United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Qusais / Al Sadiq Islamic English School

Al Sadiq Islamic English School Review

Al Sadiq Islamic English School is a K-12 private school for girls and boys located in Al Qusais in Dubai.
Parents' Rating
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4.0 out of 5 based on 34 reviews
At a glance
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
AED 5,600
Annual fees
AED 4,333 - 8,783
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
1989
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Ms Sadia Wajid
Owner
Athena Education
Community
Main teacher nationality
India
Main student nationality
Pakistan

Nearby nurseries

0.7km • EYFS curriculum
1.1km • Montessori curriculum
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Al Sadiq Islamic English School
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
AED 5,600
Annual fees
AED 4,333 - 8,783
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
1989
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Ms Sadia Wajid
Owner
Athena Education
Community
Main teacher nationality
India
Main student nationality
Pakistan
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Al Sadiq Islamic English School is a K-12 private school for girls and boys located in Al Qusais in Dubai.

The story so far...

Al Sadiq Islamic English School (ASIES) was established in 1989 and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019.  The school is owned by Athena Education, a group which operates a number of schools both in the UAE and in India.  UAE member schools include Grammar School, Oaktree Primary School, International American School, Al Resalah International School of Science, Al Resalah American International School, Al Wahda School, Al Zuhour Private School, American International School, and International Academic School. The group also owns Balloon International Nursery, Al Suwaihat Private Nursery and two Indian based schools - L’ecole Chempaka International and L’ecole Chempaka Silver Rocks. 

The school describes itself in this way:

"Al Sadiq is a British curriculum school offering a low cost, high quality education underpinned with Islamic Values. Al Sadiq is committed to providing a safe and stimulating environment where students enjoy learning and reach their full potential. Al Sadiq develops independent, life-long learners". 

The school has approximately 1,800 students, from FS2 to Year 11. In keeping with its Islamic roots, children are segregated from Year 3 upwards. There is a slightly higher number of girls than boys.  Students come from 44 different countries, with the highest proportion from Pakistan.

Students are arranged in classes of up to 30 students (the maximum permitted by the KHDA) with an average class size of 25 in the Primary and Secondary school.  The Primary section of the school has between 5 and 8 classes per school year, with a slightly lower number across the Secondary school (generally between four and five classes).  FS2 and Year 1 classes have a teacher plus teaching assistant, leading to a lower teacher to student ratio of 1:15.  This is in line with expectations for a lower fee school.

We are told by the school that it intends to open Years 12 and 13 in order to offer A-Levels "in the not so distant future". However, this is unlikely to be possible until Al Sadiq School improves its KHDA rating above the Acceptable level that it has achieved for twelve of the thirteen years in which the school has been inspected - the sole exception being 2014-15 when it was rated Weak.  Further information about the most recent inspection outcomes can be found here.

The school employs 111 teachers and 15 teaching assistants. The school’s recruitment policy ensures that all the teachers hired have relevant experience (a minimum of three years) and qualifications.  Staff turnover - at 30% - is very much on the high side for international curriculum schools in the UAE, where the average is 20-22%, and certainly will not assist the school's efforts to improve its KHDA rating.  Having to replace one in three staff annually is not conducive to a stable working environment and to steady improvement in standards. 

The largest demographic of teaching staff at Al Sadiq Islamic English School is from India, with remaining staff coming from Pakistan, Egypt, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Nigeria, the UK and Sudan. 

What about the curriculum?

The school offers the English National Curriculum culminating in IGCSE examinations at the end of Secondary school, together with the UAE Ministry of Education Arabic and Islamic Studies curriculum with modifications to extend the learning of the Holy Qur’an. 

The curriculum is divided into the three sections of the school  with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) standards for the learning, development and care of a 5-year-old children.  The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is based upon four principles:

  • A Unique Child: - developing resilient, capable, confident and self-assured individuals
  • Learning and developing: - an acknowledgement that children learn in different ways and at different rates
  • Enabling environments: where opportunities and experiences respond to the individual needs of the child by developing a strong partnership between practitioners, parents/guardians and the child.
  • Positive relationships: - supporting the children in becoming strong and independent.

