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GEMS Education is looking forward to welcoming a new Principal and CEO to GEMS World Academy – Dubai, Dr Saima Rana. Dr Rana joins GEMS Education with extensive experience in international education, having devoted her career to improving the educational standards of inner-city schools. Dr Rana has a strong background in school improvement, combining traditional school improvement techniques with a commitment to collaboration between the local community and businesses in order to accelerate regeneration.

Taking office in September 2020, Dr Rana is an exceptional leader who is deeply committed to strategic and continuous improvement. She will bring to GEMS her vast experience of school leadership; in her work as Principal of Westminster Academy in London, an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ IB school, she has overseen a transformation of student outcomes, and has established innovative systems to implement and deliver an ambitious programme of improvement. Dr Rana has also worked as a senior educational consultant for Cambridge Education Islington, and as a leading schools’ improvement consultant for Building Schools for the Future, with a focus on; teaching and learning, raising standards, ICT, assessment for learning, curriculum and change management.

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As Dr Rana transitions to her new appointment at GEMS World Academy – Dubai, she will be working with staff and parents to learn more about the challenges facing the school and its roadmap for improvement, following which she will communicate her vision and strategy to staff, students and parents. Dr Rana is driven by her belief that education should be truly outstanding for all, and it is this belief that will enable our children to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education, said: “Dr Saima Rana is an outstanding educator to lead GEMS World Academy – Dubai. It is an exciting time for the school as we begin a new chapter further building on our commitment to provide consistently high educational standards. Dr Rana’s passion, experience, and commitment to teaching makes her the perfect candidate for the role. Her knowledge and expertise will strengthen our GEMS Education leadership team as we continue to build upon the progress of education in the country.”

Dr Saima Rana said: “It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead GEMS World Academy – Dubai. I am so excited to meet students, teachers, parents, carers, stakeholders and the community, and to be entrusted with the opportunity to work closely with them to take the Academy into its next phase of development ensuring that all students benefit from its world-class academic and extra-curricular provision.

I am dedicated to fulfilling the highest aspirations of every child, always with the GEMS core values and IB philosophy at the heart of my approach. I look forward to leading GEMS World Academy so that it becomes the best IB school in the world, underpinned by a commitment to fairness, creating Jewels of Kindness and respect, so that all our students feel safe, secure and successful.”

Dr Rana specialises in Secondary School Educational Policy, ICT, Globalisation, and, the Knowledge and Digital Economy. She was an ICT Mark Assessor and examiner for NAACE and was part of the working party developing the original Becta/Ofsted ICT Mark and Assessment for Learning Reform group.

With a PhD in Education from UCL Institute of Education, Dr Rana is passionate about sharing best practice for continuing professional development and has presented numerous academic papers on policy, ICT, globalisation and secondary education at the Institute of Education and the Knowledge Lab in London, Trinity College in Dublin, and international conferences in Europe, USA and China.

In addition, Dr Rana is a member of the following boards: International Baccalaureate Schools and Colleges Association (IBSCA), The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA), Paddington Development Trust (PDT), Mosaic Community Trust (MCT), University College School (UCS), the Institute for Ethical AI in Education (IEAIED) and the BCS School Curriculum and Assessment Committee. She is also Founder and Trustee of several charitable schools and other programs for women and girls across the Globe.

Our current CEO and Head of School, Stuart Walker will leave at the end of this academic year to take up a new opportunity outside the UAE. Over the years, Stuart has led GEMS World Academy – Dubai with great integrity and care for all members of the school community. Under his leadership, the school has gone from strength to strength and achieved considerable milestones that will continue to have a long-lasting impact on students for years to come.