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October 31, 2016

The City School International, Nad Al Hamar

“We aim to develop each one of our students into true learners, individuals who always seek to broaden their perspective and to face life’s challenges with courage and conviction.

Education is a pursuit that goes far beyond a qualification. While we aim to help our students excel in the course they are studying, we also hope to instil in them a thirst for learning throughout their lives.  At The City School, our teachers, students, and parents work together to realise this goal.”

Dr. Farzana Firoz, Chief Executive Officer, City Schools (Pvt.) Ltd.

Updated November 2016

City School International presents an extraordinarily mixed picture for [...]

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April 16, 2016

Queen International School, Hor Al Anz East

Updated November 2016

The biggest statement made by Queen International School is found in its (arguably) gaudy front building design. Whilst not to all tastes, at least it says something about the school. Elsewhere the provision of public information is wholly inadequate, failing accepted standards of school communication significantly, leaving prospective parents with little on which to base a decision or otherwise to shortlist the school.

The majority of links on the school’s web site lead nowhere, what little information there is dates from 2014, updated information links to a discipline policy advising parents of a newly strengthened school approach to unacceptable [...]

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April 14, 2016

Dubai Carmel School, Al Nahda 2

Updated November 2016

Dubai Carmel School is one of Dubai’s more established Arab schools, although no one agrees when the school was actually founded. The school currently dates its founding to 1995, but the KHDA traces it back further to 1990. Variously elsewhere the school’s routes are traced back to the mid 1980’s. Certainly the school is as far away as it gets from the modern bells and whistles of Dubai’s Elite Tier 1s in appearance and bijou scale.

Dubai Carmel provides an English National Curriculum based all through education from FS to Year 13, although this will culminate in GCE AS Levels rather than full A Levels. This represents an extension of the [...]

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April 10, 2016

The Elite English School, Al Waheda, Deira

Updated November 2016

This mission of Elite school is to “surge forward and reach the pinnacle of institutional and educational glory…”

Students at the school are known as “Elitians.”

The school’s Principal, Vatsala Mathai (also known as Vatsala Mathew), however, has been vocal in her frustration that the degree the school is able to reach “glory” is limited by the school’s inability to substantially increase its fees.

Dubai’s education regulator, the KHDA, restricts the ability of weak schools to increase fees in order to provide an incentive for improvement. However, without increasing fees, Ms Mathai argues that this is [...]

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March 26, 2016

The Apple International School, Al Qusais

Updated December 2016

The Apple International School is an Indian/Filipino school with teaching based on a limited English National Curriculum to Year 8/KS3 only.

In her introduction to prospective parents by The Apple International School’s Principal, Pranjala Dutta Das, sets the scene for the school asking prospective parents to join with the school to “brace ourselves for the era to which the milestone of ‘Concept Revolution’ directs.”

It is “essential” she says, for “schools to help students build the skills of applying the given information/knowledge on various platforms so that their cognitive skills are chiseled.” She confirms that the issue is that [...]

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March 13, 2016

Dubai International School Al Quoz, Al Quoz 1

Updated December 2016

Dubai International School Al Quoz [DISQ] is the sister school of Dubai International School, Al Garhoud [DISG]. Together they comprise the Dubai International School [DIS]. Whilst the schools refer to themselves as campuses of a single school and, notwithstanding that the schools share common ownership, curriculum and values, the Dubai inspectorate treats them separately.

There is some merit in this as there are differences between the schools both in terms of facility provision, school transparency, delivery on the ground and leadership from the school’s respective Heads.

As of 2016-17, both schools achieve a basic “Acceptable” rating by [...]

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March 5, 2016

Grammar School, Al Garhoud

Updated December 2016

Prospective parents should note that we have been contacted by the Grammar School [December 2016] and our review should be read in conjunction with the following advice by the school:

The school was purchased by new owners in November 2015 A new UK senior leadership team, husband and wife, William and Margaret Deacon, took over management of the school in February 2016 The school has been “completely overhauled” in academics, improvements to infrastructure and in educational and administrative software to aid teaching and learning The school has now moved away from grades and introduced the formal all-through UK Year system from FS to Year 13 The [...]
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March 1, 2016

The Oxford School Dubai, Muhaisnah 4

The Oxford School Dubai [OSD] was established “Mom and Pop” fashion by the for-profit IQRA Group within a villa in 1986. “50 students and a tiny villa in Jumeirah” was all we had write its owners. The school followed similar establishment of the IQRA’s villa-based Apple Nursery in 1981 in Karama which started with just a handful of students. Today the group also own the English National Curriculum based Apple International School {AIS], the CBSE based Indian Academy Dubai [IAD]and Indian Academy Sharjah [IAS] and the Emirates Tender Care Nursery, together educating over 6,000 students.

