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Raffles International School, Umm Suqeim – THE REVIEW
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Raffles International School – The Back Story and Introduction

Raffles International School is Innoventures only British curriculum school (excepting its nursery schools which are all resolutely founded on the British EYFS curriculum). For many, it is the Group’s crown jewels…

Raffles International School currently provides mixed, co-educational education for around 1219 students (total comfortable capacity is around 1600 students) of which the largest nationality is European with a very strong British contingent. This said, it is not only a European, or indeed a British, school in terms of the nationalities of its children  – around 90 different nationalities are represented in total across this wonderfully diverse school role.

Raffles International School’s long and fascinating history begins with its being established by Emaar Education, in 2006. The Raffles brand was rolled out to the then “Raffles International School – West Campus”; “Raffles International School – South Campus”; “Raffles International School – North Campus”; and “Raffles Nursery.” 

In 2010 Innoventures took over management:

  • “Raffles International School – West Campus” became Raffles World Academy;
  • “Raffles International School – South Campus” became Raffles International School;
  • “Raffles International School – North Campus” became the Collegiate American School;
  • Raffles Nursery became Raffles International School Nurseries  across Dubai including the founding nursery in Umm Suqeim and nurseries at Arabian Ranches; Dubai Marina; The Springs; Dubai lakes, Hattan Gardens; Emirates Hills; and Town Centre.

Innoventures Education  also manages Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills, which it opened in 2005, the new Dubai International Academy Al Barsha (opened in 2018-19) and, then, Burj Daycare Nursery which it launched in 2012. 

The Raffles name for a school, of course, came from the world famous Raffles Institution (and Raffles Girls’ School) in Singapore. Established in 1823, Raffles was set up to be the world’s most outstanding school by Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, the British founder of modern day Singapore, who wanted to give meaning to the establishment of the British Crown Colony. He imagined that the education Raffles provided its children, would see them graduate to the world’s top universities and industries, so taking the values and importance of Singapore around the world. Extraordinarily, his ambitions for Raffles were realised and today it is one of the world’s very, very top schools. 

Location

The view from Raffles International School Dubai onto the Burj Al Arab the building opposite, capturing the community family dynamics at play in this sophisticated mixed residential area of Dubai adjacent to the beach.

Raffles International School  occupies a 7.5 acre, 30,000 square metre, campus in Um Suqeim with extraordinarily inspirational and inspiring views (like its sister Raffles World Academy) onto The Burj Al Arab (see above). 

Kings_Interhigh_InArticle

Raffles International has a quite phenomenal location within one of the most desirable residential communities in the emirate (see above for context) – and the sense of family here adds enormously to its sense of purpose, values and the general feel of a truly community school. It’s current British heritage regency colour marks it out too as a British school in the mass of white painted villas. This matches the warmth of its architecture – this is no clinical uber modern steel and glass affair.

For parents looking for a school in Jumeirah it does not get better than this. Jess Jumeirah, for example, has a lovely location a little further along the beach, but you have to travel some 20 minutes to access its slipstream school in Arabian Ranches. There are few other British all-through schools in this immediate area and none with its history or Very Good/Outstanding ratings from regulators and inspectorates. So in terms of location this is pretty special. It also enjoys very close proximity to its sister Raffles IB school and because they are both united by Innoventures ownership there is rare sharing of best practice here both ways between what works best in both British and IB systems. 

Map showing directions to the British curriculum Raffles International School in Dubai and its distance from its IB sister school Raffles World Academy Dubai

The school today attracts families from communities in Jumeirah and further afield including:

  • Um Suqeim
  • Umm Al Sheif
  • Al Safa
  • Dubai Hills
  • Al Quoz
  • Al Barsha
  • Al Sufouh

Leadership

Poonam Bhojani, CEO of Innoventures Education, leads four of the region’s top schools, including Raffles International Academy, and a further nine nurseries. The daughter of a UN diplomat, Mrs Bhojani’s career originally saw her take up senior roles in the technology sector, her passion for education resulting later from the learning curve of family life and balancing the demands of life as a Mum of two sons and a high-flying career. Like many Mums, it soon became apparent that something had to give, in this case the long-distance travel was replaced by work on local initiatives including launching the region’s first e-commerce web site and smart payment card. Like many Mums too, it soon became apparent that the education on offer by schools could be better… Mrs Bhojani too was set on the IB curriculum as the right choice for her children, this at a time when IB options for families were limited – let alone a happy IB school that offered children the opportunities to develop their own gifts and meet their own aspirations. Her first school, Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills, resulted from filling that gap in UAE education and the need to provide an outstanding, personalised and happy education for her own children. The school became the first pure IB school in Dubai to achieve an Outstanding rating by the KHDA. The rest is history, but Raffles International School today remains the only British curriculum school in the Innoventures Group, one today that is fully CIS accredited and ranked BSO outstanding.

