Capital School, Al Qusais – THE REVIEW
“The new owners of Capital School are now in place. As of September 2019 they are clearly focused on, and committed to, offering Capital School students an outstanding British education – and are ready to invest significantly to deliver this. Our ambition is to be the best school in Dubai in a school thriving with creative thinkers and the problem solvers of the future. Our children will be empowered to change the world for the better through an outstanding, Tier 1 English National Curriculum rooted in inclusion, extraordinary curriculum breadth, STEM underpinning, innovation and the highest quality of British faculty. Capital School ensures that every child in the UAE can access a premium British education.”
Dr. Pablo Fetter, Interim Chief Executive Office, Capital School
Capital School is built on nurturing the full potential of all of our children and inspiring excellence, both academic and whole child. We do this in three key ways. First, every one of our outstanding British teachers are experts in their field. Second, we ensure inspiring relationships between teachers and students to drive innovation-based, creative and investigative cross-curricular learning. Third, we focus on strong, empowering relationships between parents and the school. Parents play a key role in enabling us, together, to ensure that every child at Capital School meets his or her fullest potential. We are an inclusive, empowering school – and no child at Capital School is ever left behind.
Dr. Sue Pattison, Principal, Capital School
We chose the dual IGCE/A Level /BTEC and International Baccalaureate Diploma founded curricula to provide students with the maximum choice of curriculum within an internationally recognized framework. Every student from Year 1 upwards will benefit from our Enterprise Curriculum. It is expected that Capital School will become a recognised Enterprise Academy as it evolves. The Music Maestros Programme will ensure that every child has access to a core Music curriculum. Music, and its cross-curricular links, will permeate the school and the curriculum. We do not believe ‘one size fits all’ with regard to the curriculum, or teaching and learning. Our aim is to meet the diverse range of needs and interest of every student at Capital School. Our decision to offer the A Level/IBDP option at Year 13 arises from the needs of expatriate families from multiple countries whose children will select universities from all over the world. Many students prefer to specialise at Post-16 level, others prefer to maintain breadth in their options. Capital School will meet the needs of both.
Dr. Brian Gray. Director of Learning. Capital School.
Background. Capital School Location and Curriculum
Capital School Dubai is a new British all-through school in phased launch to offer an English National Curriculum founded education to GCSE with dual stream A level and/or BTEC, or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, options at Sixth Form.
Originally opened in 2014, Capital School Dubai is now owned (as of September 2019) by Alkhabeer Private Equity, a major asset management company in Saudi Arabia. Capital School is the Group’s flag ship school and is subject to major new investment and curriculum planning as it phases its launch to Sixth Form. Capital School sits within a growing educational portfolio across the GCC which by 2025 will number more than 10 schools.
Capital School Dubai opened in 2014 on a Tier 1 purpose built site that was originally home to the School of Research Science. The KHDA graded school facilities at that time as Outstanding. More on facilities below. Given the curriculum and financial investment plans of Capital School, we believe that it is better for parents to judge the school on the basis of its functioning as a very different school to that originally launched. More on the ambitious plans of the new owners and school leadership team follow.
Capital School Dubai is located on Baghdad Street in the heart of Dubai. The school is within a 20-minute commute from Jumeriah, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Festival City and Sharjah. We timed an approximate 10 minute-drive from Mizhar, Mirdif, Al Garhoud and Deira. Capital School attracts families from the communities of Al Nahda, Al Qusais, Mirdif, Mizhar and Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Stand out features for parents
We identify five key areas in which Capital School potentially, or actually, excels in comparison with alternative schools in the UAE:
- Capital School is currently, between FS1 and Year 4, the most affordable British School in the UAE to have 100% British teaching faculty in English National Curriculum subjects. Capital School, currently open to Year 8, sees fees range from only AED 14,750 in FS1 to AED 49,500.
- If it delivers its planned-for breath of subject choice at GCSE, A’ Level, BTEC and International Baccalaureate Diploma, Capital School will also offer the broadest range of subjects of any English national Curriculum school currently operating in the UAE. as they come on stream. The school plans to offer subjects including Economics, Psychology, Drama, Music and Politics with the full range of traditional core subjects across English, Mathematics, the Sciences (Chemistry, Physics and Biology), Computer Science and Design and Technology. Planned BTEC provision includes Tourism, Engineering, Business and Sports Science. Whilst these are early days, this level of ambition, at this fee point, sets a benchmark for the UAE and is extremely impressive. On current fees, this would also make the value proposition for parents exceptional.
