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Case Study:
GEMS Winchester School

International - School Leadership Leading CPD

GEMS Winchester School in Dubai is a modern and spacious British curriculum school that offers an outstanding early years, primary and secondary education to children from foundation stage to year 13. 

Recognising the pivotal role of professional development in school improvement, the school places a high importance on tailored training opportunities for its workforce. 

Dan Roberts, Vice Principal at GEMS Winchester School Dubai, shares his insight on how the school's staff have benefitted from bespoke training delivered by renowned experts, facilitated by The National College state-of-the-art platform. 

Choosing The National College 

With a diverse school workforce, comprising over 235 teachers, GEMS Winchester School Dubai (WSD) identified a need to enhance subject-specific pedagogy within the British national curriculum. While teachers exhibited strong knowledge in certain areas, there was a collective aspiration to deepen their understanding and proficiency in delivering curriculum content effectively. The challenge lay in providing targeted training that addressed the nuanced requirements of subject-specific teaching methodologies.

Dan said: “At WSD, we have over 235 teachers. The reason why we were looking for a platform like The National College was that we had a lot of teachers who have strong knowledge in certain areas but are very interested in developing their understanding of how to deliver the British national curriculum.”

“Specifically, we wanted to develop our teachers' skills and knowledge in subject specific pedagogy,” he explained.

He continued: “For example, as a geography teacher, I can go into a classroom to observe a science lesson and suggest improvements for general pedagogy, but I can’t talk about the intricacies of what science teaching looks like.”

Our platform's comprehensive offering of subject-specific webinars and courses, tailored to international schools, aligned perfectly with the school's objectives.

Dan said: “One of the things that really attracted us to your platform was that you can look at subject specific webinars and courses. Plus, they are tailored to primary or secondary schools, which is fantastic.”

“Our teachers are like sponges; they’re absolutely desperate to improve and develop. They are, without a shadow of a doubt, the hardest working group of teachers that I’ve ever worked with,” he continued.

“With your platform, we can provide our staff with high-quality knowledge and a great understanding of their subjects, and then we can make sure that they are going and putting that into practice,” he added.

Ease of access for all school staff 

The National College platform not only saved valuable time, but also overcame the logistical challenges faced by staff members, many of whom relied on school transport. 

Dan said: “Your platform saves us a great deal of time, as we don’t need to keep producing resources and training in-house.” 

“90% of our staff don’t have their own transport, so they will take buses with their children who attend the school,” he commented. 

“When it comes to delivering professional development, you need to provide them with time in the department to plan and complete their training. But with The National College, we can send our staff home to spend time with their families, and they can complete their assigned CPD at home. That’s great for us from a staff wellbeing perspective too.” 

Dan said: “We use the admin tools to assign specific CPD to staff members. It’s great to be able to check who has completed their training, and we can send reminders as well.” 

“I used to do this manually, which was a huge task. Now, I can go into the admin section and export our reports easily,” he nodded. 

Increasing parental engagement 

The school is focusing on increasing parent and carer engagement in the professional development process. So far, parents have expressed appreciation for the valuable resources provided by The National College, indicating a positive reception within the wider school community. 

Dan said: “We’re still in the initial stages of sharing the platform with parents and carers, but we have sent email reminders and included it in our communications.” 

“We’ve had quite a few parents mention in the playground that they find the training and resources really, really helpful. So that’s definitely had a positive reaction so far,” he continued.