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Dubai English Speaking College (DESC), Dubai Academic City, Al Ruwwayah – THE REVIEW
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Dubai English Speaking College (DESC), Dubai Academic City, Al Ruwwayah – THE REVIEW

by June 10, 2017
Strengths

• Outstanding performance across the whole curriculum
• Outperforms the UK independent sector for results at (I)GCSE, AS and GCE A’ Level
• Growing alumni network with extensive and close links to its feeder school
• Strong Principal/Headteacher with determined leadership
• Responsiveness to parents
• Happy children
• Ongoing and significant school investment

Weaknesses

• Relative weakness in student attainment in Arabic area subjects compared to that achieved in other core disciplines (typical within the British schools sector)
• The school does not compete with the “bells and whistles” of Dubai’s newest and “shiniest” elite schools

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Academic
A+
B+
Value
A+
A
ExtraCurricula
A+
A-
Languages
A-
B+
Sports
A
A-
Arts & Drama
A
B+
Teaching
A+
A-
Communications
A-
B
Warmth
A+
A-
Differentiation
A
A
SEND Provision
A+
A-
Scl Community
A+
A-
Scl Facilities
A-
B+
Opportunities

• Much loved school
• A Principal that listens and responds to parents
• Top school for academic attainment
• Happy, rounded, inspired children committed to the school: ‘In this college, pupils are valued not just for what they can do but for what they are.’ [student quoted in BSO Inspection 2016-18]
• Very highly recommended; schools do not come better in the UAE

A+
Our Rating
A-
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
64%
In my Top 5
22%
Shortlisted
11%
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3%
Pass
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0%

Updated July 2017 – Dubai English Speaking College school expansion

“My role is to be an advocate for every parent’s interests from the age of 3 to 18.”

Andrew Gibbs. Joint Principal, Dubai English Speaking School and College

Established in 2005 with just 35 Year 7 students, the Dubai English Speaking College [DESC] takes its name from the much loved Dubai English Speaking School [DESS], of which it is a part; the oldest British school in the Emirate established in 1963. The College was built separately to its feeder school in Academic City, and takes DESS children who leave the school at age 11, as well as those joining the school for a secondary education for the first time.

Today DESC is a rapidly growing school, educating more than 1253 children between 11 and 18, parents inspired by the increasing value of its fee structure against a background of expensive new “elite” schools in the Emirate and DESC’s consistent achievement, since 2012-13, of an “Outstanding School” rating by the Dubai Schools Inspectorate. The school has more than doubled in size since 2011.

In 2016 both the Dubai English Speaking College and Dubai English Speaking School were awarded Outstanding School status by the British Schools Overseas Inspectorate [BSO]. The BSO inspects against standards that are the same as those of independent schools in the UK, a considerable achievement:

“Dubai English Speaking College is an outstanding school that meets the requirements of the British School Overseas Standards. Pupils receive an excellent education and, as a result of high quality teaching, pupils make outstanding progress from their starting points. Despite such high quality outcomes, there is no trace of complacency anywhere in the college.”

To download the BSO report, click here.

Attainment and progress in English, Mathematics and Science are outstanding in both secondary and post-16 phases. In 2015 in GCSE English over 75% of pupils attained grades A*-B. This is well above UK outcomes at 37%. The progress of pupils who have special educational needs is good; over 47% attained grades A*-B. Pupils’ attainment and progress in mathematics significantly exceeds pupils’ performance in UK schools in every measure at GCSE, AS and A2 level. In 2015 66% of pupils achieved A*-B grades at GCSE compared to a UK average of 34%. At A level, in 2015, 67% achieved A*-B grades. In Science in 2015, 81% of all science results were graded A*-B. This is again much higher than averages found in schools and colleges in the UK. Attainment is at least above average and progress is often outstanding in almost all subjects of the curriculum. Particular strengths in GCSE results for 2015 include art, drama, French, Spanish and humanities. Physical education is particularly strong.

Pupils who have Special Educational Needs [SEN], a rare historical weakness of the school, receive a great deal of skilled support and in most cases, they now make rates of progress similar to those of other pupils in the college. The needs of Gifted and Talented [G&T] pupils are very well supported, particularly by the school’s Enrichment Programme for the ablest students.

Whilst few pupils are learning to speak English as an Additional Language [EAL] those that do make similar, outstanding, rates of progress to the other groups of pupils in the school.

