such incredible care and help with the areas she is behind in. It is quite astonishing the level of detail in how she has been assessed and how the school is able and offering to address each of her needs. My son says his teacher is the best teacher in the world and is thriving in all of his subjects, even the ones he found boring previously as they are now fun. The teachers are very creative and make a huge effort to make learning very interesting, from languages to art, to music, science and all of the core subjects. The school is just down the road for us too so we feel extremely lucky to have such an incredible school for the children to go to on our doorstep.
What are the 3 main things your children enjoy about RGS?
They have respect for the heritage of RGS and it’s history dating back to Edward VI and also enjoy that it is a forward-looking school that is innovative and inspires them from the varied, fun and creative lessons they have and the building itself. They also enjoy the much smaller class sizes and are no longer coming home with lots of questions that were unanswered in their lesson time.
If you could describe the school in one sentence, what would that be?
A school with hundreds of years of history, knowledge and experience that respects it’s heritage and teachings from the many years of the past and is looking to the future, embracing and respecting, the local cultures here in the UAE and the wider world and inspiring each child in it’s care to be kind, creative, tolerant and caring leaders in their communities.
Would you recommend RGS to another parent?
I would and have recommended the school to other parents, some of whom are there now and loving it and others that are looking forward to starting next year.
Find out more about RGS Dubai here.