Citizens is a visionary new school in Dubai, designed and developed by Al Zarooni Emirates Investments. At its core, Citizens focuses on each child’s unique requirements, empowering them with choices to explore themes, expand interests, and determine the routes that they want to go on to reach their full potential, without compromise.
Influenced by some of the world’s leading cognitive scientists and researchers on education, motivation and mindsets, Citizens’ custom-built curriculum is tailored for each child’s unique strengths and approach to learning, with the UK National Curriculum as its framework. The 43,000-square-meter school campus has capacity for 2,600 children between the ages of three and 18 and features almost 3,000 square meters of open playing space. This includes a multi-purpose performing arts and activity hall, a six-lane swimming pool, and football and rugby pitches adhering to FIFA and World Rugby standards.
The power of choice – one size does not fit all.
The Citizens learning experience focuses on the whole growth of a student and is built around each child’s unique requirements and talents.We believe in the power of student choice because choice allows freedom and autonomy in the classroom and leads to more engaged learning. The Citizen’s team will identify potential, stimulate passion, nurture talent, and celebrate bravery in our students to incubate the entrepreneurs, creators, visionaries and thinkers of tomorrow.
We are on a mission to re-imagine education and challenge the conventional to help prepare children for a future where 60% of jobs do not exist yet. The school uses an innovative and unique learning experience to enable students to develop a broad, rich, and connected bank of knowledge and skills relevant for the lives they will lead in the 21st-century giving them the choices to determine the routes that they want to go on to reach their full potential.
Learning through a new lens: World-ready Citizens
At Citizens, students are encouraged to craft their own futures by celebrating and empowering what makes them unique and providing them with the right set of life skills to thrive in the communities of tomorrow. Our team believes in learning rather than educating, because learning is a lifelong pursuit that creates limitless possibilities. The goal is to foster an environment for divergent thinking because real-world problems require real, out-of-the-box solutions.
Learning for all
Citizens celebrates co-operation, diversity, community, and inclusivity, encouraging every child to develop as confident, ambitious, and joyful lifelong learners. We identify potential, stimulate passion, nurture talent, and celebrate bravery to incubate the producers, performers, competitors, creators, innovators, and thinkers of tomorrow.
Our campus, program and approach has been thoughtfully curated to re-shape learning, enabling our students to thrive as citizens of the future, by focusing on wellbeing, imagination and fun.As a school born out of Dubai and based in the heart of the city, we share the spirit, energy, and optimism for what is possible today and tomorrow as we play our part in positioning Dubai as a global hub of learning excellence in a diversified knowledge economy.
The Citizens learning experience focuses on the whole growth of a learner and is built around each child’s unique requirements, giving them the choices to explore themes, expand interests and determine the routes that they want to go on to reach their full potential.
The Citizens campus, program and approach has been thoughtfully curated to re-shape learning, enabling our students to thrive as citizens of the future, by focusing on well-being, imagination, and fun. As a school born out of Dubai and based in the heart of the city, Citizens School shares the spirit, energy, and optimism for what is possible today and tomorrow as we play our part in positioning Dubai as a global hub of learning excellence in a diversified knowledge economy.
Why Choose this Curriculum?
The Citizens schooling experience centers around future proofing students by equipping them with a rich, connected bank of knowledge and skills relevant for the 21st century, through its custom-built curriculum – Citizens Tapestry. Having partnered with Chatsworth Schools group, a leading school group in the UK, to create Citizens’ Tapestry, the curriculum is based on UK National Curriculum and enriched with six key threads – Mindset; Entrepreneur; Health & Wellbeing; Sustainable Leadership; Global; and Digital Literacy – as part of its comprehensive and holistic education system. The curriculum has been co-developed and influenced by some of the world’s leading researchers on education, motivation, and mindsets, as well as cognitive scientists including Dr Carol Dweck, Matthew Syed and John Hattie, Guy Claxton, and Graham Powell.
- Citizens Mindset: Building mindsets is a core part of our learning approach to ensure our students are open-minded, resilient, able to learn from failure and build upon it to succeed.
- Citizens Entrepreneurs: We provide future-focused learning through 8billionideas, an innovative platform that empowers children with vital skills that will lead them to happiness and fulfilment, providing them with transferable skills in entrepreneurship and innovation, which they don’t traditionally learn in schools, and allows students to become self-starters and pursue a career that they’re truly passionate about.
- Citizens Health and Wellbeing: To promote growth and learning, we recognise the need to not only strengthen our children’s physical health but also nurture their mental health, which plays a crucial role in a child’s overall wellbeing.