The Headteacher, Andrew Gibbs, provides inspirational leadership and is relentlessly determined. Relationships and communications with parents are excellent. Tellingly, within a climate of increasing school fees elsewhere in the sector to the maximum permitted by the KHDA, he chose to not increase fees in 2015-16 – and has made an ongoing commitment parents to, at the least, minimize, if not freeze fees “for the foreseeable future” subject to the school continuing to operate within “favourable conditions.” Andrew Gibbs wrote to all parents in October 2015 advising that the College had taken the decision “very mindful of how the current economic climate is impacting upon families.”

The school will see significant expansion in 2017 in a move that has been broadly welcomed by parents and which should go some way to meeting the demand on school places. Significantly the promise is that the school will leverage the expansion to reduce class sizes.

Dubai English Speaking College was awarded whichschooladvisor “Good School” status for the fourth consecutive year in 2016-17 and recognized that the school did “exceptionally well” in its 2015-16 WSA UAE Survey, recording “a high recommendation rating among parents from the school who took part.”

Bottom line? A terrific, historically important school. In practice, Dubai English Speaking College is today seen as a single school with its Dubai English Speaking School feeder. Both schools are inclusive and carry their not-for-profit ethic in the heart of school provision and care for children above else. Its pioneering provision of BTEC provision is just one of many telling examples of its commitment meet the cross-spectrum potential, ability and ambition of individual children. Ensuring that education across phases is something to be celebrated and enjoyed is evidenced in an extraordinarily happy school environment. Highly recommended.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers from our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.

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Details to consider
2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Outstanding

2016/17 Rating Primary / Elementary

Outstanding

2016/17 Rating Secondary / Middle

Outstanding

2016/17 Post 16 / High

Outstanding

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Very Good

Type of school

Private, not-for-profit

WSA Good School

Yes

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: NA
FS2: NA
YEAR 1: NA
YEAR 2: NA
YEAR 3: NA
YEAR 4: NA
YEAR 5: NA
YEAR 6: NA
YEAR 7: 77,782
YEAR 8: 77,782
YEAR 9: 77,782
YEAR 10: 77,782
YEAR 11: 77,782
YEAR 12: 83,601
YEAR 13: 83,601

Curriculum

National Curriculum of England
IGCSE
AS Level
A Level
BTEC (Sport and Enterprise & Entrepreneurship)
Extended Project Qualification

External Exam Boards

Cambridge
Pearson EDEXCEL

Number of A Levels offered

26+

A Levels offered

Arabic
Design
Business Studies
Computer Science
Dance
Design & Technology - Food Prep and Nutrition
Design & Technology - Graphic Design
Drama
Economics
English Language
English Literature
French
Spanish
Geography
Government and Politics
History
ICT
Mathematics
Art
Media Studies
Music
Psychology
Physical Education
Religious Studies
Chemistry
Physics
Biology

A Level A* to A

35.3%

A Level A* to C

81.7%

IGCSE A* to C

100%

IGCSE A* to A

44.4%

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

24+

I/GCSEs offered

Arabic
Design
Business Studies
Computer Science
Dance
Design & Technology - Food Prep and Nutrition
Design & Technology - Graphic Design
Drama
Economics
English Language
English Literature
French
Spanish
Geography
History
ICT
Mathematics
Media Studies
Music
Psychology
Physical Education
Religious Studies – Islam
Chemistry
Physics
Biology

Selective

No

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published (High)

Number of Students

1253 (BSO 2016)

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:11 (BSO 2016)

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

27%

Year opened

2005

Location

Dubai Academic City, Al Ruwwayah, Dubai

Student composition

British (largest nationality)

Gender

Mixed co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Not-for-profit

Admissions Telephone

00971 (0)4 3604866

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

NA

Attainment Pri SEM

NA

Attainment Sec SEM

100%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

100%

Progress Nur SEM

NA

Progress Pri SEM

NA

Progress Sec SEM

100%

Progress Post-16 SEM

100%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

NA

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

NA

Islamic St. Secondary Results

62.5%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

62.5%

Leadership

100%

Community

100%

Facilities

100%

Quality of teaching

100%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

100%

School Governance

100%

SEN Provision

100%

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at] schoolscompared.com

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Academic
Value
ExtraCurricula
Languages
Sports
Arts & Drama
Teaching
Communications
Warmth
Differentiation
SEND Provision
Scl Community
Scl Facilities