Last week saw the launch in Dubai of a branch of North London Collegiate School or NLCS Dubai. The school’s name may not have carried as far around the world as that of Eton, Winchester and Harrow but, make no mistake, this is one of the UK’s very best schools.
NLCS has an outstanding heritage as well, based on its establishment in the nineteenth century as the first modern day school for girls. You cannot read a history of girls’ education globally without expecting to dwell on a chapter that takes you through the establishment and growth of NLCS. The school opened its first coeducational school in Korea three years ago. Its branch will be coeducational in Dubai.
Today, in the UK, the school reaches the very top of the results tables every time they are published. The school also delivers remarkable IB diploma results with an average, for goodness sake, in the 40s. The impressive thing is the consistency of the results. Year after year, after year. If you like football analogies, think of Barcelona.
And if you visit the school, you will find an atmosphere that is as much like a university as a school. The layers of excellence just go on and on. Lessons delve deeply into each subject. The teachers carry their enthusiasm for their subject to every child. If someone falls off the pace, they are picked up and supported without fuss. If a student has the potential, NLCS will find it. Students gain confidence because every effort they make is treasured. Oh, and yes, the older students run as many clubs and societies as do their teachers. I could go on for an age about the simple things they do brilliantly.
History of Success at NLCS
The independent think tank, the Sutton Trust named NLCS the most successful school in the UK for consistently getting students into top-ranked universities.
Dubai has many good schools and it is growing a few great ones. With the arrival of NLCS, the whole region will see a lifting of the bar. I believe there will be a real tussle while NLCS in Dubai proves its path and the rest ‘take it on’. I expect more schools like it to follow.
No longer will a dinner table conversation in the poshest houses contain the aside, “but you still need to send your child to the UK or US for a truly world-class school”. The arrival of NLCS is a game changer for the region and, perhaps, one big stride into the Age of Quality that lies ahead for GCC schools.