In the 2015/16 period 149 schools were inspected by the KHDA Inspection teams, with 8 new schools coming on line for the very first time.
The KHDA introduced the new unified inspection framework this year. The most immediate difference for parents is the addition of two new categories, Very Good and Very Weak. However, it should be noted that no schools recorded Very Weak ratings in the 2015/16 round of inspections.
With its first Outstanding rating Dubai International Academy, also becomes the first purely IB curriculum school to achieve the KHDA’s highest rating.
Mirdif/Muhaisanah residents will be happy to know they now have an Outstanding school in the neighbourhood, with the elevation of GEMS Royal Dubai from Good last year to Outstanding.
And, although not actually a ‘mover’ it should be noted that Kings Dubai scored another Outstanding rating, making it the only school in the Emirate to hold a perfect 8 consecutive years of Outstanding ratings.
Two other schools moving from Good in 2014/15 to Outstanding this year are Dubai International Academy and Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou School Branch.
With the ascension of the Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou School Branch to Outstanding, it now means both Dubai Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou Schools have been awarded the KHDA’s highest accolade. The French curriculum now accommodates more students in Outstanding rated schools than any other.
The ‘All-New’ Very Good Schools
While no one really knew how the new Very Good category would ‘work,’ it would seem now the results are released that rather than absorbing the schools in the bottom ranks of Outstanding, it has instead incorporated the best of those ranked previously Good.
Thirteen schools moved into the new category, and while 12 of these moved up from 2014/15 Good ratings, Horizon English School was the only school to fall from Outstanding .
The remainder in this category (excluding the Indian Schools) are: Taaleem’s highest ranking school this year-DBS, JAPS, DESS, GEMS Wellington Primary School, The School of Research Science, Lycee Libanais Francophone Prive Dubai, Deira International School, GEMS Wellington Academy Branch and The Winchester School.
Interestingly, eight (or nine if we include Deira International School with is UK/IB) of the 13 schools in this category utilise the UK curriculum.
Again, GEMS performed well with 5 schools of the 13 in the Very Good category.
Once again, the category with the most schools remains the Good rating. This year, 57 schools were awarded Good by the KHDA (down 2 from last year).
Interestingly, there are no ‘budget schools’ (excluding Indian curriculum schools) ranked higher than Good this year by the KHDA.
Somewhat disappointingly, many of WSA’s most searched-for ‘affordable schools’ such as: Al Salam Private School, Pristine Private School, Cambridge International School, Dubai Scholars Private School, Dubai Gem School and St Mary’s School all remained static in the Good category for 2015/16.
However, they are not alone. They remain Good and continue to ‘rub-shoulders’ with some significantly more expensive options around the city, such as: ASD, GEMS World Academy, Uptown School, Horizon International School, Emirates International School, Al Safa Private School and Raffles International School, to name a few.
While the majority of schools in this category are non-movers, there are however 10 schools which have moved up from Acceptable in this round of inspections.
Victory Heights will be happy with their second inspection resulting in a Good rating this year, proving last year’s premature inspection was merely a blip.
This year, 56 schools in total were considered Acceptable, this is five less schools than last year. Three schools rose from Weak to Acceptable, while four schools in this category were being inspected for the first time.
This year only one school, Mirdif Private School fell from Good to Acceptable.
There were seven Weak schools in this year’s inspections. Somewhat, worryingly, all three of these schools utilise the US curriculum and all fell from Acceptable ratings the previous year.