Dubai Primary
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Regent International School, The Greens, Emirates Hills
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Review

Regent International School, The Greens, Emirates Hills

by February 25, 2016
Strengths

• Opportunity to focus on dedicated FS-Primary provision
• Excellent facilities
• Leadership capacity to now start delivering on the potential to be an “Outstanding” KHDA school, with the distractions of Sunmarke behind them
• Outstanding Special Educational Needs [SEN] provision cross spectrum including Gifted and Talented children [G&T]
• Outstanding English as an Additional Language provision [EAL]
• Highly committed, passionate and effective teachers
• New MultiSmart learning, curriculum design and lesson planning
• A fabulous, much-loved Hills community school
• Capacity, commitment and potential in abundance to gain that elusive KHDA “Outstanding” rating

Weaknesses

• A school that stills need to get to grips with communicating effectively with parents to bring them on the journey as partners
• Arabic core subject provision needs more attention
• Some teething problems likely for parents with siblings at both schools

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

• At its best a trailblazing school, but, understandably, one that has been diverted by the investment needed in transferring secondary provision to Sunmarke. Moving forward as a dedicated FS-Primary, Regent International School has everything in place to shine across the board.

B+
Our Rating
A
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
50%
In my Top 5
50%
Shortlisted
13%
A possibility
0%
Pass
0%
No way
0%

Updated April 2017

Regent International School [RIS] is at a stage in its history where it faces opportunities. Established in 1993, in 2016-17 its owners, Fortes Education, took the courageous decision to build a new school for its secondary children that would see them move from Regent to the flagship Tier 1 Sunmarke School in September 2016.

The aim is that children in FS1 – Year 6 would have sufficient room to benefit from an outstanding, focused education. After many years of growth, and with demand outstripping supply, the existing full phase FS1 – Year 13 British school had simply outgrown its campus.

From September 2016, Regent International has had the opportunity to build within the existing Regent framework and campus a new dedicated FS-Primary, the school in many ways started by its founding owners the Mankani family originally, but with all the benefits of almost a quarter of a century’s experience behind it, and a new, seamless slipstream for children to move to the new landmark campus of Sunmarke from Grade 7.

Regent has, until 2016, consistently scored a “Good” rating from the KHDA inspectorate, whilst achieving, individually, some “Outstanding” scores in FS and Primary areas of provision.

Although the school has missed an Outstanding rating in leadership, facilities and governance, this will have been in no small part caused by the considerable pressures of planning a new school in concert with running an existing one. This pressure should dissipate  as Sunmarke comes on stream and beds in – and Regent, as a dedicated Primary, is given the freedom to focus on specialised provsion for its younger children.

Following our visit to the school in April 2017, we can report that the considerably brave decision by the school’s owners to separate out FS to Year 6 provision with the establishment of Sunmarke is delivering in extraordinary ways to the benefit of children. We certainly, on the basis of our visit, expect the school to achieve at least a very good rating at its next KHDA inspection.

Simplifying our findings somewhat, what we found was a school with a very clear determination to establish Regent as a school dedicated to the specific needs and demands of its younger role. A very simple example, the use of age appropriate quotations in the reception area, is extended across the school, the aim being to set the scene for students of the opportunities and ethical framework of the school, and to nurture an inspirational school environment in which children are encouraged to question and build a love of learning for its own sake.

Much of the background to school culture has been forged in the relationship the school has developed, through its owners, with the prestigious Geelong Grammar School, arguably in Australia’s top-five schools. Regent has leveraged its own variant of Geelong’s “Positive Education” model of teaching and school culture, an educational approach which, broadly speaking, seeks to empower in each child the confidence of their own inherent gifts and capacity to learn.

Underpinning the approach is that no child should ever be left behind, or doubt their capacity and potential to achieve. In many schools, the impact of a teacher, rather than child-led, authoritarian approach to learning, results, the approach argues, in many children doubting their own abilities – this in turn creating a self-fulfilling cycle in which children achieve poorly against their potential. One tool of the approach adopted at Regent, mindfulness, for example, has been integrated at Regent for many years and is only now becoming a component of the Dubai Inspectorate of School’s toolbox to drive up standards across the emirate’s schools.

