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Horizon English School, Al Safa, Jumeirah – The Review
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Review

Horizon English School, Al Safa, Jumeirah – The Review

by October 19, 2020

“By focusing purely on the primary years of education we can instil the right values in our children from an early age.

We take pride in our sports teams and music groups (both of which form a huge part of school life) being inclusive, and we make a point of making sure that no child ever feels left behind.

We create the environment for children to flourish and, when this is combined with the highest standards of teaching, children experience success in all its forms.”

Nick Hart. Principal. Horizon English School.

Horizon English School continues to drive its credentials as one of Dubai’s top-tier private (mixed) primary schools, re-securing its Outstanding School rating for the third consecutive year in 2023 following Very Good with Outstanding features accreditation in all three of the KHDA’s round of inspections in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The school was ranked the Happiest School in the United Arab Emirates by The Top Schools Awards in 2021- 2022 with across-the-board unanimous praise by Judges, the Advisory Board and educationalists from both SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com.

Arguably the most contested category of the UAE’s defining Awards in education, Horizon English School again secured further Finalist recognition in the Top Schools Awards 2023 – 2024.

Horizon is also rated ‘outstanding’ by the British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspectorate and is a member of the British Schools Middle East (BSME) network.

GEMS_INARTICLE  

Established in 1992 Horizon School caters to 926 students from a variety of backgrounds and 43 nationalities. 43% of students are from the United Kingdom and 12% from Australia.

The school employs 65 full and part-time teachers with between 19 and 26 students per class and a staff: student ratio of 1:14. Significant growth in student and staff numbers were noted in the 2015-16 KHDA report and teacher turnover in 2018 (at 24%) has stabilised somewhat – now around average across all UAE schools. The school role is still growing, around 8% last year.

In 2023, Horizon English School became part of Cognita which, prior to the acquisition of Horizon English School, was best known for its Royal Grammar School Dubai. It was a move that brings huge benefits to families as RGS now becomes the defined slipstream for a school that historically depended on the availability of places at its preferred outstanding graduating slipstreams. Worth noting for historical record, that this outstanding school has evolved through the contributing accomplishments of some outstanding former Heads including Ian Wallace, David Baldwin and Marion Sinclair.

Horizon English School now delivers an across-the-board Outstanding accredited level of education across all phases in Science, English and Mathematics.

Warm and inspiring facilities are a stand-out feature of Horizon English School in Dubai

Evidencing continued investment, both new and improved facilities have been introduced at the school over the last five years including: 

  • New specialist teaching spaces including a creative zone to stimulate new ideas, innovation and invention, especially among older primary children.
  • Upgraded sporting facilities including (1) a raised playing area with a view of the iconic Dubai skyline; (2) upgrades to the pool’; and, (3)  new fitness facilities.
  • New dining and auditorium facilities
  • Improved parking with additional parking spaces designed to minimise congestion during morning drop off and afternoon pick up timings
  • New classrooms to allow the school to meet demand from its Waiting List

Sport is one of many of the outstanding features of life at the school.

Fees for Horizon English School range from between AED 42,063 to AED to 56,377 per year, although parents considering the school should note that the school comes with relatively steep ‘optional’ costs that parents claim are in practice required. Option costs can add more that AED 10,000 to the basic fees.

Historically, slipstream schools include Dubai College, reviewed here, English College, Dubai, reviewed here, Dubai English Speaking College, reviewed here, and more recently Al Najah Education’s sister school, Horizon International School, reviewed here. Horizon students are in demand – but with a defined slipstream to Royal Grammar School Guildford in place, some of Dubai’s most established outstanding schools have lost out.

Horizon English School Fees

 Fees at Horizon English School are Premium Plus but the value proposition is high. We would like to see a dedicated scholarship programme.

FS1 Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Annual
Tuition Fee – 2023 – 24 16,349 12,257 12,257 40,863
Medical Fees 1,200 1,200
Total 17,549 12,257 12,257 42,063
FS2 Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Annual
Tuition Fee – 2023 – 24 19,591 14,688 14,688 48,967
Medical Fees 1,200 1,200
Total 20,791 14,688 14,688 50,167
Year 1-6 Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Annual
Tuition Fee – 2023 – 24 22,073 16,552 16,552 55,177
Medical Fees 1,200 1,200
Total 23,273 16,552 16,552 56,377

Horizon English School bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2023 – 2024

Primary children at Horizon English School in Dubai learning in class

It is increasingly difficult in Dubai’s landscape of new Tier 1 schools to find dedicated Primaries. To find one that remains on a small-scale with genuine community dynamics and the happiness that flows from this is even harder. Horizon delivers this – and with one of the broadest spectrum of slipstream choices for parents, including some of the best schools in Dubai. Worth noting that we rate teaching faculty at Horizon English School as cross-the-board outstanding – and caring.

