The Indian High School (Senior Campus), Oud Metha – The Review
Updated January 2020 – The Indian High School examination results, KHDA 2019, 20 and SchoolsCompared.com verdict
“In this turbulent world, opportunity exists for those who can thrive in ambiguity – those who create, innovate and handle risks.
In other words, opportunities exist for the projective thinker.
At the Indian High School, Dubai, we are committed to promoting a generation of such thinkers… Projective Thinkers, who will grow and become Proactive Global Citizens.”
Dr. Ashok Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, The Indian High School
The Indian High School (Senior Campus) in 2018 and 2019 secured a downgrade in its KHDA Outstanding rating to Very Good with Outstanding features. The fall in rating followed its achievement of Outstanding school status for six previous consecutive years. In the following we look at the background – but it should be borne in mind that even its new rating places the Indian High School amongst a very limited number of the UAEs highest performing schools.
The Indian High School Dubai is a private K-12 Indian curriculum CBSE school and the first private school founded in Dubai. It has grown rapidly. Today the Senior Campus employs 454 teachers to educate 5631 children, by any standards a very large school. It’s worth noting that students numbers are down by over 100 students and teacher numbers up by around 20 teachers since 2017 – investment is not at issue here. The reduction in numbers follows historic concerns of overcrowding at Middle School levels. As of 2018, the school’s overall advertised average of 1:13 teacher-pupil ratio has improved to 1:12 – this sort of high investment in teachers reflected in its achieving outstanding performance from its pupils in English, Mathematics and Science.
Economies of scale partly explain the low price-point of its fees, which are just 10,253 AED at Grade 12. In simple value for money terms, for parents seeking a premier league Indian, predominantly expatriate, education for their children, the school’s offer is extraordinary and arguably unmatched.
The Indian High School’s resolutely not-for-profit ethic shines through – and fees are aligned with afford-ability, first, and second, the needs of the school to re-invest. You cannot have a school without children, you cannot have an inclusive school that refuses children on the basis of fees, and you cannot provide a best-in-class education without investing in the best teachers and updated facilities to educate. It’s a complex balancing act that the school has managed to achieve perfectly. Something has had to give and it has been the size of the school and broader investment outside core teaching staff.
Little wonder that the Indian High School is the most over-subscribed school in the UAE. It’s a credit to The Indian High School then, that it remains resolutely inclusive. It could so easily have changed its whole approach to be academically selective – but then certainly much of what makes The Indian High School sparkle would surely be lost. Entry to the school, in practice, is decided by lottery on the basis of fairness, where other schools more often introduce academic testing to resolve Waiting Lists (even when academically otherwise inclusive).
Although The Indian High School advertises itself as co-educational, classes are in practice split and girls and boys taught separately. This model is not driven by dogma, but by what has simply been proven to work best for children.
Results are exceptional, but most telling is the 100% university slipstream with a strong circa 40% of students progressing to universities in the UK, US and Canada. As with all exceptional schools, however, it is in the area of whole child provision that the school shines brightest – provision in Performing Arts, taking just one example, is absolutely top tier. The same holds true in Sport – and predictably, cricket is loved and outstandingly well catered for in equal measure.
The Indian High School is affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi, a member of the Round Square global network of schools (https://www.roundsquare.org/) and follows the CBSE Curriculum.
One feature of the school we wish to praise is post-16 subject choice. It is a frustration with Indian curriculum schools that subject choice is usually diminished, with young men and women, in the most part, given a restrictive choice of Science or Commerce streams. This is driven for the most part by parents who are often focused on Medicine or Accountancy as certain careers to ensure the success of their children in later life. Of course, self evidently, not all children will necessarily skilled in, to be Doctors or Accountants and the price paid by these children will be high.
Often too in Indian schools, there is not even provision for higher level English.
The Indian High School will have none of it. Instead we have a fabulous mix of subjects across Business, Sciences – but the Humanities and Social Sciences too. We particularly praise provision for Psychology – a critical bridging subject between the Arts and Sciences and one particularly in favour with top tier universities – and Entrepreneurship, a forward looking subject and one that many alternative curricular schools would do well to adopt. Subject choice at the Indian High School is impressive:
- Engineering Drawing
- Business Studies
- Home Science
- Informatics Practices (Information and Communications Technology(ICT))
It should be noted that The Indian High School has very different, less successful though improving, “Junior” and “International” campuses/branches situated in Al Garhoud and Dubai Silicon Oasis respectively.
