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Smart Vision School, Al Barsha 2
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Review

Smart Vision School, Al Barsha 2

by June 25, 2016
Strengths

• School essentially complete – parents do not have to make decisions off-plan
• Experienced, specialist, founding Head
• Outstanding commitment to inclusivity and Special Educational Needs(SEN) provsion
• Outstanding founding whole-child, caring ethics
• Very good level of facility provision

Weaknesses

• Inadequate detail
• Risks of an untested new school/team
• Inevitable teething problems of a new school opening

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

A school with very clear potential – but where the substance and detail, at least currently, necessary to provide sufficient certainty for prospective parents is still Work in Progress.

C-
Our Rating
B+
User Rating
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Smart Vision School is located in the heart of Al Barsha 2 – and, as a new school, Vision stands out for being a school that actually exists in nearly complete form. Prospective parents can actually visit the school – and not have to depend on off- plan drawings in making decisions for the future of their child(ren)’s education.

The English National Curriculum school is now open to applications for places between FS1 to Year 4 starting in September 2016. Phased launch of future grades to Year 13 will follow. Eventually all-through provision will take students through complete all-through British education from the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) to IGCSE and A Level.

The school building is not a “box”, far from it. There is design and thought at play. Set over two floors, the curved glass main entry has presence and not a little “sparkle” and we really like the curved amphitheatre, used for teaching and theatre, at the rear of the building. Sports pitches will follow on a good sized plot running to some 4.5 acres. Add a beautiful indoor pool 20M x 8M pool and fabulous outdoor sports facilities and courts and the picture begins to develop of a very well resourced, well thought out school.

In fact, many other touches ratchet up facility provision including a fresh air circulating air conditioning system and a host of ecologically sound technologies – but, as importantly, we were touched that each child will be given their own plant, and garden plot to nurture it, on joining the school. This says a lot about the school – bells and whistles are not the making of a child’s development or education.

The founding Head, Peter Winder, has clearly been chosen with thought too. He brings three decade’s experience in education to the table, drawn from a variety of roles that will be critical in launching Vision. This includes more than a decade spent heading up UK based Wolsey Junior School and high level consultancy for groups as diverse as GEMS and Academia Management Solutions International (AMSI) (managing the Al Mawakeb Schools in Dubai). His Dubai based headships include time trouble-shooting at both Al Diyafah High and Pristine Private Schools.

The emotional well-being and stage of personal development of each student significantly influences their abilities to concentrate on their learning, to improve their skills and abilities to progress and achieve the highest possible standards. Peter Winder. Founding Head. Smart Vision School. 2016

The school is impressively, unambiguously, fully inclusive and considerable investment has been made in Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision. An Inclusion Manager will work with a Counsellor and learning mentors, as well as with Learning Support staff to support children with additional Learning needs – including mild Autism and ADHD. The school incorporates a Sensory room and children will be engaged in Brain Gym activities. Prospective parents should note, however, that some learning support provision will attract additional fees.

“Every child matters. Each SEND/AEN student has an individual Education Plan/ Personalised Learning Plan that builds on their prior learning.
We believe in equal opportunities for all children to reach their academic and personal potential.” Smart Vision School. 2016.

We are very impressed with certain features of school transparency thus far. The school states on its web site that “we intend, and ensure, that the content accurately reflects our philosophy, ethos, culture and achievement.” What shines through with information published to date, and through discussions with our team at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, are two words– kindness and inclusivity. Setting out guarantees beyond marketing speak is extremely important for prospective parents, not only in understanding a school, but as importantly, later holding it to account. Commitments form one key basis for measuring any school’s success.

This notwithstanding, and accepting that this is a school building up to launch, parents need information that is not provided.