Tabitha Barda (Pictured left), Senior Editor of SchoolsCompared.com, meeting with Steven Giles (Pictured right), Principal of Raffles International School Dubai on our review visit in July 2023

Tabitha Barda (Pictured left), Senior Editor of SchoolsCompared.com, meeting with Steven Giles (Pictured right), Principal of Raffles International School Dubai on our review visit in July 2023

Steven Giles, Principal, Raffles International school Dubai, brings more than two decades educational experience to leadership of his school in both the United Kingdom and Middle East. Educated at one of the rare Grammar schools in the UK aligned with the navy, one that went on to secure a status as a leading school for Engineering, Mr Giles graduated from The University of St. Mark and St. John in Plymouth, another interesting institution, in this case because of its historical base in London prior to its move, and links then to the University of Exeter. Mr Giles graduated in education, specialising, for his Bachelor’s degree, in Dual honours Computer Science and Physical Education. Today, Mr Giles is both NPQH qualified and Master’s qualified in Professional Development and Teacher Training. Following 16 years teaching in, and leading, schools in the UK, Mr Giles took up the position, for two years, of Deputy Principal and Head of Secondary School at Al Ain English Speaking School, this followed by three years leading the IB curriculum Raffles World Academy in Dubai. In July 2022, Mr Giles took up his current post of Principal of Raffles International School, and a return to the British curriculum education that has formed the bedrock and passion of the majority of his career in education to date.

Mr Giles is a hugely warm, sincere, caring, emotionally intelligent and hugely professional leader that puts children and teachers first. A conviction educationalist, Mr Giles is also exceptionally loyal to the schools and Groups for which he has worked. He has made it a life mission to never leave a school until it has secured outstandingly for students – and already his impact across Raffles International school where the 2023 rating of the school is both the best in its history and now only a stone’s throw from the outstanding rating he aims for. He is described as “inspiring”, “humane”, “lovely” and “approachable” by parents in independent feedback to SchoolsCompared.com and Edstatica – and Tabitha Barda, Senior Editor of SchoolsCompared, gave us one of the most positive feedback write-ups of any school Principal in the Emirates from her visit to the school this year:

“Steven Giles is a super positive, upbeat and friendly person. Really genuine and open and totally devoted to the children – and they are devoted to him back.

It’s the first time I’ve seen a suited and booted school Principal being besieged by little children wanting to give him a hug – and he engages with them in such a lovely, pure way. He is definitely the heart and soul of the school, and the teachers seem to have been recruited in his image – really happy to see us on our visit, unfazed by our presence, eager to include us and proud of what they are doing. Everyone seemed relaxed, and professional but not overly so. At Raffles International School, Mr Giles has inspired a homely, kind sort of professional rather than one that is too polished, unapproachable or clinical we see far too often elsewhere in other schools. Mr Giles also played a character in many of the classes, pretending not to be able to do the sums or spelling so that children laugh and try to teach him.

Mr Giles stands outside for 50 minutes to greet every single family in the morning, and every single day he holds a white board with a new phrase on it. He is bursting with enthusiasm and completely disarming.

He’s committed to great communication with parents, and will always be available for them as soon as possible. They do not believe in email comms – if a parent sends an email about something, they want to call up and talk through it with them right away.

Finally, one of the most telling things for me is that Mr Giles is so child-led and committed to the needs of every child as an individual. This came across in so many examples of practice I witnessed throughout my morning at his school. 

Overall I got the impression that Mr Giles is a man who truly loves his job and truly loves his school with completely genuine passion. He has competitions with other teachers over who is having the best day, he has an open door policy, and he cares, really cares, that every child is happy.”

