Al Salam Private School has some of the best exam results in the country, a consistently low teacher-turnover, strong, progressive and supportive SEN provision and an impressive 1:12 teacher/student ratio. It achieves all of this but remains one of the most affordable schools in the city, with fees ranging between, 12,482 AED and 27,899 AED.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com spoke to school governor, Mr Kausor Amin-Ali to find out secrets of the school's successes...
What in your view makes Al Salam Private School so unique?
We maintain an education-focus rather than a commercial focus which provides the foundations of such a successful school. Al Salam is an inclusive school with a diverse intake. We uphold the statement that ‘every child is special’, and visitors to the school will confirm this drives what we do. Staff commitment is another reason. We have very low staff turnover and many employees have remained with Al Salam for more than a decade.
Al Salam's exam results are exceptional, but can you tell us how you achieve them so consistently?
We have a clear focus, and ensue all students understand the importance of examination success as the gateway to their future. We balance this with a broader holistic experience for each and every child, and partnership with parents who support the learning needs of their children, especially as they progress into the secondary phase with external examinations.
High quality leadership plays a significant role in any school’s success, can you outline the leadership at Al Salam please and discuss what makes it so unique?
Al Salam has been very fortunate to have had one of the longest-serving Principals, Sue Johnston, at its head – who is also the owner. This has ensured consistency and high expectations being met by all stakeholders who provide a sense of duty and loyalty unseen in the vast majority of schools in the region.
Your school really doesn’t fit into the ‘for-profit’ school model, however it’s not actually a ‘not-for-profit’ either. Can you explain where you see it fitting?
The legacy of being in one of the older and more established suburbs of Dubai means that Al Salam is a Community School, serving a real and vibrant local community. This concept of being a school that has a specific geographical commitment is an increasingly rare entity. Many other schools have a significant number of students transported more than 20km a day.
In addition, Al Salam has an increasingly rare arrangement of an owner-manager which has ensured a sense of belonging and commitment to the ‘Al Salam family’. The Owner, being a vastly experienced and qualified UK teacher by background, ensures that educational objectives supersede commercial opportunism.
Whilst costs need to be met and budgets are expected to be in surplus rather than in deficit, by not partnering with a commercial body, it has ensured Al Salam remains a School first and foremost, rather than an ‘educational arm’ of a corporation.
Al Salam produces some of the best exam results in the country, for a fraction of the fees most other top schools ask their parents for, where do you think prospective parents at Al Salam should expect the ‘savings’ to be made?
Value for money is a key aspect of our practice. The challenges of being in a spatially limited suburb does limit some of the facilities we would like to bring to yet further enhance the experiences of the students. We actively seek innovative solutions to enable our students are not adversely affected by legacy site issues.
Considering how successful the school is, would you consider creating a branch or sister-school at some point in the future?
We are considering this carefully. We would not want to expand solely for commercial gain, but rather to bring the high quality educational outcomes to other communities.
Location is essential in any possible expansion plan.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is continually asked for admission information on Al Salam, where can prospective parents find out more?
Information can be found on our newly updated website: www.alsalamschool.ae