Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Dubai school rankings: four new outstanding schools and five failing

Schools that have improved their ratings in the KHDA report will be able to hike fees in the next academic year

Performance rankings for 176 private schools in Dubai were released on Wednesday, with four new outstanding schools and five singled out for failing.

Seventeen schools were given an outstanding rating, the highest category, including Kings’ School Dubai, Gems Wellington, Gems Jumeirah College and Dubai College.

Another 28 were rated very good, 74 were ranked good and 52 were rated acceptable. Five schools were rated weak.

Jumeirah English Speaking School, Horizons English School, Dubai English Speaking School and Kings School Al Barsha rose from very good last year to outstanding this year.

Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou School in Dubai dipped from outstanding to very good.

This year, inspection results were announced a month early to give parents more time to choose schools, education regulator the Knowledge and Human Development Authority said. Parents in the emirate use ratings as indicators of the quality of education provided at the school.

The ranking of each school also determines by how much it can increase its fees.

Find your Dubai school ranking

School operators will be allowed to raise fees by as much as 4.14 per cent this year. Dubai uses a complex calculation to determine how much schools can charge, taking into account inflation and overall performance. This year it favours weaker schools, to allow them to boost their income.

All the schools mentioned will be eligible to increase their fees. Schools that maintain standards will also be allowed to increase fees.

Six schools dipped in standards and will not be allowed to step up fees this year.

___________

Mapped: Dubai's top schools

Key: Green = outstanding | Yellow = v.good | Blue = good | Grey = acceptable | Red = weak

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“This year we have seen remarkable progress, with 18 schools improving their overall rating," said Fatma Belrehif, the head of the Dubai School Inspection Bureau.

"Schools with noticeable improvements have been able to consistently integrate inspection findings as part of their overall systematic school improvement plans."

Of the 176 private schools inspected by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau, five schools moved from "good" to "very good", with six moving from "acceptable" to "good", and three moved from "weak" to "acceptable".

Among the weaker schools that have improved their ranking is Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistani School, which rose from weak to acceptable after seven years at the bottom of the chart.

Principal Imran Waheed said the school, which has among the lowest fees in the city, has turned a corner.

“We didn’t change any teachers, but changed the teaching style in the school," he said.

“We focused on the professional development of the faculty. We used the previous inspection report as a beacon for us.

“The pupils at my school have been deemed very good for personal and social development while their knowledge of religion and Emirati culture was appreciated.

“The school fee is our only source of income. We used our finances sparingly and wisely."

Parents pay just Dh3,130 per child for kindergarten, rising to Dh6,250 per year for those in the final grade 12 year.

Pupils are enjoying a better standard of education thanks to improvements made at Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistan School. Reem Mohammed/The National
Pupils finish at Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistani School, where standards have improved, on Wednesday. Reem Mohammed / The National

The ability to raise fees by about 3 per cent, as set out by the government, will only see fees rise by about Dh250 more per year for each pupil.

“KHDA has many requirements and we need the community to be involved and help us with resources," Mr Waheed said.

At the other end of the table, two Kings’ two schools in Dubai are rated outstanding.

“The thing that really got us to outstanding was rapid progress in mathematics, science, and English and that comes from outstanding teachers," said Alan Williamson, chief executive of the group of schools.

The schools use aspects of the Scandinavian curriculum such as play-based learning in the early years.

“We also teach enterprise and we ask them to be innovative in project-based learning," he said.

Kings School Al Barsha has among the highest fees in the country, charging Dh52,007 in foundation stage one, rising to Dh103,200 in grade 13.

Parents need to realise that to bring in the best outstanding teachers, and we only recruit from outstanding schools in UK, you do have to pay

Alan Williamson

“Kings continue to offer a high value for money and parents need to realise that to bring in the best outstanding teachers, and we only recruit from outstanding schools in UK, you do have to pay," said Mr Williamson.

He said the “2.07 per cent increase in fee (for schools that maintain their ranking) is a good comprise".

"We are happy with the KHDA announcement as this motivates the lower school grades to move up," he said.

In the middle of the table, Amled School in Al Quoz rose from an acceptable rating to good and is now eligible for increasing fees.

But principal Shiny Davison said it has decided not to increase fees in order to reduce the financial burden on parents.

“The most important factor for this jump was understanding standards and requirements," she said.

“And the biggest jump was the improvement in kindergarten. We modified the complete environment of teaching in the school and we trained our teachers and this helped them understand the requirements.

“We understand the economic situation of the community and we think that we can maintain standards without increasing fees."

Updated: April 11, 2019 09:03 PM

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