x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Westminster School in Dubai to close

The Westminster School will be closed in 2014 because limitations on fee increases make it unfeasible to run, its operator said yesterday.

DUBAI // The Westminster School will be closed in 2014 because limitations on fee increases make it unfeasible to run, its operator said yesterday.

The 17-year-old British curriculum school run by Gems Education has just under 5,000 pupils.

The school charges between Dh5,200 and Dh10,200 in annual tuition fees, making it one of the more affordable private education options.

Gems said a new fee structure passed this year by the emirate's private education watchdog, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), meant it was unable to "invest the resources required to produce the improvements needed, both educationally and in infrastructure".

"In order for all our students to reach the levels of academic success that our parents and Gems expect, continuous investment is required," the provider said in a statement yesterday.

The KHDA's new fee framework links a school's ability to increase its fees to performance and inflation in the education sector.

Since school evaluations began in 2008, Westminster has repeatedly been rated "acceptable" by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau.

Schools in the acceptable range were permitted a fee increase of just 3 per cent this year.

In the past five years, the average fee increase at Westminster has been Dh167 per year. "For two of the past five years there has been no fee increase at all," a spokesman for Gems said. "We cannot offer a high-quality education at this level."

Gems said students at Westminster would be given priority placement at its other schools, including The Winchester School in Oud Metha, The Westminster School in Sharjah and Cambridge International School. Fees at these schools range from Dh10,000 to Dh23,000.

aahmed@thenational.ae