Meet the team

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Barbara Heaton

Barbara Heaton joined the Pearl Academy with over 25 years’ experience in educational leadership in the UAE, Spain and the UK. 

Having completed the Accelerated Route N.P.Q.H. in 2000 as a Primary Head Teacher in the UK, Barbara moved to work in an International School in Spain where she taught in Primary and Secondary Departments broadening her experience teaching, amongst other subjects, English to GCSE. Here, she led Teaching and Learning across the whole school (Nursery to Year 13) and also held role of team inspector with NABSS (the National Association of Schools in Spain). She is now a BSO team inspector in the Middle East.  

Throughout her career, Barbara has gained much experience in teaching second language learners as well as developing assessment and tracking systems to ensure students are maximising their potential and capabilities. She has developed planning and curriculum models which enable her to fulfil her passion for personalised learning and celebrating an individual’s strengths, both as a person and a learner.

In her spare time, Barbara enjoys reading and loves her 6 pets- 5 cats and a dog, all rescue animals from Spain. She is focused on personal fitness and loves travelling. She is a true life-long learner, with her real joie-de-vivre she is curious about education, learning and life!



Miss Samantha Hughes-Lewis is the Vice Principal of The Pearl Academy and is responsible for student achievement. She has worked at The Pearl for three years and has lived in Abu Dhabi for seven.

Miss H-L has been a teacher for 17 years and has lived and taught in schools all over the world. She spent five years teaching in London, where she trained to be a teacher, and four years living in the French Alps, teaching at a large international school in Geneva, Switzerland. She has also taught in France, Austria, Germany and Nepal! Her management roles in other schools have included Assistant Principal, Assistant Headteacher, Head of Primary Curriculum, Head of Year 6, Head of Pastoral and Head of English, Maths, Music, Languages and Computing.

Miss H-L loves kitesurfing and skiing in her free time. She speaks French and German and is also a keen musician - leading the school band!

As a member of the school’s Senior Leadership team, Miss H-L works hard with her colleagues to develop the school’s ethos and implement the school’s development plan. She enjoys her role at the Pearl Academy because she loves working with our amazing children, families and staff.



Mrs. Barr began her teaching career twenty-five years ago in Portsmouth, UK. Since then, she has worked in several countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Mrs Barr also worked as a volunteer teacher in Sudan, where she taught classes in a village with no electricity or running water, so she is extremely appreciative of the beautiful facilities at The Pearl! Whilst working as a class teacher in EYFS, Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, Mrs Barr developed a particular interest in children with specific learning differences and undertook further studies in this area. Mrs Barr is an accredited inspector for British Schools Overseas, and has post-graduate qualifications in educational testing and SEND. She now leads the Inclusion department at The Pearl, the aim of which is to ensure that all children achieve their very best.

Maha Jallad

Maha Jallad
Head Of MOE

Maha holds a Bachelor Degree of Science from Al Yarmouk University, Jordan, as well as a Bachelor of Education in Arabic Language and Islamic Studies from Alhosn University, UAE. With more than 25 years of experience in teaching and leadership gained through working in different British curriculum schools in the UAE, Maha has developed her skills in implementing meaningful learning experiences for children.

She joined The Pearl Academy in its second year 2008 and says ''It has been a great pleasure to witness the growth and success of the school as the years have progressed. Joining the Pearl was my choice to develop myself and my career further, and it has been a pleasure to work and grow in such a nurturing environment.

“I am always keen to further my knowledge and development to enhance the student's learning experience.''



Miss Kershaw has been a teacher for 13 years. She trained in London and spent her first 5 years teaching there. She worked across primary age groups with children mostly new to the England and learning the English language. During her time there she helps set up new schools and nurseries to accommodate the expanding population.

In 2014, Miss Kershaw moved to the UAE with her son Max. She completed her Masters in Technology and Educational Design while here and worked in various middle and senior leadership roles, supporting staff and children with the English National curriculum. During the pandemic Miss Kershaw supported students and teachers with e-learning and is passionate about technology supporting learning.

Miss Kershaw enjoys outdoor activities including running and scuba diving. She likes to travel and is a keen environmentalist. She brings her passion for protecting the environment and using innovative technologies to find sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle choices into the classroom.


Miss Jennifer Gilchrist is Head of Early Years in The Pearl Academy. Miss Gilchrist joined our school in 2007 as one of the founding teachers and since then has worked with all of our stakeholders to ensure The Pearl maintains its outstanding reputation. She has a passion for Early Years education and child-centred learning, where every child is inspired and supported to reach their potential.

Miss Gilchrist has a Master’s Degree in History and International Relations from the University of St. Andrews and a PGCE in Primary Education. In recent years, she has become an accredited inspector for British Schools Overseas. Miss Gilchrist has lived in Abu Dhabi for 25 years and taught in several schools in the city before finding her ‘home’ at The Pearl.