Play underpins the curriculum provision. Children have the opportunity to play indoors and outdoors on a daily basis. Children play spontaneously, although they will be given adult support when needed. It is through play that the children will develop intellectually, creatively, physically, socially and emotionally.

The school's aim is to ensure that children enjoy their Early Years experiences in the care of well qualified and caring staff. Teachers lay the foundations for the children's future successes through a stimulating and 'hands-on' curriculum that is divided into the areas of Physical Development, Communication & Language, Personal, Social & Emotional Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts & Design.

The Primary school curriculum aims to give students the skills they need to succeed academically and in their futures and to help them grow the confidence to practice those skills. ASIES has an enriched curriculum that is relevant and stimulating offering the children a range of experiences and catering to individual learning styles.  Programmes have a detailed, planned and integrated curriculum scheme from the age of 4 to 16. The curriculum is skill-based, which helps students to become confident, responsible, reflective and innovative individuals.

Core subjects in the Primary school include English, Mathematics, Science, Arabic A (Arabs), Arabic (B) (Non- Arabs), Islamic Education (A) (Arabs ), Islamic Education (B) (Non-Arabs) and Holy Quran Recitation, UAE Social Studies, UAE Moral Education, Humanities (Geography & History) Information Communication & Technology, Art & Design, Physical Education, and a choice of Urdu, Bengali or French.

According to ASIES, the Secondary education provides the learner with opportunities to: acquire necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes for the development of the self. The curriculum is divided into Key Stage Three (KS3) and Key Stage Four (KS4).

The curriculum in KS3 has key guiding principles:

  • Recognise and build on the KS2 curriculum and therefore maximise learning in KS3.
  • Ensure students are adequately prepared for success in KS4 and beyond.
  • Ensure students are able to have the necessary skills to access the curriculum in KS4 and beyond, such as adequate levels on literacy, numeracy, independence, and extended writing.
  • Ensure the curriculum gives students opportunities for further engagement both inside and outside school.
  • Ensure the needs of students continue to be met in the ever-changing world in which we live.
  • Ensure students in Year 7 are supported in the transition from Primary to Secondary.
  • Ensure that students are supported to succeed in the curriculum.

At Key Stage 4, students study for The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which has been designed for 14 to 16 year old students to prepare them for further academic success.

The KS4 curriculum is based on a number of guiding principles:

  • A core curriculum is provided which is essential for all students' future success.
  • An optional element is provided which is personalized around every students.

Both of these principles give students solid foundations on which to progress to further study and future life.

In terms of further study, students from ASIES move onto other schools to complete their post-16 education including other schools in the Athena Group including American International School, and Grammar School.  Other options have included Highbrow College, Karachi,Al Diyafah High School, Arab Unity School,  English Language School, The Oxford School, Beaconhouse College, Pakistan, Army School, Pakistan and Greenhall Academy.  

ASIES offers the Cambridge International IGCSE examination board for Years 10 and 11 and includes English, Mathematics and ICT as mandatory subjects; Arabic, Islamic Studies, Social Studies and Moral Education from the Ministry of Education curriculum and a limited range of Elective Subjects including Biology, Chemistry, Combined Science, Environmental Management and Physics in its Science stream (in line with the practice of Asian curriculum schools) and Accounting, Business Studies, Commerce, Economics and Art and Design in its Commerce stream. 

Also in common with most Asian curriculum schools in the UAE, no Arts stream is offered - the focus in very much on ensuring that students earn qualifications that will lead them towards their future professional careers.

ASIES does offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities and clubs aimed potentially at addressing the lack of creative subjects within the core curriculum.  These include in Foundation Stage (FS2), Arts and Craft Club, Phonics Club, Literacy Club, Math Club, Science and Fitness.

