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The Millennium School, Al Qusais 1
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Review

The Millennium School, Al Qusais 1

by April 3, 2016
Strengths

• Value fee structure
• Very high ROI
• Outstanding Special Educational Needs and Disability [SEND] provision
• Long-serving, high profile and visionary school Head
• Whole child curriculum
• Broad and impressive post-16 provision for its sector
• KHDA borderline Outstanding school punching well above its value fees
• GEMS new commitment to scholarships for children from financially disadvantaged families
• High levels of personal responsibility within a very caring school

Weaknesses

• Some outdated division into male and female only subjects
• School oversubscribed with very limited places
• Some parents will prefer a greater mix of cultures than that provided by an al-Indian school
• Marketing as a day boarding school adds unnecessary confusion

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

• A school that has genuine human impacts on its children, academically and whole child, that offers a fabulously rich education and context well beyond that which might reasonably be expected from its fees. Highly recommended.

A-
Our Rating
B-
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
45%
In my Top 5
18%
Shortlisted
9%
A possibility
9%
Pass
9%
No way
9%

Updated December 2016

Prospective parents should note that the KHDA has reviewed The Millennium School on its new scale which replaces its earlier four-stage grading (Unsatisfactory, Acceptable, Good, Outstanding) with a six-point scale running through Very weak; Weak; Acceptable; Good; Very good and Outstanding awards. As of 2016-17, The Millennium School on this new grading structure has been classified as a “Very Good” school after 6 years consistent annual scoring by the KHDA Inspectorate in the “Good” class of schools.

Founded in 2000, The Millennium School is an FS1 to Year 12 through school offering a CBSE Indian national curriculum educating Indian children from 4 to17 years of age. Millennium is one of GEMS flagship Indian curriculum schools and differentiates itself in part on its claimed delivery of a “day-boarding school”, this on the basis, we believe, of its having enhanced extra and co-curricular programmes compared to standard day schools.

We view the school’s use of “day boarding” in this context and meaning as somewhat unhelpful and confusing to prospective parents. In an international context “day boarding schools” are traditional boarding schools that integrate day students within boarding life to a lesser or greater degree.

The Millennium School is not a boarding school and has no boarders so we see little sense in the use of the concept or turn of phrase. Parents are advised to treat the concept, as used by The Millennium School, as a marketing to indicate it invests in more than a restrictively academic education for its students.

Outside this confusion, there is no question that Millennium is an extremely high performing Indian school.

Whilst described as “sufficient” by the KHDA inspectors, facilities offer very significant breadth for a school operating at this value fee level. They include a fully digital, Wi-Fi equipped campus; science laboratories by phase and specialism including separate facilities for mathematics, physics, chemistry, food technology and biology; a dedicated robotics lab (which plays a central role in afternoon enrichment programmes); voice lab, laptop pools; three independent ICT labs; music rooms; dedicated dance and movement room; library with ICT and meeting areas, “rumpus room” for Kindergarten students; prayer rooms; Primary “Leaning Corridor” for breakout learning; performing arts centre and studios; school cafeteria; multiple shaded play areas and grounds; a medical centre; and a multi-use theatre and auditorium.

Sporting provision includes an indoor sports hall; two basketball courts, Primary covered play and sports area; a tennis court, turfed football field and two swimming pools.

Don’t expect ‘bells and whistle’, but, this notwithstanding, the foundations are all in place for a very good level of educational provision.

The school operates a very successful House System, dividing children into one of four season-based houses on entering the school: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each house has a House Captain appointed annually with further appointments cascaded down to around 300 students who take on various leadership roles in school life.

The school Principal, Michael Guzder, is also GEMS Vice President of Indian Schools. Principal at Millennium for 15 years since 2001, he is one of GEMS most long-standing Principals and his appointment followed two decade’s experience at the CISCE curriculum Bishops School Pune, a school established in the 1860s to educate the sons of non-commissioned British Indian Army officers, latterly as its Head and Superintendent of Boarding.