So what happened to see a downgrade to a school that clearly performs for children?
In very simple terms, The Indian High School, together with a number of other other Outstanding, very high performing schools, “failed to follow KHDA guidance for inclusion and the
SEND categories, so that teaching and support were not effectively matched to need.” Essentially, outside this, the way the school managed data did not allow the most effective benchmarking of child progress and attainment.
What all this means is that schools need to have systems in place to measure the performance of every child individually over time against predicted flight paths of what a child should achieve, based on their ability on entering the school. If a school does not have accurate data, it simply cannot respond to the needs of individual children in a structured, fail-safe way. It also cannot be held to account. The bigger picture here is that, very creditably, the KHDA are introducing systems to ensure that it can effectively itself check on the ways children are being looked after by schools. To do that it needs verifiable data which can also be used comparatively to ascertain the relative performance of schools.
In practice, we would expect the Indian High School to rapidly rectify this. By the gtime of its next inspection an Outstanding rating is not out of reach – but teacher workloads are increased with the level of data management that is inspected of them and The Indian High School will need to make allowances for this.
The Indian High School Bottom Line? The SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2019.
Reviewing a school must be relative. It would be unfair to look at this school in the context of a school charging 10 times its fees. However, if a school delivers a poor education at low fees, that can never make it a good one. The reason why The Indian High School is such an important school for the UAE is that it provides an outstanding education at a fee level that is affordable for families who would otherwise simply not have access to this level of education. In many ways it has always been a school that is seen as delivering the “holy grail” of low fees with both outstanding results and whole child education.
This has not changed and parents should in our view not in any way be dissuaded from applying to this remarkable school. The Indian High School breadth of subject choice across Science, Commerce and the Humanities is stand-out, results of children in 2018 and 2019, as each year, fell within the first division of each, care for children and personal development is top notch – and the happiness and sense of achievement felt by children something to behold.
This is a fabulous school, albeit one that needs to get its data in order so that it can achieve even more for its children.
Very highly recommended.
Very Good with Outstanding features
Very Good with Outstanding features
Very Good - Outstanding
YEAR 1: NA
YEAR 2: NA
YEAR 3: NA
YEAR 4: NA
YEAR 5: 5,413
YEAR 6: 6,560
YEAR 7: 6,560
YEAR 8: 6,560
YEAR 9: 8,203
YEAR 10: 8,203
YEAR 11: 10,253
YEAR 12: 10,253
Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi
Fully, unambiguously inclusive
Admission by lottery on principles of fairness.
Class sizes have reduced from 26 to 24 children as of 2018.
7% (Very low)
Indian (largest nationality)
Mixed but sexes taught separately
+971 4 3377475
• The Senior Campus offers all students outstanding teaching and academic outcomes in English, Mathematics and Science; students’ attitudes to learning are exemplary
• The Campus offers a broad range of subjects and extra-curricular activities that fully reflect students’ interests and aspirations
• Arrangements for protecting and supporting students are best-in-class
• The school nurtures relationships with parents, providing very high quality information about each child’s progress
• ICT provision is excellent and students use electronic tablets very effectively for research and communication, although use is restricted to specific student groups.
• The school has a focussed, very impressive career counselling programme to guide students in making further education choices on graduation
• Leadership and governance are synergistic and outstanding in meeting the school’s vision to inspire and educate all its students to become proactive and global citizens
• The middle phase of the school does quite not match the strengths of its Post-16 counterpart, although this is also adjudged to be improving in the most recent KHDA report
• Arabic as an additional language teaching within the middle phase is not up to the standard of the Senior grades but is improving. Whilst listening skills are deemed to be strong, students lack the skills to be able to apply vocabulary and grammar to extended writing and speaking tasks
• KHDA requirements for class sizes are not always met, leading to unacceptable and damaging overcrowding. There are funding, resource and management issues in the middle phase
• Special Educational Needs provision is praised overall, but curriculum adaptation in some classes is not always implemented effectively