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Emirates International School – Meadows
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Review

Emirates International School – Meadows

by March 28, 2016
Strengths

Complete IB programme
• Affordable fee entry to an IB school
• Vocationally focused IB for students seeking a career in hospitality via the IB CP
• Pioneering school for IB provision in Dubai
• Outstanding school leadership

Weaknesses

• No bursary or scholarships programmes
• IB Curriculum best suited to polymaths with no parallel stream provision for gifted children in either the Arts or Sciences
• The school is still some way from having sufficient KHDA scoring to reach the standards of an overall “Outstanding” school
• Fees stretch across value, mid-tier and premium segments with the risk that some parents will find fees unaffordable at later stages
• Limited transparency on examination performance of students

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

• Prospective parents will need to think carefully on the gamble of IB schooling for younger children not yet developed enough to be sure of its fit
• Outstanding new leadership gives significant opportunity for improving the school and building on its existing capacity

B+
Our Rating
B
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
14%
In my Top 5
0%
Shortlisted
29%
A possibility
0%
Pass
0%
No way
57%

Updated December 2016

Emirates International School – Meadows [EISM], together with Emirates International School – Jumeirah [EISJ], together comprise the Emirates International School [EIS], although to all intents and purposes, notwithstanding their shared ownership by the Al Habtoor Group, they are separate schools with independent leadership. Our review of the Jumeirah campus can be found here and prospective parents will find significant supplementary information here on the shared framework of both schools.

What is striking about both schools, however, is their very broad similarity in both IB performance and Dubai school inspectorate evaluation. The similarity is highly suggestive of very well managed schools with systems and best practice shared between each.

To some degree this should not be surprising. The IB syllabus is expensive and complex to manage, and to manage it well, as the Emirates International schools do, stretching on resources and the demands of its leadership. The Emirates International school sister campus, established in 1991, is the oldest (most experienced) IB world school in Dubai.

Parents historically have chosen between the two based on location and the Meadows being a newer school, although significant investment in EISJ (the primary school was demolished in December 2015 and new building is ongoing) means the balance is shifting and prospective parents set on an Emirates International education for their children will now probably find their decision motivated by the ease with which they can reach each respective school alone.

Since 2015 the schools are now full phase IB schools offering all four components of the International Baccalaureate. This includes the:

  • International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme [IB PYP]
  • International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme [IB MYP]
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme [IB DP]
  • International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme [IB CP]

The launch of the IB CP, a tailored programme focused on delivering a hospitality-focused career based IB, is a pioneering move and another first for the schools in the Emirates. Fees for both schools are broadly similar, but both share significant jumps in cost taking the initial value fee levels into Premium territory at Post-16 phases.

Prospective parents must take account of the sharply increasing fees to protect themselves from the very different financial demands they place later on. This said, for full IB provision, there is a lot of value and return on investment on offer here.

Prospective parents should also note that provision for the English National Curriculum based (I)GCSE in gradually being phased out by both schools and concentration is now almost exclusively on the IB MYP programme.

Its sister school EISJ currently remains an EDEXCEL Centre, and it may still be possible for students to make a special request to sit GCSEs.

Both schools remain consistently KHDA “Good”, not “Outstanding” Schools although both share outstanding features. Pinpointing why the schools have no reached the higher standard is complicated, but to some degree the issue is inevitably related to fees.

The most expensive premium Tier 1s have fees double those of Emirates International in some phases and at least a third more expensive where the differences are least. That allows those schools to invest in more staff across leadership and teaching specialisms – and in IB schools the pressures on staffing are intense.

Current IB Diploma results are solid with a 92% Diploma pass rate and a cohort average point score of 33 points. In context, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com advises that “a ‘highly respectable’ pass rate at IB that would be suitable for entrance into good red brick universities in the UK is around the 34 plus mark. Top-tier universities are officially looking for 38 plus. In reality a 40+ score is more likely to get a student into an Oxbridge.”

Prospective parents should note, however, that universities will look at scoring in the round and decisions on entrance will be weighted to some degree for languages, this particularly where English is an Additional Language [EAL] as it is at Emirates International for a significant number of students. In this language context, results at IB are impressive.

The MYP, studied between years 7 and 11, includes courses in eight subject groups: Language & Literature; Language Acquisition; Mathematics; Sciences; Individuals and Societies; Design; Physical and Health Education; and Arts. Subjects include English language; English literature; Arabic language; Arabic literature; Arabic as a second language; Spanish; French culture; mathematics; extended mathematics; biology; chemistry; physics; visual art; drama; music; Islamic Studies; geography; history; business studies; ICT; food technology; and physical, social & health education [PHSE].

Prospective parents should note that language provision is prioritised at the school and integrated into the curriculum. All students are required to study at least one language other than English during each year they study at EIS-J. Impressively, all language teachers must be native speakers.

Post-16 IB DP study sees students selecting one subject from each of six subject groups; studies in language and literature; language acquisition; mathematics; the Arts; Sciences; and individuals and societies. All students study two languages, at least one humanities subject, at least one science and mathematics. To achieve the full IB Diploma, and graduate successfully from EIS-Jumeirah, it is necessary to meet three further requirements in addition to the six subjects: and Extended Essay; Theory of Knowledge (TOK); and Creative, Action and Service hours (CAS).

Prospective parents should not that not all children study for the full IB Diploma, access to which requires an absolute minimum of 28 points at MYP. Students may choose instead to study six academic subjects only and gain the ‘IB Diploma Programme courses’ results individually. Alternatively, again, the school offers the more vocational International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme [IB CP] based around study of a BTEC in hospitality (see below), although this again requires 28 points at MYP.

