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South View School, Remraam Community, Dubailand – The Review
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Review

South View School, Remraam Community, Dubailand – The Review

by January 9, 2018
Details to consider
2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

NA - first KHDA inspection due by 2021-22

2016/17 Rating Primary / Elementary

NA - first KHDA inspection due by 2021-22

2016/17 Rating Secondary / Middle

NA - first KHDA inspection due by 2021-22

2016/17 Post 16 / High

NA - first KHDA inspection due by 2021-22

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

NA - first KHDA inspection due by 2021-22

Type of school

Private, for-profit
Note:
(1) Whilst the school does not advertise itself as not-for-profit, the group is known for delivering high quality schooling at an affordable fee level on the direction of the school's owners to extend quality education to the broadest number of parents. Profit is identified specifically as not a major driver of schools in the group.

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 42,000
FS2: 42,000
YEAR 1: 42,000
YEAR 2: 42,000
YEAR 3: 42,000
YEAR 4: 42,000
YEAR 5: 42,000
YEAR 6: 42,000
YEAR 7: 54,000
YEAR 8: 54,000
YEAR 9: 54,000
YEAR 10: 59,000
YEAR 11: 59,000
YEAR 12: 59,000
YEAR 13: 59,000

Curriculum

British
Notes:
(1) EYFS
(2) IGCSE
(3) A' Level

External Exam Boards

Cambridge
EDEXCEL

Number of A Levels offered

TBA

A Levels offered

TBA

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

TBA

I/GCSEs offered

TBA

Selective

Fully inclusive

Waiting list

No

Number of Students

Capacity: 1800 - 2000
Notes:
(1) Approximate split 900 Primary and 900 Secondary

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:25
Notes:
(1) Class size will be max 25 with 6 x FS1, 6 x FS2, 4 X Year 1 classes.
(2) The school will open to Year 8 initially.
(3) Year 9 will open in 2019.

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

School in pre-launch phase
Notes
(1) Teacher turnover is low across other Interstar schools

Year opened

September 2018

Location

Remraam Community, Dubailand, Dubai

Student composition

International/inclusive
Notes:
(1) Significant provision for native languages although, given the low fee levels, these come with a supplementary cost for parents

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Interstar Advisory Services
Notes
(1) Dinesh C. Kothari, Chairman

Admissions Telephone

+971 58 578 7392

Web Address
Strengths

• High value fee structure balancing affordability with premium facilities hitherto not seen in this segment
• Heritage of proven delivery, including the excellent Victory Heights Primary School on which the Primary phase has been modelled
• Language specialism
• Focus on Tennis
• Outstanding facility provision
• School design and architecture
• High calibre of school leadership

Weaknesses

• Location will be a frustrating issue for some parents
• Some trade-off likely with international faculty and additional language fees
• Any new school in off-plan pre-launch phase presents a balance of risk and opportunity

Rating
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Opportunities

If South View School delivers on its promise and ambition it will re-define what parents can expect from British curriculum schooling in this fee segment. South View by definition identifies the degree to which the profit motive does impact on fees and what can be achieved with an owner committed to a more finely tuned balance of profit to favour parents and families over returns. This is a very interesting, potentially game-changing school in the making. We watch with interest.

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February 2018: South View School Dubai fees, location, curriculum and unique ambitions…

“We are not profit driven. Our main drivers [instead] are our teachers and our students….

At the end of the day, a good school is shaped by the quality of its teachers. Not the buildings, swimming pools or playgrounds….

Eventually a school will be known by [what really matters] – the quality of the faculty, the teaching staff, that it has provided for its children.”

Dinesh C. Kothari, Chairman, Interstar Education [Source: Khaleej Times, May 2017]

“Our vision at South View is to enable our students to become responsible citizens, confident individuals and successful learners, who will have their eyes on the stars …..with their feet on the ground.

Education needs to be interesting and children need to be eager, engaged and purposeful at school.

They should come in skipping and be sad to leave – not sad to come and skipping to leave.”

Joanne Wells, Founding Principal, South View School Dubai

South View School is a new British curriculum FS1 – Year 13 all-through, currently under construction on a circa 4.2 acre site in the Remraam community in Dubailand situated between Jebel Ali Free Zone and Al Maktoum International Airport. Total investment in the school amounts to some AED55M (US$ 15M). The school is set for launch in September 2018 and will open initially to Year 8, phasing a full all-through launch through to 2022. School capacity is set at a maximum of between 1800 and 2000 children on full opening, a relatively small school by Dubai new school standards.

