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Dubai Scholars Private School, Al Ghusais School Zone, Al Qusais
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Dubai Scholars Private School, Al Ghusais School Zone, Al Qusais

by March 5, 2016
Details to consider
2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Good

2016/17 Rating Primary / Elementary

Good

2016/17 Rating Secondary / Middle

Very Good

2016/17 Post 16 / High

Good

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Good

Type of school

Private, for profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS 1 14341
FS 2 14857
YEAR 1 17045
YEAR 2 17045
YEAR 3 17045
YEAR 4 17045
YEAR 5 17289
YEAR 6 17289
YEAR 7 17289
YEAR 8 18319
YEAR 9 18319
YEAR 10 18319
YEAR 11 18319
YEAR 12 26998
YEAR 13 29500

Curriculum

National Curriculum for England
(I)GCE O' Level
GCE A' Level

External Exam Boards

EDEXCEL

Number of A Levels offered

7

A Levels offered

Accounts
Business Studies
Economics
Physics
Chemistry
Biology
Mathematics

A Level A* to A

Not published

A Level A* to C

Not published

IGCSE A* to C

96.5%
Note:
(1) Figure based on only children at the school achieving grades A*E and excludes children who do not sit examinations or achieve U grades which would reduce the percentage
(2) School does not publish sufficient data to provide data beyond this to allow effective benchmarking

IGCSE A* to A

68.58%
Note:
(1) Figure based on only children at the school achieving grades A*E and excludes children who do not sit examinations or achieve U grades which would reduce the percentage
(2) School does not publish sufficient data to provide data beyond this to allow effective benchmarking

I/GCSEs offered

Students pursue eight IGCSEs. Four of these are compulsory and taken by all students. Four or more are optional subjects and are selected by students, with parental approval. Compulsory Subjects are English Language, a second Language (either Hindi or French), Mathematics, Arabic (following the Ministry of Education guidelines and curriculum), Islamic Studies (for Muslim students following the Ministry of Education guidelines and curriculum) leading to IGCSE Islamic Studies. Non-Muslim students have a choice of Environmental Management or History.

Optional Subjects at GCSE include Biology, Economics, Physics, Business Studies, ICT, Psychology, Chemistry and Accounting.

Selective

No, although exams are used to determine whether a prospective student will be able to keep up with studies.

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

1615

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:15

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

15%

Year opened

1976

Location

Al Ghusais School Zone, Al Qusais, Dubai

Student composition

Indian (largest nationality)
Emirati: 0
Special Educational Needs [SEN]: 0

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

Owner

Scholars International Group [SIG] (CEO: Aparna Verma)
(Also own Scholars International Academy, Sharjah and Clarion School, Dubai)

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 298 8892

Web Address
Strengths

• A school that knows and serves its community exceptionally
• Consistently strong results in external exams
• A strong extra curricular performing arts programme
• Vibrant student community
• Student leadership and participation in a wide variety of activities
• A BSME associate member
• Affordable

Weaknesses

Subject choice for GCSEs and A Levels offered will not suit all children - a strong science and business orientation.

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

Dubai Scholars Private School is very successful at focusing in on exactly what its parents and students want. It delivers, year in, year out consistent exam result success, and sends students off to tertiary institutions around the world, largely to study business, science and engineering based degrees. The school is supported by a nurturing and strong, largely Asian community that helps feed its success and growth. In turn the school delivers to its community a consistent, high quality education, at low cost.

B+
Our Rating
A-
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
47%
In my Top 5
35%
Shortlisted
12%
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Founded in 1976, Dubai Scholars Private School (DS) is one of Dubai’s oldest schools and follows the National Curriculum of England leading to IGCSE and A Levels. The school serves a mainly Asian population, and is known for getting exam results (it is cited in our sister site’s Affordable British Schools Report), and perhaps more unusually, an extracurricular programme strong for both performing arts and sports.

The success of the school, and the group whose passion fuels it, can perhaps be seen in a solid trajectory of growth. DS started as a micro primary school operating from a villa in Deira. It was the first school opened by the Scholars International Group. Today not only is it an all through school educating 1600 students in its own purpose-built building, the group also owns and runs Scholars International Academy, Sharjah, and the newly established, but already very highly regarded Clarion School in Dubai.

Dubai Scholars follows the National Curriculum for England from EYFS through IGCSE to GCE A’ Level delivering high levels of attainment, notably in exams, at a very moderate cost – by UK curriculum school standards.  Its attainment levels are often up there with the best schools in Dubai. In the June 2017 IGCSE English exam, a DS student attained the highest mark for the IGCSE English exam in the Middle East.

The school’s attainment is all the more impressive given DS is not a selective school.

The main point of entry for the school is FS1. Interviews and assessments for entry into FS1 are generally done in January and February preceding entering the school in September.

Foundation Stage teachers administer the interaction for entry to FS1. While DS has had a wait list to enroll in the school, it is keen to point out the admissions process is not about academic ability, but personality and fit within the school’s community.

Entry into DS in Years 1 to 11 is individual and is made through the Admissions Office. Interactions from Year 1 onwards do include testing, but only to determine if skills, knowledge and cognitive ability are appropriate to the Year level admission is sought in. Even then, DS says it “values participation in non-academic fields [and] takes these into account for new entrants to the school”. 