KHDA Inspectors in 2016-17 portray a school operating at the top of its game. Particularly praise goes to:

  • the high work ethic of students and their “passionate commitment” across the spectrum of educational opportunities at the school
  • the broad range of curricular and extra-curricular choices across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
  • separate post-16 Science, commerce and humanity subject streams – a strength compared with many other Indian schools which limit senior school provision to business and science subjects only
  • outstanding levels of care, safety and attention to the welfare of students with “the well-being and personal development of students underpinning everything the school did to ensure students were success and enjoyment of their time at school”
  • exceptional support for students with special educational Needs and Disabilities [SEND] from across the spectrum including those identified as Gifted and Talented [G&T]
  • the inspiring empathy and compassion shown by all children across phases with those who have severe learning difficulties and disabilities

On the latter, the school runs an extremely impressive “Best Buddies” programme which envisions a world where people with intellectual disabilities are so successfully integrated into our schools, our workplaces and our general communities that our current efforts and services will be unnecessary.” This sees children from various institutions including the Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, Manzil Centre for Challenged Individuals and SAATHI attending classes with children from the school each Wednesday.

The school divides education between five phases: KG (FS1-2); Junior School (Grades 1-4); Middle School (Grades 5-8); lower Secondary School (Grades 9-10); and upper secondary school (Grades 11-12).

KG provision is experiential-play based and gains an unqualified “Outstanding” rating from KHDA inspectors. Thereafter the school follows the international variant of the CBSE syllabus – which arguably has a more investigative, academic edge than the standard CBSE.

Junior School provision sets up academic foundations, but combines with the ECA programme to provide a holistic edge to early stage learning. Subject provision has “stretch” including a choice of French; Malayam; or Hindi; English; Mathematics; Science; Environment; Science; UAE Social Studies; Arabic; Islamic Education; Life Skills; Performing Arts; Visual Arts; Computer Studies; and Physical Education [PE].

Middle School builds capacity and pace in the same subjects, but with enhanced options for Extra Curricular Activity.

Lower secondary school focuses on preparing children for the All India Secondary School Examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, Delhi at the end of Grade 10. A further programme, Social Empowerment through Work and Action and research (SEWA), is introduced into the curriculum.

Senior Secondary School provision, as above, differentiates itself from the majority of other Indian schools in providing three streams, rarely including a Humanities option as well as the usual Business and Science geared streams. The whole approach at this level is career focused, but also geared towards extending research capability for students seeking to progress to University. Subjects align with the Plus Two stage in the 10+2 pattern of education leading to the All India Senior School Certificate Examination.

Science stream subjects include Mathematics; Physical Education or Home Science and Fine Arts; Physics; Chemistry; and a choice of Biology, Computer Science or Economics.

Commerce Stream subject provision includes Mathematics; Physical Education or Home Science; Accountancy or Entrepreneurship; Business Studies; and Economics.

Finally, humanities provision includes Mathematics; Physical Education or Home Science; Art; Psychology; Entrepreneurship; and economics.

Somewhat archaically only boys can study Physical Education and only girls can study Home Science and Fine Arts, although this is balanced, for the school at least, by ECA and co-curricular weaving of Physical & Health Education, Art Education and Music into the broader curriculum.

English is taught as a core subject – impressively, unlike a significant number of Indian schools, English remains part of the curriculum rather than being dropped at post-16 phases.

Throughout the school, musical ability is nurtured. Specialised education, for example, is provided for students who opt for electronic keyboard and theory of music, this taught under the syllabus of Trinity College of Music, London.

Extra-curricular activities [ECAs] include Aerobics; Athletics; Gymnastics; Karate; Volleyball; Basketball; Throwball; Cricket; Table Tennis; Tennis; Badminton; Swimming; Aerobics; Yoga; Art & Craft Club, Clay Modelling Club, Design Appreciation Club, “Computronix” Club; Robotics Club; Modern Dance Club; Science Club; Elocution; Quiz Club; Creative Writing Club; Debating Society; Dramatics; French Club; Instrumental Music; and a broad spectrum of community engagement programmes and school events.

