Welcome to The Learning Zone!
At DESS we are passionate about our whole school inclusive approach, which promotes personalised learning for all children. We ensure appropriate, targeted provision is in place for our children, not only to encourage confident and independent learners but also to nurture high self-esteem and perseverance.
As a school we value our strong partnership with parents and work to create a supportive network where effective communication allows our children to be at the centre of everything we do.
Our highly qualified Learning Zone team deliver a range of interventions and inclusive strategies. Using both outside agency specialist reports and internal assessment, our children are supported through one-to-one tailored programmes, booster and focus groups and in-class support.
The enhancement and development of positive learning experiences play an important role in enabling our children to fulfill their true potential. Therefore, our Learning Zone team link with our teachers to advise on effective strategies, adapting their classrooms and curriculum to cater for the needs of their children.
Meet the Team
Aileen qualified in Ireland with a B.Ed in 1983. Having joined DESS in 1991, she is one of our longest serving members of staff, working as both a class teacher and Year Leader before joining the Learning Zone.
As a qualified workplace coach, Aileen has been coaching her colleagues since 2015. Continued professional development through further study has seen Aileen complete the Hornsby Course in Dyslexia and Literacy in 2010, achieving a Post Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia and Literacy from The University of York in 2012. She has also attended workshops, short courses and conferences locally on many aspects of learning needs, giving her the opportunity to meet with colleagues from other schools to share experience, knowledge and skills. In April 2017 Aileen completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordinators.
Marie trained as a primary teacher in Dublin; she worked in Ireland for several years as a class teacher and then as a Learning Support Teacher. Having studied French in University, she spent a year in a secondary school in France before deciding to travel to Sharjah where she spent two years teaching in an International school.After her move to DESS she taught in Year 3 and 4. During this time she completed an M.Ed; her study focused on effective learning, the teaching of Mathematics in the classroom and inclusive education.
After having some time out to spend with her family, she returned to DESS as a Learning Support Teacher in 2010.
Colleen qualified as a secondary school teacher in 1988 in South Africa, specialising in English and History. Her move to primary education took place after she made the decision to home school her three children. This experience led Colleen to focus her career within the primary sector. After her family moved to Dubai Colleen began working at DESS in 2011. Initially teaching in Year 6, she began working very closely with the Learning Zone and later made the transition to become a part of the team.
As a qualified workplace coach who particularly enjoys 1:1 coaching with a focus on wellbeing, Colleen is able to transfer these skills when working with children. Investing in life long education, she believes in furthering her own skills through continuous professional development.
Miranda was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and studied at the University of Cape Town. Before moving to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s to teach at Dhahran Academy, she taught at a small village school in Lesotho.
In 1992, Miranda, her husband and her two children moved to Dubai and shortly afterwards she joined DESS. During her time at DESS Miranda has fulfilled many roles including a class teacher, KS2 Literacy Coordinator, Year Group Leader and a Learning Support Teacher. After joining The Learning Zone in 2006, she trained with Dyslexia Action UK, receiving a certificate and diploma in Dyslexia and Literacy. As an associate member of the British Dyslexia Association, (AMBDA) and a Dyslexia Guild member (UK) and with an M.Ed focusing on Dyslexia and Inclusion, she brings expertise to the team.
Alison has worked at DESS for nine years, five of which have been with Learning Support. She qualified in Cache Level 3 while working in Year 2 as a Teaching Assistant before transferring to the Learning Zone. While in this role Alison has trained with Dyslexia Action and achieved her Level 5 International Diploma in Strategic Teaching Support for Dyslexia and Literacy.
Alison works across the school, providing a wide range of interventions and provision; including group support and 1:1 sessions.