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Dubai British Foundation, Jumeirah Islands – THE REVIEW

Dubai British Foundation, Jumeirah Islands – THE REVIEW

by November 24, 2019
Updated December 2019 – reduced fee structure 2020 – 21, new school Principal Taaleem’s Dubai British Foundation [DBF] is a specialist, self-contained Early Years Taaleem British school teaching an enriched but targeted Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) British curriculum in Foundation Years 1 and 2 only for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Opened in 2014, the Foundation provides the Early Years feeder to the Dubai British School Jumeirah Park reviewed here. Dubai British School provides continuity of all-through Year 1 – Year 13 British schooling to IGCSE and A Level. The pre-school is set on a 1.5 acre site in the Jumeirah Island with close proximity both to its slipstream school and the Springs community in Emirates Hills.
School fees at launch for Dubai British School Jumeirah Park were premium-plus top end at launch, and Dubai British Foundation was positioned, in this context, within the most expensive of the independent FS schools in the Emirate. Parents needed to consider the affordability of Dubai British School Jumeirah fees which in 2016-17 ran between 75,000DHS in Year 1 to 85,000DHS by Year 8. Fees were originally projected to meet or exceed 100,000DHS once the school moved beyond its launching phase to open for full all-through provision to Year 13. Today the picture is very different with Taaleem creditably reducing fees across its schools – and doing so crucially without impacting at all on the quality of provision. Parents should note that the more affordable and more established (and oversubscribed) KHDA Outstanding Taaleem Dubai British School is not a guaranteed slipstream for Dubai British Foundation , as it is with Taaleem’s The Children’s Garden. The rationale is not to separate children from their friends  which would be the unavoidable consequence of providing a choice of slipstream schools. The combination of a pure British EYFS curriculum, high prestige,and the demand from parents for separation of FS provision designed to protect childhood and nurture high quality Early Years focus – together with the exceptionally high quality and expensive (all-British) teacher faculty explains the then top -end fees. At today’s fees we rate the value proposition and ROI for parents very high.

“The quality of a school never exceeds the quality of its teachers.”  Sue Carpenter. Principal. Dubai British Foundation.