Map showing the location of the new South View School in Dubailand which will offer an all-through British curriculum to students when it pens across all phases following its launch in September 2018

South View School is seeking to differentiate itself by providing

  • Firstly, a premium school offer (in terms of facilities and the calibre of teaching staff) at low fee levels for its planned quality of provision;
  • Secondly, specialist language provision to ensure that all native second language speakers also receive teaching in their mother tongue (the aim being to ensure children are bi/tri lingual with English as far as possible); and,
  • Thirdly, a specialist sports focus on tennis.

More on each of these below…..

South View School is being opened by Interstar Education, best known within the British sector for their highly rated Victory Heights Primary School. Interstar is also known for its KHDA rated Very Good (with Outstanding Features) Delhi Private School and the Wonder Years Nursery in Dubai Sports City. For parents, this should provide a degree of confidence that the school is being set up by experienced founders with a prove track record of delivering very well thought of and successful schools.

South View School will be the first British all-through to open in the Remraam Community and is targeted to become the one-stop British all-through educational hub for the landmark project as well as providing a draw for parents at the Southern edges of Dubai Sports City, Arabian Ranches and Motor City.

Image showing South View School's key role as the British all-through educational hub for the Remraam Community in Dubai

South View School is being designed and built by ENBT Reit and the renders released by the owners show considerable attention to detail with inset Arabic-styled coloured glass inset light panels and multi-height buildings. The designs we have seen evidence a clear commitment to avoid the blocky, low-cost architectural design of schools more common in this fee segment,  the intention clearly to provide an inspirational space for children – and one that re-enforces and works with the cultural feel of the broader Remraam community.

These renders (above and below) are important for potential parents as they provide substance to the claims of Interstar that, despite its fees,  the group will be delivering to Dubai parents a school situated squarely within the ambitions of the premium schools sector. The school’s design team and architects are said to have worked historically with Frank Gehry, the extraordinary architect behind the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and its planned namesake Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Rendered image showing attention to architectural detail in the plans for the new South View School in Dubai with Arabic styled coloured glass panels

Facilities will include separate, dedicated Science, Art, music, IT, language and athletic facilities for Foundation Stage, Primary and Secondary, supported by separate playgrounds, play areas and social spaces for each age group. The intention is to provide all the benefits of an all-through education for children, whilst still providing for the very individual needs at each phase of their education.

The separate FS phases have their own self-contained ground floor block, with dedicated indoor and outdoor facilities including two FS indoor activity areas, an FS Playground, FS Multi-Purpose Hall and a separate splash pool.  Facilities are said to have been designed ground-up to meet the needs of younger children with the promise of bright colours, sunlit spaces and multiple “whimsical touches” designed to “create a feel of an active and stimulating children’s learning zone.”

FS classrooms will all have their own dedicated outdoor areas providing a range of curriculum-linked, outdoor learning activities including  water and sand play, mark-making, sensory and construction activities, role play and small world play. FS phases have their own permanent outdoor playground area and (as above) a separate Multi-Purpose Hall.

Image of a child designed to highlight the messy play activities that will be central to developing motoring skills and inspiring younger children at FS phases at South View School Dubai

This will appeal to the significant number of parents who choose to send children to dedicated Primary schools to ensure that they are protected from the pressures that come from being educated with older children. At South View School the aim is to clearly demarcate provision to ensure a cultural and educational fit with the needs of children at Primary, Middle and Sixth Form phases. Again, for us, this provides substance to the claims of the school to be positioning itself within the premium school sector.

The South View School Primary block is again a distinct and self-contained zone, housed on the ground and first floor, separate from both Foundation and Secondary School phases. The Primary school has its own dedicated primary specialist facilities, including a Music Room, a STEM suite (consisting of a Science Lab and Computer Lab); Art Studio and a Primary Library.

“These specialist facilities have been designed exclusively for the use of our primary school children and are accessible only to them.”

Interestingly the school directly references its sister Victory Heights Primary School as providing a model for the design and planning for the Primary school phase – and our very positive view of Victory Heights Primary School suggests that provision will be outstanding if it can meet this ambition and blueprint.

Sports facilities including a competition football field; 25M temperature-controlled swimming pool; a smaller training pool for younger children; 3 Multi-Purpose Halls for a range of athletics; multiple outdoor roof courts; and 3 dedicated tennis courts supporting the specialist tennis focus of the school. On its own terms, it is worth noting that South View School will be the first specialist tennis school in the UAE and it is rare for a school to choose one key sport on which to focus attention. It does not mean that other sports are not catered for (as the facilities attest) – but it does mean that the school has nailed its colours firmly to one area it wants to excel in – we think that is both brave and laudable.

