Al Ittihad Private School Jumeira, is a private K-12 school highly popular with Emirati families located near Al Safa, Dubai.
Al Ittihad School, Jumeira, has been rated Good for the eighth year running in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full reports have been published.
The story so far...
Established in 1988, Al Ittihad School is home to approximately 2,200 students, the majority of whom (90%) are from local families, from ages 4 (KG1) to 18 (Grade 12).Al Ittihad Private School Jumeira follows the California State standards US curriculum in English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, and Information and Communication Technology. Arabic language, Islamic studies and Social studies are taught in Arabic, in compliance with the general guidelines of the Ministry of Education in UAE.
The school is located on a large, purpose-built site, close to several other popular schools in the Al Wasl area. It has undergone significant expansion and renovation since its original construction and features an excellent range of facilities. Classrooms are well equipped, and additional facilities include indoor and outdoor gyms/ playing areas, indoor swimming pools, science and computer labs, libraries, and a large multi-purpose hall. The school has a strong focus on STEAM teaching and on Robotics which are supported by an enhanced learning technology infrastructure. Resources enable high quality learning according to the latest KHDA inspection report. Sports facilities enable the provision of an on-siteSoccer Academy, Tae-Kwando Academy and Swimming Academy. In addition, visual and performing arts are a vital component of the school's educational programme with music and art integrated into class activities and showcased at school events.
Al Ittihad School (IPS) Jumeira is accredited with NEASC and CIS - both organisations that ensure the quality of curriculum delivered at the school. In fact, it is now a requirement for all US curriculum schools in Dubai to be accredited by NEASC; this has been the case at IPS Jumeira since 2013.
IPS Jumeira employs an academic faculty of over 180 full-time teachers from more than 20 countries. The majority of staff are recruited from the Lebanon. It is mandatory for all teachers to have an education qualification, as well as a degree in their specific subject. This provides a teacher:student ratio of 1:14, which is around the average for mainstream US curriculum schools in Dubai. The Principal of the school has been in place since 1999, and is clearly a strong and stable force in the school. Staff turnover, at 19%, is around the average of 20-22% for international schools in the emirate.
IPS Jumeira is a mixed gender school that is organised into four sections. KG and Primary children are in mixed classes, but from Grade 5, through Middle and High School, classes are separated into Boys and Girls sections - this is very common practice in the government-run schools in the UAE and often a popular practice for international schools with a strong contingent of students from Muslim countries. KG and Primary children are largely taught by Home room teachers; from Grade 5, children receive specialist subject-teaching.
High School students follow a four year programme where certain subjects are mandatory including Islamic Studies, Arabic, English, Maths, one science course from grades 9-11 and Economics (Grades 11-12). Other courses are offered on option basis to give students a strong background and foundation in Liberal arts, Medical science and Engineering, as well as in business streams and an ICT, Art and Architecture stream. At the end of Grade 8, students choose their preferences for grade 9 and may plan their choices for the next 4 academic years (Grades 9- 12). Students will graduate with a High School Diploma and are required to sit and pass both SAT 1 and IELTS tests with a SAT 1 minimum score of 511 for Mathematics, 495 for critical reading and 484 for writing. All students, upon graduation, need to attain a minimum of 22 credits out of the 28 credits offered over the four years of the high school phase. Unfortunately, the school does not provide any information about university destinations of its students, although, given the student population, it is reasonable to assume that many will move into tertiary education in the UAE.
The school supports the holistic development of children and encourages all students to participate in extra-curricular activities. In the Kindergarten school it offers clubs, such as an Art Club, Ballet Club, Roller- skating Cub, Karate Cub, Basketball Club and Monkeynastics Club. In Primary and High School, various clubs are offered including cooking, art and printmaking, woodwork, origami, soccer, basketball, karate, monkeynastics, book club, journalism and photography, ballet and Hip Hop. Additionally, private tutoring in various disciplines is also possible via the Student Development Department.
What the inspectors say
The school is currently ranked Good by the KHDA (2017-18), a rating it has now held for seven years. According to the latest inspection report, following the inspection visit in November 2017, the strengths of Al Ittihad School Jumeira are:
It is clear from the latest report that considerable progress has been made at IPS Jumeira in the past academic year. Whilst attainment and progress are best in KG and High School, where they are largely rated Very Good across all core subjects, improvements have been made in the Middle School phase. Ratings have improved to Very Good for Arabic as an Additional language and progress in Mathematics in the Middle School. In the Elementary phase, student achievement is not as strong, with ratings for Mathematics and Science Good, whilst English is rated Very Good. Given that the majority of students will be non-English speakers and English Language Learners, this is impressive. Progress in Arabic as both a first and additional language have improved to Very Good, but it seems that there is still some way to go overall in this phase.