The generally non-academically selective nature of the school makes its attainment all the more impressive. In 2016, according to information provided by the school to SchoolsCompared.com, six Dubai Scholars students were recognised for achieving the highest marks in the Middle East in the ACER IBT, The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) International Benchmark Tests (IBT).

The IBT is a globally administered programme of assessments that assesses students from Grades 3 to 10 (Years 4 to 11) in English, Mathematics, and Science. It provides a high quality, skill-based assessment aligned to all major curricula that gives schools, students, and parents an insight into their performance through global comparisons.

Academic attainment can ultimately be seen in where the school’s brightest students end up. DS were keen to point out to SchoolsCompared.com that its students have gone on to Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the UK as well as to Ivy League universities in the US. Perhaps even more competitively, its students have attended some of the top Indian engineering universities such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Obviously not all students end up at MIT studying rocket science or PPE at Oxford. The majority of students would head to perfectly respectable, but more prosaic universities in the UAE, India, the UK, Canada and US.

DS offers a fairly focused set of subjects at IGCSE and indeed A’ Level. Students pursue eight IGCSEs. Four of these are compulsory and taken by all students. Four or more are optional subjects and are selected by students, with parental approval. Compulsory Subjects are English Language, a second Language (either Hindi or French), Mathematics, Arabic (following the Ministry of Education guidelines and curriculum), Islamic Studies (for Muslim students following the Ministry of Education guidelines and curriculum) leading to IGCSE Islamic Studies. Non-Muslim students have a choice of Environmental Management or History.

Optional Subjects at GCSE include Biology, Economics, Physics, Business Studies, ICT, Psychology, Chemistry and Accounting.

Entering the Sixth Form at Dubai Scholars students requires at least a B grade for subjects studied at GCSE. Students choose four subjects to study over two years, under the guidance of their Sixth Form academic advisor. Again, choice is focused around Maths, Science and Business oriented study. Students choose from: Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology and ICT.

While a broader offering would no doubt be nice to see in the way a Planetarium would be nice where money is no object, the focus of the school reflects just how well DS understands its audience.

The scope of the DS offering is driven by demand, and whilst it has in the past sought to widen the subject base, there has been little  interest outside business and the sciences. There is no point offering subjects, that few, if any, students would take. This is especially the case for a school, like DS, where a good section of its audience is very sensitive to any fee increment. Underutilized faculty would be a very expensive luxury.

While the academic programme may be narrower compared to some Curriculum of England schools with a stronger European constituency, an exceptionally strong extracurricular programme steps up to provide the balance between arts and sciences. DS is a school with a vibrant school community, with a track record of truly impressive, and eclectic, awards in performing arts and sports.

Don’t take our word for it. Actual recent successes include:

– Receiving the Harvard Book Prize two years in a row for exemplary writing skills in English and for Writing and publishing a book.

– Attaining the highest marks in the junior category for the Ignited Mindlab Mental Math competition. An additional 9 students received medals and certificates for their excellent performance in this competition.

– Winning first place for the UAE Oxford Big Read competition, held by the Oxford University Press

– Winning four places on the UAE National School Hockey team.

– Winning silver medals in individual and team events at the 2nd World Interschool Championship for Skipping Rope held in Eger, Hungary.

– Having the youngest entrant to win a gold medal at the International Kickboxing Championship. The winner was a Year 1 DS student.

– Having a student selected, through an audition process, for a part in the upcoming Dubai Opera performance of the Broadway Play ‘EVITA’.

– Students from the Junior and Senior school winning the Rock Challenge every year for the past ten years in their respective categories. DS students have gone on to perform at the finals in Australia. The Rock Challenge is a dance theatre performance judged on creativity, story, performance and costume, created solely by the students.

Fueling these achievements are high quality facilities spread across a five-acre (200,000+sq feet) campus. DS offers its students access to a swimming pool, two sports fields, two basketball courts, a multipurpose hall, Science Labs, ICT labs, Junior science lab, Indoor/Outdoor provision and a separate playground for the Foundation Stage.

Even more important than facilities in terms of success however is the strength of DS  as a community. This is a school that has a very strong sense of unity and togetherness.

DS students are also very integrated into the wider context of Dubai and the UAE. The school’s Sixth Form teach English to labourers, and also conducts entertainment programmes at the labour camps, including a cultural night and a cricket match. In school, Sixth Form students support and teach the younger year groups through the Math PALS and Buddy Tutoring Programmes. Sixth Form students also lead story reading in the Foundation Stage and the lower Primary.

The student council is also key driver of the student community, and leadership development. It works’ with the school’s Senior Leadership team to address interests and issues of the student body and manages the after school clubs: art, STEAM, food lab, video game coding, chess, music and guitar, variety of sports and dance. Students at the school have initiated two programmes commended by the KHDA and DSIB – the Happy Café which is a place where students get together to de-stress through mindfulness exercises, and the Student Helpline is student-run anti-bullying helpline.

It cannot be said enough that the school’s many achievements come against a backdrop of being a value school. DS achieves its results with fees ranging from 14,341 AED at FS stage through to 29,500 for Year 13. This is literally between one third and one quarter of the cost of the emirate’s ultra premium schools. The transparency of Dubai Scholars’ fee structure moreover “is to be applauded” writes our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. “The structure is simple and clear for parents – without any of the multiple and confusing additions characteristic of a number of other schools in the value sector, which often add very significantly to a misleading headline figure.”

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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