Year 1 to 6 activities and clubs include Mini Debate Year 1 & 2, Islamic (Year 1 & 2), Arabic Year (1 & 2), Science (Year 1 to 3), Poetry Recitation (Year 1 to 3), Cooking (Year 1 to 3), Art (Year 1 to 3), Story Telling (Year 1 to 3), Math (Year 1 to 3), Fitness (1 to 6), Debate (Year 3 & 4), Arabic (Year 3 to 6), Travel (Year 3 to 6), Book (Year 3 to 6), Drama (Year 3 to 6), Tech (Year 3 to 6), Math (Year 3 to 6), Islamic (Year 3 to 6), Science (Year 4 to 6), Cooking (Year 4 to 6), Art (Year 4 to 6), Elocution & Poetry Recitation Club (Year 4 to 6), Junior MUN (Year 5&6), and Photography (Year 6). 

Secondary options include Book, MUN, Elocution, Media, Ted Talk, Islamic, Fitness, Traveler’s Club, Art, Photography, Math, Arabic and Enviro- Science Club.

What about academic achievement?

The school does not publish its IGCSE exam results in terms of the grades achieved by students.  Instead it publishes a table of results which indicates what percentage of students achieved above or in line with criteria which, we believe, based on a second table, indicates a pass range of A*-B and A*-C.  However, no information is provided about the numbers of students who participated in these examinations, nor the number of students, therefore, who did not achieve an A*- C pass.  It is doubtful, therefore, how useful this data may be in terms of drawing comparisons with the achievements of students at other UAE schools.

Subject

2020 CIE RESULTS

Above (A*-B)

Inline (A*-C)

Judgments

ACCOUNTING

27%

73%

Acceptable

BIOLOGY

64%

88%

Very Good

CHEMISTRY

67%

88%

Very Good

COMPUTER SCIENCE

58%

85%

Good

ENGLISH

60%

82%

Good

FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH

100%

100%

Outstanding

FOREIGN LANGUAGE ARABIC

100%

100%

Outstanding

Maths

50%

78%

Good

Physics

58%

83%

Good

Commerce

100%

100%

Outstanding

Science

63%

86%

Very Good

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com strongly believes that parents should be able to expect transparency in the context of schools providing comparable details of their students' performance and have found that schools are increasingly willing to share this data. Whilst exam results are not the be all and end all of education, they are inevitably an important factor in determining the success of both students and their school.

A second table provided by ASIES provides details of IGCSE, GL assessments and PISA and TIMMS global benchmark test results.  

IGCSE

GL- Standardised  assessments

TIMSS – 2019

PISA - 2019

Year 5

Year 9

 

100% Pass

English

53% Above & 79% Inline

-

-

Reading – 505

A* to B

61%

Maths

58% Above & 80% Inline

Maths - 544

Maths – 561

Maths – 667

A*to C  81%

Science

63% Above & 80% Inline

Science - 543

Science - 611

Science - 555

Again, no comparative data is made available, but the Grade 4/Year 5 Maths score in Dubai was 544 across all private schools, whilst the Science score was 545.  Grade 8/Year 9 scores were 545 and 548 respectively - ASIES' Year 9 students appear to have done very well in Science, therefore. PISA test results were also on or above the Dubai average of  501 for Reading, 501 for Maths and 500 for Reading.

According to ASIES, 100% of students continue their higher studies in A-level schools and other courses offered in the UAE or their home countries. The school organises awareness programmes regarding various universities and the A- level courses available to the students. Career guidance seminars, university visits, intern-programmes, career counselling and parent-student-teacher evenings are arranged to enable students to find out more about subject options. 

What about support for Students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents?

Al Sadiq Islamic English School describes itself as "a fully inclusive school that fosters holistic development of all students with different abilities. The inclusion department at Al Sadiq School ensures that Students of determination and those with gifts and talents receive individualized support and make progress against their starting points".

There are approximately 110 students identified with SEN requirements, with a further seven students identified with Gifts and Talents.

The school uses a range of assessment data including CAT4 scores, GL assessments, Internal assessment scores and teacher’s feedback during lessons to plan differentiation in all lessons.  

The school follows graduated response to place intervention and support for Students of Determination: 

Level 1: Quality First Teaching. Good quality, inclusive teaching which takes into account the learning needs of all the students in the classroom. Wave 1 includes students who have experienced special education needs in the past 12 months but who no longer require Wave 2 or 3 support and only need monitoring through quality first teaching. Wave 1 also includes students who may have an identified disability whose needs can be met through quality first teaching in the classroom.

