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 and in 2018, completed the CCET (Certificate in Competency in Educational Testing) and is a member of the British Psychological Society.
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.
Alison has worked at DESS for over 10 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.
Tasha worked in Foundation Stage before joining the Learning Zone in 2018. With eight years experience working in International schools and Early Years settings in Dubai and Doha, she has worked with children with EAL and on the Autism spectrum. Tasha has an Asset Level 3 qualification in Teaching Children in Early Years and has completed the British Dyslexia Association Level 3 Diploma in Practical Solutions for Dyslexia Plus.
Becky has worked at DESS for six years in Foundation Stage and transferred to the Learning Zone this year. She is qualified in British Sign Language and has a Cache Level Three Diploma in Early Years, an ILM Effective Mentoring Skills Award with the British School of Coaching and has completed the British Dyslexia Association Level 3 Diploma in Practical Solutions for Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Behaviour Management.
Vikki qualified as a teacher in 2005 and has taught both in the U.K. and Dubai. She joined the DESS family in 2018 as a Learning Support Assistant and is very excited to be part of the Learning Zone Team. She is very passionate about teaching and loves to support and encourage children to overcome barriers in their learning.
New to the DESS staff this year, Liv joins the LZ team as our Student Advisor. Liv moved to Dubai with her family in 2014 and in 2015, joined a Child Protection initiative with Emirates Red Crescent before moving to British Foreign & Commonwealth Office to work on local community partnerships. In 2018, alongside her MSc Psychology, Liv took a mental health training opportunity with The Lighthouse Arabia Centre for Wellbeing, where she completed a number of psychotherapy certificates. Passionate to continue to promote DESS Wellbeing; Liv will support our students 1:1, in small nurturing focus groups, play therapy sessions and across the school on student wellbeing initiatives.