We found other examples of the approach in the (genuinely inspiring) display boards used throughout the school. Good examples range from a ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ Board to those encouraging a “Growth Mindset”, how to “Float away from Failure – Sail to Success” and a “Positivity Patrol”, each made by a student from each class. Another inspirational initiative has been the development of a series of “Dear Stranger” messages posted in open envelopes along the walls and corridors of the school. Children were encouraged to open them to discover messages of support and affirmation.

The school’s Principal (“Head of Whole School”), Gaynor Dale, has two decades of experience behind her, of which, rarely, thirteen years was drawn from a single school, the UK OFSTED rated “Outstanding” Robin Hood Primary in Leeds. Mrs Dale rose through the school from an initial appointment as a 28 year-old key stage two teacher to become the schools’ Deputy Head, then Principal, the latter post held for three years until her appointment at Regent in 2016. By all accounts Ms Dale is a hugely inspirational Head, deeply committed to her children – and appointed in no small part because of the close mirroring of her educational approach with that of Regent (and in particular her belief that it is only in a happy school that children can meet their potential), her proven levels of commitment to the school under her care and her achievements in the UK. Outstanding school OFSTED status in the UK is very much the exception…

Of her many drivers, a key focus at Regent has been in developing Special Educational Need (SEN) provision (a rare weakness of the school identified by the KHDA prior to her appointment). Provision for SEN is strong with 3 dedicated centres and 8 full-time staff.  Approximately 5% of the children are identified with a SEN need. 50% of children have some moderate degree of English as an Additional Language requirement. The school’s approach is to integrate SEN provision within the as much as possible to ensure that no child is left isolated, and that all children recognise that strengths and weaknesses are very much part of the human story. This builds on a whole school approach that seeks to nurture confidence and shared respect.

EYFS provision is an outstanding feature of what has always been a school recognised for its genuine inclusive intake. For parents of children with Special Educational Needs and/or with English as an Additional Language, Regent International is, we belive, a school that performs, and we hope to see this recognised in future KHDA inspections.

Mrs Dale has also sought to empower staff in developing their own ideas, the latter resulting, as one example, in investment in Virtual Reality (VR) technology within the school as a means to enhance each child’s passion for learning and seeing the world from different perspectives. She has also introduced enhanced measurement of student flight paths so that each child’s progress can be understood, recognised and protected (this to ensure that  no child is left behind.)

Regent currently provides an education for 1100 students. Capacity of the school is around 1300 students. 76 nationalities are currently represented. Class sizes are capped between 22 and 26 students according to year with dedicated Teaching Assistants for all classes from FS1 to Year 2. Between Year 3 and Year 6, TAs are shared between classes according to identified need.  

Facilities that specifically drew our attention during our visit included the 2 dining areas; 2 Multipurpose Sports Halls; the (fabulously welcoming and welcoming) library; a Radio Broadcast Room for children between Years 4 and 6 (a podcast is available on the school’s website which brings this to life); and a Wellbeing Room. As a whole, facilities at the school are excellent including 75 individual “Activity Rooms”; specialist laboratories for individual Sciences; ICT labs; design and technology labs for food technology and specialized robotics/programming; art studios; performing arts studios for dance and movement; music rooms; drama and rehearsal spaces; fine arts rooms, prayer rooms and libraries matched to individual phases.

Sports facilities include, as above, a multi-purpose sports hall (which doubles as a theatre for performances); multi-court “Sports Decks” for ball games; 2 heated swimming pools including a learner pool; and (heated) shaded outdoor “Play Zones” for each phase including an EYFS Play Zone and outdoor pitches for games and athletics.

One standout feature highlighting the school’s responsiveness to parents is a “drop-in “period now set aside each Thursday for parents to speak with teachers about their child’s progress. The school conducts regular workshops and the now ubiquitous online communications portal is used to good effect. More importantly, communication with parents is seen as integral to good schooling.