- Capital School is one of only a handful of schools, the others all premium Tier 1 schools, to offer a tri-lingual French-English-Arabic language programme from FS1. The aim is to ground each child’s education in modern languages and solve the problem faced by all current British schools in Dubai in delivering the Arabic language to an outstanding standard. The Arabic language is one that non-Arab children find extremely difficult to master.
- Enterprise Education from FS1 evolving to provide students as they progress through the school with industry skills and experience.
- A Music Maestros Programme designed to provide every child at capital School with access to a core music curriculum.
Capital School – The Video Review
Capital School facilities
Facilities at Capital School include
- 3 Sports Halls
- Auditorium with a capacity of up to 1500 students with full theatre and stage production infrastructure
- 2 swimming pools including a learner pool and full sized swimming pool.
- Classrooms with corridor-based break out areas.
- Fully refurbished school library including extensive Information Technology provsion
- Refurbished secondary school facilities in phased opening. Currently these educate students to Year 8.
- Labs facilities across Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and DT
- Dedicated EYFS play areas and infrastructure
Core sports at Capital School Dubai include Football, Swimming, Strength and Conditioning, Cricket and Gymnastics.
The Music Department plays a full and active role in the daily life of the school with instrument lessons taught on a weekly basis by a dedicated team of teachers. Over the course of an academic year, the department hosts three major school concerts. The school also has a Community Choir.
Art and Drama is taught as part of the core curriculum and through the co-curricular programme. The Art Department has excellent facilities with two dedicated art studios.
Capital School ECA Programme
The ECA programme at Capital School offers an extensive choice of options for students including: Mindfulness, Crafts, Art, Homework Club, Library Club, Cheerleading, Student Newspaper, Drama, Debate Club, Individual music lessons (by invitation), Choir practice, Band practice, School Council, Eco-Warriors, Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) club, Construction/Lego Club, Computer Club, Board Games Club, Arabic Club, Islamic Club (Q’uran recitations), Ballet Club, Netball, Gymnastics, Football and Water Polo. These are provided across extensive school facilities and learning points within the school such as that above.
Historically Drama productions have engaged students across the whole school. A number of children are engaged in script writing for stage plays through Capital School’s teacher-led Drama Club.
Capital School Curriculum and Learning
Capital School’s English National Curriculum will offer progression through IGCE to a dual stream Sixth Form offering a choice of A’ Level, BTEC or the International Baccalaureate Diploma:
The aim is to establish one of the highest performing, inclusive Sixth Forms in the UAE, marked out by its offering extensive subject breadth and choice for Capital School students. The shape of the planned curriculum includes: (1) GCSE subject choice across 29 subjects with outlier subjects including Psychology, Economics, Business Studies and Photography; (2) A’ Level subject choice across 24 subjects including outlier subjects in Drama, Engineering and Fine Art; (3) Edexcel Level 3 qualifications in:
- BTEC Engineering
- BTEC Applied Science (1 A level equivalent)
- BTEC – Entrepreneurship & Enterprise (2 A level equivalent)
- BTEC – Hospitality (1 A level equivalent)
- BTEC – Sport (2 A level equivalent)
- BTEC – Travel & Tourism (2 A level equivalent)
- BTEC – Creative Media Production (2 A level equivalent)
or (4) the full International Baccalaureate Diploma.
Creditably, as it stands, Capital School would be the first school in the UAE to offer A’ Level (as opposed to BTEC) Engineering. More on the A’ Level Engineering curriculum structure follows below:A Level Engineering
More detailed on planned subject options at GCSE, A level and BTEC can be found in our tables.
If Capital School delivers this degree of extended subject choice, it will also offer the broadest choice of subjects of any current British, English National Curriculum school in the UAE.
The broader focus includes a
- Skill based curriculum with objectives designed to encourage creativity and innovation.
- Commitment to raise the bar for second-language and SEND children.
- Aspirational, UK qualified teaching faculty, who encourage children to be independent learners.