- Citizens Sustainable Leadership: We help our students to develop a deep understanding of issues that face mankind today and to become responsible stewards of our planet.
- Citizens Global: Our aim is for every child to feel at one with the world in which they live and leave with a deep understanding and empathy for all cultures, creeds, and civilization.
- Citizens Digital Literacy: Using our fully integrated Digital Literacy programme our children will learn to safely and seamlessly use technology alongside traditional methods to enhance their learning, via our measured and innovative approach.
Nurturing an environment of wellbeing is fully integrated throughout all aspects of the school and underpins everything that we do with a complete infrastructure of support for children, mentors and the community.
We take a proactive approach in meeting the physical, personal, social, emotional, psychological and academic needs of all of our children. By building trusting relationships, we develop systems of support to ensure everyone has the opportunity to flourish and be happy. The school community is committed to taking responsibility for the children in our care. We have a dedicated Wellbeing Centre, and fully trained mentors, a school nurse and a school counsellor to ensure all children develop as confident, ambitious and joyful lifelong learners.
Through collaboration with local universities, Citizens School will further enable research-based practice in innovative learning spaces to create future thinkers and learners. The collaboration with universities will allow us to provide accredited training qualifications to all Citizens mentors and to teachers of the community as a whole. Additionally, the school also hosts a dedicated well-being centre. The Wellbeing Centre is a purpose-built facility of 1,100 square meters dedicated to supporting the needs of children during their school years and the community as a whole. The centre will provide academic and non-academic support to ensure all children are properly equipped to reach their full potential. This will include providing:
- Additional support for children with learning difficulties
- Wellbeing and mental support for children, teachers, and parents
- Training, development, and outsourcing of Learning Support Assistants
Utilising the UN Sustainable Development Goals and developing children’s understanding of them, Citizens School will also be home to an urban farm. This will be a dedicated space meant to encourage sustainability within the Citizen’s community by growing produce that can be used in our Eco Café.
After School and Co-curricular Activities
Yes, we do offer a range of after-school activities aimed at encouraging students to go beyond education, to become a part of active learning. We have a wide range of Cocurricular Activities (CCA) programmes open to children of across all age groups. Our activities offer opportunities for engagement in areas of sport, academics, and the creative arts. Our CCA programme is divided into ICA (internal curricular activities) and ECA (extra-curricular activities).
Parents can sign up their children for activities that are provided by school staff, or our external providing partners. Internal curricular activities will be provided by our own mentors, and they are part of the tuition fees. These will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 16:00 to 16:45pm. External curricular activities will be arranged for in collaboration with an external partner. Full details of school activities will be sent to parents at the start of each school term, for parents to register their children for the activities of their choice.
The Citizens’ 43,000-square-meter school campus, program and approach have been thoughtfully curated to re-shape learning, enabling students to thrive as citizens of the future, by focusing on wellbeing, imagination, and enabling outstanding outcomes for all young people. We have a 2,900-square-meter open playing and recreation area; a 1,250-square-meter multi-purpose performing arts and activity hall; six lane semi-covered swimming pool and learning pool, football and rugby pitches adhering to FIFA and World Rugby standards; as well as a dedicated dining area for primary school students.
Ratings and Accreditations
The Best Teachers
We believe in becoming mentors to the students and their parents, putting them at the centre of a learning experience which is designed to support a balanced learning lifestyle, allowing them to flourish and be happy in a safe and supportive environment. Our team believes in identifying potential, stimulate passion, nurture talent, and celebrate bravery to incubate the producers, performers, competitors, creators, innovators, and thinkers of tomorrow.
To do so, we select our mentors based on a variety qualifications and advanced skill sets. In the traditional sense, a teacher’s role is to impart knowledge through instruction and explanation via formal subject lessons. Nowadays, children have access to information at the click of a button, so what can a teacher teach a child that they cannot access themselves through the Internet? Therefore, our teachers are aptly named mentors because aside from providing instruction and sharing knowledge, they focus on applying that knowledge in practice, nurturing creativity, and fostering personal development to inspire students to develop their own skills.
The Citizens’ 43,000-square-meter school campus, program and approach have been thoughtfully curated to re-shape learning, enabling students to thrive as citizens of the future, by focusing on wellbeing, imagination, and enabling outstanding outcomes for all young people.
We have a 2,900-square-meter open playing and recreation area; a 1,250-square-meter multi-purpose performing arts and activity hall; six lane semi-covered swimming pool and learning pool, football and rugby pitches adhering to FIFA and World Rugby standards; as well as a dedicated dining area for primary school students.
