School of Research Science, Dubai
Don’t be confused by the name, The School of Research Science is not Dubai’s answer to MIT, but a Good rated UK curriculum K-12 school, adapted to local cultures, and with no particular emphasis on science or research. That said, its recent move to outstanding new premises in 2014, does give it a 21st century feel.
Given the school’s popularity, its move was inevitable. Between February 2014 and September 2015 the number of students increased by 678, jumping from 2047 to 2725 children in total. The school was up 20% in the previous year, and over one-third in the two years previous to its latest spurt of growth. The school is already encroaching on its new capacity of 3,000 children, and the outstanding new facilities will just make it even more of a draw to its demographic – predominantly local families (7 out of 10 students studying at the school Emiratis) with the remainder coming largely from Arabic families.
In the message from the founder, an emphasis is placed on the fact that this is an Arabic/Islamic school – not so much in language or curriculum, but in the roots of those studying at the school. As a result, it “is concerned with preserving the heritage of our culture, its language, its literature, history and especially its Islamic tradition.” It aims to shape a “future Islamic generation who will be creative, independent thinkers, able to adapt their knowledge and skills to the changing needs of this technological age.”
So while the core curriculum is quite traditionally Western, based on the National Curriculum for England and Wales, it sits alongside an “Islamic ethos, designed to “develop our students into young men and women, proud and understanding of their own culture but conversant and sympathetic to that which is best in Western ideas and culture.”
Students take GCSE and IGCSE examinations in secondary school at the end of Year 11. They take GCE A/S level examinations in the post-16 phase at the end of Year 12. Only about 70 students are currently in the post-16 phase of school.
There are currently 211 teachers supported by 35 teaching assistants delivering an excellent 1:13 teacher:student ratio. All teachers are appropriately qualified.
The majority of teachers are from the UK or Ireland rather than recruited locally. This inevitably means a higher teacher turnover, which is currently running at 20% per annum – this may sound high, but is average for the UAE. Interestingly, a look at the senior leadership team and board of governers really shows evidence of that split between a Western focused curricula, within an Arab and Islamic context. Functional curriculum experts are clearly drawn from the United Kingdom, while the board of governors, which will provide the school’s direction and context, largely Arab and UAE based.
To the credit of the school in the past has published the results of students sitting external examinations, so parents who hold academic performance of the school to be important can judge its success. That said, the school has yet to publish its 2015 results. Which School Advisor strongly advises all schools in the UAE to provide information which in most countries is freely available.
In 2014, pupils at the school achieved 86% at IGCSE compared to the UK average of 74%. The percentage of pupils achieving the higher levels of A* and A was 40% compared to the UK average of 18%. Ninety per cent of pupils made better than expected progress during their time in the secondary phase. Only a small number of students, 10 in total, completed Year 13 and took their A levels in 2014. Indeed, 2014 was the first group to take A levels at the school. Nevertheless, 100% of students achieved a pass at rates close to the UK averages. Seventy per cent of students made better than expected progress when compared to their targets. Source: BSO, 2014.
The school is subject to British Overseas School’s inspections for which is was rated largely Good or Outstanding:
“The quality of education provided by the school is good. The curriculum is outstanding and the standards of teaching and assessment are at least good. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. The welfare, health and safety of the pupils are good and the pastoral care of pupils is outstanding. The premises and accommodation are outstanding in quality. Information for parents is of high quality and easily accessible. The school’s procedures for handling complaints are highly effective. The leadership and management of the school are outstanding…”
The KHDA also gives the School of Research Science a thumbs up pretty much across the board in terms of progress and attainment. “Students attainment and progress is good or better in almost all phases and subjects. Students achieve outstanding progress in English in the Foundation Stage, Primary and Post-16 phases. Progress in science is outstanding across the school. Students generally enjoy learning across the phases and were aware of their strengths and what they needed to do to improve. They collaborate well in pairs and small groups, offering and sharing their ideas.
“Students enjoy positive relationships with adults and are respectful. The atmosphere in lessons is purposeful and calm, and students behaviour at break times is good. Students demonstrate an excellent understanding of local traditions and the heritage of Dubai.”
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has so far limited feedback on The School of Research Science in our School Survey. However, in the limited results we have so far for the school, parents would by and large recommend the school to others. The predominant response to questions over academic performance is partial satisfaction. A similar response is given to questions over the quality of interaction with teachers and school in general, and to disciplinary policies.
Feedback to the KHDA largely mirrors WSA feedback. Most parents are said to be satisfied with the quality of education. Parents of current students agree children’s progress in Islamic Education, Arabic and English is good. A majority agree progress is good in mathematics and science. A minority in the past have had negative views on careers guidance and procedures for dealing with bullying.
Fees have increased following the move of the school. Fees in 2013-14 ranged from just shy of 23,000 AED rising to just above 43,000 AED. In 2016-17 these have risen to between 34,539 at FS1 to 73,769 in Year 13. This places the school in the premium fees sector.
YEAR 1: 37,944
YEAR 2: 37,944
YEAR 3: 42,251
YEAR 4: 42,251
YEAR 5: 42,251
YEAR 6: 46,644
YEAR 7: 51,034
YEAR 8: 55,628
YEAR 9: 55,628
YEAR 10: 55,628
YEAR 11: 58,953
YEAR 12: 64,754
YEAR 13: 73,769
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