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GEMS Our Own High School, Al Warqa’a 2
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Review

GEMS Our Own High School, Al Warqa’a 2

by January 28, 2016
Strengths

• Students’ attainment and progress in most subjects reaches a “good” standard
• Students throughout the school have outstanding attitudes and behaviour
• Relationships between staff and students are positive and “caring,” a powerful word rarely used by the KHDA Inspectorate
• Low fees
• Students’ personal and social development a major strength
• Outstanding provision for students’ health and safety.
• Wide range of extra-curricular options, particularly in secondary phase, including sporting events, film making and animation
• School leadership is “efficient” and the vison has “clarity”
• Focused and informative career and/or further education guidance for older students
• Extensive community links including charitable support, business fairs and environmental improvement

Weaknesses

• Teachers at primary phase expect too little from children
• The school’s curriculum does not adequately address needs of children with Special Educational Needs [SEN]
• The number of children identified with SEN does not relate to the size of the school suggesting children are falling through the net
• Class sizes are too large and over-crowding breaches KHDA guidelines, this seriously impacting on the quality of students’ education
• Governance is weak. Governors fail to ensure effective provision of Special Educational Needs [SEN], do not hold the school accountable for failures in Arabic core area provision and do not enforce KHDA rules on class sizes and overcrowding
• Not all teachers are qualified
• The teaching of Arabic as an additional language has significant weaknesses and fails students
• Confusion on school web site claiming significantly different numbers of teachers employed by the school, between 152 and 218 teachers, raises issues about transparency and accuracy of school data
• Provision for the Gifted and Talented child [G&T] is not well developed.
• The curriculum is not rigorous, meeting only a limited number of the needs of children – modifications are generic and not focused on the individual needs of children
• The school leadership team has not been able bring the teaching of Arabic to a good standard
• The school has no appropriate sports field for children, seriously limiting sports provision and attainment within thee school
• Significant parental concern over class sizes
• Weak Secondary level inquiry, research and critical thinking skills with limited opportunities to develop imagination or creative writing based talent

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

• Low fee, KHDA “Good” school weakened by serious compromises in educational provision, facilities and governance
• Parents with talented children in the sporting field may look elsewhere
• Overcrowding breaches KHDA rules
• Parents of children with Special Educational Needs [SEN] or of the Gifted and Talented Child [G&T) should be concerned
• For self-managing, non-sporty independent learners, strong enough to ensure their voice is heard, with parents able to offer support outside the school when required, the school may deliver
• Prospective parents should do due diligence to see if their child will fit into this school - it will not/cannot adapt for specific needs.

C-
Our Rating
B
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
17%
In my Top 5
17%
Shortlisted
17%
A possibility
17%
Pass
0%
No way
33%

Updated December 2016

GEMS Our Own High School, Al Warqa’a, was created in 2005 to provide a single sex boys school equivalent of its namesake, girls-only, ‘Our Own English High School, Dubai’ which was established in Bastakiya in 1968.

The school presents some difficulty in reviewing, and this is even more the case because identified problems identified by the Dubai Inspectorate of Schools in 2015 have not been addressed, particularly in the areas of overcrowding and weaknesses in the provision for SEND (including accessibility and Year 9+ differentiation) .

The value proposition of “Our Own” lies in its fee structure; fees are low by any standards running from just DHS 7,881 in Year 1 to DHS 13,595 for Science stream provision in Years 11 and 12.

However, there are very significant trade-offs for that level of fees. For some parents, if they have a choice, those trade-offs will be too significant to make “Our Own” an option for the education of their child(ren).

Parents should also be advised that the GEMS brand here does not function as a guarantee of the quality of provision it is known for elsewhere in the sector. “Our Own” was established to meet a specific need for low-fee educational provision and GEMS has had to make compromises.

Key weaknesses of the school lie in the area of overcrowding sufficiently serious to breach KHDA rules; weaknesses in the curriculum limiting the attainment and progress of children; poor Special Educational Needs [SEN] and Gifted and Talented child [G&T] provision, ongoing failures in the effective teaching of Arabic; weak school governance, confusion on teaching numbers, a number of unqualified teachers and poor facility provision including a complete absence of a sports field.

There are positives, particularly in exceptional community integration, personal development, the achievements of many children in the CBSE syllabus, particularly in the Sixth Form and good extra-curricular provision. The vital role of the community and parents in supporting the school and its leadership cannot be overstated – and it does, impressively, rise to the challenge.

Children at the school should be very proud of their achievements.

Taken together, however, prospective parents should investigate the school in detail before committing themselves.

Visiting the school and speaking with teachers and students at the school is imperative in order to understand how well the school will be able to meet the needs of individual children.

There are risks, in particular, that children outside the average, whether they have Special Educational Needs [SEN], are Gifted and Talented [G&T] (whether academically, musically or in the Performing Arts), or are sensitive quiet types, may fall through the net of a school stretched to capacity. So too “Our Own” simply does not have the facilities to meet a minimum standard of sporting provision.

In the annual whichschooladvisor School Survey, “Our Own” continues to secure mixed results, with a majority of respondents recording “partial satisfaction” to questions on academic performance, and feedback from the school.

The school will deliver for some, but not all children.

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com believes that overcrowding should be taken seriously by parents. Teachers faced with overcrowding, however good they are, are forced to compromise teaching style and the time they can spend on children individually. No amount of teaching support, or genuine caring for children (a strength of the school) can address this. Teachers have no choice but to adopt regimented, book-based, highly disciplined rote-based lessons with little whole-child development, or individualized learning simply to manage, with all the knock-on effects that come with these limitations on a child’s education. For whichschooladvisor inspectors, until this is addressed, at a minimum, the school has a structural weakness that means it fails in delivering the basic minimum standards of education that all children in Dubai, and elsewhere, should expect and require.

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: NA
FS2: NA
YEAR 1: 7,881
YEAR 2: 7,881
YEAR 3: 7,881
YEAR 4: 7,973
YEAR 5: 7,973
YEAR 6: 8,945
YEAR 7: 8,945
YEAR 8: 8,945
YEAR 9: 11,074
YEAR 10: 11,074
YEAR 11: 13,145 (Commerce) 13,595 (Science)
YEAR 12: 13,145 (Commerce) 13,595 (Science)

Curriculum

CAT 4-11, CBSE 10, 12
CBSE All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE)
CBSE All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE)

External Exam Boards

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, India

Selective

No

Waiting list

No

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

4,719
111 Special Educational Needs and Disability [SEND]

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:22

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

8%

Year opened

2005 (1968 roots)

Location

Al Warqa’a 2, Dubai

Student composition

Indian (largest nationality)

Gender

Boys only, single-sex

School canteen

Yes

Owner

GEMS Education

Admissions Telephone

+971 4 280 0077

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

NA

Attainment Pri SEM

75%

Attainment Sec SEM

75%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

73.3%

Progress Nur SEM

NA

Progress Pri SEM

75%

Progress Sec SEM

75%

Progress Post-16 SEM

73.3%

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

NA

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

40%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

40%

Islamic St. Primary Results

46%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

60%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

60%

Leadership

60%

Community

60%

Facilities

60%

Quality of teaching

60%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

60%

School Governance

60%

SEN Provision

46.6%

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