Whichever way you want to look at it, the 2016/17 Indian school inspections really didn’t throw up any shocks or surprises at all.
Of the 33 Indian schools in Dubai, 30 were inspected, in this, the eighth DISB inspection cycle.
In total, two schools remained Outstanding, three schools remained Very Good, 10 schools were rated Good (a drop from 11 the previous year), 11 schools were rated Acceptable (a drop from 12 the previous year), and 4 schools were rated Weak. We have detailed Dubai's top 15 Indian schools here.
There was no movement at the top end of the rankings with three of the top Indian schools going un-inspected this year thanks to the launch of the KHDA’s Abundance Project.
Of the 30 schools inspected only two changed ranking from 2015/16 inspections. Interestingly, they both moved down; Springdales from Good to Acceptable and Emirates English Speaking School, from Acceptable to Weak.
Springdales: It would seem the standard of teaching and assessment dropped from Good in 2015/16 to Acceptable in 2016/17 together with the school’s learning skills and the majority of the core subjects at Middle school level.
In the recommendations, inspectors continually return to issues surrounding assessment and monitoring, plus the collection and alignment of assessment data systems.
However, the report does highlight the pace of rapid expansion at Springdales, with almost 500 new students, anew principal and 28 new teachers- this year alone.
Emirates English Speaking School: After seven years rated Acceptable, EESS fell in 2016/17 to Weak.
Its report states, “inspections have consistently highlighted that students make insufficient progress. The targets set in the school improvement plan are not challenging or rigorously implemented and monitored. Progress made by students with SEND has been consistently weak.”
This year, teaching for effective learning, curriculum adaption, assessment, leadership, self-evaluation and governance- all fell to Weak.
Schools Ranked Acceptable and Below
In total, there were 11 schools rated Acceptable in 2016/17, these were: Springdales School, Elite English School, Gulf Indian High School, New Indian Model School, The Central School, Buds Public School, Little Flowers English School, The Indian International School (DSO branch), The Indian Academy, Sabari Indian School and Credence High School.
Many of those ranked Acceptable and below have languished in the bottom ranks for numerous inspections often thanks to a lack of basic teaching skills and school leaders focused more on monitoring teachers than developing them.
In addition, many of these lower performing schools show a rising student teacher ratio, a high teacher turn-over (Credence High School registered 48 percent teacher turn-over this year) and more often than not, a very recent change of leadership/principal.
Another trend highlighted this year, is the overall decrease in the attainment and progress in the upper levels (Middle and Secondary), across many poorly performing schools.
In the lower performing schools there is a clear lack of focus and support for any type of SEND provision, in addition, inspectors found many teachers required more effective tools for differentiation of the curriculum.
National Agenda Targets & Innovation
Almost all schools ranked Acceptable and below were found to have not implemented the requirements for the National Agenda Targets, nor developed any meaningful Innovation strategies within the school.
There are clearly defined issues common to many of Dubai's poorly performing Indian schools. While efforts are underway to remedy these, until staffing, improved SEND provision, and effective self-monitoring and assessment are implemented, it looks likely significant numbers of these schools will remain in the positions they have held for years, at the bottom of the rankings table.