Dubai International Academy – Al Barsha – Providing World-Class Education to the Leaders of Tomorrow

The academy aims to empower students with a holistic, rigorous, and international education for success in an ever changing world.

Established in September 2005, Dubai International Academy (DIA) started with 500 students from 55 countries, and a faculty of 50 members from 18 nationalities. It was the first school in UAE to offer the full IB continuum to its students. The school focuses on providing world-class education to all the students and transform them into young adults ready for the challenges of an ever-changing world. It always upholds the core values of Achievement, Collaboration, Innovation, Integrity, Respect, and Responsibility. In 2018, in response to continued demand, a sister school was opened in nearby Al Barsha.

Excellent Curricular and Extra-Curricular Offerings

DIA Al Barsha shares the same focus upon the academic and holistic development of its students. Accordingly, the school is a candidate school* for the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education- that we believe is important for our students.

Despite being a relatively new school, DIA-AB has ensured a broad and balanced curriculum from the outset. This academic year, it anticipates to become fully authorized for both MYP and DP with PYP authorization to follow next year.

Each programme has been designed to provide a variety of subject choices in each group to ensure suitable choice to meet students’ aspirations and to enhance their talents. The school also offers a wide-ranging programme of co-curricular activities which cater for academic, sporting, and cultural activities. A dedicated music programme has been introduced this year, enabling every student to pursue studies in an instrument of their choosing.

The curriculum is also designed as per local requirements for social studies and moral education, with further emphasis upon both rigour and inquiry as well as innovation and technology. DIA-AB has state-of-the-art facilities which provide an excellent ambiance for young learners. It houses three swimming pools, modern auditorium, two libraries, dedicated suites for product design, digital design and IT, along with spacious and well-lit classrooms and corridors. Students can also avail of numerous outdoor facilities including tennis courts, full size football field, cricket nets, grassed areas, and a six-lane 400m synthetic running track.

The school is committed towards providing students opportunities to learn and enhance their knowledge in the mother tongue. During its opening year, the school offered 7 programmes to support the development of mother-tongue languages. The major languages offered included Dutch, Finnish, French, Hindi, Italian, Swedish, and Russian. It plans to introduce additional languages including Danish, German, Turkish, and possibly Urdu during the second year.

DIA-AB has also launched a dedicated, certified student leadership programme in conjunction with Sports Leaders UK. The programme develops leadership skills in students ranging from primary ages to secondary. The school offers leadership opportunities in sport and across the curriculum, including Mathematics, Science and various languages.

Students are also able to benefit from one to one instrument lessons through the launch of our partnership with a specialist music school The school offers various opportunities for the students to participate in a rich and varied co-curricular programme with a variety of opportunities available each day after school. Additionally, various group events including olympiads, talent shows, science fairs, debating, MUN, tech fair, athletics, and many more allow students to explore and develop their potential beyond the classroom.

The school closely monitors the students’ well-being and personal development through the pastoral teams. Teacher observation and care is supported by attitudinal and self-esteem survey data to enable planned support and intervention where required.

Ensuring the Development of Students

The school’s IB programmes provide various challenges and opportunities, while motivating the students to explore their limits. However, the school ensures students and parents are well informed about the value and benefits of the IB programmes at each stage of their learning. It also demonstrates to parents of the younger PYP learners the benefits of a continuum.  The inquiry approach to learning ensures that students are continually engaged, while collaborative projects and real-life context enable students to give meaning to their learning. As such, the school has organized Grade 5 PYP exhibition and the MYP IDU weeks where students presented on themes which crossed varied disciplines, for example the science found within the novel ‘Life of Pi’.

The Erudite Frontrunner      

The personality leading DIA Al Barsha is experienced Principal, David Hicks. Mr Hicks is a passionate and committed IB leader. Having held leadership positions within four different IB schools, he has a wealth of experience across all four programmes and is committed to the holistic development of young people. He has taught ITGS, MYP and DP Standard Level Mathematics as well as TOK. David was the Founding Chair of the UAE IB Association of Schools and was a member of the IB Regional Council for the Africa, Europe and Middle East region. He holds a BSc in Computing Mathematics, MA in Applied Educational Leadership and Management and the NPQH.

David inspires a clear and very ‘student and parent centric’ vision throughout the school. He ensures that the interests of students are at the core of all decision making and believes in the value of open door communication. The outcomes can already be soon through students’ and parents’ immediate sense of belonging to the school. This is further proven by strong early academic performance, strategic support and intervention where required and a broad, holistic experience for all students.

Accreditation and Affiliations

While DIA Al Barsha is a relatively new school, it will in the years ahead emulate its sister school, DIA Emirates Hills, which holds accreditations and memberships of various organizations, including:

  • Council of International Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges Inc. USA
  • Eco-Schools UAE
  • The Hague International Model United Nations
  • Middle East IB Association

The school also maintains healthy communication with premium universities in the UK and US to establish a pathways programme for students. Additionally, DIA Al Barsha has partnership with Stanford University Summer School. This summer, a number of students from the school, as well as our sister schools, enjoyed the opportunity to participate and succeed with two of the summer school’s three overall prizes being awarded to our students.

Financial Assistance and Career Opportunities

The school offers not only brilliant educational facilities, but also offers merit based scholarships. It currently offers sports and academic scholarships, with additional scholarships to be launched this year. A number of other discounts are also in place for families, such as sibling discounts and reduced founders’ fee.

We believe that the nature of workplaces is constantly changing and the nature of future career pathways is unpredictable. The school prepares students, not only to enable them to pursue careers in the traditional occupations, but also, in line with its mission as young people empowered to succeed “in an ever changing world”.

The Future Pathway

The school is currently in candidacy for PYP, MYP, and DP. The authorization for MYP and DP is anticipated during this academic year and for PYP the following year. The school will be recognized as an institute of academic repute which also offers excellent opportunities for music, performance, sport, and student leadership.

The school is currently developing a pathways programme which will nurture its links with globally recognized universities. It will also provide vocational pathways as required, including the IBCP in the future. Enrollment is expected to continue apace as the school’s reputation grows. DIA-AB expects to continually increase enrollment, with over 1000 students anticipated for the next academic year.

(* Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted)

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