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Deira International School

by Eddie Rayner

Deira International School (DIS) opened in 2005, and offers the National curriculum for England plus the IB Global curriculum complimented by top class facilities and resources for learning.  DIS is where children experience high quality teaching that will inspire them to be their very best. Rated as Very Good in the last KHDA Inspection in 2019 and more recently as Outstanding in the British School Overseas (BSO) inspection in October 2021.

DIS is a Cambridge International Examinations Centre, an IB World School and owned and operated, as a not-for-profit school, by the Al Futtaim Education Foundation.

British, British (IB Sixth Form), International Baccalaureate 

Our Mission

(DIS) believes all students need to fulfil their potential in an inclusive, forward-thinking and safe environment, in which each child’s individuality is valued and encouraged. Its committed team of educators provides opportunities for creativity and global awareness through a holistic and nurturing curriculum. The school hold high expectations,  using innovative learning and teaching approaches and encouraging the celebration of cultural diversity. DIS foster partnerships where students, parents, staff and the wider community actively support and contribute to the achievement of the school’s Vision.

Our Vision

To create an outstanding, multi-cultural learning community that empowers studentsto achieve their potential, become life-long learners and responsible global citizens.

Students and teachers embrace the standards of the IB student profile, leading to students who are inquirers; proficient; masterminds; communicators; principled; receptive; mindful; daring individuals; adjusted; intelligent and risk-takers.

Our Values

Respect, Excellence, Collaboration and Integrity are the values that the school lives by, andhelps it action its Vision and Mission.

At DIS, students experience the combination of high-quality teaching, the National Curriculum for England plus the IB Global Curriculum, complemented by top-class facilities and resources for learning. They are inspired to be their very best.

DIS opened in 2005 and is one of the two premium schools owned and operated by the Al Futtaim Education Foundation. The Al Futtaim Education Foundation schools are operated as not-for-profit. Working alongside an organisation like the Al-Futtaim Group means they are uniquely positioned to provide real-world learning experiences (internships) to the students that other schools simply cannot offer.

A World of Opportunities for All Students

As a fully inclusive international school, for students aged three years to eighteenyears, DIS is committed to providing an excellent education for all students, allowingthem to enjoy and achieve beyond their expectations. When students leave DIS, they go on to study at some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

The school also offer an extensive curriculum programme beyond the classroom, with visits, trips, competitions, clubs, and co-curricula activities, providing enrichment for all students.For older students, DIS offer access to a unique experiential learning programmes (summer internships) through its links with the Al-Futtaim Group. This providesstudents with real-life business experience in the automotive industry, financialservices, real estate and retail sector, covering functions such as marketing, HR andlegal.

Through its links to the Al-Futtaim Group, the school’s IBCP (careers-related programme) students have the fantastic opportunity to develop their professional skills and gainvaluable experience in an environment that directly links to their career aspirations.This approach motivates and equips students to further their education beyondDIS and, most importantly, to view education as a lifelong process.Scholarships

The Al Futtaim Education Foundation offers generous scholarship schemes at DIS to support the parent community. The scholarships are made available on an annual basis and cover a percentage of the tuition fees up to a maximum of 100% for Emirati scholarships and up to 50% of the tuition fees for academic and talent scholarships.

A World of Opportunities for All Students

  1. Simon O’Connor – School Director
  2. Douglas Pettitt – Secondary School Head Teacher
  3. Gaynor Dale – Primary School Head Teacher
  4. Emma Hannon – Secondary School Deputy Head Teacher
  5. Sarah Marshall – Primary School Deputy Head Teacher
  6. Brian Cleary – Head of IB
  7. Fiona Ryan – Head of Foundation Stage
  8. Mohammad Shah Ali – Secondary School Assistant Head Teacher
  9. Barry Lomas – Secondary School Assistant Head Teacher
  10. Sarah Gray – Primary School Assistant Head Teacher
  11. Scarlett Keryworth – Head of Student Experience
  12. Sarah Smith – Primary School Assistant Head Teacher
  13. Iman Fattoum – Head of Arabic
  14. Lisa Boer – Head of Inclusion
  15. Nicholas Bloom – Head of Assessment

1. Simon O’Connor

Simon is the Director of Deira International School with oversight over both the primary and secondary schools. He has over 25 years of experience in education and joined DIS in August of 2020. Simon is passionate about learning and ensuring all students are challenged to achieve their full potential.

2. Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is an experienced Assistant Head at Deira International School.  She is passionate about learning and teaching, aiming to empower teachers to step outside their comfort zones and take risks to develop innovative practices, accelerate children’s progress and create extraordinary learning opportunities for children.