Level 2: Additional Support. Wave 2 provision goes beyond the ‘normal’ classroom including specific, additional, time-limited interventions for some students who need support to accelerate their progress to enable them to work at or above age-related expectations. Wave 2 interventions are often targeted at a group of students with similar needs. This is provided in addition to inclusive quality first teaching for all. These students are considered as experiencing SEND.

Level 3: Specialist Support. Wave 3 provision refers to highly personalized interventions for students who experience SEND and require specialist provision. This is provided in addition to inclusive quality first teaching. This includes students who require a high level of additional adult support within the classroom to access the curriculum and/or have support from external agencies.

The school says that it has a highly professional and experienced team of experts in the inclusion team. The Head of Inclusion leads a team including four Learning Support Assistants, one Support teacher, one SEN Specialist teacher, and one Well-being Counselor. 

The Learning Support staff provide group/individualised (pullout/push in) support. The ratio of LSA support is 1.15 students. No additional fees are charged for this provision.

Students with English as an Additional language difficulties are supported by the inclusion team under an EAL intervention programme with no extra fees applicable.

What about the facilities?

ASIES lists a wide range of facilities that include 66 classrooms, all of which are provided with projectors and in FS and KS1 are equipped with an interactive whiteboards. Multiple WIFI networks are available throughout the school to ensure good coverage in all classrooms.  Specialist facilities include a Science lab with lab assistance, Computer labs for primary and secondary school, a Library for primary and secondary students, a Canteen, a Sensory Room, a Clinic with a fulltime doctor and nurses and a Teachers Training Room. 

There is an Outdoor door learning play area for FS2 children together with the ASIES Farm/Greenhouse and separate playgrounds for girls and boys in other year groups. Sports facilities include a Multipurpose Hall, Sports Field, Cricket training pitch with net practice facility and Basketball Court.

What the inspectors say

Al Sadiq Islamic English School was again rated Acceptable in the 2019-20 DSIB inspection round - for the fifth year in a row and for the eleventh time in twelve years.

Whilst it may seem therefore that standards - and improvement efforts - have stood still at ASIES, to be fair, for a school to maintain an Acceptable level when the demands from the regulator are constantly growing, means that the school has more than maintained standards - but it has not made significant enough improvements to make the step up to the next level - in this case, a Good rating - which is the minimum level that the KHDA expects all schools to achieve.

Inspectors determined that the strengths of ASIES were:

  • Improvements in students’ progress or attainment to a good level in English, mathematics and science at various phases in the school.
  • Students’ behaviour and their positive attitudes towards others and to their work, particularly in FS and in the secondary phase.
  • The school’s arrangements for promoting health and safety for all stakeholders.
  • An effective partnership between governors and senior leaders which is building successful leadership roles and fostering improvements in student learning outcomes.

Summarising key areas in terms of the Performance Standards, the inspection team noted that:

Improvement in achievement in English, mathematics and science is occurring although overall achievement varies between acceptable and good and is phase-dependent. Progress and attainment in Islamic education and Arabic are broadly acceptable, as is attainment in UAE social studies. Students’ learning skills have improved to a good standard at the Foundation Stage (FS) and secondary phase, while they remain acceptable in the primary phase.

The quality of teaching for effective learning varies significantly from weak to good but remains acceptable overall. Higher quality lessons are more commonly seen in the secondary phase. Although the school's systems for assessment are effective, teachers do not use assessment data sufficiently well when matching tasks to the learning needs of different groups.

Staff have worked to improve the curriculum, with success evident in the primary and secondary phases, where the quality is now in line with that in FS. The understanding and appreciation of UAE culture is given due attention but learning and innovation skills are not fully developed. Modifications to the curriculum to meet the learning needs of all groups of students is only of an of an acceptable standard. Although students are cared for and supported effectively, systems to identify barriers to learning are not always timely, with provision for students of determination remaining acceptable.

