1st= American School of Dubai
While it may just have thrown a nonchalant shrug, the oldest US based school in Dubai (it will be 50 next year), and for many still the best, must have thrown a sideways glance as upstart, GEMS Dubai American Academy became the first US curriculum school to be rated as Outstanding by the KHDA. Certainly its parents will have done so - many of whom have been impatient for ASD to obtain the rating.
ASD however remains the school of choice for parents coming from the US and Canada in particular and its admissions policy which gives priority to North American Corporate Seat holders followed by North American passport holders in second place, ensures that there is a notably higher proportion of students from the US and Canada attending the school. Add to this the fantastic campus in Al Barsha, the very strong community feel and involvement for all parents and students in the numerous extra-curricular, co-curricular and charitable activities hosted at the school, and there is a real sense of a small slice of North America in Dubai.
ASD's Achilless heel has been its refusal to play nice with the MoE, KHDA requirements for Islamic education and Arabic provision. Its latest report could not be any less subtle in this regard. In its list of improvements, the KHDA notes the need for the Board of Trustees to "act to ensure that the school provides Islamic Education to more than 500 Muslim students and Arabic instruction that matches the language learning needs of Arab students."
Elsewhere, the school is - for the most part - an Outstanding one - certainly at High School level. At KG the school is at its weakest for core subjects Maths, English and Science, but even here progress and attainment are good.
Parents are clearly very supportive of the school - which is perhaps one reason why the school continues on its own course. Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the achievements and outcomes the school enables, its facilities and the opportunities that it allows for its students. And rightly so, ASD is one of the best funded, most well off schools in terms of facilities and with a rich and accomplished history.
Full review here.