Tabitha Barda. Senior Editor. SchoolsCompared.com. SchoolsCompared Visit 2023.

Speaking with us, Mr Giles explained his priorities in these terms:

“So yes, our KHDA report was phenomenal. We went up in 14 areas – that is almost unheard of. It is a huge credit to the teachers and children. 

But… ultimately that is not what it is all about. I don’t like to focus too much on on inspections, because that’s not what defines a school, or should define a school. Inspections tell you only so much.

For me, fundamentally, a school should be about the life, and love, and the wellbeing, of the children and the teachers.

Everything comes from this.

That’s what I am about.”

Steven Giles was shortlisted for the Top Schools Award for Best Principal in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024. 

Design and Architecture

Raffles International School Dubai Review image highlighting architecture

The design, by Emaar in 2006,  is lovely. The school was completed in around 2007, and taken over by Innoventures in 2008. The architecture here is sympathetic to its community – and we are really pleased that Innoventures has in 2023 stepped back from the various somewhat garish colours of the school over its history to a much more classic and sophisticated simplicity, one much more in keeping with its community context and British curriculum ambition.

There are two linked buildings set around quadrangles with extensive facilities (see below) ranging from its pretty swimming pool to library, Drama Studio and innovative roof top football pitch. Primary children and little ones enjoy relative peace and a monopoly on the ground floor of the right hand side of the campus, whilst older students enjoy its mirror to the left and the upper floors.  

Facilities

Atrium performance space with balcony viewing areas

Main School Library with IT study areas and soft seating for debates and downtime

Themed FS Learning Centre with Majlis, Giant Lego, Construction Zone, role play shopping, role play kitchen, role play castle, astronomy display, FS library and FS Outdoor Play Area with views onto the Burj Al Arab, climbing multi-play centre and skittles

FS Play Area at Raffles International School

Primary Classroom focused on the 3 Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) and Science

Primary Play Areas 

Music Room with acoustic and classic guitar, keyboards, main electric classical piano, percussion, drums and full audio visual projection infrastructure

Sixth Form classrooms with views onto the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj Al Arab

Black Box Theatre with sprung floor, modular staging and full audio visual infrastructure

Dedicated dual-use Lecture Theatre and Performance Space

Astroturf football field

Outdoor volleyball

Outdoor basketball

Outdoor Shade Sail Swimming Pool

Outdoor athletics track – sprint

Outdoor Cricket Nets

Indoor Table Tennis Courts

Reading Snug

Art Gallery Spaces

Food Technology Labs

Science Labs by Specialism

Giant mural on the back wall of the Dining Room at Raffles International School Dubai

Whole School Dining Room themed around “Making a Difference Whatever Your Age”

Dedicated School Buses (Pictured background)

Hydroponics Garden

Indoor Go Cart Racing Track

Science Gallery Showcase

Academics

Raffles International School stands out for its outstanding British Sixth Form in which the school seeks to ensure that, without limit, whatever A Levels a student wishes to study, every attempt will be made to offer these as an option. This has historically resulted in very small classes for some subjects- and represents the highest and most remarkable level of commitment to delivering individually to every child’s needs, aspirations, potential, gifts and passions. This is the only school in the UAE we have seen deliver this level of individualised qualification pathways at A Level and is a huge credit to Innoventures and the school. Breadth of subject options and qualification pathways is a stand-out for children from the age of 14. IGCSE options are available in  fifteen plus subjects, A Level options run to 17 plus options with BTEC technical stream pathways also available in Business. 

What this ultimately means for parents is that raffles International School promises, unlike the vast majority of schools, to meet the needs, potential and ambitions of every child joining the school. There is no limit on the subjects that can be explored, nor a restriction on the qualification pathways available to them. 

We rank this left of ambition for children, and level of commitment to the individual child, beyond outstanding. 

Curriculum 

Raffles International School is uncompromisingly committed to delivering the pure all-through British, English National Curriculum to children between the age of 3 years and 18 years. The curriculum progresses through the Early Years Foundation Stage through to IGCSE and culminating in dual stream A Level and technical stream BTEC in British Sixth Form. 

Raffles International School sit for core subjects in English, Mathematics and Science courses at IGCSE and Arab students have a further core subject in Arabic. Optional subjects include:

  • Additional Mathematics
  • Art and Design
  • Business Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • French
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Modern Foreign Languages including French, German and Spanish. 

