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The School of Research Science, Al Warqa 4
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Review

The School of Research Science, Al Warqa 4

by March 1, 2016
Strengths

• Exceptional added-value - students achieve outstanding progress in Science, English and Mathematics across all phases
• Outstanding, consistent school leadership with vision and a history of evolving school improvement
• Supporting and empowering school governors including an investing founder committed to delivering the mission statement of the school in full and at an outstanding level
• Capacity to reach outstanding school status
• Beautiful, landmark school buildings, excellent facilities and grounds with investment in landscaping areas internally and externally to create a warm and inspirational school environment for students
• Commitment to Islamic values and broader Arabic culture flourishes throughout the school
• Fully inclusive school entry
• Significant investment in British teaching staff across academic, cultural and sporting disciplines

Weaknesses

• Limited teething problems inevitable in the move to new school buildings
• A big, 3000 capacity school, will not suit all children

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

• KHDA “Good” school with predominating Outstanding features in every area of operation and exceptional added-value levels accelerating student attainment across all phases.
• A school with the capacity to develop as a benchmark school in the sector with outstanding leadership and a committed, investing Board of Governors.
• Highly recommended.

A-
Our Rating
A
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
38%
In my Top 5
13%
Shortlisted
13%
A possibility
25%
Pass
0%
No way
13%

Updated December 2016

Prospective parents should note that The School of Research Science [SRS] moved to landmark new premises in 2014, increasing the student body by 678 from 2047 to 2725 children between February 2014 and September 2015 when the school moved from Al Qusais to Al Warqa.

The new school has a capacity of 3,000 children and outstanding new facilities compared with an already very good standard of facility provision at the previous school.

Very popular with local families, almost 7 out of 10 students studying at the school are Emiratis. The remainder come largely from Arabic families.

The school is academic, providing the full-phase English National Curriculum from EYFS to GCE A’ Level. The school invests heavily in teaching staff, the majority recruited from the UK. The ethos off the school is resolutely Arabic and Salat, as the second Pillar of Islam, is central to school life.

Both the girls’ and boys’ sections have their own Musa Ila and Salat Adh-Dhohr is prayed in school. SRS has primary phase prayer rooms and its own Mosque for secondary students – Islamic culture and ethics flourish.

The school’s founders, the Al Shamsi family, set as the mission of the school to create a school for the “future Islamic generation who will be creative, independent thinkers, able to adapt their knowledge and skills to the changing needs of this technological age.”

The school curriculum is modified to nurture and preserve the heritage of Arabic culture across language, literature and history and the school scores “Outstanding” across every phase of the MoE Islamic Studies curriculum.

There are currently 211 teachers supported by 35 teaching assistants delivering an excellent 1:13 teacher:student ratio. Functional curriculum experts clearly drawn from the United Kingdom, while the board of governors, which provide the school’s direction and context, largely Arab and UAE based.

Prospective parents should weigh both attainment and progress scoring in the tables and read examination results in the context of SRS being an Arabic school. Whilst other non-Arab schools may report higher overall examination performance, this will reflect their mixed Arab/Non-Arab school population and not the performance of Arabic students as a group within the school.

Parents should also not that this is an exceptionally high value-added school. Entrance is fully inclusive to an Arabic, majority Emirati student body and the progress of students is outstanding from low baselines.

Whilst resolutely an Arabic school, SRS offers the English National Curriculum to GCE’ A Level, including, impressively, provision to A2 English. This is unusual and ambitious for a school in which English is a second language for students with many equivalent schools removing the option altogether.

Parents should also note that in 2014, SRS hosted its first cohort of students sitting for A2 Level examinations and the school has not yet published examination results for 2015.

The school has historically been impressively transparent but as of March 2016 the school had as yet not published 2015-16 examination results and data used reflects historical data to 2014-5 in conjunction with published curriculum data to 2016-17.

This presents difficulties providing reliable benchmark post 16 performance over time in particular and parents will need to make a calculation based on (value-added outstanding) historic provision to (II)GCSE.

Both KHDA and British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspections in 2015 reflect that the school is in a transformational, school building capacity following its move across all phases and particularly post 16.

