Dubai: Manor Primary School in Dubai will merge into The English College (EC) in January 2019, Gulf News can reveal.
In an interview, Sir Greg Martin, principal of EC, said the formal merger made sense since both the UK-curriculum schools — which have the same governing board and are located on the same site in Al Safa — were “very much joined anyways”.
Manor has traditionally been a “feeder school” to the larger EC secondary school. Manor has around 120 students in FS1 (Foundation Stage 1) to Year 6, while EC has around 650 students in Year 7 to 13.
The development means the new merged school, which will continue as The English College, will take students from FS1 from Year 13.
The merger will be “a positive move” with no impact on students, staff and fees, Sir Greg said.
Annual fees at Manor currently range from Dh47,150 for FS1 to Dh51,750 for Year 6. At EC, annual fees range from Dh51,556 for Year 7 to Dh61,765 for Year 12.
EC is rated ‘Very Good’ by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Dubai’s education regulator.
The English College and Manor Primary School are both owned by Shaikh Butti Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, who will remain as the owner of the merged school, EC said in a statement.
On Monday, Sir Greg, who will lead the merged school, said the development comes as “a natural progression when the time was right to put the schools together for a coherent journey for the children, from three-year-olds to all the way up to 18-year-olds”.
The two schools will reopen as one school — The English College — when students return from their winter break on January 6, 2019, he added.
“Having merged the two schools together, we are able to create a middle school curriculum which is I think is unique to Dubai. That will close the gap between primary and secondary and allow the primary children not to be plunged into a secondary environment overnight, as it were.”
The merger precedes a multimillion-dirham refurbishment project of EC, which includes a new multi-storey teaching block with classrooms, labs, offices, meeting rooms; a music and drama studio; and gymnasium, Sir Greg said.
He added that the facilities are expected to be ready by July 2019, when schools close for the long summer break. Sir Greg said the expanded space will allow EC to enrol an additional 500 students or so in the next two to three years.
Sir Greg said he was confident the school will secure an ‘Outstanding’ rating “in the very near future”.
There used to be an English College Primary School, which in 2013 had announced it would close down in 2014 because of “business reasons”.
Manor, located at the same site, has had the same governing board and ownership as EC. However, it is technically a separate school and will formally merge into EC in January 2019.
Sir Greg, who was recently appointed as the new principal for EC, said: “My understanding is that the arrangement was appropriate with the needs of the schools at the time, and served the schools well in that period. Times change and needs change. We are moving, with the same management and board, from that model to the future model which is appropriate for the next few generations for children.”
He added: “I think it’s a very sensible, pragmatic decision to put the two schools together as one, which will better serve the needs of the pupils and their achievements.”