Star International School Mirdif – The Review
Star International School Mirdif – Background and Location
Star International School Mirdif is a BSME (British Schools Middle East) accredited, co-educational English National Curriculum School with small school dynamics and a strong commitment to academics, sport and whole child development.
The school has a sister, Star International School Al Twar, more here.
Currently open for admissions from FS1 to Year 9, the school is working its way, in gradual phased launch, through to all through provision and will eventually offer a British international education to IGCSE and A’ Level.
Year 9 provision opens in September 2020.
Star International School Mirdif has creditably achieved “Good School” status with the Dubai Inspectorate of Schools with identified Very Good features.
It is worth noting that, to all intents and purposes, we think that this should be considered very much as a new school given its transformation under its current (outstanding and experienced) Principal, Mrs Gill Roberts – more on this below.
Parents should also note that the school is rapidly investing across teacher recruitment and facility provision. Around 12 new faculty will join the school for the academic year 2020-21.
Geographically, Star International School Mirdif occupies a central, 6.3 acre site in the heart of downtown Mirdif and welcomes applications from families in the neighbouring Al Mizhar, Mushrif Park, Al Warqa and Al Rashidya communities:
Detailed location follows:
Facilities, Music and Sporting provision
Star International School demarcates facilities by the age of children – a feature that many parents demand to ensure that childhood is protected, particularly at younger ages.
Fully equipped computing suite; Cookery Suite; Music Room; Dance Studio, Fine Art Room, Library, Prayer Rooms, Sciences Lab, Primary Outdoor classroom and Primary Games Room.
3 Foundation Stage Splash Pools with specialised swimming classes, Foundation Stage classrooms each with dedicated outside play areas, dedicated large outdoor FS play area for sport and recreation and FS indoor Play Centres.
Star International School opened its Secondary Wing in September 2019 with Year 7 and Year 8 entry. Secondary provision includes dedicated, technology equipped, specialised classrooms/labs for Science, Mathematics, English, French, Arabic and Islamic Studies. Development of further Labs/classrooms specialising in Art and Sciences disciplines are in development phase, together with new Secondary-specific social spaces.
Sports facilities include a large outdoor (temperature controlled) swimming pool, multipurpose sports hall with 5-a-side football, tennis, badminton, basketball, netball and volleyball courts, trampolining facility, gymnastics facility and large AstroTurf pitch (generally used for football).
Investment is significant and ongoing.
2020 has seen significant investment in technology. As the school phases opening of Secondary and Post-16 provision, facility breadth will further expand to meet the curriculum needs of children.
Some of the strategic additions the school is working on with the expansion of Secondary include:
- Completion of the Auditorium and extension of its breadth of offer
- Expanded Sports Facilities
- The addition of a dedicated British Sixth Form for post-16 provision
- Further investment in technology and IT
- The creation of a STEAM Lab to enhance the technical education capacity of the British Curriculum and to meet the needs of children for GCSE and A’Level
- Further strategic enhancement of the School Site
ECAs and Whole Child Development
ECAs include an Eco Club, Food Club (children gain certification and awards), Arabic poetry, Quran Recitation, Swimming, Yoga, STEM Club, Tag Rugby, French, Art and Crafts, Dodgeball Club, Newspaper Club, Science Club, Funky Fitness, Drama Club, Lego Club, Origami Club, Multiskills Club, Construction Club and Star Orchestra.
Music is a central part of school life with learning across woodwind, piano/keyboards, strings, choir and band.
Music Mondays enable children to share their learning and talents as well as inspiring more children to learn an instrument or develop their skills in the broader Performing and musical arts.
Annual concerts bring the school together and engage children across the school.
Regular inter-school sporting competition includes recent matches with Kings Dubai and the Arbor School in Basketball, Jumeirah Baccalaureate School and Sharjah English School in Netball and GEMS Royal Dubai and Deira International School in Football. Other sports include swimming, gymnastics, tennis and Karate. Many sports are supported through camps and intensive courses throughout the year.
KS2 Residential Trips include visits, for example, to Hatta Fort; and, year group trips to Little Explorers, Oli Oli, Dubai Tennis and the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club.
The school runs an impressive and engaging events programme which includes Global Food Court, International Day, Sports Days (by phase), School Council, World Cancer Day, Parent’s Coffee Mornings, Mother’s day, National Day, Armistice Day, House Day, Celebration Day (focused on the ambitions each child has for their future careers), Flag days, Dress Up Days and Health Days.