IGCSE subject options are reviewed annually according to the needs of each individual cohort.

A Level options are stand-out and include:

  • English Literature
  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • French
  • Mandarin
  • Italian
  • Economics
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Religion

We are particularly pleased to see provision for Psychology given its popularity with Russell Group Universities and its unique bridging role between the Sciences and Social Sciences.

EDSTATICA rankings place the school with Kent College, Nord Anglia International School Dubai and Kings’ for the quality of its A’ Level provision based on independent parental feedback.  

Technical and Vocational Education

Raffles International School currently offers a choice of 3 Level 3 BTEC qualifications:

Business

Travel and Tourism

Information and Communications Technology

The Level 3 qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels.

Business

Raffles International School Dubai Level 3 BTEC Business Pearson

Travel and Tourism

Raffles International School BTEC Level 3 Travel and Tourism

Information and Communications Technology

Raffles International School BTEC Information Technology

In our view all academically inclusive British schools should offer a choice between a minimum of 3 Level 3 BTEC subject options for students, this met in full at Raffles International School. If we could push, it would be for a further BTEC in Performing Arts to better balance with a whole child focused curriculum. This could work well in conjunction with shared use of the new Raffles World Academy auditorium (the schools works so well together…).

Raffles also offers study for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). We rate this qualification highly. It is a research based project that can cover both academic or technical subjects and enables students to increase the UCAS points for entry to British universities. 

Results

Raffles International School results in 2022 follow:

(1) IGCSE*

  • 44% of all grades awarded were at A*A
  • 75% of all grades awarded were at A*B
  • Child Progress/Added-Value: 75% of students exceeded flight plan targets
  • 25% of students scored straight A*A grades in all subjects 
  • Physics: 94% A*A
  • Chemistry 78% A*A
  • Biology A*A

(2) A Level*

  • 48% of all grades were at A*A
  • Pass rate: 95%
  • English Literature: 100% grade A
  • English Language: 60% grade A
  • Physics 80% A*B
  • Chemistry 70% A*B
  • Biology 65% A*B
  • 20% of students achieved 3 straight A*A Grades

(3) BTEC*

  • Level 3 Business
  • Level 3 Travel and Tourism
  • Level 3 Information Technology

 * Subject to the needs and aspirations of individual cohorts and children annually.

Fees

School fees are premium ratcheting up quickly from a relatively affordable circa AED 30K entry point. Registration fees add a further 10% on top. Best value fees are between Years 8 and 11 when the fees stabilise. British Sixth Form Fees are high-end but the investment in students here is also high in subject breath and qualification pathways. Inevitably some parents struggle, this recorded in our feedback, but this is because many parents push themselves to the limit to buy the best education that they can for their children and the school years are inevitably a financial struggle for most of us. We rate the ROI for families very high – but this is a Tier 1 school and the fees match its ambitions for children and the stretch of the curriculum and whole child offer.

Year

Age 

Tuition Fees

Registration Fees

FS 1

3

31,485

3,150

FS 2

4-5

31,485

3,150

Year 1

5-6

38,917

3,780

Year 2

6-7

49,999

4,890

Year 3

7-8

49,999

4,890

Year 4

8-9

50,376

4,890

Year 5

9-10

60,450

5,690

Year 6

10-11

60,450

5,690

Year 7

11-12

60,827

5,800

Year 8

12-13

68,385

6,420

Year 9

13-14

68,385

6,420

Year 10

14-15

68,385

6,420

Year 11

15-16

72,540

6,820

Year 12

16-17

83,420

7,840

Year 13

17-18

83,420

7,840

Happiness and Well-being

This is an exceptionally happy school – absolutely stand-out. For parents seeking a school where happiness, and well-being, is placed above almost everything else – this is it. 

“The children come across as really, genuinely happy. Every classroom we looked into they were eager to say hello and curious to find out about us. They were happy to show me their work – and it was very impressive. From the incredible print making in art, to pyjama slumber parties in the FS area, the fun menu-writing and movie- making in English, every lesson seemed genuinely fun and I wanted to stay and join in!

This is a really friendly, loving community where children feel nurtured and happy.”

