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Pristine Private School, Al Nahda 2
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Review

Pristine Private School, Al Nahda 2

by January 30, 2016
Strengths

• Outstanding progress of students at FS level in Science and Mathematics
• Very high levels of student personal responsibility and whole child development
• Excellent breadth of student awareness, understanding and appreciation of Islamic values and global culture
• Highly engaged student body; environmentally aware and committed to their communities
• Exceptionally high quality Foundation Stage curriculum
• Good facility provision in a very well maintained and cared for nurturing school environment
• New, extremely knowledgeable school Principal internally promoted after 10 years’ senior leadership experience within the school
• One of very few schools to have a dedicated telephone line for admissions

Weaknesses

• Weakness in core Arabic curriculum provision
• High turnover of staff at Primary level
• Lack of learning spaces for students and teaching staff
• Limited accessibility provision for disabled children with mobility issues
• Serious lack of transparency with no publication of academic performance data
• Limited subject options at (I)GCE O', AS and A2 levels compared to Tier 1
• SEND capacity a weakness in provsion

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

• A KDHA Good school
• A school with “Outstanding” performance in some areas and ongoing capacity for further improvement
• whichschooladvisor "Happiest School in the UAE" finalist
• whichschooladvisor rated flagship school in this price bracket
• Highly recommended English National curriculum school, particularly for parents seeking a school with a strongly represented, but not exclusively, Pakistani student body

C
Our Rating
B+
User Rating
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Is this school on your shortlist?
Top of shortlist
27%
In my Top 5
20%
Shortlisted
13%
A possibility
13%
Pass
0%
No way
27%

Updated December 2016

Founded in 1992 by Shahida Salam, the Pristine Private School, offers an English National Curriculum based education from Early Years Foundation Stage [EYFS] to (I)GCSE O’, AS and A2 Level for students aged 3 to 18 years.

Pristine falls into the medium-large school category and has a feeder from its sister Pristine Rainbow Nursery which provides places to children from 15 months. The nursery, formally opened in January 2011, was the first nursery to be opened in an apartment building in Dubai. Pristine is heavily over-subscribed and attendance at the nursery is the only secure way of prospective parent’s guaranteeing a place for their child(ren) at the school.

The school currently has 1539 students. Student numbers at the school almost doubled in size between 2009 and 2015. Numbers stabilised between 2014 and 2015 after a period of significant growth. In 2013 Pristine became a KHDA “Good” school after 4 years of only achieving an “Acceptable” rating, this following the school’s recruitment for one year of an interim British Head, Peter Winder, a school improvement specialist, in 2012. The “Good” rating has been stable for the last four years, although it should be noted that under the new 6 point KHDA grading scale the school falls significantly short of being graded within the “Very Good” class of schools.

There have been high impact changes to leadership over the period with two changes of Principal between 2013 and 2015, this following the founder’s move from hands-on Principal to executive director of the nursery and school.

The new Principal, Shagufa Kidwai, appointed in April 2015, promises genuine stability, having been recruited internally after 10 years at the school, initially as the Head of Science (5 years) before moving to Head the Senior School (5 Years). Her exceptional knowledge of the school across staffing, facilities and process, promises further improvements and the school expects to retain its good school KHDA Inspection for 2016-17.

Fees, ranging between DHS 9071 at FS1 to 16,994 in Year 13, are low, notwithstanding the increase in student numbers – and particularly when scored in the context of Pristine’s high quality of facility provision. Facilities include computer and science labs, arts studio, library, multi-purpose auditorium, sports complex with swimming pool and game courts, canteen, clinic, covered sandpits, shaded courtyard play area and dedicated kindergarten play centre with climbing frames and slides. Students from Year 4 are provided with personal lockers.

In 2015 KHDA inspectors noted outstanding performance by the school in 6 key areas including:

  • Added value based progress of students at FS level in Science and Mathematics
  • The personal responsibility of students
  • Student awareness, understanding and appreciation of Islamic values, and broader Emirati and international culture
  • Community and environmental awareness, engagement and responsibility
  • The exceptional quality of curriculum at Foundation Stage
  • Health and safety provision across the school

These strengths have been broadly protected within the school’s latest inspection. Because of the new grading structure, however, and given the overall strengthening of provision across the sector, the schools individual scores have dropped. This is true of many schools under the revised gradings.