Fees have increased following the move of the school. Fees in 2013-14 ranged from just shy of 23,000 AED rising to just above 43,000 AED. In 2016-17 these have risen to between 34,539 at FS1 to 73,769 in Year 13. This places the school in the premium fees sector – but in its combination of Tier 1 facilities; investment in predominantly UK teaching staff; excellent teacher: student ratio; Arabic student body and Islamic cultural foundations SRS offers very considerable value for money with a high ROI compared with alternative English National Curriculum schools, Arabic, British or international/mixed.

The school’s principal, Nan Billingham, has been with SRS since 2010 and, under her headship the school’s leadership is rated “Outstanding” by both KHDA and BSO inspectorates.

Ms Billingham’s expertise is drawn from five years spent with Cambridge Education as a consultant and Ofsted inspector, this following 16 years’ experience in the UK teaching at The Wesgate School, latterly as Assistant Head. whichschooladvisor feedback from parents and teachers is almost uniformly positive with descriptions ranging from “lovely” to “driven” and “inspiring.”

For both BSO and KHDA inspectorates a defining feature of the school is its ability to deliver rapid academic progress in children entering the school from average starting points, this “accelerating” through the secondary phase. The most telling figure is provided in BOA recording that at secondary phase 90% of children exceed expected progress, and 70% again exceeding projected progress post-16.

This level of added value is exceptional and examination results must be read in this context. In 2014-15, pupils at the school achieved 86% at IGCSE compared to the UK average of 74%. The percentage of pupils achieving the higher levels of A* and A was 40% compared to the UK average of 18%.

Although in 2014, its opening A2 entrance year, only 10 students sat for A2 examinations (limiting the reliability of this data to guide prospective parents on the quality of post-16 provision), (I)GCSE-level achievement suggests future GCE A‘ Level performance will be impressive as SRS beds-in its Sixth Form schooling.

Extra/co-curricular [ECAs] activities are notable for including an emphasis on supporting children through core academic subjects as well as more traditional whole child provision. Activities include Yoga; Etiquette; Gymnastics; Kung Fu; Turkish Language; Chinese Language; Pottery/Ceramics; Food Club; Community Arts; Electronics Club; catch-up Art & DT; ICT/Enterprise; catch-up Economics and Accounting;  History exam skills; Geography exam skills; RS exam skills; Chess; catch-up Mathematics; Core Science catch-up; Creative Writing; Gardening; Duct Tape; Jewellery making; Recycling Model Making; Cartoon Drawing Club; English Homework Club; Arabic Homework; Swimming Club; Football; Ball games; Skipping Club; Healthy Food Club; Cross Stitching; and special programmes designed for identified Gifted and Talented [G&T] children.

The broader Learning without Boundaries [LWB] programme of which ECAs are part include a further extensive sports programme, 30 camping activities annually, overseas trips and volunteering;

School facilities include digital indoor and outdoor classrooms, Art Galleries; 6 specialist D&T Workshops, 3 swimming pools; cafeterias by phase; 2 landmark multi-purpose auditoriums/theatres including 3D cinema provision; landscaped gardens; free-flow FS areas; shaded play areas; football pitches; gymnasium, Performing Arts centres; Mosque; pray rooms; language labs; and conference centre.

KHDA findings are of a “Good” school operating with Outstanding features in every area of provision. Significant limited weakness is identified in some overcrowding in a limited number of classes, a result of short-term logistical issues following the school’s move to its new school buildings that will be resolved swiftly as the new school beds-in

For whichschooladvisor the bottom line is an overall fabulous, in many ways unique English National Curriculum based Arabic school, offering a rare combination of outstanding facilities, significant investment in teachers; beautiful school buildings and grounds; breadth and quality of academic subject choices at both (I)GCSE and GCE A’ Level; flourishing, inspiring Islamic cultural underpinnnings; committed and investing governors (including the founder) – all combined with some of the best added value schooling available anywhere across the Emirates’ schools.

The School of Research Science is a school operating on the borders of Outstanding” school status – and one with the significant remaining capacity to meet its aim to be the best school in its particular sector as it continues to evolve and develop. Highly recommended.