Tabitha Barda. Senior Editor. SchoolsCompared.com. SchoolsCompared Visit 2023.

And in our view this really matters. We have experienced too many schools in which a hothouse atmosphere, or a culture in which children are near scared to speak, prevails. We invest so many of our lives at school and they deserve to be happy ones. And there is no doubt that happiness is a foundation for students excelling – a point proven very well at this school. 

EDSTATICA data provides exceptionally powerful to support our view. 94% of parents described their children as enjoying school, with two in three describing at our highest threshold implying that children almost cannot wait to get through the school gates. Three quarters of parents rank the school exceptionally good in the education it provides their children. 85% of parents believe the school personalises its education around the needs of their child. Almost all parents recommend the school proactively to others. 

The school achieves the highest KHDA Outstanding rating for the quality of its wellbeing provision for students and teachers. 

Tellingly, asked if he had to choose his single biggest ambition for the school, above all others, Mr Giles told SchoolsCompared that it would be for “Raffles International School to be recognised as the happiest school in the Emirates.”

Inclusion

Raffles International School is rigorously, unambiguously and celebratory of its academic and determination inclusion. It seeks to never refuse a child, subject only to the ability of the school at any given point to be able to deliver the care for each child that it promises to deliver. We noted representation from all across the spectrum of determined child need at the school – this is not a school that says one thing, and does another. Inclusion here is genuine – and it is driven in no small part by a belief that child happiness comes from creating a space where every child has an opportunity to sparkle and shine for being the best at something throughout their life at school, and that a mix of abilities and gifts creates a school better reflecting the realities, and joys, of life outside school. Every teacher at Raffles International School has a high level of training in Determination – it is part and parcel of what the schools sees as defining outstanding teaching. Determination is not something that takes place in a silo, or forgotten part of the school, but rather celebrated and fully integrated in school life.

Alberta Pace, Head of Inclusion, Raffles International School told us:

“Student well-being is a priority at RIS and there is a whole-school approach taken to promoting positive choices, kindness and understanding. We offer a nurturing and supportive environment where individual strengths are celebrated and students are motivated to excel.

RIS firmly believes that the need for additional support is something all students may experience at some stage of their school life.  

We offer one-to-one and small group interventions as well as in-class support to help our learners bridge any gaps and thrive. We work in partnership with families, specialists, and external agencies to ensure all students get what they need, when they need it, to become resilient and enthusiastic, life-long learners.”

Transparency

We rank school transparency at a good level. Positively, the school celebrates its students exceptionally well on social media, and internal parent-school communication is outstanding. Events engaging with families are numerous and also outstanding.  The school has, however, not historically shared examination data with us in a standardised format. Information too on its web site (July 2023) is significantly out of date.  

Sport

More than 40 sports are played at Raffles International School. Core sports include:

  • Football
  • Touch/Tag rugby
  • Athletics
  • Volleyball
  • Swimming
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Cross Country
  • Girls Football
  • Boys Football
  • Girls Netball
  • Rounders
  • Basketball

The school competes in inter-sports competitions in DASSA and are know as the “RIS Falcons.”

Fine Art

A showcase of A Level Art work by a Sixth Form student at Raffles International School in Dubai

Fine Art and the broader Visual Arts are celebrated across the school campus. The Art Department works in concert with the Design Department and this is evidenced in a myriad of ways including clever 3D installations and expert attention to perspective and Mathematics in many examples of showcased works. Areas are set aside for gallery space. The subject is invested in to IGCSE and A level and supported by a plethora of ECA options. 

Music

Music and Percussion at Raffles International School in Dubai

Music specialisms at Raffles International School include:

  • Violin
  • Drums
  • Classical Guitar
  • Electric Guitar
  • Keyboards
  • Piano
  • Percussion

Dedicated ECAs are provided in both the Performing Arts and Music including in orchestra.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts at Raffles International School in Dubai

Performing Arts investment covers the spectrum of performance and Dance and is supported in a plethora of dedicated ECAs in Performing Arts, Ballet and both traditional and contemporary Dance forms. We would like, however, to see further investment in this area through formal qualification pathways. 