Mrs. Barker joined The Pearl Academy six years ago and is Head of Pastoral Care. She has lived in Abu Dhabi for eleven years, moving here to gain a deeper understanding of international education. Mrs. Barker has a BA Hons in Ancient History and PGCE in Primary Education from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK. Throughout her career, spanning over fourteen years, Mrs. Barker has had many leadership roles including Head of Key Stage One, Head of Key Stage 2, Assessment Coordinator and leading Teaching and Learning by implementing policies and initiatives. Mrs Barker is passionate to be the Head of Pastoral Care because it allows her to work, inspire and motivate pupils throughout the school. Working alongside our staff Mrs. Barker has enabled the team to further enhance our pastoral care and ensure a smooth transition from one year to the next. Mrs. Barker is here to support all students every step of the way by encouraging them to achieve their full potential.



Miss Siobhan Tunley is Head of Higher Performance Learning from August 2021 and continues also her role as Head of Year 3 here at The Pearl Academy. She has been at the school for four years. In her role, Miss Tunley will be working alongside the SLT team to help develop our child centered and enriched curriculum through our Enquiry based learning ethos.

Miss Tunley has been a teacher for 9 years and holds 3 degrees including a Masters in Education. She is passionate about all aspects of education. She has lived in Abu Dhabi for four years with her daughter and has taught in schools all over the world; England, China and Japan. Having such a broad experience of teaching, Miss Tunley has learnt that teaching is not just an occupation, it is a commitment to every child. A responsibility to develop their moral, social and cultural values, teaching them vital skills, helping them to develop a high self-expectation and creating independence.

In her spare time Miss Tunley loves to Scuba dive, build Lego and try new adventures and experiences, including canoeing and ariel hooping.



Miss Kate Maguire is Head of Digital Transformation/STEM and Head of Science at The Pearl Academy from August 2021 and joined our school in 2018.

Miss Maguire has been a teacher for 7 years and holds a PGCE in Primary Education. She has a keen interest in STEM subjects and will be working closely with the SLT team to develop the digital advancement of teaching and learning encouraging an innovative curriculum through Enquiry based learning.

She enjoys Scuba Diving, reading and building Lego in her spare time.

Rosalie Logan
School Counsellor

My name is Rosalie Logan (but most students call me Mrs. Rose) and I will be taking over from Mrs. Venter as the new school counsellor. I am so excited to start working at the Pearl, as I love working with primary aged students and enjoy the positive friendly atmosphere of the school. Mrs. Venter is my friend, and while we are all sad to see her go, we are working together to ensure a smooth transition to welcome the new academic year.

Before moving on to The Pearl Academy, I did my practicum at the Al Yasmina Academy, where I worked closely with students of all ages. I worked predominantly with primary aged students and enjoyed meeting students one on one, running group sessions, friendship circles, and collaborating with faculty and parents. I am also a teacher and IETLS examiner, and have taught English and Art in the UAE at the Abu Dhabi University and Higher Colleges of Technology in Al Ain.

While raising my two primary aged daughters, and completing my Masters in Counselling degree, I ran pre-school music groups, art clubs, home school programs and storytelling sessions. My passion for art therapy, play therapy, animal therapy, travel and multicultural understanding, inspires my professional practice. I look forward to using my experience, skills and interest in my work at The Pearl in order to connect with the students, staff and parents. My role will be to support The Pearl community on their mental well-being journey, in order to enhance life satisfaction, academic and professional performance, and improve personal connection and social support.

This will be achieved by holding whole school and grade appropriate assemblies, where important topics will be addressed, such as: understanding the role of a counsellor, bullying, cyber safety, dealing with anxiety, enhancing resiliency, social responsibility, embracing difference, being a good friend, improving family connections, coping with stress, and the mind-nutrition connection. Group sessions and individual sessions will also be available to support students in need, once parental consent has been given.

Parent information sessions and workshops will also be held to support parents raising primary aged children, during an ever-changing world. This will enable parents to collaborate and share their best practices and ideas; as well as, embrace new coping skills needed to address the evolving academic and emotional needs of their children. The past few year have not been easy, and everyone has faced new challenges; however, I believe that we can adapt to these changes positively by working together as a community and supporting one another.

I am always here to help and my door is always open. I look forward to meeting you all in September. Please feel free to call me or e-mail if you have questions or concerns, or would like to meet.

Looking forward to a great year ahead.


Year Group School Fees Per Annum (in AED)* Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
FS1 41,700 16,680 12,510 12,510
FS2 43,150 17,260 12,945 12,945
Year 1 43,150 17,260 12,945 12,945
Year 2 43,150 17,260 12,945 12,945
Year 3 43,150 17,260 12,945 12,945
Year 4 43,150 17,260 12,945 12,945
Year 5 43,150 17,260 12,945 12,945
Year 6 43,150 17,260 12,945 12,945

*Fees for the term 2022-2023. Please note, our fees are regulated by ADEK and are subject to change.

The Pearl Academy invites you to tour our school and meet our leadership teams. Click here to see our upcoming virtual events.

If you would like to book a virtual tour at another time, please contact our Parent Relations Executive at to arrange a personal tour.

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