Another significant development within the school (that stems from the investment in Sunmarke) has been the development in 2016-17 of an entirely new teaching framework, defined by RIS as “MultiSmart Learning.” This holistic new approach has seen a root and branch re-design of the curriculum and individual lesson planning to embed each of 8 linguistic, mathematic, kinesthetic, visual, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and human values elements into every lesson, regardless of subject. The approach, which incorporates Positive Education philosophy,  aims to transform the FS and Primary learning experience for children – and it is an approach that the school also hopes will result in outstanding improvements in Arabic core subject provision too (another limited weakness of the school historically identified by the KHDA, but which is pretty much shared by all non-Arabic schools in the emirate.)

Bottom line?

We really liked this school. There is something to be said for a school being able to offer dedicated FS-primary provsion – and here there is the guarantee at the end of the journey of seamless transition to Sunmarke, the school’s own slipstream senior school. Regent is now, wiithout any doubt,  much better able to focus on the very special learning needs of young children.

There have, to be balanced, been some parental frustrations at the distance from the Hills of Sunmarke because of the logistical difficulties faced by parents of siblings with children at both schools. However, to give credit to both schools, it has gone to extraordinary lengths to resolve these through timetabling and bus provision.

This aside, what stands out is an ethic of learning rooted in the belief that every child has the capacity to make a difference – and it is this that shone through for us on our visit, with children both genuinely happy, inspired and engaged. The decision of the school’s new Principal, in moving to Regent from the outstanding UK school she led and which had become her home and vocation, is  telling too of the real potential of the school and its very distinct ethics and ambition for children. It clearly took something very special indeed to attract her – and which we clearly found evident on our visit.

Highly recommended.

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: 41,533
FS2: 41,533
YEAR 1:
YEAR 2: 47,043
YEAR 3: 47,043
YEAR 4: 47,043
YEAR 5: 47,043
YEAR 6: 47,043
YEAR 7: Transfer to Sunmarke 67,900 (Founders Discount)
YEAR 8: Transfer to Sunmarke 67,900 (Founders Discount)
YEAR 9: Transfer to Sunmarke 67,900 (Founders Discount)
YEAR 10: Transfer to Sunmarke 69,900 (Founders Discount)
YEAR 11: Transfer to Sunmarke 69,900 (Founders Discount)
YEAR 12: Transfer to Sunmarke 70,900 (Founders Discount)
YEAR 13: Transfer to Sunmarke 70,900 (Founders Discount)

Curriculum

British - National Curriculum for England

IB DipM Pass Rate

NA

IB DipM Average Grade

NA

Number of A Levels offered

See Sunmarke School

A Levels offered

See Sunmarke School

A Level A* to A

See Sunmarke School

A Level A* to C

See Sunmarke School

IGCSE A* to C

See Sunmarke School

IGCSE A* to A

See Sunmarke School

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

See Sunmarke School

I/GCSEs offered

See Sunmarke School

Selective

Fully inclusive including SEN

Waiting list

Some years

Value Added

Not published (WSA projection HIGH)

Number of Students

900+
(FS1: 118 students)

Teacher to Student Ratio

FS1: 1:22
FS2: 1:24
YR1 -YR6: 1:26
Note: "The school retains the right to increase the ratio to 1:30 when the situation warrants."

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

15%
Notes:
(1) Reported by the school to be 7% for 2016-17

Year opened

1993

Location

The Greens, Emirates Living Community, Emirates Hills, Dubai,

Student composition

British (largest nationality)
Notes:
(1) 86+ nationalities

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Fortes Education

Admissions Telephone

+971 4 360 8830

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

75%

Attainment Pri SEM

75%

Attainment Sec SEM

See Sunmarke School

Attainment Post-16 SEM

See Sunmarke School

Progress Nur SEM

100%

Progress Pri SEM

83.3%

Progress Sec SEM

See Sunmarke School

Progress Post-16 SEM

See Sunmarke School

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

See Sunmarke School

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

See Sunmarke School

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

62.5%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

See Sunmarke School

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

NA

Leadership

75%

Community

75%

Facilities

75%

Quality of teaching

87.5%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

87.5%

School Governance

75%

SEN Provision

87.5%

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