Safeguarding & Inclusion Seminars begin

Starting Tuesday 9 March, GEMS is inviting all staff to attend a series of nine exclusive seminars covering a range of safeguarding and inclusion topics that impact all our professional lives. From understanding inclusion and special education needs in the UAE, to recognising self-harm and exploring the impact of Wadeema’s Law, this series has been carefully curated by Emily Ellington, Head of Inclusion, and Sara Hedger, Vice President of Safeguarding and Child Protection, to give GEMS staff direct access to some of the top regional and international experts in this field. The series kicks off on Tuesday at 4pm with…

How every student can be a high-performance learner

Gemma Thornley, Secondary Principal, GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, shares how introducing a high performance mindset and framework at school can radically transform learning outcomes. We know that children inhabit two different worlds – one in school and the other at home. It is vital that schools and parents work closely together to connect these two worlds and help students transfer the skills learnt in one to the other. That’s because children thrive when they have ownership of their learning in all contexts of their life, be it in the classroom, on the sports field or on stage. If…

Look who’s answering now

Created by Romulus Miclat in 1997, name one of the most lovable mascots found in the UAE.      What connects Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Deepak Chopra, Michael Crichton and Mahathir Mohamad? What common factor links Cliff Richard, Vivian Leigh and Rudyard Kipling? Who am I? Identify the personality through this set of clues:Candy, Sugar, Spick and Span among many others have been the centre of royal attentionA rare opportunity to be served by 14 and to serve millionsUniquely, no need for a driver’s licence. Moreover, no sense of uneasiness for the wearer of this crown Who am I? Identify the personality through…

Top 10 must-read books as recommended by GEMS alumni

March is the UAE’s ‘Month of Reading’ – and we’re excited! Reading is without doubt one of life’s great pleasures. Turning the pages on beautiful words that transport you to wherever your mind’s eye takes you. This month in GEMS in 10 we’re sharing some recommended reading from across the GEMS community.  Ten of our alumni have shared what’s on their reading lists, and we’re sure you’ll agree that they include some life-affirming texts for GEMS staff to read. If you have a book that you’d like to put forward during Reading Month, or if you’ve perhaps even penned your…

Vaccine drive update: Eight schools reach 100% first dose vaccination

The drive to ensure as many eligible employees are vaccinated continues apace and there are now eight schools that have successfully had their eligible staff vaccinated with the first dose of the Coronavirus jab. The focus continues to be to keep all of our schools, and the wider school community, as safe as possible. Figures are positive that GEMS is on its way to being fully vaccinated. So far, 80% of eligible employees have received the first dose 55% of eligible employees have received a second dose The eight schools that have achieved 100% of eligible staff vaccinated with the…

Revealed! Battle of the Waistbands winner

In the very first edition on GEMS in 10 we shared with you the news of a fun challenge between a parent and principal. Matt Tompkins, Principal GEMS First Point – The Villa, and parent Bader Obeidat dared to see who could be the biggest loser and trim the most weight following the festive season’s excesses. After four weeks of sweat, scales, and squats the results are in. We can confirm that Bader Obeidat is the winner! Just pipping Matt to the post, by shedding an impressive 9% body weight, to Matt’s 6.2% Bader, who credits his weight-loss success to…

Vaccination drive update: Is your school on the vaccination leader board?

The drive to vaccinate as many eligible employees as possible continues apace with more staff taking advantage of the free vaccines on offer. At the time of writing over 60 per cent of staff that can take a vaccine, have done so, and nine schools have 90 per cent of their staff vaccinated. Paul Slater, Vice President – Operations and Health, Safety and Environment, said: “These are fantastic achievements, in very challenging conditions. I would like to thank everyone for their efforts so far, we must continue to aim to vaccinate our remaining eligible employees, as soon as possible.” The…

How to … give applause-worthy presentations

Are your presentations a vision of PowerPoint perfection or are they snooze-inducing slides with dense text and dull images? Teachers have had to up their presentation game since remote learning became more prominent, and keeping kids fully engaged is a challenge. Jodie Quirke, Acting and Production Arts Programme Manager at GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, draws on her performing arts background to share tips on delivering great presentations. Slick, simple slides When you’re giving presentations you have the double concern of your slides and what you’re going to say, but if your slides are text-heavy, your audience will spend…

Coming full circle: Meet some of GEMS’ “boomerang alumni”

Have you ever thought that you could be teaching the next principal of your school or the next GEMS Education leader? These three GEMSters all went to GEMS schools as students, and are now staff members. Read more as these three ‘Boomerangers’ share their unique perspectives on coming back to where it all began. Betty Anthony has got Our Own schools in her blood. Following the footsteps of her mother who taught at Our Own Dubai for 33 years, Betty graduated from Our Own Girls – Dubai in 1992 and boomeranged back to GEMS Our Own High School – Al…

Join the culture club

International days are a firm fixture of school calendars, and a fun and vibrant way for the whole school community to embrace and celebrate the diverse cultures and heritages that make up the school. For some GEM staff however, celebrating culture is more than just a one-day event – they promote their heritage to the world, every day of the year. Cristina Cobos, a Spanish teacher at AAQ has been dancing since the age of three. Born and raised in Mexico City, she practiced ballet and Polynesian dance as a child and became a dance teacher at 14. Her passion…

Meet the all-female science team

Science is a male-dominated industry, but at GEMS International School – Al Khail (GIS) the science department is a woman’s world. Ahead of Women and Girls in Science Day, we caught up with the school’s all-female science team to learn more about their inspirations and why gender representation matters. The GIS science team is led…

We need to talk

It’s Children’s Mental Health Week this week (1-7 February), and there’s plenty going on across our schools to raise awareness of this all-important topic. Data indicates that 10-20% of children and adolescents worldwide experience mental health conditions. Yet sadly the majority of them do not seek help or receive care. And COVID-19 has only exasperated the situation, with youngsters spending more time at home, on screens, and away from friends. As we shine a light on Children’s Mental Health Week, Maria Veena Aruldass, Psychology Teacher and School Counsellor (Grades 9-12) at GEMS Modern Academy, tells us how she facilitated students…

Women and girls in science

We’re celebrating Women and Girls in Science Day on 11 February 2021, so check out these two stories of female science teachers and the women that inspired them into a life of science. Swati Sohni, Head of Science, GEMS International School – Gurgaon, on how Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian origin to go to space, inspired her to reach for the stars. “The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.” This quote by Kalpana Chawla has changed…

How I… led a handwriting revolution at KGS

If you’re anything like us, your handwriting resembles hieroglyphs and is illegible to anyone but yourself (and even you sometimes struggle to decipher your scribbles). For many, the use of mobile phones and computers has relegated our concern for good handwriting to the cursory grocery list, but not so for teachers at The Kindergarten Starters, where they are determined to prove to young learners that the pen is still mighty. Rana Sabohi, Educational Supervisor and Year Head – KG2, shares how she helped create a cursive culture at KGS.  When kids are increasingly spending more time on computers typing and…

Battle of the Waistbands

A parent at GEMS FirstPoint School has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged Principal Matt Tompkins to a unique competition – to see who can lose the most weight!  What started as friendly banter at the school gates has turned into a slimming showdown, with Matt Tompkins, Principal of GEMS FirstPoint, and FPS parent Bader Obeidat both taking to the scales for a “Battle of the Waistbands” weight loss challenge.  Matt says it all began with a casual post-winter break catch up: “I talk to Bader every day when he drops off and picks up his children in Years 1…