Cambridge International School, Dubai
With just over 2,569 students (up 200 on last year) Cambridge International School Dubai, located in Garhoud, is a well established GEMS school teaching children from KG to Year 13.
Almost 70 different nationalities are represented among the student population, and according to the school itself no one nationality dominates the student body. However, the largest single demographic is Indian (according to the KHDA).
Students are taught by 137 full-time teachers in 88 classes – giving an average classroom size of 29 plus (down from 34 plus last year – very high for a GEMs UK curriculum school). Plans for a new facility to address the issue of class sizes were put in place over the last academic year.
Ranked ‘Good’ by the KHDA for five years in a row, Cambridge International has some Outstanding features according to the education regulator.
The KHDA singles out the Post 16 age group curriculum, the relationship the school has developed with parents, the quality of its special needs provisions and the opportunity for vocation based education: The school has recently introduced Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) level 2 and level 3 vocational qualification in a range of subjects at secondary and post-16 phases respectively. Every year the school says it “looks to further develop the pathways that we have on offer to our students” – see the Q and A. Parental engagement is also said to be a strength of the school.
The National Curriculum for England is the school’s core curriculum. Students are entered for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and/or GCSE examinations at the end of the secondary phase and GCE Advanced level examinations at the end of the post-16 phase.
For recommendations, the KHDA noted in 2012/13 the Primary phase needed to improve teaching methods. This is also stressed in its 2013/14 report, although the KHDA notes it has seen an improvement in teaching styles, leading to an improvement in pupil attainment.
As with nearly all KHDA reports Arabic and Islamic studies are recommendations for further improvements.
The school helpfully publishes the university destinations of its students. Perhaps reflecting the mixed nationality of its student body, the school’s alumni spread across the four corners of the world. The biggest single destination is the UAE, followed by the United Kingdom, and students end up in good quality ‘Red Brick’ schools (Manchester, UCL, Leeds) as well as more vocational former Polytechnics (Portsmouth, Kingston, etc).
In the 2011-2012 academic year 79% of students from Cambridge International School, Dubai achieved A* – C (including Math and English) in their IGCSE examinations. This is almost 20% higher than the UK National average of 59.4% for the same year. In the 2011 – 2012 academic year 27% of students from Cambridge International School, Dubai obtained A –A* in their A Level Examinations. This is about 2% higher than the UK National Average of 24.4% for the same year. Results have not been published for 2012/13.
There are a large range of facilities available for students of all ages to use. A large covered swimming pool, cricket nets and playing fields complement the indoor sports arena and multi-purpose hall. A separate, well-equipped, grassed playing area is available for students from Kindergarten to Year 2.
The school has five ICT labs (with over 180 computers available for students), two art studios, a music studio, two well stocked libraries, a multi-purpose sports hall, and a standard sized football pitch with all weather AstroTurf.
Feedback from parents to Which School Advisor has been mixed. The school is currently falls below average in terms of an overall recommendation from parents in the WSA School Survey. Satisfaction levels for academic performance are also below average. The school has an above average satisfaction level amongst parents with children at the school for good feedback on progress, and school discipline.
Tuition fees for the school are very affordable for a school following a UK curriculum, ranging from 15,327 AED per annum for KG grades, to 20,810 AED for Years 12-13. There are a number of other fees paid annually that cover medical, computers, etc which add another 1000 plus AED to the school fee. Fundamentally however CIS must be ranked as one of the best value, good quality UK based schools in Dubai.
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