Our school is called GEMS Royal Dubai School, and as the name suggests we are
located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. We have approximately 900 students on
roll who come from over 60 different nationalities. We follow the National Curriculum
for England (NCfE), delivered by British trained teachers, and enrich learning with
Arabic and Islamic education to promote the culture of our host nation. We have been
using Learning Ladders alongside the GEMS Phoenix MIS for 5 years.
When the Department for Education in the UK made significant changes to the NCfE in
2014, we wanted a platform that would enable us to accurately measure the progress
our students were making without simply recreating levels. We loved what Learning
Ladders had to offer and it was apparent from our first few meetings with the Learning
Ladders team that they really knew their stuff. We looked at other options but felt
that Learning Ladders was established enough to enable us to bespoke the platform
to meet our needs, the expectations of our parents and to enable teachers at GRDS to
truly personalise learning for their students.
We were finding it increasingly more challenging to effectively track the progress our children were making and then present this to stakeholders. When this was also raised as an area for development after one of our yearly inspections, we knew it was absolutely the right time to move on from our previous system and head into ‘life without levels’. Alongside a curriculum review, policy overhaul and a new approach to assessment we moved
over to Learning Ladders. Changing so much at once was, as you can imagine, not without challenges but 5 years on we have never looked back.
What was the challenge you were trying to solve? We were looking for a platform that would allow us focus on the progress our children were making at granular level. We wanted
no child to go under the radar and for all to exceed any expected potential which now, 5 years on, fits in perfectly with our High Performance Learning philosophy and partnership. Also, being an international school based in the UAE, we wanted to ensure we had a platform that allowed us to track progress in Arabic and Islamic in the same way we did for National Curriculum subjects. Learning Ladders has exceeded our expectations as a multilanguage
platform and it was a privilege to work alongside the team to develop the Arabic and Islamic tracking aspect of Learning Ladders on behalf of GEMS Education.
At GRDS we now use the platform to track progress across all curriculum areas (including
Arabic and Islamic), ensure that quality first teaching is truly data-driven, and further
strengthen the partnership between home and school. We have also seen the ‘assessment’ and
‘teacher use of data’ indicators of the Dubai Inspection Framework move to and consistently
remain at ‘Outstanding’ across all phases of the school. Most importantly for us, using
Learning Ladders has enabled our teachers to ensure that, regardless of their start points, our children are making exceptional progress.
Absolutely, as you don’t just get an assessment tracker, you get a wealth of resources for
parents in more languages than we could ever imagine. The support we receive from
the Learning Ladders team enables us to personalise the platform to meet our needs as a
Above all, Learning Ladders has had the most impact on student progress at GRDS. The Ladders at Home aspect has also enabled us to further strengthen our partnership with parents and increase engagement in their child’s learning. From a teacher perspective,
Learning Ladders has enhanced their understanding of data, moderation and the importance of tracking progress to ensure data-driven learning takes place in their classrooms.
Do not hesitate to choose Learning Ladders?! I would say be clear on what you are looking for as a school and what impact you want an assessment system to have. Once you see the Learning Ladders platform, this will help you to think ahead to how you can bespoke
to the needs of your school and get the most from it. If you want
to develop teacher use of data, rigorously and consistently track
progress and engage your parents then this is the platform for you.