Languages

Render photograph of the frontage of the new British curriculum all-through South View School opening in Dubailand in September 2018

South View School identifies as a one of the key ways it will differentiate itself is in its investment in language teaching, and in particular to protect and nurture the native language skills of children for whom English is a second language.

From Day One provision will be available in Spanish, Italian, Greek, Russian, French, German, Urdu and Hindi, although the school aims to provide support for all native languages if at all possible of those attending.

The aim is that this will create a multi-lingual school environment that helps all children, including native English speaking children.

Although the school does not state this directly, we also think this is a very impressive way to provide substance to the claims that this will be a genuinely inclusive international school. Languages will be supported by specialist labs at all phases. It should be noted that the only proviso to this provision is that it will be demand an additional investment by parents. Whilst some parents may be frustrated by this, we think the decision to keep baseline fees low and provide this as an option has good rationale and credibility. It is worth bearing in mind that this scale of investment in languages is provided by very few schools in Dubai – and at fee levels around three times the baseline fees of South View School.

Fees

As above, and assuming that South View School does meet its ambitions to deliver premium schooling identified above, school fees will provide exceptional value for parents for a pure British education. The school will achieve this with only a limited number of compromises. First, we would expect to see a more international mix of teachers than the purely British faculty of more expensive schools. It is likely, however, that British teachers will predominate. Second, the school’s location, and relatively lower cost of land, is likely to have allowed the owners to invest much more heavily in design, facilities and infrastructure. Baseline fees, running between 42,000 AED at FS phases to 59,000 AED at Sixth Form are half those of Dubai’s ultra-premiums – and with 3-year founding discounts of between DHS3000 and DHS7000, dependent on phase of entry, the value proposition is genuinely significant.

Year of Entry KHDA​ ​Approved

Fee​ ​for

2018-2019

Founder​ ​Fees 2018-2019 Founder​ ​Fees 2019-2020 Founder​ ​Fees 2020-2021
FS1 42,000​ ​AED 35,000​ ​AED
FS2 42,000​ ​AED 37,000​ ​AED 39,900​ ​AED
Year​ ​1 42,000​ ​AED 39,900​ ​AED 40,500​ ​AED 41,250​ ​AED
Year​ ​2 42,000​ ​AED 39,900​ ​AED 40,500​ ​AED 41,250​ ​AED
Year​ ​3 42,000​ ​AED 39,900​ ​AED 40,500​ ​AED 41,250​ ​AED
Year​ ​4 42,000​ ​AED 39,900​ ​AED 40,500​ ​AED 41,250​ ​AED
Year​ ​5 42,000​ ​AED 39,900​ ​AED 40,500​ ​AED 41,250​ ​AED
Year​ ​6 42,000​ ​AED 39,900​ ​AED 40,500​ ​AED 41,250​ ​AED
Year​ ​7 54,000​ ​AED 49,900​ ​AED 51,500​ ​AED 51,500​ ​AED
Year​ ​8 54,000​ ​AED 49,900​ ​AED 52,500​ ​AED 52,500​ ​AED
Year​ ​9 54,000​ ​AED 52,500​ ​AED 53,500​ ​AED
Year​ ​10 59,000​ ​AED 56,000​ ​AED
Year​ ​11 59,000​ ​AED
Year​ ​12 59,000​ ​AED
Year 13 59,000 AED

 

South View School – the SchoolsCompared Bottom line?

Artist's render of the new South View School in Dubai

Had South View School been one without a heritage of (highly successful) sister schools behind it, we would have been cautious given the balance of promised offer which provides for a premium education at mid-tier pricing.

However, we have seen, in the British schools area, what the founders have achieved at Victory Heights Primary School – and this gives us significant confidence that what is being planed will be delivered.

For many parents location will be an issue – and a frustration. This is exactly the type of school/fee combination that we know many parents are calling out for in more developed areas of the emirate. Generally, to secure this sort of education elsewhere parents are facing very big trade-offs – usually in both faculty and facility provision.

South View School, at least on its current promise and ambition, promises to rewrite the rule book of what can be delivered in this price bracket.

South View School is now open for applications to Year 8 (Year 9 will open in 2019 with following years in phased launch) and it will provide considerable temptation for parents from across Dubai. As with all new schools in build phase, there will always be risks. But equally on offer is the chance to be a founding family of a school that clearly has its heart in the right place – and with the backing of owners who have proven they can deliver.

It is too early to recommend a school that has not, after-all, even been built. But we think, on balance,  South View School Dubai is a school worthy of provisional shortlisting and opening a dialogue with the school’s Admissions Team to explore the detail of its offer further.

One to watch.

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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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