- Curriculum underpinned by Bloom based theoretical models and taxonomy to encourage problem solving, creativity and confidence. The approach is to move learning beyond facts to learning through innovation.
- Strong technology focus on robotics, web design and coding.
- Community and parental engagement with individual progress tracking and daily parental updates and communication. The school runs regular 20-minute “Capital Breakfast Briefings” for parents modelled on TED talks followed by breakfasts and discussions. There is an “Open Door” policy across the Senior Leadership team for parents by phone, email or visits. Bi-termly meetings take place with all parents and the Parents Teachers Association meets twice a term. These are supported by a weekly newsletter, daily school blogs and parent-led, class focused WhatsApp Groups
- Unique engineering programmes at BTEC and A’ level with a curriculum wide focus on STEM subjects and cross curricular learning.
- Engagement with inter-school competitive sporting programmes.
- Industry visits and a ongoing programme of external speaker and experts visits and presentations.
Capital School Leadership
Dr. Sue Pattison has been recruited internally from within Capital School following her appointment as Vice Principal earlier this year (April 2019). Dr Pattison has been an educator for 35 plus years, twenty years of which she served as Principal in six schools internationally, including in the United Kingdom (a highlight of which was her posting at the prestigious Bootham Junior School, an independent Quaker school in York, for pupils between the ages of 3 years and 11 years), Bahrain (as Founding principal) and Dubai (Capital School). Dr. Pattison’s extensive experience as a teacher includes posts in Malaysia and India. Dr. Pattison has also worked as an inspector of Schools for the UK’s Independent Schools Inspectorate, broadly an equivalent to the KHDA in Dubai and ADEK in Abu Dhabi. Her aim is to fast track Capital School’s move towards Outstanding school status for its next inspection in March 2020.
Dr. Pattison is supported by Capital School’s new Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Pablo Fetter. Dr. Fetter joins Capital School from his former positions as Chief Executive Officer at both GEMS Education Africa and Kings’ Education, and Head of Investments at GEMS Global and Bahrain Mumtalakat. An economist and engineer by training, Dr. Fetter draws from his experience of growing up as part of a family of teachers and expertise in computer science and STEM within schools.
Capital School Fees and Value
|FS1||AED 38,000||AED 29,500||50%||AED 14,750|
|FS2||AED 38,000||AED 31,000||20%||AED 24,800|
|Year1||AED 43,000||AED 34,050||15%||AED 28,942|
|Year2||AED 43,000||AED 34,350||AED 34,350|
|Year3||AED 48,000||AED 37,900||AED 37,900|
|Year4||AED 48,000||AED 37,900||AED 37,900|
|Year5||AED 53,000||AED 41,900||AED 41,900|
|Year6||AED 53000||AED 41,900||AED 41,900|
|Year7||AED 58,000||AED 49,500||AED 49,500|
|Year8||AED 58,000||AED 49,500||AED 49,500|
As above, the value proposition here for fees to Year 2, in particular, are very high. The degree to which later years fees reflect this degree of value will be met in full as the school develops its ambitious GCSE, A’ Level, BTEC and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programmes.
Bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com Verdict 2019-20
We chose the dual IGCE/A Level /BTEC and International Baccalaureate Diploma founded curricula to provide students with the maximum choice of curriculum within an internationally recognized framework. Every student from Year 1 upwards will benefit from our Enterprise Curriculum.
It is expected that Capital School will become a recognised Enterprise Academy as it evolves.
The Music Maestros Programme will ensure that every child has access to a core Music curriculum. Music, and its cross-curricular links, will permeate the school and the curriculum.
We do not believe ‘one size fits all’ with regard to the curriculum, or teaching and learning. Our aim is to meet the diverse range of needs and interest of every student at Capital School.
Our decision to offer the A Level/IBDP option at Year 13 arises from the needs of expatriate families from multiple countries whose children will select universities from all over the world.
Many students prefer to specialise at Post-16 level, others prefer to maintain breadth in their options. Capital School will meet the needs of both.
Dr. Bran Gray. Director of Learning. Capital School.
These are early days.
Capital School is in the process of completely transforming school provision. The school’s owners have invested to date in extremely experienced new leadership that are pioneering a new curriculum structure that will offer A Level, the IB Diploma and technical stream education through BTEC.
