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JSS International School, Jumeirah Village Circle
5
Review

JSS International School, Jumeirah Village Circle

by August 11, 2019
Details to consider
2018/19 Overall ADEK / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

Rating FS

Very Good

Rating Primary / Elementary

Good

Rating Secondary / Middle

Very Good

Rating Post 16 / High

Very Good - Outstanding

Type of school

Not for profit (JSS Mahavidyapeetha Trust)

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

Pre-Primary: 14,424
FS1: 15,606
FS2: 15,606
YEAR 1: 18726
YEAR 2: 18,726
YEAR 3: 18,726
YEAR 4: 18,726
YEAR 5: 21,848
YEAR 6: 21,848
YEAR 7: 24,968
YEAR 8: 24,968
YEAR 9: 29,375
YEAR 10: 29,375
YEAR 11: 33,868
YEAR 12: 37,638
YEAR 13: NA

Curriculum

Indian:
(1) National curriculum for England - EYFS only
(2) Canadian KG (Ontario)
(3) Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE)

External Exam Boards

CISCSE

Selective

Selective
Notes:
(1) Significant academic entrance testing from Grade 1 in English, Mathematics, French and Hindi.
(2) Academic entrance testing for Grade 11
(3) SEND is currently being developed at the school. Currently There are 96 students of determination (approximately 4.4%). We expect to see an absolute minimum of 5% intake of students with SEND rising in the best schools to 10%. We find the current inclusion policy at odds with the much more welcoming philosophy of the parent charity/owners which significantly and impressively invests in SEND.

Waiting list

Grades 10 and 12 closed to applications

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

2173

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:11

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

8% (Low)

Year opened

2009 (in Al Barsha)
2017 (in Jumeirah Village Triangle South)

Location

Jumeirah Village Circle 2 Dubai

Student composition

Indian (largest nationality)

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

JSS Mahavidyapeetha [JSSMVP]

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 50 633 8253
+971 (0) 4 240 6353

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

66.6%

Attainment Pri SEM

73.3%

Attainment Sec SEM

80%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

86.6%

Progress Nur SEM

73.3%

Progress Pri SEM

66.6%

Progress Sec SEM

73.3%

Progress Post-16 SEM

86.6%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

50%

Islamic St. Primary Results

60%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

60%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

60%

Leadership

80%

Community

80%

Facilities

80%

Quality of teaching

70%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

75%

School Governance

80%

SEN Provision

80%

Strengths

• Innovative mixed East-West curriculum across phases
• Supportive governors investing in the school
• Strong community links with ongoing capital investment in ensuring the school can meet the needs of its students
• Good level of facilities in range and quality
• Breadth of co/extra-curricular provision – and commitment of students to the school to “make it happen”
• Inter-school competition
• Continuously improving school with outstanding core Arabic subject provision in Islamic studies and appreciative of local culture
• Excellent international benchmarking of student performance with seamless curriculum modifications to reflect ongoing strengths and weaknesses in attainment
• Foundations for an impressive speaker engagement programme
• High ROI compared with competing schools

Weaknesses

• Still getting to grips with how to effectively integrate IT provision across the school and leverage existing infrastructure
• Parents would benefit from greater clarity, meaningfulness and depth of individual student reports
• Investment in technology needs to be ongoing to keep up with the best schools in the sector, including tablet provision
• Subject choice qualified by numbers
• Lack of scholarship and bursary provision
• SEND intake below 5% threshold and considerably less than the school ideals would imply its intake should be
• Results not published in full and contextualised with actual numbers of students who do and do not sit for examinations
• Some question marks over level of true academic inclusion with entrance tests indicative of selection
• School would benefit from celebrating attainment in the Arts, humanities and whole child initiatives like DofE - the web site does little to celebrate these core strengths or the children who succeed in these areas

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

• A good school consistently improving over time and with the capacity to improve still further
• The shared commitment of leadership, parents, governors – and students is a striking feature of a school with evident determination to become an Outstanding school
• Commitment to "sort out" SEND policy and practice by 2020

B
Our Rating
B
User Rating
You have rated this
Is this school on your shortlist?
Top of shortlist
38%
In my Top 5
15%
Shortlisted
12%
A possibility
12%
Pass
8%
No way
15%

Updated August 2019 – JSS International first review following relocation to Jumeirah Village Circle, SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2019, KHDA 2019 

“Our academic program includes breadth and depth, is rigorous and is
tailored to meet individual needs.”

Lata Nakra, Principal, JSS International School Dubai.

“The JSS Mahavidyapeetha, Mysore, India has over six decades of experience in running over 300 Educational Institutions across the Globe.

We are here to transform lives for the benefit of our society. At JSS International School Dubai all our students are educated through the lens of our core values of learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity and responsibility.”

Dr. D P Shivkumar, Chief Executive Officer, JSS International School Dubai.

“A young child who joins a JSS institution may go on to become a scientist, or an engineer, or a technologist, or a doctor, or a philosopher.”