Significant school weaknesses were centred on a relatively limited number of areas including those in core Arabic curriculum provision (a generic problem for non-Arabic schools); a high turnover of staff at Primary level (which both significantly limits academic and whole child development and creates catch-up repercussions as children develop in later years); lack of study and group learning space for both students and staff and serious accessibility failings (the school “is not readily accessibility for disabled children with mobility issues.”) SEND provision more broadly is an area that needs attention.

Elsewhere Pristine scores well across the range of provision. For whichschooladvisor, the attainment of the school, when balanced against its fee structure, is impressive. Pristine punches well above its weight. With Outstanding attainment in some areas (Personal attainment and safeguarding being stand-out), this rare for a school with this level of fees, the school is something of a flagship and students, supported by their parents and the school, have much to be very proud of.

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com’s critique of the school centres on a very significant lack of transparency. Pristine does not publish the examination results of its students, this making it impossible for existing and prospective parents to effectively benchmark the school’s performance. Examination data, both raw and interrogated, should be published as standard by all schools, together with the added value information to provide that data with context and meaning for parents. Without this parents and their children are simply operating in the dark.

Notwithstanding Pristine’s lack of transparency, the school continues to do very well in independent, confidential parental feedback to whichschooladvisor. Parents, almost unanimously, would and recommend the school to other parents, are happy with the academic attainment of their child(ren); and praise the school’s communications with them on each child’s progress and activities. This scoring is mirrored by KHDA parental feedback.

Whilst the KHDA does report staff dissatisfaction with salary levels and work pressure, Pristine is (arguably) caught between “the rock and a hard place” in meeting the need for quality schooling within the limited fee income afforded by its fee structure. The same constraints could also be true for students’ calls for greater choice in extra-curricular provision.

In summary, says WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, Pristine’s new Principal offers students something rare – an internally promoted Head with a knowledge of the school based on her 10 years’ experience working within it. The level of understanding, care and commitment that comes from this – and the advantages that come from her ability to translate experience into school improvements both over the short and medium term should not be underestimated. Pristine is a very good school, and, as a school that is already touching on outstanding in some areas, one that has the capacity, particularly under its new experienced leadership, to improve even further. A finalist too in the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com annual “Happiest School in the UAE” competition, Pristine Private School comes highly recommended within its class of school provision.

Note: some scoring is based on projection data modeled from whichschooladvisor, parental feedback, KHDA Inspections and published information from the school. Projections result from a lack of transparency in the school’s published examination performance.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com

 

Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 9,071
FS2: 9,631
YEAR 1: 10,260
YEAR 2: 10,260
YEAR 3: 10,260
YEAR 4: 10,856
YEAR 5: 10,856
YEAR 6: 10,856
YEAR 7: 11,473
YEAR 8: 11,868
YEAR 9: 12,560
YEAR 10: 15,388
YEAR 11: 16,216
YEAR 12: 16,994
YEAR 13: 16,994

Curriculum

National Curriculum for England

External Exam Boards

Cambridge

Number of A Levels offered

14

A Levels offered

Accounting
Applied ICT
Biology
Business Studies
Chemistry
Economics
English Language
Environmental Management
Global Perspective
Mathematics
Physics
Psychology
Sociology
Thinking skills

A Level A* to A

Not published

A Level A* to C

Not published

IGCSE A* to C

Not published

IGCSE A* to A

Not published

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

18

I/GCSEs offered

English as a First Language (Core)
English as a Second Language (Core)
Environmental Management (Core)
ICT (Core)
Mathematics (Option)
Accounting (Option)
Art and Design (Option)
Biology (Option)
Business Studies (Option)
Chemistry (Option)
Development Studies (Option)
Economics (Option)
English Literature (Option)
Enterprise (Option)
French (Option)
Physics (Option)
Travel and Tourism (Option)
Urdu (Option)

Selective

Yes (entrance assessment)

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

1537

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:11

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

21%

Year opened

1992

Location

Al Nahda 2, Dubai

Student composition

Pakistani (largest nationality)
48+ nationalities
40%+ Pakistani
25% Philippine
20% Asian (Sri Lanka/India)
5 Emirati
40 Special Educational Needs [SEN]

Gender

Mixed co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Shahida Salam

Admissions Telephone

+971 4 2674299

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

60%

Attainment Pri SEM

75%

Attainment Sec SEM

60%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

73.3%

Progress Nur SEM

80%

Progress Pri SEM

66.6%

Progress Sec SEM

73.3%

Progress Post-16 SEM

66.6%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

40%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

40%

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

40%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

60%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

50%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

50%

Leadership

60%

Community

60%

Facilities

60%

Quality of teaching

65%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

70%

School Governance

40%

SEN Provision

60%

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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