Horizon English School has quite a reputation.  Amongst Dubai parents the school is very much seen as part and parcel of the best of the dedicated group of pure flow Primaries. It may not have the not-for-profit “Ivy league” cache of some, but today it does have the powerhouse support of one of the landmark school groups behind it. Year-on-year, it continues to build its own highly creditable, very happy and successful school identity and extraordinarily high parental loyalty.

The school is constrained by its location from all-through expansion  (parents clamour every year to “find a way” for our children to stay) – but we think that should be seen as a strength. This is a school dedicated to Early Years learning and the celebration of childhood unencumbered by the pressures that inevitably come with older children. With RGS as a defined pathway for graduating students, the issue is no longer pressing and parents are, in the vast majority, now satisfied that they have the very best of both worlds.

Horizon English School is a school that continues to play an important role in the educational life and culture of the UAE.  It’s a school that we think deserves its Outstanding rating from KHDA inspectors. It has the spectrum of Tier 1 educational cogs in place enabling its children to reach for the stars. And that is exactly what they do – happiness in tow.

Highly recommended.

Note for parents: the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau refer to the school as the “Horizons English School” whilst it is also known as “Horizon English School.”

©SchoolsCompared.com 2023 – 2024. All rights reserved.

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Details to consider
2018/19 Overall ADEK / KHDA Rating

Outstanding (2020)
Outstanding (2019)

2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features (2018)

2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features (2017)

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features (2016)
Outstanding (2015)

Type of school

Private

WSA Good School

Yes

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS-1 28,249
FS-2 28,249
YEAR-1 39,564
YEAR-2 39,564
YEAR-3 39,564
YEAR-4 39,564
YEAR-5 39,564
YEAR-6 39,564
YEAR-7: NA
YEAR-8: NA
YEAR-9: NA
YEAR-10: NA
YEAR-11: NA
YEAR-12: NA
YEAR-13: 84602

Curriculum

National Curriculum of England
Notes:
(1) EYFS

Selective

Not selective

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

926

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:14

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

24%

Year opened

1989

Location

Al Safa, Jumeirah, Dubai

Student composition

British (largest nationality)

Gender

Mixed

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Al Najah Education Limited (Al Masah Capital Limited (alternative investment/private equity fund))
Notes:
(1) Shailesh Dash, Chairman
(2) (Mr) Raza Khan, CEO

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 3422891

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

80%

Attainment Pri SEM

86.6%

Attainment Sec SEM

NA

Attainment Post-16 SEM

NA

Progress Nur SEM

80%

Progress Pri SEM

86.6%

Progress Sec SEM

NA

Progress Post-16 SEM

NA

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

40%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

60%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

NA

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

50%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

NA

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

NA

Leadership

100%

Community

100%

Facilities

100%

Quality of teaching

80%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

100%

School Governance

100%

SEN Provision

90%

Strengths

• Children’s attainment and progress is outstanding in English, Mathematics and Science at Foundation Stage and in Mathematics at Primary level
• Students achieve outstanding learning skills, and excel in personal and social development
• The quality of the curriculum, support for students and Special Educational Need [SEN] provision is outstanding
• School governance and leadership is outstanding with best-in-class parental partnership and communications
• The School is committed to a significant and recognised role for Governors in improving staffing, facilities and resources
• Horizon offers an extremely warm, inviting and inspiring atmosphere for its children's education

Weaknesses

• Students’ progress in Islamic Education and Arabic language is not as impressive as in other core subjects
• No bursary or scholarship programme.

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

Horizon School's inspection reports make impressive reading, but these come alive and gain context and strength when visiting the school and experiencing its very special learning environment. That Horizon's warmth and inspirational atmosphere has been maintained in the face of very significant expansion says much for the leadership of the school. Concerns that the school has a mismatch in student achievement in Arabic language and Islamic Education when compared with their success in Science, Mathematics and English may well be partly explained by the pressures of school expansion and the particular demands of these subjects for Western children. One of the top British International Primary schools in the UAE, and one that feeds many of the top British schools in Dubai. Outstanding.

A-
Our Rating
A
User Rating
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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