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Sun 16 Dec 2012 05:05 PM

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REVEALED: GEMS' letter to parents on school closure

Future of thousands of Dubai children under threat amid closure of Westminster School

REVEALED: GEMS' letter to parents on school closure

Dear Parents,

The Westminster School, Dubai (TWS) is a school that has served the community faithfully for many years and we have been immensely proud of the schools many accomplishments and achievements during this time.

However, in recent times our ability to invest the resources required to produce the improvements needed, both educationally and in infrastructure, have been severely restricted because of the current fee structure. In order for all our students to reach the levels of academic success that our parents and GEMS expect, continuous investment is required.

Over the past five years, GEMS management, together with the leadership team from The Westminster School, Dubai has worked diligently to try and improve facilities and educational provision at the school.

While both GEMS and the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB)  have noted improvements, the judgement by DSIB on the schools performance remains ‘acceptable’, even after four years of inspections and despite rising examination results. 

At The Westminster School, over the past five years the average fee increase, per annum, has been just 167 dirhams. That equates to around 13 dirhams a month. For two of the past five years there has been no fee increase at all.

We simply cannot offer a high quality education at this level that we see as our duty to provide. Indeed, salary increases during the same period have been at a level higher than any fee awards.

Sadly and with regret, it is therefore our intention to close The Westminster School Dubai with effect from June 2014. KHDA has provided the necessary approvals.

Needless to say it has been a very difficult decision. We have decided to inform you now in order to provide you with as much time as possible to find a new school.

We have shown, over many years that we are deeply committed to our community and we are determined, with your support and engagement, to ensure that your children are given the option of a place in other GEMS schools from 2013 onwards in preparation for the closure in June 2014.

Students from TWS, Dubai will be given priority placement in the following GEMS schools from 2013 onwards. This is subject to meeting normal admissions procedures.

These schools include:

•        The Winchester School, Oud Metha – FS 1 and general secondary school enquiries excluding year 11 but including year 12. * This is subject to KHDA approvals for opening grades 9 – 13.

•        The Westminster school, Sharjah – Kindergarten – Year 9 enquiries.

•        The Winchester school, Jebel Ali – Year 12 enquiries only.

•        The Westminster school, RAK – Primary school enquiries.

•        Cambridge International school – Year 12 enquiries only.

Please view the above attachment for more information on the options available.

As GEMS increases capacity in its network further schools will be identified as destinations for priority placement for TWS students.

Sincerely,

Dino Varkey

Group Executive Director

GEMS Education

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Ali ahrari 6 years ago

BOOOOO.. We want our home back.. Tws is our home... WE love it here.. Dont tear is from us!!!

- Ali ahrari 9B6 The Westminster School.. Dubaii <3

Amr Hassane 6 years ago

Sir in the picture alongside the article, you have been in our school many times, you must've seen how this school invested in our souls!, infrastructure is not everything!
Besides I'm sure if u really wanted to keep the school you would, so pls do!!

Ehab Salah Eldin 6 years ago

I mean this makes no sense at all, i've graduated from TWS and now my younger siblings study in the same school that showed love, commitment and hard work to its students. This school is more like the second home for most of its pupils, shutting it down due to the fee structure is unacceptable, would you rather increase the fees to the school or just destroy a school that has accomplished so much, The grades reached by the school is astonishing nevertheless the numerous number of students who are now on TOP level management of big companies. SHUTTING THE SCHOOL DOWN IS NOT AN OPTION, please re-consider, Appreciate.

Don 6 years ago

GEMS' excuse for closing the school is laughable. They keep repeating the fact that they have not increased the fees and so they cannot afford to keep the school open. You don't need a degree in maths to work out that the simple answer is: "Increase the fees!" They also said that the school was rated "acceptable" despite improving exam results - does that not contradict the nonsense about not being able to offer the "high level of education" required? The fact is that GEMS just want to fill up their new Westminster school in Sharjah. They'll probably re-open Westminster Dubai in 2015 under a different name and with the fees doubled. It's a shame for all the students and hard working teachers who will be effected.

Nimer Ahmed 6 years ago

Welll heyy, best of luck with that. It gona be easier if you close down a prison instead of TWS. KHDA shall find out soon why. If it's money you are looking for, I think you have plenty.

Naseeb Nassar 6 years ago

PLEASE DONT CLOSE THIS SCHOOL.
This is one of the best school that i have ever happened to see, infact, you could increase the fees structures higher.
But the education, quality & respect is never found anywhere but The westminster school.

Its Our Love, Its Our Home, Its our Family!

As our school song says " Bind us together as One big Family"
Please, we want to sing that again together.

Baiju 6 years ago

That is quiet a good business strategy....good move....for you ...This is kind of indirectly threatening the parents..."Either you give higher and higher fees..or we will shut down the school" you people are into this business since decades...and sunny group earned all their monies from this business only...you have earned millions and millions...and for sure it is not from thin air...!!! Keep in mind that you are running an educational institute...not a grocery or supermarket...to shut it down whenever you like...Educational Institutions do have more social commitment than a super market....Business apart...!!!!

ashok 6 years ago

they have done the same for OUR OWN ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOL on the same grounds and open a new school with much higher fees in the same building as well as another building.Their GREED is unsatiable.
IN OOEHS they incread fees one way or other every year.

jpv 6 years ago

Good strategy!!! close the school which does not bring in too much profit. Refurbish and open a new school with much higher fees on the same premises. who cares about the students!!! The bottom line is profit, right?

agnes 6 years ago

The fact that GEM's managements is doing this as a strategy, in the end KHDA final say have made this happen... as they mentioned it was already approved by KHDA??? to which I find it more questionable what brings KHDA to approve such move... knowing that this is not the first time they have done it...its a big question mark...??? yes to be fare it is a business.. but to completely disregard their main purpose which is "to educate" leaves this situation a wrong move for GEMS.