School facilities are of a good standard and offer significant breadth, though parents should not expect the “bells and whistles” of the Tier 1 schools. EISM facilities are segmented across Junior and Senior phases across its fully digital campus.

The junior school’s facilities consist of 65 classrooms with LCD projectors and interactive white boards; two IT suites; dedicated Junior library; a multi-purpose theatre/auditorium; an outdoor turf sports field; dedicated art, music, drama and language teaching rooms, prayer room as well as conference and meeting suites for faculty and parents.

The high school has 6 IT suites; a cafeteria; High School library; multi-purpose sports hall; a dedicated dance studio, 25 metre shared indoor swimming pool; indoor basketball stadium and gymnasium; dedicated weights room; two Astroturf sports fields; two art suites; two music suites; a prayer room; a drama room; clinic; language labs; and a senior lounge with ICT and meetings facilities.

Emirates International School – Meadows fields teams in football, netball, rugby tens, cricket and basketball.

The school’s Principal is Phillip Burgess, a former lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy and dual British and Australian national. Mr Burgess has a fascinating career history.

Originally degree educated in business, specialising in HR, he later took his teaching qualification specialising in Physical Education before securing his masters from Queensland in educational leadership and administration scoring a distinction. With experience subsequently drawn from schools both from the UK and Australia, Mr Burgess was Principal of Emirates International’s campus in Jumeirah for around three years before leaving to take up a prestige role in China, so in many ways his taking over the role of Principal at the Meadows is very much a coming home.

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com feedback, like that received from its sister school, is broadly positive. An above average number of parents recommend the school to other parents and Meadows receives strong scoring for perceived academic performance of the school and the quality of its teaching. Scoring is slightly higher than that received for its Jumeirah campus, although this is probably explained by redevelopment at the sister school.

The KHDA highlights the school’s outstanding strengths in many areas but stand-out features are the school’s core success in driving standards in English, Mathematics and Science across all phases, outstanding Community engagement and performance in the IB Diploma.

Bottom line? Emirates International School – Meadows is, like its sister, a difficult school to review because it performs well in almost every area, and in some areas outstandingly, but not so well as to stand-out in a school system increasingly driven to standards that compete, at its top tiers, with the finest school provision available anywhere in the world.

There is a real sense of a fundamentally good school that could, with all its history behind it, be an “Outstanding” one. Al the foundations are in place, leadership is outstanding and focused, and the school has facilities in place to deliver.

We do have some concerns in the phasing out of the English National Curriculum, and in particular the provision of GCSEs. The school could have travelled in the opposite direction and actually moved towards parallel IB and GCE A’ level post 16 provision as is the case with the premium Tier 1s. This decision is likely to have been made on cost grounds.

Like its sister school, Emirates International – Jumeirah, this is a genuinely good school, but one with the capacity to be more.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for-profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 24,683
FS2: 32,393
YEAR 1: 32,393
YEAR 2: 38,563
YEAR 3: 38,563
YEAR 4: 43,196
YEAR 5: 43,196
YEAR 6: 43,196
YEAR 7: 50,907
YEAR 8: 50,907
YEAR 9: 50,907
YEAR 10: 58,627
YEAR 11: 58,627
YEAR 12: 68,643
YEAR 13: 73,201

Curriculum

International Baccalaureate:
International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme [IBPYP]
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme [IBMYP]
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme [IBDP]
International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme [IBCP] - available at sister school
BTEC

External Exam Boards

International Baccalaureate Organisation [IBO]
Pearson (BTEC Hospitality)
EDEXCEL

IB DipM Pass Rate

92% [2015]

IB DipM Average Grade

Cohort average point score of 33 points [2015]
Note:
(1) Highest individual point score of 40 points
(2) No detailed breakdown of information beyond this is published by the school

IGCSE A* to C

Not published

IGCSE A* to A

Not published

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

Not published

I/GCSEs offered

Note:
(1) Structured (I)GCSE provsion no longer advertised - IBMYP alternative is now standard
(2) Sister school is registered with EDEXCEL and may provide some subjects at (I)GCSE on special request

Selective

Yes
Notes:
(1) Entrance to the IBDP is by examination for new students and minimum 28+ MYDP scoring for existing
(2) On-going admissions policy will admit students throughout the year,subject to availability of a place
(3) FS/KG: assessment by a member of the Early Years Team
(4) Years 1 – 6: entrance assessment in Mathematics and English
(6) Previous reports and previous curriculum compatibility to IB programme are required according to age
(7) Formal interview may be required

Waiting list

No

Value Added

Not published (WSA projected LOW)

Number of Students

1655+

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:25

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

11%

Year opened

2005

Location

Meadows, Emirates Hills, Dubai

Student composition

Arab (largest nationality)
Total nationalities: 80
FS1: 118
Emirati: 17
Special Educational Needs: 126

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Al Habtoor Group (Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman)

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 362 9009

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

66.6%

Attainment Pri SEM

75%

Attainment Sec SEM

83.3%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

91.6%

Progress Nur SEM

66.6%

Progress Pri SEM

75%

Progress Sec SEM

83.3%

Progress Post-16 SEM

91.6%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

62.5%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

62.5%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

75%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

62.5%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

62.5%

Leadership

75%

Community

93.75%

Facilities

75%

Quality of teaching

81.25%

Student personal responsibility

87.5%

Quality of curriculum

81.25%

School Governance

75%

SEN Provision

81.25%

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