High Performance Learning

In July 2019, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School, along with three other GEMS schools, joined an elite list to become a member of the Fellowship of High Performance Learning Schools. JPS had previously met demanding standards to complete HPL’s rigorous two-year ‘World Class School Award’ scheme and achieved the prestigious status based on exceptional and consistent performance over the years across a number of different parameters, including teaching standards of the very highest quality, rigorous curriculum and assessment, outstanding school leadership and engagement with the wider school community.

The High Performance Learning Framework forms the foundation for decisions made about pedagogy and curriculum here at JPS and is central to our ethos. Teachers have high expectations of all children who are given opportunities to perform highly - we believe these opportunities and high expectations is the achievable reality for many and should not be reserved for the few.

HPL is a framework of twenty characteristics that students need to develop to be high performing learners. The characteristics are grouped into the ACPs (‘How we think’) and the VAAs (‘How we behave’) and are developed by our highly-skilled teachers through our curriculum and wider school community.

Since then, JPS has supported GEMS Founders Al Barsha in completing the HPL Foundation Award and have started mentoring the trainers for GEMS Founders Al Mizhar in beginning their HPL Foundation Award journey.

Deborah Eyre

"High Performance Learning is for good schools who want to ensure that more of their students reach the highest standards," - Deborah Eyre, Founder and Chair of High Performance Learning


Here at JPS we have developed characters and stories to make it easier for our learners to recognize the learner competencies and develop their understanding and use of them. 

Central to our HPL stories is Sab’a the Camel, a hapless creature who gets into all sorts of predicaments and doesn’t know what to do! Then along come his friends, all of whom are animals native to the UAE. His friends all have particular talents (well-developed competencies) and articulate how they are going to use their competency to help him and teach him how to improve.

One of the keys to successful implementation of the High Performance Framework is the importance of a shared language of learning and the stories have been instrumental in embedding this at JPS.


  • Desert Fox

    Desert Fox has an enquiring mind. He takes risks and is open-minded in his thinking. He understands the need to listen to others and take their advice if he believes they are right. He is creative and enterprising, willing to invent new ways to solve problems.

  • Empathetic Ant

    Ant is amazing at making friends. She can collaborate with anybody. She shows concern for her friends and the world. Ant is confident, she believes in herself and knows the difference between right and wrong.

  • Hard Working Oryx

    Hard Working Oryx is such a hard worker. He realizes that when something is hard, you shouldn’t give up but should persevere until you have achieved your goal. Even when there are setbacks, Oryx is resilient, he remains confident and optimistic. He also helps others remain focused.

  • Meta-Thinking Falcon

    Meta thinking Falcon approaches new learning experiences by connecting it to what she already knows. She uses a wide range of thinking approaches. She can confidently explain her decisions when solving problems and is good at monitoring, evaluating and self-correcting.

  • Analysing Cat

    Analysing Cat is great at asking the right questions to solve problems. He looks carefully at problems and thinks logically and critically to find solutions. He likes to be very precise and tries hard to find the best approach to try.  

  • Creating Peacock

    Creating Peacock loves to be playful with his thinking, he likes to bend the rules to make something original. He is flexible and fluent and he doesn’t mind if he has to change his ideas for better ones as he has so many! He is always using what he already knows to think up new things to solve problems.

  • Linking Spider

    Linking Spider is amazing at linking things. She is great at forming generalisations from past experiences that could apply to other things and loves to work with big ideas. She is also good at seeing alternative perspectives. Her real talent lies in taking a concrete idea and moving it to an abstract idea.

  • Realising Gecko

    Realising Gecko is so good at the things she does, she doesn’t even have to think about them. It wasn’t always this way - she has practised so often they are now automatic. She can do lots of things with speed and accuracy, such as catching insects to eat.


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