Amity School Dubai is a CBSE Curriculum school which opened in April 2017 in the Al Qusais School Zone. It is part of the same group that operates Amity University in Dubai and Amity International School in Abu Dhabi.
Amity School Dubai has been awarded a Good rating in the KHDA's 2022-23 inspection round - an improvement from its first rating of Acceptable. The full report can be found under the 'Inspection' tab. This review will be updated in due course.
Amity School Dubai (ASD) opened in April 2017, in the Ghusais area of Dubai. Having initially opened for Primary only, it has since incorporated Grades 6 to 8, and will continue to grow each year through Middle and High School until fully open to Grade 12. ASD is part of a larger group of schools and universities that stretch across the globe. Amity Education, the parent organization, has institutions that offer education from pre-schools to Ph.D. level, enrolling over 170,000 students.
The Dubai school has just over 700 students as at June 2021, the majority being Indian nationals. As is the norm with new schools, the student cohort is heavily biased towards the KG (276 students) and Primary sections (373 students) with only a modest 61 students in the Middle school (Grades 6 to 8). The school will open Grade 9 in the 2022-23 academic year.
In the UAE, the Dubai school is the fifth operation, with the Amity University in Dubai Academic City having taken the lead, prior to the establishment of the UK curriculum Amity International School in Abu Dhabi, and the Amity Early Learning Centre in Emirates Hills, Dubai and a sister school in Sharjah. There are also campuses in London, India, Singapore, New York, California, Mauritius, China and Romania, and the Group plans to establish campuses in 25 other countries.
The school's Vision is: 'To inspire and energise every student and staff member with an inclusive, innovative and deep learning experience'.
Its Mission is to:
- Encourage a Global perspective, incorporating the UAE National Agenda and celebrating the Nation's moral values and the Emirati culture.
- Implement the CBSE Indian curriculum based on the National Curriculum Framework and enriched with STEAM, mindfulness, bodily kinesthetics, arts and music (rhythmic and harmonic).
- Develop and sustain quality systems in school governance, educational and support services, performance management and continuous improvement.
- Fully exploit the core strengths of the Amity Education Group to enhance the learning opportunities for both students, teachers and leaders.
The school also focuses on providing Education with an Emphasis on Sustainability, stating that "We believe that through guidance, encouragement and excellent delivery of instruction, we can foster leadership qualities to each and every child under our care, with lessons and values that remain with them throughout their lives and well past their tenure with us".
The school describes itself as "a change maker school" that offers a unique learning programme, blending Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Arts which is integrated into all curricular subjects. Students are offered a very well balanced Rhythm Of the Day (ROD) which balances the scholastic and co scholastic – in class and outside class activities.
Amity School Dubai is led by Principal, Ms. Sangita Chima. She is supported by a team of 61 teachers and a further 19 support staff. This allows a teacher:student ratio of 1:12 - very much on the low side for an Indian curriculum school. Average class sizes are 25 in KG and 30 in Primary and Middle School. Adaptations for the Covid 19 pandemic have resulted in bubbles of 10 students in KG, 18 students in Primary and 26 students in Middle school.
The majority of teachers are Indian, but the diverse teaching body also includes teachers and support staff with Filipino (the second largest group), Algerian, Cameroonian, Egyptian, Sudanese, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Emirati nationalities.
Amity School Dubai follows the EYFS curriculum in pre-KG and the CBSE curriculum from KG onwards. The school believes in a holistic educational model that focuses on developing different stages of a child’s growth, academically, socially and emotionally. It aims to ensure that students achieve their highest potential by fostering their natural desire to learn with a personalised educational programme, project-based learning and guided enquiry in interactive lessons.
ASD primarily focuses on integrating Computer Science and Technology (CST) within all subjects in school. This is particularly done to address the rise of importance in digital literacy and competence, computational thinking, computational programming and cyber ethics amongst the future generation of work force. In support of this focus, students of grade 6, 7 and 8 are given a choice of selecting ‘Artificial Intelligence’ as an elective and purely skill based subject.
In pre-KG the school follows the EYFS curriculum incorporating best practices from Reggio Emilia and the Montessori system. EYFS aims to help every child achieve the five outcomes of “Every-Child-Matters”: Staying Safe; Being Healthy; Enjoying and Achieving; Making a Positive Contribution; and Achieving Economic Well-Being.
