Durham School Dubai, opening in August of this year in Dubai Investments Park, is conveniently located close to the housing communities of Arabian Ranches, Damac Hills, Mudon, Mira, Jumeirah Golf Estate and Green Community, to name a few. The school is proud of its 600 years of history and intends to offer a traditional British education with a focus on high-quality teaching. The school is concentrating on teaching the basics thoroughly with rigour, discipline and high standards. Mark Atkins, Principal, Durham School Dubai, has been clear from the outset that he believes pupils thrive well in structure, respond to high expectations and learn best when they are fully engaged with talented teachers. With 36 years of experience, Atkins has been quick to distance the school from what he sees as the extremes of current educational trends, exemplified by over-reliance on technology. He prefers instead to concentrate on delivering the basics thoroughly with children producing work in books that their parents can see. Whilst acknowledging that technology is important and should not be ignored, Atkins’s belief at Durham is that: “Technology should be used judiciously to support learning, not wantonly dictate learning. I firmly believe that real teaching is not sitting children in front of YouTube videos, nor is it playing games on iPads and pretending it is a quality learning experience; a teacher reliant on a SmartBoard is not a teacher.”
Durham School Dubai is setting out to be a down-to-earth school free of gimmicks and harking back to its strong, northern UK roots and a desire to establish strong ties with its parent body. This is visible in the decision to offer generous founding discounts, based on increasing concern at the rising costs of living in Dubai.
Atkins says: “We are committed to working closely with and supporting our parents; it is important for us that we make our outstanding brand of high-quality, traditional British education as affordable as we can”.
Durham founding parents joining in the first term have been given the option to take a special discount of up to 41 per cent off the approved first-year fees or enjoy the security of a fixed discounted fee structure for three years. It means that, for parents who opt to take the special discount, annual fees will start as low as Dh38,340 for FS1 and FS2 and in Year 8, there is a saving of Dh35,700 on the approved KHDA fee.