Projected GCSE Provision
As a school in phased launch, it is too early to expect from STAR International School a complete breakdown of future breadth of subject provision at GCSE and A’ Level. In almost every school at an equivalent stage of phased launch, commitment to the final shape of the curriculum comes later as a school grows to understand best the needs, potential, interests and ambitions of its students.
Given the shape of current curriculum teaching we would expect, however, at a minimum, for the school to extend current subject teaching in the following areas to GCSE.
- Art and Design
- Physical Education
We would hope that these would be supplemented, at a minimum, by outlier subjects including Psychology and Business.
Given the planned investment in STEM and clear commitment of the school to technology, we would also hope to see later investment in technical stream provision in BTEC or T Levels.
We would recommend that parents explore the school’s plans for eventual breadth of subject provision at GCSE and A’ Level on speaking with Admissions or visiting the school as part of a tour.
Gill Roberts, Principal, Star International School Mirdif brings to her role almost four decade’s experience in education. Educated at Bedford, Mrs Roberts trained in the Expressive Arts and Physical Education. She secured her Headship and school leadership qualification from Nottingham.
Mrs Roberts’ experience is drawn from schools in both the UK and Middle East and she has now been a well respected and established member of the educational community in Dubai for ten years, latterly leading school Primary and Year Groups at leading Tier 1 schools.
In the UK, Mrs Roberts was Principal of the highly respected Brockholes Church Of England Voluntary Controlled Junior And Infant School just outside of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, a role that she secured from within during the course of ten years at the school.
Mrs Roberts told us:
“There is no other place I would rather be than leading Star International School Mirdif.
I work with incredible staff, parents and children. Our school is family based and at the heart of the community.
At Star International School Mirdif we have a very strong vision, founded on eight values that guide school life and the development of every child.
These are, first, being a caring school that, second, respects children as Independent learners and individuals, each with their own talents and identity.
Third, we inspire in our children the capacity to be resilient. This is founded on the remaining four values we place centre stage in each child’s education – being positive, responsible, respectful and honest.
Finally, we are a deeply inclusive school that welcomes children of all abilities, nationalities and gifts.
Children at Star International School Mirdif are inspirational.
We don’t apply rules, as children naturally adhere to these values so we don’t need them.
I feel very honoured to be working with such dedicated people. Sometimes it humbles me. And that is a good feeling to have.
At Star International School Mirdif ,we create happy, confident children/adults with the ability to use their skill sets to become successful future citizens and leaders in our ever-changing world.”
Gill Roberts. Principal. Star International School Mirdif.
Mrs Roberts is an accomplished sportswoman and athlete, holding qualifications in personal training, fitness, Lo Fu and Boxercise and PADI Scuba Diving.
Feedback to SchoolsCompared from parents and teachers is exceptional with strong focus on her kindness, professionalism and commitment to the welfare of children, care for her faculty and commitment to parents.
The View of Teachers
We asked three teachers at Star International School Mirdif to describe their school. This is what they told SchoolsCompared:
“The Star family is something that I am proud to be part of.
It is full of support for both staff and students who trust each other and we pride ourselves on positivity and personal growth.”
Simon Calvert. Secondary Teacher. Star International School Mirdif.
“This is my first year at STAR so when I joined I had to weigh up my options from other offers I had received.
Being miles away from my family in the United Kingdom, I felt that the school had a real family environment which was really important to me.
The children genuinely enjoy coming to school and show so much care and love for their teachers.
We are very lucky to have colleagues that make us feel really safe and welcome within the school.”
Pavan Chadda. Primary Teacher. Star International School Mirdif.
“Star International School, Mirdif, is a close-knit community where we share in each other’s successes and challenges.
Teaching and learning is driven by research and complemented by the use of state of the art educational technologies.
The students are well behaved and intrinsically motivated with a genuine desire to learn.
Being a teacher at Star International School, Mirdif, is a privilege, and my experience with the students, parents and the wider school community has left a positive, indelible, mark on me.”
Kofi Ansah, Primary Teacher
The View of Children
We asked three children at Star International School Mirdif to describe their school. This is what they told SchoolsCompared:
“The first thing I love about school is that we have positive, energetic and happy teachers.
I also love that everyone in school does their best efforts to show their Star values which makes me happy and makes it a great place to be.”
Nikan. Year 4. Star International School Mirdif.
“I think that Star is a very good and trustful school because I’ve been in this school all my life.
It has good education for everyone and provides potential for every single student in this school.