The KG the curriculum focuses on key areas of learning such as communication, motor skills, and personal, social and emotional development. These specific areas are targeted through learning to enhance children's literacy and numeracy skills, understanding of the world, and expressive arts and design.
The Primary curriculum is described as "child –centered and activity based". Core subjects include English, Enviromental Studies (Science and Social Studies), Maths, Arabic, Islamic Education/Value Education, and Moral Education. Hindi, French, Malayalam or Tamil are offered as the second language subjects from Grade 1 and above. In addition to the core academic subjects, students also take PE, Music, Art and ICT.
The Middle School Programme includes Grades 6 to 8 in the current academic year, and closely follows the CBSE board rules and guidelines. The school focuses on students acquiring in-depth conceptual knowledge, communication and leadership skills - thus creating an awareness of each student’s place in the world around them. The core areas of learning are: English, Maths, Moral Education, Chemistry, Physics, Biology as well as the usual range of Social Studies and co-scholastic activities including Sports and a variety of Arts subjects including Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Music and Dance.
Despite the fact that ASD will not open Grades 11 and 12 until April 2024, planning has clearly already taken place in terms of what subjects the school intends to offer its Senior students. A detailed subject option table has already been prepared and shared with WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. Scroll across to see all three streams and options.
|Subject 1||English||Subject 1||English||Subject 1||English|
|Subject 2||Business Studies||Subject 2||Physics||Subject 2||History|
|Subject 3||Accountancy||Subject 3||Chemistry||Subject 3||Geography|
Subject 4 (Choose 1)
|Fine Arts||Biology||Fine Arts|
|Informatics Practices||Computer Sci.||Informatics Practices|
|Legal Studies||Legal Studies||Legal Studies|
|Physical Ed.||Physical Ed.||Physical Ed.|
|Web Tech + Multimedia||Web Tech + Multimedia||Web Tech + Multimedia|
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is particularly encouraged to see that ASD will not just focus on Commerce and Science streams which is so often the case in CBSE curriculum schools in the UAE, but also plans to offer a Humanities stream and a focus on Technology across all three streams.
With the arrival of the Covid 19 pandemic, the school has modified its provision, offering both on-campus and online learning options to all students. More than 65% of students were coming on-campus for learning in June 2021, while the remainder had a complete online learning programme. In common with all UAE schools, Amity School Dubai participated in a Distance Learning Evaluation undertaken by the KHDA and received the highest rating of Developed.
The curriculum approach has been modified to cater for the differences in the mode of delivery whilst maintaining the quality of teaching and learning. This difference in approach is shared with students and parents in the beginning of every month along with the content progression document.
ASD informed WhichSchoolAdvisor.com that the focus for the next Academic Year will be to bring in all students back to school for on campus learning whilst continuing to follow all safety protocols as required by the DHA and the KHDA and ensuring that any learning gaps are bridged.
The school offers a highly inclusive approach for students with additional learning needs.
Amity School Dubai states that it is focused on creating "an environment of inclusivity and collaboration where equal educational opportunities are given to students of determination, in order to learn and experience academic, cultural, social and emotional success within a common learning environment".
The school encourages different learning styles for students of determination which are functional, relevant and meaningful supported by high quality teaching and individual support. The school states that it will not refuse a place to a child with SEND and encourages siblings to join the school by offering priority admission for students whose siblings have SEN requirements.
Currently, there are 47 students receiving varying levels of support from the SEN team. The school has a detailed Inclusion process in place where children of Special Educational Needs and disabilities, Gifted and talented students, and ELL students are identified, assessed, placed under different levels of support. The school identification process is led by the Head of Inclusion along with the school counsellor.
Students are provided with 'push-in or pull-out support' depending on their needs by the special Educators and Learning Support Assistant. Some students have full-time learning support assistants appointed by the parents who work with the students under the guidance of the Head of Inclusion. Teachers and parents play a vital role in the support of these students. All students have support plans in place. Some students’ curriculum is modified and some receive therapies.
Support is provided to students with a range of additional needs, including Autism Spectrum, ADHD, Developmental Delay, Hearing and Speech disorders among a wide range. In addition, five further students have been identified as Gifted and Talented, whilst eleven students are receiving English Language Learner support.
The school does not charge any additional fees for SEND provision; however, any specific therapy sessions are outsourced and are paid for by the parent to the therapist directly.
