Uptown School, Mirdif – The Review
Very Good with outstanding features
Very Good with Outstanding features
Good with Very Good features
Good with Very Good features
Good with Outstanding features
Private, for profit
Under review 2019-20
YEAR 1: 68,401
YEAR 2: 68,401
YEAR 3: 68,401
YEAR 4: 68,401
YEAR 5: 68,401
YEAR 6: 79,801
YEAR 7: 79,801
YEAR 8: 79,801
YEAR 9: 79,801
YEAR 10: 79,801
YEAR 11: 87,374
YEAR 12: 87,374
Primary Years Programme [IB PYP]
Middle Years Programme [IB MYP]
Diploma [IB DP]
International Baccalaureate Organisation [IBO]
100% (2018 including re-mark)
(1) A relatively small number of children sit for the IB DP given its academic stretch)
34 Points (2018)
31 Points (2017)
(1) A relatively small number of children sit for the IB DP given its academic stretch)
(1) "All students applying to Uptown School are required to be assessed, regardless of age, grade, school or the country they are from."
(2) "Acceptance to Uptown School is contingent upon the results of the placement assessment, student interview and former school reports."
(3) "There will however be a limit to the number of children that we can admit with EAL needs at any one time."
SchoolsCompared.com rating: High
(1) Capacity: 2100
Pre KG/FS0: maximum of 20 per class
KG1 & KG2: maximum of 22 per class
Grades 1-10: maximum 26 per class
Grade 11: "variable depending on subject demand."
(1) Originating schools 2005
Emirati (largest nationality) but broad mix of nationalities from 85 countries
Special Educational Needs [SEN]: 127
+971 (0) 4 251 5001
73.3% (outstanding in English)
80% (Outstanding in English)
• Taaleem reputation
• Tier 1 facilities
• Premium fees offer good value in the context of a very high level of provision
• Outstanding PYP programme
• Significant investment in school leadership with capacity to drive improvements as the school beds in provision
• High investment in Special Educational Needs and English as an Additional Language provision
• Very low, best in class, teacher turnover at 2%, some 26% under the UAE average, offering students consistency and certainty
• High parental engagement and appreciation of the school for the care of its students and their attainment
• Outstanding school leadership
• IB CP coming on-stream 2019-20 grounded in the discipline of Sport
• Currently a relatively small number of students sit for the Diploma. This will be fully addressed with the launch of the IB CP in 2019-20.
Updated January 2019 – Uptown School KHDA 2018, all-through opening, SchoolsCompared.com 2019 verdict
Uptown School is a circa 1500 capacity all-through International Baccalaureate originating from the move of separate Uptown primary, middle and secondary schools to a single Uptown 300,000 square foot campus set within 14 acres of (beautifully) landscaped grounds adjacent to Mirdif Park in 2012.
Taaleem’s Uptown School [UPS] has now completed its phased launch and completed all-through International Baccalaureate structured education from FS1 to Year 12 provision. The school was awarded “Very Good with Outstanding Features” school status in May 2017 and January 2018 by the Dubai Inspectorate of Schools in its last two inspections. These are significant accolades for a relatively young school only in its fifth year since founding in 2013. Today Uptown School has a fully embedded MYP and Diploma programme with strong results for its first graduating class of 2017, these recording a 100% pass rate and an International Baccalaureate Diploma Average score of 31 points.
Total enrollment is 1410 plus students (up from 1251 in the previous academic year). An impressively diverse 81 nationalities are represented in the student body, and the single largest grouping of students at the school is Emirati, accounting for one fifth of students. This demonstrates Uptown’s considerable investment in English as an Additional Language [EAL], something that incurs considerable costs for a school and starts to make its premium level fees look considerably good value.
Facilities and resources
Facilities are Tier 1 – and excellent. They include zoned areas for Early Years, Primary School and Secondary School phases; Early Years, Primary and Secondary libraries with Wi-Fi study rooms; a fully digital campus with wireless connectivity and integrated ICT; three fully equipped labs; two on-campus catering restaurants; performance theatre; multiple practice rooms for individual instruments; visual arts studios by phase; DT studios for primary and secondary phases; dance facilities with fully sprung flooring; a 25-metre, eight-lane pool; separate gym; Early Years pool; two international standard football pitches; indoor basketball courts; outdoor tennis courts, track and field facilities for long jump and javelin; prayer rooms, clinic; SEN Centre; a 120-meter running track and multi-purpose sport activity spaces.
Faculty and staff number 176 (up from 120 in 2013/14) with 111 teachers (up from 109 in 2017 and 89 in 2016). The school also requires all teachers who do not hold education degrees to have university level teaching certifications in addition to their university degrees.
Curriculum, Sport , the Arts and ECAs
The primary section follows the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). The secondary section follows the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP). The school opened its complete Year 12 International Diploma Programme (IB DP) provision in September 2016 and first results were reported were impressive (see above).
Students from Grades 6 to 10 at Uptown follow the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) including subject provision in Arabic Language and Literature or Arabic Language Acquisition; English Language and Literature or English Language Acquisition; French Language Acquisition; Mathematics; Sciences; Individuals and Societies; Physical and Health Education; Design (Product Design and Digital Design); and the Arts (Music and Visual Arts). Muslim students also undertake Islamic Studies (although this does not form part of the MYP Programme.)