Our education hub has ample parking in and around the campus to cater for the busy school drop-off and pick-up periods and clear slip roads away from the main roads. We will be working closely with the RTA to ensure that school traffic times remain smooth and ultimately safe for our children and parents. Our school is operational from 8am to 4pm.
- Book a tour – Please send an email to [email protected] and the Registrar will be happy to schedule a convenient time for a tour of the school.
- Main number – +971 50 237 7273
Dr. Adil Alzarooni
Dr. Adil Alzarooni is an Emirati business leader and educator, committed to lifelong learning.
With over two decades of experience in executive management, investments, sales, logistics, IT security and economic zone development, he has served in various leadership positions within UAE government entities as well as family-owned businesses. He has bolstered his portfolio with directorship positions in a number of firms in diverse sectors including healthcare, education, financial services, logistics, media, technology, food and beverage, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and real estate. Currently, he operates two family offices.
Dr. Adil holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Etisalat College of Engineering, a master’s in business administration from American University of Sharjah and a PhD in family businesses and business systems from the British University in Dubai. He is a passionate educator and an inspiring public speaker in the fields of economic zone development and sustainability of family businesses.
Chief Executive Officer
Hisham translated the vision of Citizens into an ethos based on which the school and the education hub are built upon. In his role as CEO, he has managed the entire project development process from feasibility to execution across its multiple strands, including developing the academic thesis and academic plan; regulatory and licensing process; learning environments; human resources; branding and marketing; key partnerships; and facilities and site development. His role going forward is focused on the continued growth of the school, the different elements of the Citizens Education Hub, and setting and executing the medium to long-term strategic plan for the project as a whole.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the GCC region, Hisham provides insights and direction to businesses on constructing and optimising their investment portfolios in real estate, healthcare, education, financial services, food and beverage, logistics, and SMEs. As the Chief Investment Officer of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments (ZEI) since 2013, Hisham leads on the investment strategy, providing recommendations based on thorough research and analysis, helping identify sources of financing, and overseeing the complete investment cycle from origination to exit.
Prior to this, Hisham worked for Istithmar World Capital in Dubai, UAE, and QInvest in Doha, Qatar. He has a wealth of experience in private equity, listed equities, and fixed income funds.
Hisham holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the American University of Beirut and is currently pursuing an Executive MBA at ESCP Business School.
Ciaran Cunningham-Watson joins Citizens Dubai with over 20 years of educational experience, including headships in international schools in the UK, Spain, Mexico, China, and the UAE. In his role as Founding Principal, Ciaran will be responsible for executing on Citizens’ vision of commitment to re-shaping education and the success of all students and mentors as well as cultivating an environment in which students and their parents are placed at the centre of the learning experience. He is dedicated to empowering students and mentors with the power of choice and ensuring that their development needs are met.
He began his teaching career in the UK and during the course of his career has worked in British state, independent and international schools, and boarding schools. His previous leadership positions include work in Abu Dhabi as both a school Principal and as Country Representative for the British Schools in the Middle East. He is a Council of British International Schools and PENTA international school inspector and a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching (FCCT).
He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), bachelor’s degree in modern and contemporary history and a master’s (honours) degree in history and politics. Ciaran speaks English, Spanish and French.
Leader of Primary
Kephren Sherry oversees the Primary department at Citizens School. Soon after completing her undergraduate degree from Lancaster University, Kephren worked in both primary and secondary schools where she discovered her lifelong passion for learning development in young children. With over 20 years of rich experience and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Roehampton University, UK, she has worked across several educational leadership positions around the world including the UK, UAE, and Malaysia.
Kephren first held a leadership position as a Foundation Stage Leader in the UK, after which she was promoted to Deputy Headteacher and Acting Headteacher. She then joined as founding member of the Senior Leadership Team at a new school in Dubai and was promoted to Deputy Principal to the Head of Primary. After leading the school to success, Kephren then moved to Malaysia to start another new school as Head of Primary, an opportunity that allowed her to develop a team of primary teachers in an international setting. Kephren has now returned to Dubai to facilitate all aspects of the primary department at Citizens School.
A firm believer in fostering a love for lifelong learning in students and staff, Kephren has played a key role in cultivating the right leadership values from founding to implementation at several international schools. She holds a keen interest in driving and improving teaching teams through collaborative learning, mentoring, and coaching. For Kephren, reflective practice and evidence informed research are key drivers of change – both adding strong value to Citizens School.