JSS Mahavidyapeetha

Background, location and curricular

JSS International School Dubai is one of very few CICSE schools in Dubai, operating in an otherwise dominating CBSE Indian curriculum school environment both in Dubai and the broader UAE. That may well prove the first draw for the school, but the bigger picture for us is the focus at JSS International School Dubai on subject breadth – more on this below. In a somewhat eclectic mix of curricular, Early Years cascade through British EYFS and Ontario curriculum standards during Early Years provision. Interestingly the KHDA critiques the directed style of teaching at this phase – something that does not reflect the structure of either. 

JSS International is now based in Jumeirah Village Circle 2, following its move from Al Barsha to an (outstanding) new purpose-built school in 2017. The school sits on a total 5.8 acre site located just off Hessa Street as it bridges the Al Khail Road.

Map showing location of and directions to JSS International School in Jumeirah Village Circle 2 in Dubai

The school is mixed, co-educational, educating around 2170 boys and girls between the ages of four and seventeen years of age. English is the primary language with extensive secondary language provision in Hindi, French,Sanskrit and Arabic, the latter compulsory across all phases. Student examinations are provided in both the ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) and the ISC (CISCE Indian School Certificate).

JSS international is certainly not your average independent Indian school. Some explanation comes from its not-for-profit heritage in the JSS Mahavidyapeetha, a hugely impactful charitable trust which traces its roots at least back to the 11th century.

JSS institutions cover the spectrum of medical, educational, economic, social, cultural and religious life, helping many thousands of disadvantaged children and adults in India. Its fundamental ethos is that “unless the problems of the socially backward communities and the poor are solved, there cannot be any social development.”

JSS International, and its sister JSS Private School in Al Wasl, were established by the trust in part as a response to a crisis in availability for Indian education in the emirate that saw demand more than double available supply of places.

Subject Breadth and Meeting the Needs of Children

Typically, Indian curriculum schools heavily restrict subject choice for students to Science and Commerce streams – but not every child can, or should, be pushed into such restrictive boxes, not does every child wish to become a Doctor or an Accountant.

Broader subject choice enables a school to meet the true potential, needs, ambitions and abilities of the broadest range of children – and children studying areas of knowledge they are interested are much more likely to excel in those subjects.   

At JSS International School Dubai the commitment to broader subject choice manifests itself in three curriculum streams, this provided by an extra Humanities Stream in parallel with traditional Science and Commerce Streams at Grade 11. Interestingly, (1) Humanities are made compulsory, and (2) technical stream options (including fashion design) are (impressively) made available, in Grade 9. 

Grade 9

Group I (compulsory)
English, Hindi/French/Sanskrit, History, Civics and Geography, Environmental Education, Arabic as per the
UAE Syllabus.

Group II (two subjects only)
Mathematics, Science (Physics, Chemistry and Biology),
Economics, Commercial Studies.

Group III (one subject only)
Computer Application, Economic Application, Commercial Application, Fashion Designing, Technical
Drawing, Value Education/Islamic Studies, Physical
Education, Art and Craft, SUPW and Music.

Grade 11

Commerce Stream (ISC):

  • English (Compulsory)
  • Commerce
  • Accounts
  • Mathematics
  • Economics / Computer Science / Art

Humanities Stream (ISC):

  • English (Compulsory)
  • History
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Economics / Art

Science Stream (ISC):

  • English (Compulsory)
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics/ Psychology
  • Biology / Economics / Computer Science / Art

There is however a word of caution. All subjects are provided only with a minimum class size of 15 students. We think that the school should review this. A genuine commitment to subject choice would see all subjects delivered regardless of uptake.

If the school undoubtedly impresses with subject choice, the picture is much more mixed in terms of academic and SEND inclusion.

Significant entry testing takes place from Grade 1 and the degree to which this is used to filter more academically gifted children is not clear. SEND intake runs at less than 5%, and delivery is mixed. To be fair, JSS International School is open that it is mid way through seeking to completely re-define and improve SEND provision at the school, with an end-date set of 2020 to have achieved this. But until we see SEND intake achieving considerably more than the 5% we set as our benchmark for genuine school admissions commitment – and see this aligned with much greater investment and more curriculum modification, we cannot provide an unambiguous recommendation of the school for students of determination. 

Equally, whilst JSS International does provide some limited information on examination performance, it does not identify the exact number of children who actually sit examinations at each phase. As a result, the examination data that is provided is meaningless beyond stating with any certainty that some children achieve exceptionally highly. No data at all is published on added-value or child progress.