In addition, MYP study includes The Personal Project completed in Grades 9 and 10 and the Service as Action [SAA] programme requiring students to take an active part in the communities in which they live including an array of environmental projects and charity initiatives.
Uptown’s Arts program includes a violin ensemble; junior and senior choirs; a competitive dance team; percussion band; and MYP rock band ensemble. Students also participate in the World Scholars competition and Model UN academic teams.
Sports teams include boys and girls U16 basketball, U12, U14, U16 and U18 swimming (with junior and senior swim squads); Desert Dance; U12, U14, U16 and U18 “Aquathon” (Boys and Girls Teams); U12, U14 and U16 Boys Football teams; U12 and U14 Girls Football teams; U12, U14 and U16 Girls Netball; U12, U14, U16 and U18 Athletics (Boys and Girls Teams); U12 and U14 Girls Rounders; U12 and U14 Basketball (Boys and Girls Teams); and U13 and U15 Boys Cricket. Teams compete in Dubai Affiliated Schools Sports Association (DASSA) competition.
Music is heavily integrated within the curriculum with further stretch through Extra Curricular Activities [ECAs]. Students learn the ocarina in KG, the recorder in Grade 2, the violin in Grade 3 and guitar in Grade 6 as part of their music curriculum. Music continues in the Secondary School in classroom and senior ensemble studies. A 90-student choir; 35-student percussion band and lessons in an array of other instruments add to the diversity of the programme.
Other ECAs cover the gamut of academics, sports, Performing Arts, culture, music, crafts. media and general hobbies including Mother Tongue Club; Origami; German Foreign Language; Quran Reciting; Movement to Music; Public Speaking; Chess Club; Football; Badminton; Table Tennis; Basketball; Reading Club; Cursive Writing; Creative Writing; and a Construction Club.
Prospective parents should note that Uptown has an extremely strictly enforced nut-free school policy to protect children who have severe not allergies. No nut products are permitted in school, including includes Nutella chocolate spread and peanut butter. This will clearly be appreciated by the significant number of parents with children who have nut allergies.
Uptown School Leadership
“Uptown School has a magnificent campus with wonderful facilities.
We have a world-class curriculum with the genuine ambition of changing lives and changing the world in which we live.
We have an inspirational and truly education-centred parent company in Taaleem, committed to the UAE National Agenda.
However, what makes Uptown School, a genuinely special place is the people.
A visit to our campus will leave you marveling at our students.
They exude the right sort of confidence and are bursting to tell visitors about all the amazing learning experiences that they enjoy every day.
They are risk takers who understand that they learn from their mistakes and know that through perseverance and resilience they can achieve their dreams.
They purposely strive to embody the IB Learner Profile in all that they do.
Christopher Bromham, Principal, Uptown School
Uptown School Principal, Christopher Bromham, is highly regarded and a Mathematics and Sports Scientist by training. He carries impressive international experience including five years as the Assistant Head of Dubai English Speaking College [DESC] and six years at North London Collegiate School’s campus in Jeju, latterly as Vice Principal.
Feedback to our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, from parents, teachers and students for Mr Bonham is outstanding. On that note, feedback for Primary school and Post -16 phases in particular stand-out for for the use of the word “happy” by parents, teachers and students.
On our visit we found him impressive and engaged – children hugely warmed to him and its was clear that relationships with faculty are strong and warm. The school runs BEAUTIFULLY. For us, beyond all the technical speak, what matters is that Uptown School clearly has a Head that loves his school, cares deeply for the children and is deeply committed to both inclusion and that no child should be left behind. Certainly we rate him as one of our top Principals in the UAE.
Bottom Line? The SchoolsCompared.com Verdict 2018
Taaleem’s (in our view very well-deserved) reputation, feedback to both ourselves and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com from teachers, parents and students, the breadth and quality of facility provision, KHDA reporting of outstanding child progress (what really does matter in an inclusive school), capacity for improvement, class leading low levels of teacher turnover (this is a school that has bedded in outstanding teaching faculty who want to teach at the school and are committed to children) is enough for us to recommend that Uptown should make it to the a shortlist of any prospective parents seeking a through IB education for their children.
In 2018 we had a single, but important issue with a school performing in almost every respect operating at an extremely high level – and that is Uptown School’s choice to not offer the International Baccalaureate Career-Related programme (IB CP).
In our view this should be offered as a matter of course at all IB schools, and particularly, as is the case here, by (impressively) academically inclusive schools. It seems self evident that this would at a stroke re-balance the currently, and understandably, limited number of children sitting for the Diploma.
As of 2019, we are delighted to confirm that Uptown School is now mid-way through securing candidacy for the International Career related Programme. The programme will be founded to offer students expertise in Sport through (in our view excellent) Level 3 BTEC). It will be a very good fit for the school and we hope, in future years be built on with expanded choice, potentially in either Tourism (a logical choice for UAR careers) or business. This is really good news and we believe the final piece of the jigsaw in building one seriously game-changing school for inclusion, child care and student attainment.
Uptown School is a powerhouse of happiness, innovation, a culture of kindness and remarkable achievements for each child’s progress. As importantly, this is a school that goes from strength-to-strength each year – and we do not think Outstanding school status is, or should be, out of reach at the time of Uptown School’s next inspection. Our 2019 visit will take place in September. We cannot wait …..