The school’s “Afternoon Self Enhancement Programme” and dedicated “Prep Sessions” provide a focus for ECA enrichment and the foundations of the “day-boarding” feel the school aims for – see above.

Whilst scholarship provision is not directly advertised by the school, GEMS has now committed to provide its support to the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Dubai Awqaf & Endowment vision by offering four percent of all school seats to students who are unable to pay fees. In a school the size off Millennium this amounts to places for over 100 children and prospective parents facing financial difficulty are encouraged to approach the school at the time of their application.

Bottom line?

The Millennium School is a very high performing school that scores at the highest “Outstanding” level of KHDA assessment in 63% of its scoring areas covering the school as a whole and 50% of its core child-focused academic and whole child learning area categories. In all these areas it is achieving in the same class as the best schools in the emirates.

The only weak “Acceptable” areas identified by the KHDA lie in Arabic language provision, a very difficult subject area for all Non-Arabic schools (and many Arabic schools too).

Independent feedback to our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has been uniformly positive and outstanding for teaching staff.

That the Millennium School is achieving all that it does within a value fee structure – and in a school that is wholly inclusive, and celebratory of children of all abilities and disabilities is a real achievement.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to OFFICIAL Q&A on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for-profit

WSA Good School

Under consideration 2017-18

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 15,043
FS2: 15,043
YEAR 1: 17,433
YEAR 2: 18,493
YEAR 3: 18,493
YEAR 4: 18,493
YEAR 5: 19,909
YEAR 6: 19,909
YEAR 7: 19,909
YEAR 8: 19,909
YEAR 9: 20,794
YEAR 10: 20,794
YEAR 11: 22,121
YEAR 12: 22,121
YEAR 13: NA

Curriculum

Indian:
Grades 1 - 10: International curriculum CBSE
Grades 11 - 12: Regular curriculum CBSE

External Exam Boards

Central Board of Secondary Education New Delhi

Selective

Yes (partial, mainly used as a way of fairly deciding who will gain admittance to the school given that demand outstrips supply)
Notes:
(1) School conducts tests in English, Mathematics and languages, dependent on Grade of entrance.
(2) Clear and informative descriptions of, and guidelines for, the tests are provided transparently for prospective parents prior to application
(3) There are no Admissions test for KG1 but no places are usually available as they are taken by siblings
(4) School has an inclusive policy to Special Educational Needs and Disability admissions and 10% of the school population is identified with SEND

Waiting list

Yes
Notes:
(1) KG1 admissions are generally not open to the public as places are filled by siblings
(2) Places across all other phases are limited to where existing children leave the school. Places are filled by merit on the basis of scoring on the admissions test.
(3) Admissions are not available in Grades 10, 11 or 12

Value Added

Not published (WSA projected HIGH)

Number of Students

2927

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:17

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

21%

Year opened

2000

Location

Al Qusais 1, Al Ghusais, Dubai

Student composition

Indian(largest and predominant nationality)
Special Educational Needs & Disabilities [SEND]: 312
Emirati: 0
Arabic: 0

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

GEMS Education

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 298 8567

Web Address

Go
http://www.gemsmillenniumschool.com/contents.php?

Attainment Nur SEM

100%

Attainment Pri SEM

93.3%

Attainment Sec SEM

86.6%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

100%

Progress Nur SEM

100%

Progress Pri SEM

93.3%

Progress Sec SEM

80%

Progress Post-16 SEM

93.3%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

NA
Notes:
(1) No Arabic children attend the school

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

NA
Notes:
(1) No Arabic children attend the school

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA
Notes:
(1) No Arabic children attend the school

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

40%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

40%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

40%

Islamic St. Primary Results

70%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

70%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

70%

Leadership

100%

Community

100%

Facilities

75%

Quality of teaching

90%

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