ECAs

Raffles International School operates over 100 ECAs including

  • Drama and Theatre
  • Space and Aviation
  • Art
  • Hula Hoops
  • Debating
  • Mandarin
  • Arabic
  • Track and Filed
  • Surfing
  • Musical Theatre
  • Music
  • Band
  • Robotics
  • Environmental and Eco
  • Boys Football
  • Girls Football
  • Mixed Football
  • Diving
  • Canoeing
  • Band
  • Karate
  • Ballet
  • Engineering
  • Chess
  • Dance
  • Creative Writing
  • Orchestra

Trips and visits are run locally and overseas, including trips to Europe’s Brussels, Italy, London and Paris and, further afield, China. 

KHDA Inspection – Very Good School Status with Outstanding Features

Raffles International School KHDA School Inpsection Report 2023

British Schools Overseas (BSO) – Outstanding School Status

Raffles_International_School_BSO_2021

Top Schools Awards

Raffles International School Dubai is a Finalist for both:

The Top Schools Award for Best School in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 for Child Progress; and,

Value-Add-Raffles International Academy-Finalist Certificate 2

The Top Schools Awards 2023 – 2024 for Happiest School in the United Arab Emirates 2023-2024.

Happiest-Raffles International School Dubai-Finalist Certificate

Bottom Line? The SchoolsCompared.com Verdict 2023 – 2024

One of our favourite schools in the emirates, Raffles International School sparkles across-the-board. It’s the happiness of children that catches your attention first – and it cascades through every aspect of school life. School leadership in the shape of Steven Giles is outstanding – and leads from the front with an open door policy for students and parents that puts them centre stage and a steely commitment to delivering, wherever possible, and even where not so possible, on every request made of him and the school. If he needs to go Poonam Bhojani to ask for the earth, he will – and she listens. This is a whole school group that works in concert, listens and places children and families first.

This is not, however, your steel and glass, bells and whistles type school. You might expect it from the fees, but the investment here is more subtle, where it matters and infinitely more powerful. The investment in outstanding teachers – conviction-led educationalists to the core, and retaining them is prioritised, as is subject breadth. If a child’s journey and gifts requires the school to rewrite its subject offer and qualification pathways it will do its utmost to do so. The boxes here are endlessly redefined by the children at the school. In other schools, far too often, children are statistics and revenue streams and treated as items on a conveyor belt that need to fit into what that school has decided is the right course. At Raffles International School there is no conveyor belt and the differences between children are nurtured and celebrated.

When you visit the school expect warmth, not steel. Look for imagination, not numbers. You can also expect a location that other schools can only dream of. 

Examination performance is top notch, and is so on each child’s own terms too. Value-added is outstanding.

Would we like to see some changes? Inevitably yes. No school is perfect. We would like serious new investment in facilities. This is a VERY beautifully and carefully maintained school, but there is room here to plan for capital investment. We also think that the school should be investing more in Music, Dance and the Performing Arts qualification pathways to provide better balance of academic and whole child options.  We would also like the school to re-fire-up its scholarship programmes in academics, Sport and whole child areas including the Visual Arts, Music and the Performing Arts. We would like to see all schools in the UAE working together to agree a transparent, universal approach to bursary provision to support families and children facing unplanned an exceptional changes to their circumstances. Finally, we would like to see development of an Alumni programme to build links for Innoventures and Raffles International School students globally – and engaging with them to support the school in development of scholarships, bursaries and capital programmes in the years ahead. This is a school that teaches the value of giving back and making a difference in the world and this would be an obvious place to start. 

It’s also worth noting the each of the Emirati children in the school has their own tutor. It is a lovely and hugely creditable investment. Around 9% of students are local, and the initiative, in part, recognises the challenges of a British education for non native speakers. However, it made us think. At the independent school Bryanston in the UK, under their Bryanston Method, every child has their own mentor, advocate and champion  throughout their life at school. You can read more about this here. It’s hugely successful. Wouldn’t it be something to have the mentor programme at Raffles International School rolled out to every child? It would certainly fit well with the progressive ambitions of Raffles International School under Mr Giles. 

In the round here then, in summary, what we have is a near perfect school on its own terms. This is a school that delights in, and delights, its children. Many parents ask for no more. But more is exactly what is on offer here – and in multiples. Value-added ensures that each child over achieves against expectation; children are given a voice and find that expressed in opportunities as open as their needs, potential and aspirations demand; school leadership is here for all the right reasons, fired up by ambition for families and students and inspirational in its selflessness; and the school buzzes with purpose and aspiration.