Whenever I go to school I know that it will be very safe for me to go and it motivates me to learn a lot.
I feel like I’m a part of this school and I feel like we’re all a family although we’re all from a different country and culture.”
Elias. Year 7. Star International School Mirdif.
“I believe that Star is a great place for communication and it is where children can feel right at home.
It encourages children to do better and focuses on the best ways to make a child reach their full potential.
It is a place where creativity runs free and hard work is always promoted by standing ovations and certificates.
In my eyes, the best things in our school have to be our Teachers since they know fun ways to make children learn.
Sitting in a classroom filled with bright minds that could change the world impacts the students who struggle during lessons.
The teachers here don’t shame for mistakes and sacrifice their time to help those children.
Overall, it is a great school and is where many children feel at home.”
Amaan. Year 7. Star International School Mirdif.
The View of Parents
Finally, we asked three children at Star International School Mirdif to describe their school. This is what they told SchoolsCompared:
“My three kids love to go to school every day for the friendly environment, lovely teachers and the principal waiting for kids daily at the main gate of the school to welcome them and cheer them up.
My kids have made lots of friends in school, they love sport and they enjoy all academic and non-academic activities.”
Dania Shukri Salem. Parent. Star International School Mirdif.
“Star is a fantastic community school where I believe my children have got a strong foundation.
The staff in every department are so committed and focused that it makes the school shine.
SLT and teachers have always been very approachable. We as parents are always kept informed on all developments within the school.
If any parents are looking for a strong foundation for their children to start School life I would highly recommend our Star International School Mirdif.”
Alan Pinto. Parent. Star International School Mirdif.
“I have many things that I love about Star International School Mirdif.
Mainly it is the staff, from management right through to the teachers. Everyone is very friendly and it is a lovely happy environment.
There is a warm community feel about the school and I am always welcomed every time I enter.
I was blown away by how much my son has learned in the past year and he absolutely adores his teacher.
I am excited to have my daughter attend this year in Foundation Stage and I am planning to have both my children in the Star family until they graduate.”
Jean Smith. Parent. Star International School Mirdif.
Star International School Mirdif has reported to us that the GL progress scores across English, Mathematics and Science in 2019-2020 are seeing 85% of children achieving “above expected” achievement.
The GL score has grown over the last three years by 6% in English, 5% in Mathematics and 6% in Science.
We rate the progress children make, on this basis, as outstanding.
Child progress is arguably the single most important test of a school’s performance for children. It measures how well a school is able to ensure that children meet their flight paths (the projected achievement that each child is expected to make measured against their starting points on entering a school). To ensure that every child meets their flight path is seen as an achievement – to exceed flight paths for children is rare and suggests a very high performing school.
Too often schools encourage parents to look only at attainment and results – but many schools that perform highly in academic league tables reflect not the quality of the school, but, rather, the high starting points of the children that they accept.
“The identification of progress in GLs is highly significant as children have their own unique starting points and their progress is measured from these.
Progress indicators allow teachers and parents the ability to see the “value added” attainment outstanding teachers can help children to achieve from each child’s individual starting points.”
In conversation with SchoolCompared.com. Star International School Mirdif. April 2020.
Bottom line? If when a child joins a school it is predicted to achieve an E grade based on baseline testing – and it then goes on to achieve a C Grade, that school has achieved the extraordinary for that child. A different school may have children that secure B grades – but if those same children were predicted to secure A grades, then that school, despite higher grades, has failed its children. Parents should be wary of schools that market themselves on grades without also explaining how they perform in child progress.
The progress children make in Science is a core strength of the school and every child meets or exceeds curriculum expectations in both English and Mathematics.
A Virtual Tour of Star International School Mirdif
Fees and Value for Money
On eventual opening to Year 13, and based on today’s fee structure, we anticipate a fee structure that runs between circa AED 32K at FS Phases and AED 65K for Sixth Form, before discounts.
This places Star International Mirdif on the borders of Value/Mid Tier fee structured fees – and for a UK curriculum school, in principle, the value proposition here is a very good one.
The detailed fee structure follows:Star International School Mirdif Fees
Sibling discounts are offered when two or more children from the same family attend the school. A 10% discount is given for the second child and a 20% discount for the third and subsequent children at the school.
Parents who ‘Refer a family’ to the school will be rewarded with a 5% discount on their youngest child’s tuition fees.