The ECA and whole child extended curriculum/enrichment provision offer is extensive and includes LEGO Robotics, Singing (including Karaoke), Art (including Fine Arts), SciEmatics, JSS Broadcast Radio, JSS banking, Athletics, Cricket, Swimming, BasketBall, Chess, Foot Ball, Yoga, Volley Ball, Table Tennis, Theatre, Duke of Edinburgh Club, Formula 1 Club for Schools, Gavel club, Quiz Club, JSSIS Mock United Nations Club, Sculpture, Nature Club, Adventure Club, Pottery, Sports Club, Dance; literature club; science society; civil club; mathematics club, fine arts group; library group; adventure and sports clubs; film making group; charity club; and strong environmental groups and a visiting speaker programme (originally inaugurated by the environmentalist and pioneering polar explorer Sir Robert Swan OBE.) 

Facilities and Sport

Facilities again offer considerable depth and breadth and include specialised classrooms for Dance, Drawing/Painting/Fine Art, Sculpture, Pottery, Craft, Music and Science Labs by phase and specialism; It Labs; Language Labs, Mathematics Labs; Internet equipped classrooms set up for blended learning; AV centre; Broadcast Centre extensive playground space; Cricket Pitch; Swimming Pool; dedicated Kindergarten and Senior libraries, Independent KG Learning Centre, Gymnasium; Sports Hall (including facilities for badminton, basketball and table tennis); Floodlit Athletics Track; Infirmary, Library; Independent Project Room; Book Store; 250-seat Cafeteria; Parents Centre; 1200 Capacity auditorium;  rooftop basketball court; and Counseling/Careers Centre.

Sports include athletics; squash; cricket; swimming; basketball; chess; football, Duke of Edinburgh adventuring and table tennis.

Fees and ROI

Fees run rounded from AED 14K to AED 37K.

To put context to this, the ultra-premium Tier 1 GEMS Modern Academy, which is our benchmark for an Outstanding level of school delivery, run from rounded AED 28K to 52K for the equivalent (rather than IB) curriculum. For the IB these increase to AED 51,364 but this not relevant here in terms of fair comparison.

The broadly and more fairly comparable Ambassador School fees run rounded AED 21K to AED 42K. 

For a CISCE education at the Good with Very Good and Outstanding features level of delivery, we rate the fees, whilst mid tier for the Indian school sector as a whole, low. The value proposition/ROI here we rate as high. Notwithstanding this, each of the three schools excels in different areas and parents are strongly advised to visit all three schools.

School life  

School life is structured through four houses, assigned when children first join the school, an empowered student council and an integrated system of prefects, captains and co-ordinators.

JSS International School Dubai – The SchoolsCompared.com Verdict 2019

Photograph of children learning at JSS International School Dubai

Our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com continues to receive mixed feedback from parents and students, from the extremely positive to mixed feelings in their recommendations. To some degree this is understandable given its mixed EYFS, Canadian and ICSE curriculum by phase and the strong demands of Indian families for academic success. 

Our view is that JSS International School provides a good, borderline Very Good standard of education relative to its sector and budget – and the dedication of its leadership and teaching staff to their students is beyond question.

Facilities more than meet the needs of children and extra-curricular provision, driven in no small part by the enthusiasm of students, is impressive. The school does not have the budgets of Tier 1 schools but it does have an extra-curricular programme that fires the imagination of its students. Where there is a will, there is a way …

Notwithstanding the move to a new purpose built school, do not expect the  bells and whistles of Tier 1 schools.  On its own terms, however, JSS International School Dubai is one of which parents, teachers and students can feel very proud. It’s also one, with the ongoing investment of the community, the clear passion of its students and the continuing support of the JSS Mahavidyapeetha Trust, that we believe should have Very Good school status within its sights. 

To do this it must invest more heavily in SEND and inclusion – and stop qualifying course delivery by a minimum number of required students. The role of a school is to find the right courses for its children and it stretches the imagination to believe, for example, that less than 15 children would choose to study psychology. 

Formative and Summative assessment must improve too because that is the only way that child progress can be properly measured and responded to. We would like to see full publication of examination results – including the number of children who sat for each examinations – and the number who did not. 

Finally, we would like to see the formal introduction of scholarships and bursaries as befits the charitable and NFP founding of its owners. In modern Dubai, schools need to up their game – and we think that JSS International School should be taking a lead here.

This said, we place JSS securely within the top 12% of Indian curricular schools in the UAE – and the foundations are all in place to move into single digits. Recommended. 

© SchoolsCompared.com 2019

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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
  • Anand
    November 22, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Hello. Can you please let us know when will the new campus review be published for this school. In your review, you had mentioned that you would be publishing one in Sept 2017

    • December 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      HI Anand,

      Thanks for your question. We hope to be able to visit the school in January, at which point we will be able to update the review. Please keep an eye out for it.

  • Anwer Sylesh
    July 18, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Hello, Do you have the new campus review for the JSS? Please update.

  • March 14, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    For the many families which have contacted us, please find above our updated review. Many apologies for the delay in our updating our view of the new campus. We took the view that it was better to provide a realistic and fair verdict of school provision by allowing time for the children to settle, rather than rushing a review and identifying the teething problems which are inevitable in any “new” school opening.

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