One of our top picks for a Tier One outstanding British education in the emirates. 

Very highly recommended.

Further information

Visit the official web site for Raffles International School here

Visit the official Innoventures Education web site here

© SchoolsCompared.com. A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023 – 2024. All rights reserved.

Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for-profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: AED 31,485
FS2: AED 31,485
Year 1: AED 38,917
Year 2: AED 49,999
Year 3: AED 49,999
Year 4: AED 50,376
Year 5: AED 60,450
Year 6: AED 60,450
Year 7: AED 60,827
Year 8: AED 68,385
Year 9: AED 68,385
Year 10: AED 68,385
Year 11: AED 72,540
Year 12: AED 83,420
Year 13: AED 83,420

Curriculum

British, English National Curriculum

External Exam Boards

Pearson
Cambridge

Number of A Levels offered

17+

A Levels offered

English Literature
English Language
Mathematics
History
Geography
Art & Design
Business
Physics
Chemistry
Biology
French
Mandarin
Italian
Economics
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

14+

I/GCSEs offered

English
Mathematics
Arabic
Double Science
Triple Science
Additional Mathematics
Art and Design
Business Studies
Computer Science
Economics
French
Information and Communications Technology
Physical Education
Physics
Chemistry
Biology
Modern Foreign Languages including French, German and Spanish. 

Selective

Unambiguously academically and determined child inclusive

Value Added

High

Number of Students

1219 (July 2023)

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:10

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

10% (2023)

Year opened

2011

Location

Jumeirah

Student composition

European (largest nationality)
British
International

Gender

Mixed, Co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Innoventures Education

Admissions Telephone

Tel: +971 4 427 1200

Web Address
Strengths

• Outstanding plus investment in subject breadth, particularly at A-Level. Personalised educational opportunity for children here is stand-out.
• Outstanding, urbane, emotionally intelligent and inspired school leadership committed to building the school around the needs and aspirations of children rather than the reverse. One of our pick of the top Principals in the UAE.
• Innoventures Education backing - a group founded by Poonam Bhojani and her mission to create schools that meet the needs of every child, in full, and at an outstanding level.
• Outstanding child happiness
• Outstanding academic results
• EPQ provision
• Outstanding location
• Hugely warm architectural and design dynamics
• Inspirational twists and turns around every corner
• Outstanding location
• Strong ROI for parents from a Tier 1 fee structure
• Outstanding commitment to inclusion
• Exceptionally low staff turnover at 9% (July 2023) - this is a school that keeps its teachers
• Around 9% of the school role is Emirati. Each has a personal tutor
• The school has reintroduced a dedicated Scholarships Programme for 2023-2025 focused on outstanding students in(1) Academics; and, (2) Sport. There is also a dedicated scholarships programme for Emirati children.

Weaknesses

• The school would benefit from a structured 10-year programme of capital investment
• The outstanding location does see a trade off in outdoor space available for sporting facilities - but we believe that there could be investment in this area to partly resolve this
• School information needs updating on the web site
• Opportunities to lead on bursaries
• Untapped potential of Alumni

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

Raffles International is an absolutely beautiful, substantial and hugely inspirational school brimming with warmth and the steadfast commitment to ensuring a rich, happy and meaningfully personalised education for every child. Depth and rigour of purpose is matched with serious investment in outstanding teaching and breadth of subject options for students with results that deliver in spades. One of our pick of the best British curriculum schools in the emirates, this is not a school however that sells itself on surface baubles. This is a school where substance counts. Yes, there is more to be done, not least because of the ambition here to set benchmarks, secure outstanding school status and be considered definitively, and recognised as, the happiest school in the region. A serious strategy for capital investment would be a good place to start. Look beneath the surface, however, and expect to be absolutely wowed. This is a school we would be so proud to, and confident in, sending our own children too. Very highly recommended.

A-
Our Rating
A+
User Rating
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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

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Academic
Value
ExtraCurricula
Languages
Sports
Arts & Drama
Teaching
Communications
Warmth
Differentiation
SEND Provision
Scl Community
Scl Facilities