This is to all intents and purposes a new school bearing no relationship, in current ambition, owners and calibre of leadership to the original school launched in 2014.
Today (September 2019), under new leadership and ownership, the school is setting the bar extremely high.
If it delivers on the promise, Capital School will completely re-write what parents can expect at this fee level.
In curriculum breadth Capital School will be competing with the likes of Brighton College, Dubai English Speaking School and The British School of Al Khubairat for the exceptional choice of subjects offered to students at BTEC and A level. In its further offering the choice to study for the International Baccalaureate Diploma it can be compared with Sunmarke School.
The school’s commitment to employing only British teaching faculty to teach English National Curriculum subjects, in conjunction with its tri-lingual language programme from FS1 and extended curriculum provision in Enterprise and Music, gives Capital School an extremely high value proposition for parents.
The school’s facilities exceed those expected at this price point and in 2019 we have seen significant investment in the IT provision underpinning the school with more investment in infrastructure and facilities promised to follow as the school beds in all-through provision.
Our view of the school, on our 2019 visit, saw extremely positive relationships between teachers and students, happy and engaged children and genuinely ambitious, extremely talented school leadership. The new owners, it should be noted, have attracted a leadership team with experience drawn from the who’s who of UAE schooling Groups including those of Kings’ and GEMS.
Worth noting too, on a practical note, that Capital School offers students after school care until 6:00pm to support working families.
The ambition marks out our a school in which the best is yet to come and there are now real opportunities for parents and students to shape the future of an ambitious school that may very well in future years set benchmarks for this price point.
We watch with interest.
©SchoolsCompared.com 2020. All rights reserved.
[Prospective parents should note that we have provided very limited projected scoring only for this school given its new leadership and significantly enhanced level of recent school investment. Broader scoring will be provider as the school beds in investment and improvements to school provision. All scoring is relative to fee structure.]
Acceptable with Good and Very Good features
Acceptable with Good and Very Good features
FS1: AED 14,750
FS2: AED 24,800
Year 1: AED 28,942
Year 2: AED 34,350
Year 3: AED 37,900
Year 4: AED 37,900
Year 5: AED 41,900
Year 6: AED 41,900
Year 7: AED 49,500
Year 8: AED 49,500
Year 9: Phased launch
Year 10: Phased launch
Year 11: Phased launch
Year 12: Phased launch
* Note: These are discounted fees 2019-20
English National Curriculum
(2) GCSE - Phased launch
(3) A Level - Phased launch
(4) International Baccalaureate Diploma
(1) BSO accredited 2017 - 2020
30+ including BTEC
Planned A' Level provision on all-through opening includes:
• Business Studies
• Product Design
• English language
• English literature
• Fine art
• Further mathematics
• Media studies
• Art photography
Planned BTEC provision on all-through launch includes:
• BTEC Engineering
• BTEC Applied Science (1 A level equivalent)
• BTEC – Hospitality (1 A level equivalent)
• BTEC – Entrepreneurship & Enterprise (2 A level equivalent)
• BTEC – Sport (2 A level equivalent)
• BTEC – Travel & Tourism (2 A level equivalent)
• BTEC – Creative Media Production (2 A level equivalent)
Planed GCSE provision on all-through opening includes:
• Arabic for native speakers
• Business Studies
• Combined Science
• Design and Technology (product design)
• Design and Technology (textiles)
• English language
• English Literature
• Food Preparation and nutrition
• Fine Art
• Graphic Design
• Islamic Studies
• Media studies
• Islamic Studies
• Media Studies
• Physical Education
Capacity: 2000 on all-through opening.
Current role: 793
Capital School, Al Qusais, Dubai
Arab (largest nationality)
(1) Chief Executive Officer: Mr. Ahmed Saud Ghouth
+971 (0)4 2381 888
NA - school in phased launch
NA - school in phased launch
NA - school in phased launch
NA - school in phased launch
NA- school in phased launch
• Outstanding subject breadth
• Dual stream IB and A level Sixth Form
• Committed, experienced and proven senior leadership team
• Committed and investing new school owners
• High level of facility provision at the price point
• Enterprise and Music focus
• Opportunity for parents and students to play a role in shaping the evolution of a school in phased launch
• To all intents and purposes a new school with new owners, leadership and curriculum
• Teething issues faced by all new schools in phased launch