None of the IQRA Group schools in Dubai achieve “Good” school accreditation by the KHDA and [...]

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February 28, 2016

The Sheffield Private School, Al Nahda 2

Updated December 2016

The Sheffield Private School (TSPS] is a for-profit, near full-phase English national Curriculum school offering education from EYFS through to (I)GCSE GCE A’ Level.

The school provides insufficient information for prospective parents to benchmark the school in the sector or make a considered decision for considering the school for their children. Information provided (March 2016) is some of the most limited provided by any school in the Emirates, extraordinary for an established school and particularly one managed by a UK qualified Principal.

Information gaps include

No information on Post-16 GCE A’ Level provision Limited information [...]
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February 26, 2016

American International School, Al Ghusais School Zone, Al Qusais

Updated December 2016

American International School Dubai is a private for-profit school, educating 2364 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (ages 3 to 18). Student numbers have been broadly static over the last two years, although up 650 over the last three years. The school employs 143 teachers (and 17 teaching assistants) giving it a relatively weak teacher:student ratio. The school follows an American curriculum, culminating in the awarding of the US High School Diploma. Student intake is impressively inclusive and draws a predominantly Arabic student body. The school is co-education to Grade 3 at which point boy and girl provision continues is delivered separately in [...]

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January 30, 2016

Arab Unity School, Al Mizhar 1, Rashidiya

Updated December 2016

The Arab Unity School evolved from a micro-school established by Zainab Taher in two apartments in Al Nasr Square with 15 students and six teachers.

In 1974 the late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, former ruler of Dubai, gifted the Taher family its current site in Al Mizhair, and the school started, ground-up, in a then deserted area of Dubai without lights or water, by developing a nursery, kindergarten and an early years’ curriculum between Grades 1-3. Today the school is executively managed by Arwa Taher, the founder’s daughter, educating 3300 children aged between 4 and 18 to Grade 13 in a bustling education schools’ hub bordered by Al [...]

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January 13, 2016

Al Basma British School, Al Dhafrah, Old Al Bahya

Whilst Al Basma British School can theoretically trace its roots to 1980 (the school had also been known as Giggles English School as well as variants of its current name), to all intents and purposes parents should view Al Basma as a new school. Comprehensive changes to leadership in September 2014, aligned with new buildings and location, a new academic ethic and the move to provision of education to GCE O’ (2016) and A’ Level (2018) has resulted in a school which faces all the challenges of a school in its developmental phase.

On this basis ADEC, in its April 2015 inspection, treated the school as a new school on a first inspection basis.

The school starts with a [...]

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December 2, 2015

GEMS Winchester School, Oud Metha

Established in 2011, GEMS Winchester School is a K9 school based in Oud Metha, Dubai. The school offers the English National Curriculum to more than 80 nationalities of which the largest, 26%, is Indian. 82.82% of students do not have English as their first language and for some, English is the third or fourth language.

Following very rapid growth, Winchester is the poorest performing school in the GEMS group. Scoring only an “Acceptable” rating by the KHDA for each of its first three years since opening, the school has grown 700% from 500 students in October 2011 on opening to educating 3425 children in 2015. There is concern at the resulting quality of its current [...]

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November 22, 2015

The International School of Choueifat, Dubai, Al Sufouh

The Choueifat ‘hot house’ approach to education, with its prescriptive focus almost exclusively on examination performance, divides parents and children in equal measure. Its proponents argue that its conservative teaching methodology rooted in traditional styles of text book based learning and a restrictively academic focus is the only sure fire way to ensure children get to university. Its detractors, of which there are many including the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau,  highlight the dangers of an approach that ignores and reduces the “whole child” to academic performance and text books.

The general consensus is that Choueifat succeeds on its own [...]

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The 2016/17 KHDA reports are due for release this month. Make sure you understand the keys to decipher them to determine what schools work for you.... Top Tip: Do not only look at overall ratings...

In this section

Acceptable Rated UAE Schools

Acceptable is the very minimum level a school should attain before it is considered, in some sense, failing. The KHDA, Dubai's education regulator has actually stipulated its Good rating as the minimum attainment level it would hope for for a school. Clearly this is not a school that will be firing on all cylinders, and is likely to have some serious weaknesses, although what these may vary considerably across Acceptable rated schools.

We would always advise you to read the detail as to why a school has achieved a specific rating. There may be criteria that the KHDA or ADEC feel are important that you may not.

For the 2015/16 inspection reports, Abu Dhabi and Dubai moved to a unified six point rating: Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Weak and Very Weak.


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