JESS, Jumeirah English Speaking School (Primary), Al Safa 1, Jumeirah
• Outstanding SEN provision
• Enviable reputation (deserved)
• Holistic, whole child centred learning and ethos
• Outstanding academic, cultural and extra-curricular attainment at every level
• Warm, happy, inspirational school environment
• Outstanding levels of teacher commitment, professionalism and care
• High community engagement
• Mid-tier fee levels, premium plus tier education
• Outstanding student work ethic and attendance
• Outstanding Ranches slipstream with hybrid UK IGCSE/IB provision balanced with extensive BTEC choices at Sixth Form
• Arabic as a first language teaching could be re-structured to improve the speaking skills of students and improvements to cross curricular links would provide greater opportunity to bring Arabic language and culture to life and give it meaning in the minds and hearts of the children
Updated: October 2016
Established in 1976, Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) is a genuinely outstanding, hugely impressive, not for profit co-educational primary school and, arguably, the best of its kind not only in Dubai, but the UAE. It is one of an elite number of schools to have secured whichschooladvisor coveted Good School status and is rated with the Dubai Inspectorate of Schools highest “Outstanding” award, an evaluation it has achieved consistently for seven of the eight years since KHDA inspections were started.
Although the school offers a route for children seeking education to 18 through its RANCH namesake, JESS Jumeirah operates very much as a stand-alone school focussed on educating children between the ages of 3 and 11. For parents seeking an understanding of its slipstream secondary, our review of the all-through Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) Arabian Ranches can be found here.
Prospective parents considering later application to its sister school, should note that its all-through namesake offers a hybrid UK/International Baccalaureate education, with IGCSE provision to 16 and IB Diploma study at Sixth Form. This said, Ranches offers a choice of route for students to 18, with provision for BTEC study in Art, Business and Sport for those children seeking a UK benchmarked career related alternative to the rigorous academics of the Diploma.. The aim is to provide all children with the broadest range of options for graduating JESS according to their ability, passions and career or further study ambitions.
According to our sister site, whichschooladvisor.com, JESS Dubai “brims with warmth”, the clear passion of its teaching staff for their profession, a “tangible sense of happiness amongst children”, inspiring and sympathetic setting and a deserved reputation for being “the flagship school in its sector.” JESS is also one of a very small group of open schools that empower parents with transparent, honest and accessible information on academic performance.
Meeting the needs of students with Special Educational Needs [SEN] is at the heart of school life – provision, by a dedicated “Oasis” team is exceptional in its professionalism, resources, care, integration and holistic, whole child approach. All children are afforded every opportunity to meet their potential – and excel.
Jumeirah English Speaking School educated 699 students from 40 nationalities, of which the largest group is British. The school received the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) inspection rating of Outstanding for the fifth year in 2014-15; the Dubai Inspection Bureau’s highest grade.
Teacher turnover is 14%, relatively low by Dubai standards, offering children good continuity of education. A teacher-student ratio of 1:14, reflects the school’s investment in teaching, and is reinforced by a significant investment in 25 teaching assistants. The approach is effective, and embraced on the conviction that it is better to have one-to-one support for children within a slightly larger class, than smaller class sizes where one child could be “left behind.” Prospective parents should note that JESS deliberately, and very rarely in the Emirates, offers short term teaching contracts as standard to ensure that it retains only those teachers that provide the best fit with the school and its ambitions for its children. Other schools, which may well reflect lower teacher turnover ratios are often those with extended fixed term contracts, something JESS believes can disadvantage both teachers and children if the fit is not right.
Students at the school follow the British Early Years Foundation framework Stage [EYFS] which encourages children to learn through play and through self-reliant, but guided, discovery. Students from primary school onward follow the National Curriculum of England.
Core subjects include English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, ICT, Music, Arts, Humanities, Islamic Education and Arabic.
JESS has a long waiting list, a minimum 3 years, but has refused the pressures to grow the school for risk of diluting student care. Entrance requires understanding of its debenture system and the best resource for understanding this can be found in whichschooladvisor.
JESS, uniquely, also provides very straightforward fees without the often incremental, incomprehensible annual increases that other schools provide to presumably increase profits once a child has begun school. First year fees are set at a lower level, otherwise fees are static to age 11. The level of fees, at DHS46,829 after FS1, are (extraordinarily) mid-table for an Outstanding school. JESS knows it could double them and still be over-subscribed – as a not-for-profit, and with an inclusive community ethos at its core, JESS remains impressively true to its ideals.
The Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) was awarded whichschooladvisor “Good School” status in 2012-13, 2013-14, 12014-15, 2015-16 and most recently for the academic year 2016-17.
“Visiting JESS Jumeirah, one cannot ignore its reputation of excellence in the community. Its facilities are truly amongst the best – not showy, not glitzy, just functional and for a clear purpose. As a not for profit school, it up-dates and adds to its considerable resources on a regular basis, assisted by a very active parents group. Walking around the school and seeing it during the course of a day, one cannot help but feel that it deserves to have the reputation that it does.”
We leave it though to a single stand-out comment by the KHDA (there are so many we could have chosen ..) that we think best captures the education on offer:
“Across the school students buzz with the excitement of learning.”
KHDA, School Inspection, 2016
The KHDA is not known for hyperbole. This is about as good as it gets: a school that succeeds at extraordinary levels, but which does so whilst creating a learning environment that inspires. Very highly recommended.Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
YEAR 1: 46,829
YEAR 2: 46,829
YEAR 3: 46,829
YEAR 4: 46,829
YEAR 5: 46,829
YEAR 6: 46,829
YEAR 7: NA
YEAR 8: NA
YEAR 9: NA
YEAR 10: NA
YEAR 11: NA
YEAR 12: NA
YEAR 13: NA
National Curriculum of England
National Curriculum Standard Assessment Tests [SAT]
Yes (3 years +)
Al Safa 1, Jumeirah, Dubai
British (largest nationality)
+971 4 3945515