The History of JESS
More commonly known as ‘JESS’ we are one of the most established schools in Dubai, and one of the few non-profit making schools in the region, delivering high quality education to over 2050 students.
Back in the mid-1970s, as expats were drawn to work in the oil industry, there were few options for English-speaking pupils, apart from Dubai English Speaking School, which was already over-subscribed. As such, it became apparent that there was a need for good-quality, affordable education, for the children of these English-speaking expat families who were predominantly working for major companies here such as Dubai Aluminium, Dubai Petroleum and Schlumberger.
JESS, Dubai was therefore ‘born’ in a large apartment in a building near the Deira Clock Tower in 1975 with just 17 pupils. Within a year, with a growing number of students, and thanks to HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, granting us land to build on, JESS moved to a villa in Jumeirah. There, we expanded from the apartment to a small huddle of buildings in the middle of the desert, in Jumeirah, where the primary school remains today.
The funding from the original companies took the form of a ‘corporate debenture’; a system that still successfully operates today at our schools with over 170 companies holding debentures at the Jumeirah school and over 80 at the Ranches - many companies having invested in both schools.
Today, after over 40 years of providing exceptional education in Dubai, the school has 2,070 pupils enrolled in two different sites; the original primary school at Jumeirah and the newer Arabian Ranches school which opened in September 2005 and which offers the British curriculum from Foundation 1 to Year 11. In the Sixth Form, which opened in 2009, we offer the IB Diploma and are planning to offer specialist BTEC courses from September 2017.
Like all expat schools in Dubai, we are a fee-paying school but the debenture system that we operate allows us to operate as one of the (very few) non-profit making schools in Dubai. Managed by a Board of Governors, any decision regarding the provision of our education is based purely on whether it is in the best interest of our children and all finance is used entirely for school resources and staffing, ensuring that education is always the core driver of what we do as a school.
From humble beginnings, JESS has gone from strength to strength over the years, establishing ourselves as a sought-after, premiere school serving the needs of the English speaking community of Dubai and delivering world class education to over 2000 students from over 70 different countries. Even with the expansion into Secondary over ten years ago, we pride ourselves on remaining a high-achieving yet friendly, community school with the children at the heart of everything we do.