At the end of December 2013, Mohan Valrani, an entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist, engaged Gabbitas to support his vision of the opening of four new British schools in Dubai, the first of which – the Arcadia Preparatory School – opened in August 2016. Gabbitas supported Mr Valrani and his team throughout the entire school development process until opening.
The focus of this school is a ‘centralised open zone’ designed for the performance of music and drama and will also incorporate fluid library spaces. A number of courtyard areas provide shaded internal play spaces, and innovative landscaping creates an engaging environment in which the children live and learn; the school is targeting a LEED green building certification from the US Green Building Council.
The school follows the English National Curriculum and supplements the core curriculum with innovative additions including the use of technology to enhance learning, a comprehensive all-inclusive Enrichment Learning Programme and Dubai’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence programme. The school is already in touch with Apple to roll out a one-to-one programme and has signed with 7 Billion Ideas out of the UK for its Entrepreneur-in-Residence programme.
The Gabbitas Team is working closely with Mr Valrani’s organisation to help him bring his vision to reality. We have supported the conceptual development of the schools, the management structure and provided expert curriculum advice for both primary and secondary. We have also taken responsibility for the recruitment of all academic staff, with over 500 applications received for the first 20 positions. In consultation with Gabbitas, the Arcadia Group has taken the decision to build a high quality residential tower for teachers within walking distance from the school. Gabbitas supported the school with pre-opening inspection visits to ensure leadership and quality of teaching and learning were effective.