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

Private, for profit

WSA Good School

Under consideration 2017-18

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 34,359
FS2: 36,610
YEAR 1: 37,944
YEAR 2: 37,944
YEAR 3: 42,251
YEAR 4: 42,251
YEAR 5: 42,251
YEAR 6: 46,644
YEAR 7: 51,034
YEAR 8: 55,628
YEAR 9: 55,628
YEAR 10: 55,628
YEAR 11: 58,953
YEAR 12: 64,754
YEAR 13: 73,769

Curriculum

National Curriculum for England
EYFS
(I)GCSE O' Level
GCE A' Level
AS
A2

External Exam Boards

OCR (Oxford, Cambridge & RSA)
AQA

Number of A Levels offered

17

A Levels offered

Art
Health and Social Care
Mathematics
Arabic
ICT
Statistics
Biology
English Language
Business Studies
English Literature
Chemistry
Physics
English Language
Sociology
English Literature
Applied Science
Travel and Tourism

A Level A* to A

Note: Only 10 students took A Levels in 2014 (first year)
" 100% of students achieved a pass at rates close to the UK average." (BOA)
100% of students awarded grade A–E.
75% of students awarded 2+ A-D
English Literature 100% attained grade A–B
Physics 75% grade A – B
Mathematics s 50% grade A-B
2015 A2 results: not published
AS Levels:
Total sitting AS: 78 students (2014)
A: 25% (2014)
A-C: 55% (2014)
2015 AS results: not published

A Level A* to C

Note: Only 10 students took A2 Levels in 2014 (first year)
" 100% of students achieved a pass at rates close to the UK average." (BOA)
100% of students awarded grade A–E.
75% of students awarded 2+ A-D
English Literature 100% attained grade A–B
Physics 75% grade A – B
Mathematics s 50% grade A-B
2015 A2 results: not published
AS Levels:
Total sitting AS: 78 students (2014)
A: 25% (2014)
A-C: 55% (2014)
2015 AS results: not published

IGCSE A* to C

5 or more A*-C: 52% (2014)
Biology: 72% A*-B (2014)
Chemistry: 87% A*-B (2014)
Physics: 83% A*-B (2014)
Mathematics: 67% A*-B (2014)
Arabic: 72% A*-C (2014)
2015 (I)GCSE results: not published

IGCSE A* to A

34% 5+ A* and A (2014)
Mathematics: 40% A*A (2014)
2015 (I)GCSE results: not published

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

24

I/GCSEs offered

Arabic (Core)
Islamic Studies (Core)
English Literature (Core)
Statistics (Core)
Triple Science – Physics, Chemistry and Biology (Option)
Physics (Option)
Chemistry (Option)
Biology (Option)
Law (Option)
Media Studies (Option)
Art and Design (Option)
Geography (Option)
Religious Studies – Islam (Option)
Product Design (Option)
History (Option)
Physical Education (Option)
Business Studies (Option)
Computing (Option)
Drama (Option)
Enterprise (Option)
ICT (Option)
Economics (Option)
French (Option)
Travel and Tourism (Option)

Selective

No - fully inlcusive

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published (WSA Projected HIGH)

Number of Students

3,000 capacity
2725 (February 2015)

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:13

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

20%

Year opened

1998
1998 original Primary School opened in in Al Qusais
2002 Secondary School opened opened in in Al Qusais
2005 Primary School moved next to the secondary in 2005 in Al Qusais
2014-2015 the Primary and Secondary moved to landmark buildings in Al Warqa

Location

Al Warqa 4, Dubai

Student composition

Emirati (largest nationality): 66.5%
Special Educational Needs [SEN]: 274

Gender

Separate stream boy and girl

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Abdulrahman Al Shamsi
Al Shamsi family

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 601 1011

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

58.3%

Attainment Pri SEM

75%

Attainment Sec SEM

91.6%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

83.3%

Progress Nur SEM

91.6%

Progress Pri SEM

91.6%

Progress Sec SEM

91.6%

Progress Post-16 SEM

100%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

100%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

75%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

75%

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

100%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

87.5%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

100%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

100%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

75%

Leadership

100%

Community

100%

Facilities

100%

Quality of teaching

87.5%

Student personal responsibility

93.75%

Quality of curriculum

100%

School Governance

100%

SEN Provision

81.25%

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Acting Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and the International Editor of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. 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