What IGCSEs Levels will be provided? What A Levels will be provided? Are there plans for vocational options, including the BTEC – something that may well fit well with the school’s impressive commitment to inclusivity? What is the cost attached to inclusivity? What will the fees be for specialist SEN support? What whole child ECA and enrichment programme will the school launch with? What are the ambitions for the enrichment programme over time? What will be the nationality of teaching staff; will they be native English language speakers? How many? What are the long term plans of the school – its capacity, investment in further facilities, school expansion? Why have the owners launched the school? What are their financial commitments/goals? These are fundamental critical questions for parents looking for long-term schooling of their children. If IGCSE breadth, to take just one example, will be limited, parents need to know now, not later when their child(ren) are settled.

Vision has established the foundations of good communication in setting out the (very impressive and laudable) ethics of its provision, but this lacks the detail to give it meaning – and information outside this simply does not exist or needs very urgently to be made measurable through considerably more detail. Without this parents may well choose the wrong school for their individual children.

Alternatively, parents will simply walk away believing the school does not have substance – which would be a shame.

The verdict of our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, is worth quoting in full:

“There seems little doubt that the planning and execution of the construction and fitting out of Smart Vision School has been extremely effective. There is certainly no reason to think that the school will not open as planned in August with a full complement of staff and facilities. Definitely one of the new schools that is ready to make its mark on the Dubai education scene.” Whichschooladvisor. Launch visit. 2016.

It is, however, impossible to make any firm recommendation of the school beyond identifying its clear strength in build, design and facility provision – and highly admirable inclusivity and ethical underpinning. There are still too many questions left to answer.

With fees starting at 29,900 AED, and swiftly ratcheting up to 69,900 AED in Grade 13 (when it launches), costs to parents are premium and expectations will be very high. This is an extremely competitive space in which to open a new school. The owners, Vision International Investments, have no other Dubai schools either upon which parents can benchmark its provision over time or gain confidence. This makes the need for Smart Vision to provide very high levels of detail, and clear commitments, for prospective parents up front never more pressing. If the school is going to makes its mark in the way it plans, and meet its (genuine) ambition for children, buildings and intentions will not be, are not, enough.

Prospective parents should note that we have provided very limited projected scoring only for this school given its pre-launch stage of provision.

Go to the LAUNCH UPDATE on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 29,900
FS2: 35,900
YEAR 1: 40,900
YEAR 2: 40,900
YEAR 3: 45,900
YEAR 4: 45,900
YEAR 5: 50,900
YEAR 6: 53,900
YEAR 7: 59,900
YEAR 8: 59,900
YEAR 9: 62,900
YEAR 10: 65,900
YEAR 11: 69,900
YEAR 12: 69,900
YEAR 13: 69,900

Curriculum

National Curriculum for England
EYFS
IGCSE
A Level

External Exam Boards

Not published

Number of A Levels offered

Not published

A Levels offered

Not published

A Level A* to A

School in launch

A Level A* to C

School in launch

IGCSE A* to C

School in launch

IGCSE A* to A

School in launch

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

Not published

I/GCSEs offered

Not published

Selective

Fully, unambiguously, inclusive
Notes
(1) Some SEN provision will come with further costs, these not identified

Waiting list

No

Value Added

School in launch

Number of Students

Capacity 1000+

Teacher to Student Ratio

Maximum class size: 20
Teaching support FS-Year 2: 1

Largest nationality teachers

Not published
Notes:
(1) Staff have been recruited from within the UAE
(2) All teachers will have UK National Curriculum experience and strong English-language skills
(3) All teachers must have a minimum of 3 years teaching experience and be degree educated

Teacher turnover

School in launch

Year opened

September 2016

Location

Al Barsha 2

Student composition

School in launch

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Vision International Investments

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0)4 252 5344

Web Address
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
1 Comments
  • Ahmed
    November 3, 2016 at 1:38 pm
    Strengths

    The school has amazing and supportive staff. Kids enjoy variety of extra-curriculum and after school activities. The atmosphere is very warm and friendly. I feel how my children progress day by day.

    Weaknesses

    no

    Rating
    TeachingA+

    The school has amazing and supportive staff. Kids enjoy variety of extra-curriculum and after school activities. The atmosphere is very warm and friendly. I feel how my children progress day by day.
    Also i like that school gives different options for foreign languages (French, Spanish, Russian) and kids start to study Arabic from FS.

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