Star International School Mirdif, very creditably, further offers four student scholarships annually, each offering fixed 50% fee remission. Scholarships are awarded based on outstanding academic achievement and potential, and the ability of the child to add to the vibrancy of school life. For further information on scholarships, parents should initially contact Admissions.
The Dubai Inspectorate of schools identified the following core strengths of school provision at Star International School Mirdif:
- Child progress in all core subjects with stand-out performance in Science at primary Phase.
- Hugely motivated, caring and respectful students, evidencing outstanding character development
- Consistently effective teaching and assessment.
- Very good school leadership and fully supportive school governance.
- Hugely positive relationships with parents.
- Ongoing investment in teachers, recruitment and facilities.
Bottom Line? The SchoolsCompared.com Verdict on Star International School Mirdif in 2020
Star International School Mirdif has achieved something that few schools achieve in the UAE – it has remodelled itself, under new and impressive leadership, over the last three years, into a hugely impressive, high performing school for its children. The owners have responded in kind with investment and ambition. This is no longer a stand-alone Primary School – but, rather, a school on a powerhouse mission to set benchmarks as the British community school in Mirdif. Plans are apace for future GCSE and A’ Level provision, new facilities are coming on stream and feedback from parents has reflected a school growing into its new found ambition.
The breadth of facilities belies its fee structure, particularly with current discounts. Everything, almost, is here. Do not expect bells, whistles and shiny chrome baubles – what you get instead is substance, facilities that deliver to the needs of children and the inspirational atmosphere of a traditional and happy British community school.
Progress over the last three years has been genuinely, unambiguously impressive.
What we need to come is no let-up in investment and a setting out of the shape of future Secondary and Sixth Form provision. Parents need to know, as soon as possible, the breadth of planned subject provision – and receive commitments to technical stream to meet the needs and ambitions of the broadest range of abilities and child potential.
The test of any school is child progress – and both teachers and students at STAR International School have so much to be proud of.
We have included the following video because it captures some of the magic that increasingly defines what is being achieved at this hugely impressive school:
In summary, what shines through here is high integrity, depth and steadfastness of purpose. and a school in which children, and ambition for children, comes first.
If school leadership, parents, children and school owners can keep their nerve and continue to achieve at this level, the ambition of the school to define the benchmark for what makes an outstanding British education in Mirdif looks more than achievable.
This is, today, a very impressive, inspirational and ambitious school that deserves its success.
If you have a ground-breaking story in UAE education, please mail the SchoolsCompared.com News Desk 24/7 at email@example.com
© SchoolsCompared.com 2020. All rights reserved.
Good with Very Good features
Good with Very Good Features
Private, for profit
FS 1 32,372 (Currently discounted 26,500)
FS 2 32,372 (Currently discounted 28,500)
YEAR 1 37,160 (Currently discounted 30,500)
YEAR 2 37,160 (Currently discounted 30,500)
YEAR 3 42,403 (Currently discounted 34,500)
YEAR 4 42,403 (Currently discounted 34,500)
YEAR 5 48,729 (Currently discounted 38,500)
YEAR 6 48,729 (Currently discounted 38,500)
YEAR 7 53,000 (Currently discounted 40,500)
YEAR 8 53,000 (Currently discounted 40,500)
YEAR 9: 55,000 (Currently discounted 42,500)
YEAR 10: Phased launch TBC
YEAR 11: Phased launch TBC
YEAR 12: Phased launch TBC
YEAR 13: Phased launch TBC
British international (National Curriculum for England)
(2) GCSE (Phased launch)
(3) A' Level (phased launch)
(4) BSME accredited
TBC (Phased launch)
TBC (Phased launch)
TBC (Phased launch)
TBC (Phased launch)
Fully academically, culturally and ability inclusive
(1) Current capacity: 1500
International - 70 plus nationalities
(2) Emirati: 49
(3) SEND: 27
Bright Capital Investments
+971 (0)4 288 4644
+971 050 2778083
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
NA- Phased launch
• School that is investing significantly in its children as it the school grows through phased launch to eventual Year 13 A level provision
• Talented, experiences, inspirational teaching faculty
• Outstanding school leadership
• Significant investment in whole child development
• Scholarship programme
• Expansive events and enrichment programmes
• Impressive investment in sporting life and inter-school competition
• Music at the heart of school life
• Outstanding value add and child progress
• Opportunities for parents and children to shape the culture of the school as it evolves into an all-through.
• Planned investment in a dedicated British Sixth Form
• We need to see the eventual shape of GCSE and A' Level/BTEC provision to gain a definitive view of the school.