First Look: North London Collegiate School, DubaiSeptember 13, 2017, 10:15 am GMT
Of the 10 new schools opening in Dubai this year, North London Collegiate School Dubai is certainly the most premium one, in terms of fees.
The school opened its doors to 240 students on Sunday. While the UK school is for girls only, NLCS Dubai is a co-educational IB continuum school, led by founding principal Daniel Lewis, who has been with NLCS for 11 years.
While KHDA-approved fees at the school range from AED 83,000 in pre-KG to AED 130,000 for Grade 12, NLCS Dubai is offering founding member discounts of 15-20% depending on the year group.
Education Journal Middle East visited the school for a tour the week before it opened.
There's no denying the 38,000sqm campus is impressive with premium facilities. While parents were concerned about the school not being ready over the summer months given the scale of work, every part of the building is built and ready to move in. While the school will open new classroom in phases, there is no pending construction or fit-out remaining.
Large, bright classrooms with floor to ceiling windows look out into a central courtyard, while the KG classrooms open out into common outdoor play areas.
NLCS Dubai will have two-form entry in the junior school and one-form entry in the senior school during the first year, with more classes added as enrolment increases.
The school's central atrium, which houses a parent cafe, sits at the heart of the building, all glass and steel, leading off into various areas, including the dining hall, sports grounds, and a performing arts centre.
The school's outdoor sports fields include a 100m and 400m running track, a cricket pitch, as well as rugby and football pitches. An indoor sports hall comes equipped with its own climbing wall and retractable seating, while the rooftop houses tennis and basketball courts.
NLCS Dubai will offer a number of sporting activities, including tennis, rugby, swimming, table tennis, badminton, cricket, dance, gymnastics, and martial arts.
Facilities at the school include 13 science laboratories, a large dining hall, two swimming pools, IT labs, practice rooms for music, and IT labs.
NLCS also has three dedicated libraries for students - one for KG, one for the junior school, and a dedicated double-storey senior school library, all of which either overlook the sports fields or indoor courtyards.
Little touches around the school also reflect architectural themes of the London school. Principal Daniel Lewis explains: There are parts of the campus that reflect the London school. We have little nodes, or squares dotted around the school, which is similar to something called Pudge Square in the London school."
Similarly, the revolving doors at the main entrance mirror the revolving doors at the London School.
NLCS Dubai also has its own performing arts centre, complete with dressing rooms, and an entertaining area for people to gather before the show and during intervals - features that are also part of the London and Jeju schools.
The auditorium can also be used as a multipurpose area by retracting the seats, particularly during the summer months.
"It's a huge indulgence to have a room this size in the building, so we want to make sure we can use all of our spaces as flexibly as possible. So the seats are retractable, so in the hot summer months when you can't go outside and kick a ball, over here, we can push the seats back and do gymnastics or fencing or whatever we want because this is a proper wooden sprung floor," Lewis says.
Opening next year will be the school's sixth form, which will offer the IBDP programme.