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Al Salam Private School. Al Nahda 2, Al Ghusais – The Review
Academic
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Review

Al Salam Private School. Al Nahda 2, Al Ghusais – The Review

by January 27, 2016
Strengths

• At least good performance in all subjects and in all phases of the school
• Outstanding post -16 Mathematics performance
• “Extremely positive” relationships between students and teachers
• Outstanding care of student health and safety
• Clear leadership vision focused on all children meeting their potential
• Involvement of all parents as “meaningful partners in their children's learning”
• Outstanding value for money when output measured against student attainment
• Exemplary Year 9 Cambridge checkpoint examination attainment
• Priority given to the care, wellbeing and welfare of students
• Consistent experienced leadership with the capacity to improve school outcomes

Weaknesses

• SEN provision whilst improving, and with very clear focus, still operating at an acceptable standard only and not competitive with Dubai’s best schools
• Curriculum not sufficiently inspiring independent learning and critical thinking skills
• Facilities lack the “bells and whistles” of Tier 1
• Some parents will be concerned at a lack of British teachers within a British school
• Lack of A2 subject provision and inherent Gifted and Talented [G&T] child pathways
• Weak formalized performing arts provision

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

• A KHDA Good school
• WhichSchoolAdvisor.com “Seriously affordable British Schools in Dubai” status
• Visionary leadership with, as importantly, the capacity to improve the school
• Genuine and committed “whole child” focus
• For parents with limited means, particularly of Arabic and Pakistani children, seeking an (I)GCSE heavyweight British education only to AS Level, Al Salam Private School comes top five in the UAE

B+
Our Rating
C+
User Rating
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Updated September 2017 – Al Salam Private School provision

Established in its current form in 2002 as a near full spectrum nursery to secondary school (current provision is only to KG12/AS Level), Al Salam Private School traces its roots back to 1985 as a micro villa school.

Offering a British education aligned with the English National Curriculum, Al Salam has a fabulously warm, structured environment premised on 4 “Houses”: Windsor, Tudor, Norman and Stuart. Other British influences are found in the school’s election by peers of Head Girl, Head Boy, School Captains, School Vice Captains and Prefects.

School facilities at Al Salam include a science laboratory, computer lab, canteen, library, covered play areas, multi-purpose hall, 3 playgrounds and fully equipped nurse’s clinic with a full time school doctor and two full time school nurses.

Whilst Al Salam Private School does not advertise itself as selective, prospective parents should be advised that entrance requires some hurdles. Prior to admission in FS1, students must have attended Nursery for at least 6 months and must undergo a play-based interview. Entrance between FS2 to Year 10 requires a written entrance exam in English, Mathematics and Arabic to assess their academic ability, followed by an interview with a required passmark of 85%.

The school, rated a Good school by the KHDA, has a number of outstanding strengths according to whichschooladvisor inspections in 2015-16 and 2016-17, these in the areas of examination performance, transparency, continuity and strength of school leadership, whole child development and fee structure value.

In some areas Al Salam Private School lost an Outstanding grading between KHDA inspections between 2014-15 and to 2014-15, this, in part, because of the increasing strength and competitiveness of school performance in Dubai.

Al Salam Private School’s low level of fees limits its ability to invest in a number of areas including British teaching staff; post-16 subject choice; A2 provision; facilities (which are relatively basic); and SEN, compared to Tier 1 English national curriculum schools in the sector.

This however must be offset by the school’s achievement of excellent examination performance which competes with the best Tier 1 schools at (I)GCSE and post-16 Mathematics; a highly nurturing and unique school culture that stems in part from the villa nursery grounding of the school; continuity of leadership (the Head, Susan Johnston has been in post for 28 years since the school’s founding); and fees that run up to 25% less than those of Dubai’s most expensive schools.

whichschooladvisor notes:

“… for many parents the school is likely to not even be ‘on their radar,’ this little gem is long established, small and highly affordable with an exceedingly active SEN department and predominantly non-UK teachers. The school’s dazzling 2015 IGCSE results speak for themselves – sitting only a fraction below those of Dubai College.”

