JSS International School, Al Barsha South, Al Barsha
• 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
• Committed inclusive entrance with matching commitment to Special Educational Needs provision [SEN]
• 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
• 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
Updated December 2016
James Richard, JSS International School’s charismatic Head, has a simple aim: to take the best from Eastern approaches to education – family values, parental engagement and the desire to succeed in life, with the equivalent benefits of the Western approach – “its pedagogy,” discipline, structure and creativity – and, key, its embracing of technology.” The end game is simple: to “enable our pupils to be global citizens in a continuously evolving world.”
The aims are backed with good facilities for a school operating, at early years, in the value segment to meet the fee-level needs of its predominantly Indian audience. Fees currently run from 13,000 AED in FS1, but hit 33,920 AED in Year 13 – high end for the Independent Indian schools’ sector.
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.
Given its roots, the school is full inclusive and Special Educational Needs provision is fundamental to the school’s ethos of providing a high quality of education to its children regardless of ability. Around 150 children are identified with SEN and receive dedicated provision through in—class and through the school’s dedicated SENN and Counselling Centre.
Facilities include digital classrooms focused on blended lessons, central networked library; dedicated multiple IT technology labs; projects rooms designed for independent learning; 800 capacity auditorium and theatre; counselling centre focussed on the spectrum of Special Educational Needs [SEN] and counselling provision; swimming pool (hosting inter-school competitions); independent physics, chemistry, and biology science labs; mathematics centre, language laboratories; AV Centre and lecture halls.
The JSS Enrichment programme extends across co/extra-curricular programmes with a literature club; science society; civil club; mathematics club, fine arts group; library group; adventure and sports clubs; robotics association (using Lego Education materials); film making group; karaoke singing group, charity club; and strong environmental groups including one focused on developing an organic farm within the school. A recent initiative is a visiting speaker programme inaugurated by the environmentalist and pioneering polar explorer Sir Robert Swan OBE.
Sports include athletics; squash; cricket; swimming; basketball; chess; football, Duke of Edinburgh adventuring and table tennis.
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.
The school curriculum follows an eclectic but successful mix of UK EYFS, Canadian KG and ICSE middle and senior schooling.
KHDA inspectors highlight school strengths in its inclusive welcome to, and “strong support” for children with Special Educational Needs, engagement with parents and excellent communication links between home and school, improving Arabic core subject provision (outstanding in all phases for Islamic Study provision), good attainment and progress across the board in English and Science subjects, outstanding levels of attendance and punctuality, welcoming positive and supportive staff-student relationships and outstanding secondary level community, environmental and charity initiatives.
Governors drew praise from the inspectorate for responding to previous concerns swiftly in providing an additional science laboratory for primary school children. Inspectors noted that a greater supply of tablets would help children together with their better integration across teaching and school life.
Our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com continues to receive mixed feedback from parents, from the extremely positive to mixed feelings in their recommendations. To some degree this is understandable for a school trying to blend the best from East and West, and its mixed EYFS, Canadian and ICSE curriculum by phase.
JSS International School provides a 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 meet the needs of children and extra-curricular provision, driven in no small part by the enthusiasm of students, is impressive. The school does have the budgets of Tier 1 schools but it does have an extra-curricular programme that fires the imagination of its students working with a very limited use of Mindstorms products. Where there is a will, there is a way …
Of course, the school does not have the bells and whistles of Tier 1 schools, but on its own terms this is a school of which parents, teachers and students can feel very proud – and one, with the ongoing investment of the community, the clear passion of its students and the continuing support of the JSS Mahavidyapeetha Trust, can continue to go from strength to strength.Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Not for profit (JSS Mahavidyapeetha Trust)
YEAR 1: 16,880
YEAR 2: 16,880
YEAR 3: 16,880
YEAR 4: 16,880
YEAR 5: 19,690
YEAR 6: 19,690
YEAR 7: 22,500
YEAR 8: 22,500
YEAR 9: 26,480
YEAR 10: 26,480
YEAR 11: 30,520
YEAR 12: 33,920
YEAR 13: NA
National curriculum for England - EYFS only
Canadian KG (Ontario)
Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE)
No, fully inclusive
Yes (including in FS and KG1 phases)
Not published (WSA projected HIGH)
Al Barsha South, Al Barsha, Dubai
Indian (largest nationality)
JSS Mahavidyapeetha [JSSMVP]
+971 (0) 4 325 6886