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Students, staff and parents at Dubai College are celebrating after winning the International School of the Year title at a glittering awards ceremony in central London on Monday 7th October. The school was praised by judges for establishing the Dubai College Foundation as a registered charity in England and Wales in order to:

*provide scholarships and bursaries to enable children from all backgrounds to attend Dubai College with the ultimate intention to generate sufficient funds so that education can be offered without the need to charge fees.

*assist with the development of the school so that it can continue to maintain the outstanding performance whilst keeping school fees as low as possible.

*be able to provide assistance to those parents who are suffering hardship and unable to meet the fees.

*promote fundraising and volunteering opportunities at Dubai College with a view to advancing the education of pupils at schools in developing countries.

Having a registered charity in England and Wales has enabled the school to establish an arm in International Humanitarian City. As a consequence, the Dubai College charity committee, under the direction of Miss Rupal Shah, is now able to fundraise and build a school for a remote community in Nepal in partnership with United World Schools.

The awards are run by Independent School Parent magazine and open to both independent schools from across the UK and international schools who are members of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).

Michael Lambert, Headmaster of Dubai College and Chairman of the Dubai College Foundation, said:

“We are so pleased to have received this award and are delighted with the feedback we received from the judges. It has taken Dubai College 42 years to reach this stage of maturity and three years of careful protocol to establish the Dubai College Foundation in the UK and subsequently obtain a license from International Humanitarian City to be able to officially raise funds in school for initiatives outside of the UAE. Our vision was to provide an education to children in remote areas. The school that we have established is called Jaisithok and will cater for around 200 children who are currently walking 60 – 90 minutes to reach a government school or are not attending at all.”

The awards ask to see evidence of success stories that feature both individuals and innovative practice, for a judging panel that is made up of heads, governors, parents and representatives of membership associations from across the independent school sector and chaired by Dr Helen Wright, former President of the Girls School Association and Vice-Chair of the Independent Schools Council in the UK.

Kieran Dempsey, Bursar of Dubai College and Treasurer of the Dubai College Foundation, who collected the award in London said:

“It is a great honour to receive this award. Using the Foundation to support students in the UAE as well as providing huge opportunities for the children in Nepal fits in perfectly with the philanthropic ethos of Dubai College. We are grateful that the hard work in this area with both the International Humanitarian City in Dubai and United World Schools has been recognised.’

Rupal Shah, Charities Coordinator at Dubai College has been instrumental in setting up the school and said:

“It’s been 3 long hard years of making a dream come alive. Building a school in Nepal with the help of United World Schools has been so rewarding and we can’t wait to welcome our first students in the next couple of weeks. Our first group of Dubai College students will become the first ambassadors to visit Jaisithok in February, and begin, what will be, an enriching partnership for all.

David Moncrieff is Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board at Independent School Parent magazine who run the awards. He said:

“Following the huge success of the inaugural competition last year, which saw more than 250 school nominations entered, we are thrilled to have surpassed that figure for Independent Schools of the Year 2019. The awards were once again designed with the student experience at their heart and to provide schools with a platform to showcase their stories of innovation and success. The judges had a tough job on their hands picking the winners from the shortlisted entries, but the schools we have seen tonight (7th Oct) were hugely deserving.”

This year saw a record number of entries from a wide range of schools. There were twenty different categories, a reflection of the depth and breadth of the independent school experience.

All those who made the finals gathered in London for an awards ceremony where winners were presented with trophies by the judges. All the finalists will now be featured in a widely distributed special winner’s supplement magazine and will be given a rosette to display alongside their brand.