Tellingly, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com also notes very high school transparency, with open publication, and detailed analysis, of examination performance across years. This provides prospective and existing parents with clear benchmarks upon which to engage with and judge the school. The level of transparency exceeds/shames many Tier 1 schools.

Al Salam Private School is a complex school to judge. In many areas it falls significantly short of its competition. Those weaknesses, where they fall in the area of “bells and whistles,” will for many parents be less important. Other weaknesses, particularly in the breadth and range of Post 16 subject  provision will be of greater concern. The best schools in this sector, for example, offer continuity in the teaching of English which is dropped at Al Salam. However, particularly in academics, but also transparency, leadership, charitable whole child activities (HUGS (Help Us Give Support)), extra-curricular activities and engagement – and value for money, Al Safa competes in Tier 1 – and competes highly, in some cases outperforming schools where many would not anticipate the school even being in the running.

These strengths, when combined with its whole child, nurturing school culture focused on “every child being special”; strengthening and rigorous SEN provision under a specialist leader; a new and welcome focus on alumni where the school rarely in Dubai has decades (rather than single years) of graduates to draw on and high levels of parental engagement, resulted in much vexed thought within the whichschooladvisor inspection team about whether Al Salem Private School should receive Good School status in 2016-17.

Inspectors were keen to emphasise that, whilst it fell (just) short of a whichschooladvisor top rating, Al Salem Private School, its teachers and students, should feel exceptionally proud of a school performing in key respects at a very high level indeed.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com

 

Details to consider
Type of school

Private

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

Nursery: 17,600
FS1: 15,560
FS2: 15,975
YEAR 1: 16.450
YEAR 2: 16,825
YEAR 3: 17,010
YEAR 4: 17,640
YEAR 5: 17,870
YEAR 6: 18,465
YEAR 7: 20,760
YEAR 8: 21,510
YEAR 9: 22,890
YEAR 10: 23,830
YEAR 11: 27,115
YEAR 12: 28,555
YEAR 13: NA

Curriculum

National Curriculum of England

External Exam Boards

Cambridge
Edexcel

Number of A Levels offered

0
(10 AS Levels offered)

A Levels offered

AS Levels ONLY:
English Literature
Chemistry
Physics
Biology
Mathematics
Information and Communication Technology [ICT]
Geography
Accounting
Business Studies
Economics

A Level A* to A

AS Levels ONLY
35% (2015)

A Level A* to C

AS Levels ONLY
60% (2015)

IGCSE A* to C

99% (2015)

IGCSE A* to A

73% (2015)

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

16

I/GCSEs offered

English Language
Mathematics
Information and Communication Technology [ICT]
Biology
Physics
Chemistry
French
Arabic
Business Studies
Accounting
Economics
Environmental Management
History
Travel and Tourism
Islamiyat
Global Perspectives

Selective

Yes

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

1167

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:12
(1:21 Early Years)

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

15%

Year opened

2002 (evolved from 1985 villa nursery)

Location

Al Nahda 2, Al Ghusais, Dubai

Student composition

Arab (largest nationality):
Emirati: 229
SEND: 43

Gender

Mixed co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Private

Admissions Telephone

+971 4 267 9594

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

60%

Attainment Pri SEM

66.6%

Attainment Sec SEM

80%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

70% (English is not taught)

Progress Nur SEM

60%

Progress Pri SEM

66.6%

Progress Sec SEM

73.3%

Progress Post-16 SEM

70% (English is not taught)

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

60%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

60%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

60%

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

60%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

60%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

75%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

60%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

60%

Leadership

80%

Community

60%

Facilities

60%

Quality of teaching

70%

Student personal responsibility

90%

Quality of curriculum

70%

School Governance

60%

SEN Provision

70%

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