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The Westminster School, Al Qusais
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Review

The Westminster School, Al Qusais

by December 9, 2015
Strengths

• The Westminster School’s leadership, particularly that of the Principal and senior staff, evidences genuine, determined and considered commitment to ensuring better outcomes for students at every level of the school
• The attainment and progress of Post-16 students in English, Mathematics and Science, and English in the secondary phase, is outstanding
• Teaching, learning and assessment is at least “good” across all phases of the school
• Students’ personal and social development is a definite strength of the school; relationships are respectful, attendance and punctuality is good, students have a solid understanding of Islamic values and there is a strongly shared conviction in the importance of community responsibility, environmental awareness and Dubai’s culturally diverse community
• Across the English National Curriculum, Islamic Education and Arabic language, educational provision is skilfully adapted to meet the different needs of almost all groups of students. Pupils are given genuine and informed choices of study across Science, commerce or vocational subjects rooted in the core curriculum foundations in Mathematics and English
• The school provides good care for students with special educational needs, ensuring they progress personally, socially, emotionally and academically. The identification of students’ needs and the provision of support for individual students is a key feature of the school
• The school and its staff are determined, creative, successful and innovative in maximising the potential of facilities and resources that are significantly limited in comparison with those of other, better financed English curriculum based schools in Dubai

Weaknesses

• The quality of teaching and learning in Islamic Education and Arabic does not meet the outstanding levels achieved Post-16 in English, Mathematics and Science
• Higher-attaining students should be more challenged
• The quality of marking and feedback needs to be more consistent
• Governance can be improved by better representing parents and fostering greater representation from the community
• Some classrooms are overcrowded and the quality of some facilities are limited by financial constraints, these restricting student attainment, learning and development
• There is no provision for students to take options in the Arts post-16, despite a clear need, student requests and talent
• The range of extra-curricular activities is limited and some activities are unaffordable to some students limiting uptake
• The continuity of staffing and high levels of staff turnover is a regular problem and one highlighted by parents and students

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

• Westminster School is now punching well above the weight of its limited financial resources. At key post-16 levels, across English, Mathematics and Science, the education provided to pupils is outstanding
• The cost of a Westminster A-Level education, relative to other providers, provides remarkable value
• The school is stripped of “bells and whistles” but arguably delivers where it counts
• Overcrowding, poor facilities, lack of subject choice in the Arts and lack of accessibility for wheel chair users all result from financial limitations placed on the school leadership by the low level of fee income
• Until this is addressed, and notwithstanding, against the odds, outstanding A-Level performance and genuine value for money, it is hard to see how Westminster can meet its full potential or the needs of all its pupils

C+
Our Rating
B
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The largest UK curriculum (IGCSE, AS and A’ Level) school in Dubai, The Westminster School is home to 5,068 students across some 70 nationalities including those from Pakistan, Egypt, India, UAE and “other” Arab and Asian nations. The school improved very significantly in 2014-15 and was commended as “Good” by the KHDA, the best rating Westminster has achieved since its first inspection.

Westminster had been mooted for closure in 2014. The combined impact of KHDA restrictions on annual school fee increases because of weak (“Acceptable”) school inspection ratings, Westminster’s low fee baseline on opening, and rising teacher salaries meant it became financially unsustainable for the GEMS Group to run.

Whilst this decision was reversed, the school still offers exceptional value for money for an English national curriculum school with fees ranging between DHS 5,726 at FS2 to DHS 11,132 for Years 11 to 13.

That this level of fees is able to deliver “outstanding” post-16 levels of student attainment in English, Mathematics and Science, together with the highest commendation for student personal development at the same level awarded by the KHDA, is an extraordinary achievement by the school.

Westminster in 2014-15 is operating, post-16, at an equivalent KHDA grading with schools offering their students very significantly better facilities, smaller classes and more than double Westminster fees.

On this basis, at AS and A-Level, The Westminster School currently offers the best value English curriculum based education currently available in Dubai. If GEMS can sustain this level of improvement in 2015-16, Westminster is certainly a school to consider for all parents seeking an affordable UK education, without the bells and whistles, but with the promise of very high levels of post-16 academic attainment.

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

Private

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: NA
FS2: 5726
YEAR 1: 7074
YEAR 2: 7074
YEAR 3: 7074
YEAR 4: 7074
YEAR 5: 7074
YEAR 6: 7074
YEAR-7: 7634
YEAR-8: 7634
YEAR-9: 8982
YEAR-10: 8982
YEAR-11: 11132
YEAR-12: 11132
YEAR-13: 11132

Curriculum

National Curriculum of England

External Exam Boards

Cambridge

Number of A Levels offered

11

A Levels offered

Mathematics
Physics
Chemistry
Biology
Economics
Business Studies
Accounting
English Language
Environmental Management
French
Travel & Tourism

A Level A* to C

Not Published
A Level A* to E 100%
AS level A 16.3%, A-B 37.5%

IGCSE A* to C

82%

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

8

I/GCSEs offered

English
Arabic
Mathematics
Social Studies
Combined Science
Computer Studies
Art
Second Language

Selective

Selective

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

5068

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:18
1:23 FS

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

19%

Year opened

1995

Location

Al Qusais, Dubai

Student composition

Arab (largest nationality)

Gender

Mixed

Owner

GEMs Education

Admissions Telephone

00 971 (0)4 2988333

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

75%

Attainment Pri SEM

75%

Attainment Sec SEM

83.3%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

100%

Progress Nur SEM

75%

Progress Pri SEM

75%

Progress Sec SEM

83.3%%

Progress Post-16 SEM

100%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

75%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

75%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

75%

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

50%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

50%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

50%

Leadership

75%

Community

75%

Facilities

50%

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