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The Apple International School, Al Qusais
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Review

The Apple International School, Al Qusais

by March 26, 2016
Strengths

• Low fees
• A happy, caring school with children developing their own accomplished sense of personal responsibility with the odds against them

Weaknesses

• High staff turnover
• Inadequate support staffing
• Lack of professional development
• Unqualified teaching staff
• Changes to leadership that need time to bed-in
• Lack of investment and poor strategic and operational management by parent company
• Provision only to Year 8/KS3 with no advertised slipstream for student progression
• Confused school mission and expressed values

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

• With ongoing weakness in educational provision and management, some serious, prospective parents will need to think carefully

D-
Our Rating
B
User Rating
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Is this school on your shortlist?
Top of shortlist
40%
In my Top 5
40%
Shortlisted
0%
A possibility
20%
Pass
0%
No way
0%

Updated December 2016

The Apple International School is an Indian/Filipino school with teaching based on a limited English National Curriculum to Year 8/KS3 only.

In her introduction to prospective parents by The Apple International School’s Principal, Pranjala Dutta Das, sets the scene for the school asking prospective parents to join with the school to “brace ourselves for the era to which the milestone of ‘Concept Revolution’ directs.”

It is “essential” she says, for “schools to help students build the skills of applying the given information/knowledge on various platforms so that their cognitive skills are chiseled.” She confirms that the issue is that children must be ready to face “the fancy future, head on.”

In her welcome letter to children she clarifies that: “We [AIS) are different and so shall be your child – a product of the Gen Next- suave, witty and aware. And yet humble and inculcated with vital life skills and values which are the very essence of education.”

Mrs Das was formerly Principal of the CBSE curriculum based Mohali campus of Oakridge International School in Punjab, India prior to taking up her role at Apple in November 2014.

Facilities are described as including a spacious campus; library; a science laboratory; a play area (with a “kinder club”); a free flow area; an outside learning area with a sandpit; a reading corner; a book store; a canteen; and a clinic. The school also states it has audio-visual facilities.

Year 8 education consists of teaching in English; mathematics; combined science; Arabic; Islamic Studies; ICT; geography; UAE Social Studies; French; Urdu and PHSE. This is a very limited curriculum for students who will need to leave the school to further their education to (I)GCSE and beyond. The school advertises no defined slipstream for children to further their education and prospective parents should consider whether a through school will provide a more secure option for their children.

The school is owned by IQRA Education, a privately held group of K-12 schools and pre-KG nurseries in Dubai and Sharjah which include the Indian Academy schools in Dubai and Sharjah. It advertises its flagship school as the Oxford School which we review here. None of its school’s achieve the minimum expected “Good School” rating from the Dubai Inspectorate. The schools are owned by the Lahir family which has a background in construction through its Indian KOOL Home Builders and Gama Constructions companies. All the schools are strategically and operationally managed by Nabil Lahir, Director and CEO of IQRA Education and the company is chaired by Abdul Lahir Hasan, A Civil Engineer.

KHDA Inspectors award the school an Acceptable rating, its lowest award prior to placing a school in special measures. The Acceptable rating has been secured consistently for three years. This follows historic unacceptable ratings in 2009/10 and 2011/12.

Currently the KHDA identify concerns in the following areas:

  • Despite advertising itself as an English National Curriculum school, not all teachers have a full understanding of the National Curriculum for England or are able to effectively implement the expectations of the curriculum in lessons
  • A significant number of teachers require the school to invest in their professional development in order that they are able to meet the needs of students
  • Few students in any phase are educated to think independently and creatively generate ideas
  • Technology use in the school is unstructured and chaotic leading “often” to students producing “restricted, irrelevant and unsuitable research information”
  • At FS stage less than half of all the children are tested leaving teachers no way of benchmarking their progress or making adjustments so that they can learn effectively
  • The school has no marking or assessment policy
  • The expectations of teachers assessing students’ work remain unclear
  • Most teachers in FS phases do not have an appropriate Early Years teaching qualification.
  • More than half teachers at FS stage are new with very high levels of staff turnover
  • The school does not have an effective number of teaching assistants to cope with the large class sizes
  • Classroom floors are “commonly littered with paper and debris”
  • There is insufficient investment in resources
  • The use of technology is infrequent and not meaningful

Positives in the school are centred on the caring atmosphere provided by the school, ensuring that whatever the limits of teaching, students are safe, looked after and happy. This is an important success for the school, but are outweighed by significant failings elsewhere. Children themselves are also praised highly for their developed sense of responsibility, although this is suggested to have been achieved against the significant odds they are faced with.

Feedback to our sister school site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com from parents suggest that all is not entirely happy,  although it is arguable that the school’s decision in 2014-15 to completely restructure its leadership and teaching staff needs time to bed-in.

Because of its Acceptable rating, under KHDA instruction, the school has only been able to increase fees by inflation levels. This should not hold a school back however, and many schools in the emirate have been able to move up rankings by accurate self assessment, and then a rigorous implementation of planned improvements.

So far Apple International has yet to show it has the will to brace itself sufficiently hard to find, or deliver, on those improvements, leaving its near future at least looking distinctly “fancy” free…

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: 6,137
FS2: 6,137
YEAR 1: 6,945
YEAR 2: 6,945
YEAR 3: 6,945
YEAR 4: 6,945
YEAR 5: 7,970
YEAR 6: 8,817
YEAR 7: 9,523
YEAR 8: 11,271

Curriculum

National Curriculum for England (to KS3 ONLY)

External Exam Boards

NA

Selective

Yes
(1) interactive session for FS
(2) Entrance test for year 1 and above

Waiting list

No

Value Added

Not published (WSA projected LOW)

Number of Students

2300

Teacher to Student Ratio

EYFS 1:25
Grades 1-8: 1:13

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

39%

Year opened

2005

Location

Al Qusais 1, Dubai

Student composition

Filipino (largest nationality)
Significant Indian student body
Emirati: 22
Special Educational Needs [SEN]: 22

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

IQRA Education

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 263 8989

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

58.3%

Attainment Pri SEM

50%

Attainment Sec SEM

50%
Note: Only to KS3/Year8

Attainment Post-16 SEM

NA

Progress Nur SEM

58.3%

Progress Pri SEM

50%

Progress Sec SEM

50%
Note: Only to KS3/Year8

Progress Post-16 SEM

NA

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

50%
Note: Only to KS3/Year8

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

37.5%
Note: Only to KS3/Year8

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

50%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

50%
Note: Only to KS3/Year8

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

NA

Leadership

50%

Community

75%

Facilities

25%

Quality of teaching

50%

Student personal responsibility

75%

Quality of curriculum

50%

School Governance

50%

SEN Provision

50%

About The Author
Jon Westley

Jon Westley is the Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com UK. 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