Having initially opened on its greenfield site next to Dubai Miracle Garden in 2014, the new Senior Secondary and Sixth Form building, designed exclusively for the use of up to 500 students from Years 10 to 13 is expected to be the final construction phase of the school .
According to Head of Secondary at Safa Community School, Mike Davies, sustained growth, development and success over time have seen the school enrollment grow to over 2,200 students for the upcoming 2022-23 academic year.
Demand for places at Safa Community School (SCS) has intensified since the school was awarded The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award as Best New School in the UAE in 2018-19, and for Value Add and Leaving No Child Behind in 2021-22 by WhichSchoolAdvisor.com‘s sister website SchoolsCompared.com. With no KHDA inspection since 2019, the school has recently been awarded a prestigious ‘British School’s Overseas Outstanding’ inspection rating.
According to Mr. Davies, the owners and leaders of the school were keen to plan ahead to ensure that ample space, capacity, and facilities were in place to accelerate learning and provide opportunities for all.
The vision for the new Safa Senior Secondary and Sixth Form building is to develop a first of its kind pre-university campus exclusively for examination groups. Key Stage 4 and 5 learners will be fully exposed and immersed in world-class age-appropriate facilities, and learning environments with enhanced course offerings and opportunities. To avoid any disruptions to current facilities, the school has built a multipurpose exam hall to house all assessments and exams throughout the third term.
SCS also intends to break barriers by creating a unique concept of a parental/visitor HUB space. On entry into the HUB, parents and visitors are immersed in live working classrooms where CNC machines, music, automotive engineering, the arts, sports and music achievements are lessons celebrated in a futuristic concept style environment.
The new facilities will support the continued expansion of Senior Secondary and Sixth Form curriculum options, focusing exclusively on the needs of GCSE (KS4) and Sixth Form A Level, BTEC and ASDAN (KS5) pathways and students.
The facilities will also enable Safa Community School to expand its unique approach to subject options where the traditional model for schools is to provide a list of options from which students choose their GCSE, A Level and BTEC pathways. The SCS approach is, to the best of our knowledge, unique in Dubai, in building the curriculum each year around the needs, ambitions, interests and potential of each student.
The school clarifies the wishes of students long before the time table is built, with no limit on what subjects students may declare of interest – thus building subject options from scratch each year. Once the decisions by students are finalised, the timetable is assembled, with the ambition that every choice can be provided. If this means recruiting additional expert teachers, then this is the next step.
The school currently offers 20 A Levels to just 37 students. Unlike other schools, there is no minimum class size or minimum number of students required to run an A’ Level program – even if this results in a single student being taught on a one-to-one basis.
BTEC options include BTEC Business, BTEC Hospitality, BTEC Travel and Tourism and multiple BTEC Science options. These will be enhanced still further at the SCS Senior School and Sixth Form Center as students demand. Today the school enjoys strong links with a plethora of industries including business, commerce and medical sectors.
The new building will not benefit the school’s Senior students, however. As the new site opens, more opportunities will be provided for Foundation to Key Stage 3 students. They will have sole occupancy of the entire current SCS site, with less students and enhanced space and opportunities. Primary aged students will have stand-alone Art, STEM, performing arts, music, and computer science all with a subject trained specialist teacher, in specialist venues.
With the additional swimming pool associated with the new building, FS to Year 6 will continue to swim all year around, and this facility will also provide further opportunities to expand the extra-curricular offering to include activities such as water polo, emerging swim squads for younger groups, and additional opportunities to host multiple galas at one time.
Furthermore, SCS students overall will now benefit from teaching facilities that will include four Libraries, five Computer Science labs, two STEAM Labs, six Design Technology Rooms, two Food Technology Rooms, 14 Science Labs, eight Art Rooms, seven Music Rooms, a Dance studio, and three Drama Rooms. An Auditorium seating 550 people will also be available together with the rare luxury of Underground Parking.
Sports facilities will include a 4G Rugby pitch with an inbuilt shock pad for full contact, two 25m swimming pools, two full size Sports Halls, four Netball Courts, two indoor Basketball Courts, a 7-aside football Astroturf field, Strength and conditions suites, a Crossfit outdoor conditioning zone.
Once again, the owners of Safa Community School and Safa British School have shown their commitment, not only to providing outstanding standards of education, curriculum delivery and choice, but also visually stunning and inspiring surroundings in which to do so.