Key recommendations from the inspection team suggest the areas of focus for all staff, advising that they should improve the consistency of teaching in order to raise the attainment and progress of all students by: developing a common understanding of the needs of learners of English as an additional language; addressing variations in the performance of boys and girls; integrating opportunities for students to apply and evaluate their learning in new situations, in innovative ways and at deeper levels; and considering students’ progress in evaluating the effectiveness of teaching skills.
In terms of students' personal and social development and their innovation skills, the report notes that "all students demonstrate a very secure understanding of Islamic values and awareness of the Emirati culture. Students play a full part in their school, national and wider communities. They have a strong work ethic and take many positive actions to improve the environment. Attitudes, self-discipline and relationships are extremely strong, especially in the lower phases." This is an absolute strength of the school with almost all aspects rated Outstanding with Personal development in the Middle and HIgh School phases being rated Very Good. Inspectors found that "students’ attitudes in all phases are very positive and responsible. Their behavior is especially respectful and considerate. In the middle and high schools, these high personal standards are consistent among all the girls and nearly all the boys."
Teaching and Assessment is a further key indicator where considerable improvement has been made. In the KG and high school phases, teaching across subjects is Very Good. In the middle and elementary phases, it is Good. Systems for assessment and their use to guide teaching are now rated Very Good across all sections of the school - an improvement in this report across Elementary, Middle and High school phases. The report notes that "[assessment] is very effective in the KG, where teachers match learning to children's needs extremely well, and in the high school, where good questioning and effective choice of activity accelerate students’ progress. The use of assessments, such as CAT4 and MAP, has provided rich information about students' individual abilities."
Similarly, the curriculum design and its adaptation is now rated Very Good in all phases, with the exception of KG where its design is rated Outstanding. This is remarkable progress, given that the ratings from 2016 were Acceptable with the exception of KG, which at that time was rated Good.
The protection, care, guidance and support of students is rated Very Good across the board, with an improvement in KG from Good, due to previous concerns about safety in relation to evacuation of students. The inspection team found that improvements had been made to the safety and security of the school environment, and emergency exit procedures had been revised effectively. Inspectors noted that "The school's caring ethos encourages students to show kindness and consideration to others. There are clear policies that support the management of behavior, and any exceptional unacceptable behavior is dealt with quickly and fairly. Attendance and punctuality are monitored carefully by class teachers."
IPS Jumeira is also rated highly for its support of students with special educational needs (Students of Determination), with a rating of Very Good. According to the inspection team, the needs of students with SEND are identified accurately and quickly. "A range of flexible and well-planned interventions ensure that students with SEND make good, and sometimes very good, personal and academic progress. Students who are gifted and talented also receive increasingly effective challenge."
Leadership and Management of the school is also rated highly by the KHDA inspectors. In fact, their comments in relation to the Outstanding effectiveness of the leadership suggests that there is much still to be achieved "Collectively, they have the capacity and energy to improve school performance much further, as evident by the large number of measurable improvements that have been made since the previous inspection." This is praise indeed. The other key criteria - all rated Very Good - relate to internal self-evaluation, the relationships with parents and the community and the management, staffing, facilities and resources (improved to Very Good during this inspection). Only Governance remains rated Good, and although there is much positive - "Governance is highly responsive to the stated needs of the school. Its knowledge of the school is dependent on the termly reports from school leaders and informal meetings with members of the parent body" - by implication, it seems that greater day to day and personal involvement would support the work of the Governors.
The KHDA pre-inspection survey suggests that of the 255 student, 313 parent and 143 teacher respondents, a sizeable majority are largely satisfied with IPS Jumeira. One common complaint from parents, students and teachers, - and one repeated in previous reports - concerned the limited range of extracurricular activities. Parents who returned the survey are very positive about all aspects of school life. Teachers' responses are very positive also. "They echo the positive points stated by the parents and agree with the inspection team that the quality of leadership in the school is very high. There are small concerns with respect to students' levels of respect and behaviour, [and] opportunities for professional development". This latter comment may shed light on the current teacher turnover, since Professional Development is highly valued by teaching professionals and key to future career progression.
It is clear that there is much at Al Ittihad School Jumeira which is, indeed, very good. The leadership of the school now needs to ensure that the improvements already made are retained and improved further, with particular focus on the Elementary and Middle Schools in terms of Student Achievement and the standard of teaching, which go hand in hand. Seven years is a long time to remain at one level from an inspection standpoint, particularly when so much progress has been made. It surely cannot be long before IPS Jumeira makes the step up to Very Good overall.
Few parents of parents at the school have completed the Which School Advisor survey. We encourage them to do so - it will help us give a more rounded review of the school.
School fees at Al Ittihad Jumeira range from AED 20,126 to AED 39,196 depending upon age. This is very much mid-tier.
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