All teachers at Dubai British Foundation must hold an absolute minimum of two years’ qualified teaching experience, hold a UK Bachelor’s Degree in Education or equivalent, have specialised in their subject and have specific expertise and experience in Early Years learning and teaching. Teacher salaries, in the best schools, absorb around 90% of the total costs of running a school, so the concentrating on high calibre teacher recruitment we think should be a key consideration for prospective parents. We particularly like the transparency of the Dubai British Foundation publication of the names, photographs and bios of all faculty. In many schools only the name of the Principal is published, in some cases this indicating a lack of faith in a school being able to retain staff – but also a wider lack of investment in celebrating the teaching staff who are fundamental to any school’s success for its children. Both schools have been designed ground-up to offer an exceptional level of education for parents seeking a British education for their children. Facilities at the Foundation are excellent. They include a fully digital campus; (fabulous) multi-purpose (indoor) hall/multi-purpose gymnasium and theatre space; classrooms with free-flow access to shaded outdoor learning spaces; specialist music room; dedicated language lab, (beautiful) outdoor, shaded swimming pool; health centre; inspirational split-level outdoor play area with a bicycle track; Standard individually issued iPad provision for lessons; and, Children’s vegetable and herb gardens. Internal Extra-Curricular Activities (ECAs) include “Learning through Play” workshops; Parachute Games; sensory play; ‘stories in motion’; Arabic stories and songs; arts and crafts, outdoor art; Music Express; Yoga, Stories from around the World; a Visiting Speaker Programme; and, dedicated Art Club. Externally charged ECAs include Ballet (highly recommended and hosted by The National Ballet Studio at the school); Tap Dance; and, Football. Founding Principal, Sue Carpenter was not your usual career Principal – Ms Carpenter rarely combined teaching and leadership experience in equal measure, with more than three decade’s expertise drawn from and focused on Early Years and Primary education in both the UK and since 2008 within Taaleem. Whilst at Dubai British School her practice was rated outstanding by the KHDA, and Mrs Carpenter has been both Founding Principal and Head of Primary at Dubai British School. She was known for her insistence on personally meeting parents and children seeking to join the school and our sister site,, has received unambiguously positive feedback for her sensitivity to children and kindness to parents throughout the placement assessment process. Today (2019), School Principal Carrie Hoza has taken the reins, moving from her role as Deputy Principal and Head of SEND at Dubai British Foundation. A psychologist by training, Ms Hoxa brings with her more than a decade’s experience drawn from both the UK and Middle East – and a specialism in SEND. Feedback, whsilt limited, has been outstanding to both ourselves and our sister site Parents should also note our feedback that is that it is very rare for a child to be refused a place At Dubai British Foundation– the assessments are much more motivated by the school’s commitment to inclusion and ethic of ensuring that every child, and his or her parents, are going to be happy at the school and have their needs met fully. One stand-out, and unusual feature of the school is the introduction of Arabic within the EYFS framework. Most schools delay this until Year 1, and arguably the knock-on effects of this are one cause of the almost universal failure of British schools to secure even a Good rating for Arabic subject provision in later schooling. Arabic is taught in an exceptionally child-focussed way, through experience of the Arabic world around them and integrated into the music curriculum. The program is ambitious, concentrating not only on listening and speaking Arabic through song, but also the written form. Like Taaleem’s ‘The Children’s Garden’, there is a beautifully argued case for why Arabic is important, this based not simply on the richness of Arabic culture, but also the very real later career benefits attached to learning a language that is spoken by 300 million people worldwide – and a language which has a very significant shortage of British speakers in industry. The Singing for Learning (S4L) approach is integrated within the teaching of both Arabic and English. Bottom line? Dubai Foundation, and its slipstream school, Dubai British School Jumeirah, are positioning themselves at the top of the educational market for a British education in Dubai. Ambitions are very high – and this is one driver for the Foundation school being separated. Taaleem, as is evident in their equally impressive, but very different, preschools, is deeply committed to a belief both that Early Years education is critical to a child’s development – and that it is most successfully delivered separately to later all through provision. Separating early Years and all-through later provision is a little more expensive but, for a very demanding British Curriculum in which children face significant later academic demands, a price worth paying for Taaleem and the many parents that want to protect early years childhood above all else. Parents should also be aware that Dubai British Foundation is aligned closely with the traditional model of education. There are some progressive features, including the integration of music and the steadfast refusal to assess children through formal examinations, but make no mistake what is not on offer here is individualised learning in which the child is entrusted with his or her own curriculum and pace of learning. The commitment is to leave no child behind – but also to take children to the required levels of academic achievement, rigorously following and meting each requirement of the EYFS fixed curriculum, to give them the very best foundations for the demands of later whole school education. Whilst formal homework is not provided, as each child’s reading skills develop, there is an expectation that children will take reading home with them. The result is a very focused British education, set in a beautiful, genuinely inspiring environment, under the care of well-qualified – and as importantly committed and passionate teachers. Its stand-out Arabic language programme deserves praise. It will no doubt make the shortlist of many parents. Recommended.
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Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for-profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

Rising 3s: 42,000
Foundation 1: 50,000
Foundation 2: 50,000
YEAR 1: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 2: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 3: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 4: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 5: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 6: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 7: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 8: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 9: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 10: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 11: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 12: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)
YEAR 13: NA (Slipstream to Dubai British School Jumeirah Park)


National Curriculum for England

External Exam Boards

UK DofE curriculum


(1) Placement assessment and Interview administered by the Admissions Team and Principal

Waiting list

(1) Limited availability for FS1, 2016-17
(2) Limited availability for FS2, 2016-17

Value Added

Not published

Teacher to Student Ratio

(1) Maximum of 20 children per class with one teacher and one Teacher Assistant (TA)

Largest nationality teachers

(1) 32+ nationalities

Teacher turnover

Not published

Year opened



Jumeirah Islands, Dubai

Student composition

British (largest nationality)


Mixed, co-educational

School canteen




Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 558 7308

Web Address

• Outstanding Arabic language programme
• Outstanding faculty and significant investment in recruiting the very highest calibre of teachers
• Taaleem backing
• Outstanding school Principal with background in Early Years education and SEND – both as a teacher and in school management
• Outstanding facilities
• Separation of Early Years learning and later all-through provision
• Guarantee of a place at Dubai British School Jumeirah
• Outstanding school transparency
• Clear flightpaths, and on-going assessment for children providing clarity for parents on their child’s performance
• Good ROI on fees


• Lack of bursary or sponsorship provision

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SEND Provision
Scl Community
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An outstanding, premium-plus British Early Years school providing outstanding, dedicated teaching focused exclusively on the two years of FS Schooling. There are many features of the school that set benchmarks for innovation and quality in delivery of the EYFS curriculum. Recommended.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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