3. Emma Hannon

With over 10 years of senior leadership experience at outstanding schools in both the UK and UAE, Emma Hannon is very proud to be the Secondary School Deputy Head Teacher at Deira International School. She is also the designated safeguarding lead, which means she is responsible for ensuring all students are happy and safe.

4. Brian Cleary

Brian Cleary is responsible for delivering outstanding results for the school’s IB students. Mr Cleary is proud to be entering his seventh year at Deira International School and is passionate about developing students as lifelong learners. He looks forward to further establishing DIS among the leading IB schools in the UAE, while providing holistic opportunities for its students. 

5. Sarah Marshall

Sarah Marshall is the Primary Deputy Head Teacher at Deira International School and has been in Dubai for over 10 years. She is a leader of Teaching and Learning and her passion is to ensure children are given every opportunity to take risks, be challenged to maximise their potential and fulfil their aspirations.

6. Scarlett Keyworth

Ms Scarlett Keyworth leads the Student Experience at Deira International School, ensuring all students develop a rich profile and an abundance of memories to last a lifetime. She is an advocate for student voice and strongly believes in the classroom and beyond, whilst promoting global citizenship, a love of learning, and encouraging all individuals to discover new experiences. 

7. Doug Pettitt

Doug Pettitt is the Secondary School Head Teacher at Deira International School, and leads the strategic direction for the Secondary Phase. He has over 27 years of experience in education and this is his third Headship of a secondary school. He is driven to make a difference to others and ensure the very best education for all learners, ensuring that they leave school ready and equipped for the opportunities ahead.

8. Lisa Boer

Lisa Boer joined the Deira International School community this academic year. During her teaching career, she realised that her true passion is inclusion, helping to identify and overcome barriers within the learning environment. She passionate about every child thriving and ensuring they fulfil their true potential, and genuinely believes that the key to supporting students of determination lies in understanding teachers, parents who never give up, and a society that provides them with opportunities.

9. Gaynor Dale

Gaynor Dale brings many years of leadership experience to the Primary Head role, both in the UK and within Dubai.  She is particularly interested in developing positive and effective working cultures within her teaching teams and ensuring that the whole school community collaborates to work towards the school’s common goals and aims. With her inclusive mindset, she ensures that no child is left behind at Deira International School and outcomes and benefits to pupils are consistently at the heart of her leadership decisions.

10. Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an experienced Assistant Head at Deira International School. She thrives on developing the skills and capacities of all staff and pupils to be the best they can be and to make a difference. She is forward-thinking and a firm believer in commitment to excellence through critical thinking; creative and inquiry-based learning, innovation and enriched experiences that enable all pupils to be aspirational and ambitious.

11. Nicholas Bloom

Nicholas Bloom has been with Deira International School for seven years. In his current role, he is responsible for assessments, reporting and timetabling across the school. Mr Bloom also leads on the use of data across the school to improve teaching and learning.

12. Iman Fattoum

After a long journey in teaching and leading Arabic departments in different schools, Iman Fattoum is very excited to join the Deira International School community. She is passionate about every student thriving in Arabic. As her first students inspired her to do an MA in Educational Leadership and Innovation, the students in other schools, including DIS, have added invaluable experience to her personal and professional journey.

13. Mohammad Shah Amran Ali

Mohammad Shah Ali is an Assistant Head Teacher for Key Stage 4 in the Secondary School. His key responsibility is in academic achievement. He is responsible for inspiring and empowering students to achieve the best. He has been in the teaching profession for 15 years.

14. Fiona Ryan

Fiona Ryan is an Assistant Head Teacher, leading on Foundation Stage and ensuring students have the most positive first experience of school life possible. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she studied through the Froebelian Teaching method, her passion for play-based learning, multi-sensory approach to learning and teaching underpins our core values and aims at Deira International School.

15. Barry Lomas

Barry Lomas has a real interest in pastoral work, which is a pivotal part of his role. He believes in developing students holistically by offering them a wide range of experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, that are equipping them with the skills and knowledge to lead happy and successful lives in the future. He is a firm believer that student success is not only measured by results, and the experiences students receive outside of the classroom are just as important as those in it.

What are the school timings?

  • Foundation Stage:
  • FS1: From 07:50am to 12:30pm
  • FS2: From 07:50am to 12:30pm
  • Year 1 to Year 6: From 7:50am to 2:30pm
  • After School Activity: From 2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Year 7 to Year 13: From 7:50am to 3:30pm
  • After School Activity: From 3:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Admissions: From 8:00am to 4:00pm
  • Tours: Daily from 9:00am to 2:00pm


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Deira International School

Tel: +971 4 232 5552
Email: [email protected]