The challenge for ASIES - one that has been faced by numerous schools in Dubai - is to raise the standard of assessment and teaching (so that teachers are able to provide teaching and adaptation of the curriculum that meets the needs and abilities of individual or groups of students) in order to achieve an overall improvement in student outcomes for students of all abilities.

In terms of recommendations to the school, the inspection team requires that ASIES should:

  • Accelerate students’ progress, particularly where it is only acceptable, by using time and resources more efficiently in lessons and setting higher expectations of what students can achieve.
  • Use assessment data more consistently in planning and delivering lessons which match the challenge in tasks and activities to the learning needs of all groups of students.
  • Urgently identify barriers to learning and support students of determination more effectively to ensure that they make the best progress possible.
  • Work with governance to sharpen the school’s self-evaluation judgements, particularly when judging the quality of teaching for effective learning and the attainment and progress of students.

If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to see the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.

The Buzz

181 parents responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey. Almost all parents who responded to the survey were satisfied with the quality of education and feel that their children are safe in the school. Most think that school leaders listen and act upon their views. Whilst a majority feel that they are involved in school activities, a large minority have concerns about bullying.

Over 750 students participated in the KHDA's Well-being Survey. Most students who responded to the survey feel safe in the school. A majority express positive views about the school, including the care, help and respect they are given. This proportion has dropped since the previous survey in 2017. A similar pattern in relation to views on belonging is evident with a majority considering that some, physical, verbal or social bullying still exists, although Inspectors found no evidence of regular bullying.

The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey has received only a small number of responses. Comments were largely negative, including that 42% of respondents would not recommend the school to other parents.  

If you are a parent, teacher or student at Al Sadiq Islamic English School, please share your experience with other potential members of your community by completing our Survey here.

We asked the team at Al Sadiq Islamic English School to share with us what they thought the most important attributes of their school is.

Their response was as follows:

  • Experienced senior leadership team
  • Committed teachers and continuous professional development training of all staff ensures effective teaching and learning strategies within all phases of the school.
  • Curriculum rated good in all phases - strong cross curricular links with STEAM, and curriculum enrichment days embedded throughout each academic year.
    Strong Islamic ethos embedded within British Curriculum School
  • Segregation of Boys and Girls from year 3 upwards
  • Strong relationships with parents – as one of oldest schools in the UAE, Al Sadiq has built the trust of families and has second generation learners attending the school after their parents.
  • Al Sadiq is committed to making progress and improving in all aspects of the school. From 2018-2019 inspection report to 2019-2020 inspection report, the school moved up in 18 performance indicators.
    Improvements as outlined by KHDA in the most recent inspection report (2019-2020) include -
    - Improvements in students’ progress or attainment to a good level in English, Mathematics and Science at various phases in the school
    - Students’ behaviour and their positive attitudes towards others and to their work, particularly in FS and in the secondary phase.
    - The school’s arrangements for promoting health and safety for all stakeholders.
    - An effective partnership between governors and senior leaders which is building successful leadership roles and fostering improvements in student learning outcomes.

Our View

It is not disputed that Al Sadiq Islamic English School is providing an acceptable quality of education.  The challenge is to raise the standards of the key factors required to improve the overall level of education - that of teaching and assessment, and curriculum adaptation - so that Students' Achievement improves significantly - particularly in the FS and Primary sections. 

The challenge for any low fee school is to be able to afford the key staff and resources that will bring such improvement about. There is no doubt that the KHDA is placing increasing pressure on schools to make the improvements - this has latterly included informing Emirati families that they are not permitted to send their children to schools rated less than Good, and informing parents of other nationalities of alternative options to the schools their children currently attend.

It is evident from the most recent inspection report that improvements are being made - albeit not fast enough from the regulator's perspective.  Whether ASIES can find the balance between investment and return at such a level remains to be seen.  This will be a particular issue at a time when the KHDA has again announced that fees may not be increased for the third year in a row. 

What about the fees?

School fees range from between AED 4,333 to AED 8,783 per year depending upon age range.   Al Sadiq Islamic English School remains one of the most affordable UK curriculum based schools in the UAE - albeit one with a limited range of subjects to study and no post-16 provision.

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

Al Sadiq Islamic English School is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:

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