Classrooms are designed with bright colour schemes along with large windows bringing in plenty of natural light into the learning environment.Skylights in the Kindergarten Foyer add natural light to the spaces, being not only aesthetic in terms of appearance, but also providing the area with a very spacious feel. Each classroom is equipped with smart boards. Spacious and colourful hallways connect classrooms and activity spaces. Indoor and outdoor play areas offer plenty of free space and as well recreational equipment for children to enjoy break times and take part in sports activities.
Grade/age appropriate learning resources are available for children to explore ideas, enhance knowledge, collaborate, solve problems and develop interactive skills. A varied selection of instructional materials, e-learning aids and practical resources are available to support subject matter.
Dedicated spaces are used for learning enrichment programs such ICT, Art, Music and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) lab. Well equipped laboratories and fully functional ICT rooms offer students opportunities to learn and prepare them to take Secondary and Senior Secondary Examinations in line with the CBSE requirements.
A library provides a range of learning opportunities where students can have access to various resources, information and information technology. Books are available in English, Arabic, Hindi, French, Malayalam and Tamil.
A learner’s swimming pool is provided for part of the Physical Education curriculum, with a swimming coach and lifeguard always on duty. Spacious playgrounds allow for physical activity and competitive sports. Secondary School facilities including a FIFA size football pitch, a canteen facility and sport hall are already available to middle school students.
Recent improvements have also included the installation by Dubai Municipality of Air quality equipment and internal Energy Savings Plan. The Air Quality equipment has been installed to analyse the air quality of the Qusais school zone. The installed units and sensors are used to detect the air quality of in and around areas; routine checks/inspections are also been conducted by the concerned department.
In addition, ASD has designed and implemented an energy savings plan internally to utilize the energy effectively and efficiently by minimizing the wastage. The operation has focused mainly on the power and ac (chillers) consumption for the facility.
Amity School Dubai was one of a small number of new schools whose first planned KHDA inspection went ahead following the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. The inspection took place in December 2019, at which point the school was open to Grade 7. ASD achieved an Acceptable rating - the minimum expected by the KHDA for all Dubai schools.
It is clear that there had been some significant changes in terms of the leadership and staffing of the school, with the founding Principal having left the school in early 2019, and with staff turnover of 45% - more than double the usual rate of turnover of between 20-22% in the UAE in international schools, and even more significantly higher than in Indian curriculum schools as a rule.
The DSIB inspection team identified the strengths of ASD as:
Although students' achievement was rated almost entirely Acceptable, with the exception of attainment in Arabic in the Middle school (which was rated Weak) and the progress in Middle school English (rated Good), there is clearly much to be done. Whilst the design and implementation of the curriculum were rated Good, all other key performance standards for Teaching and Assessment, and adaptation of the curriculum to meet students' needs were rated Acceptable. It is these two key inputs that are almost always at the base of Student Achievement.
In terms of areas for improvement, ASD must:
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
One of the areas which was rated highly (at Good) by the DSIB inspection team was that of the relationship between the school and parents. In particular, the inspectors noted that the school welcomed the partnership with parents and acted promptly in regard to any concerns. A very sizeable of the parent community at ASD also appear to have responded to the KHDA pre-inspection survey with some 376 responses.
According to their feedback, almost all parents were satisfied with the quality of education being provided by the school and felt that their children were safe. They believed that the school was helping their children to acquire the skills needed to become effective learners. Parents were happy with how well the school kept them informed and felt that the school listens to their views, and when appropriate, acts on their suggestions.
With such a small cohort in Middle school at the time of the inspection, only 10 students responded to the KHDA Well-being survey. Their responses were largely positive although some concerns were raised about bullying. However, the inspection team found no evidence of this during their visit.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received only a very limited number of responses to our School Survey. Parents who responded gave ASD a rating of 3.7/5 - or an approval rating of 74%. They were positive about their children's sense of belonging and enjoyment of school (both well above the UAE average). 86% were also fully satisfied with the level of academic performance of the school. However, despite this response, a third of parents felt that additional tuition outside school was necessary.
Communication and Discipline are also evidently strengths of ASD, However, several respondents have clearly had concerns about bullying - something which should be a priority for ASD to investigate.
By and large, the majority of parents who have responded to our survey were satisfied with Amity School Dubai, with 7 in 10 saying that they would recommend the school to other parents. This correlates with a similar percentage who have not considered moving their child to another school. 86% (43% each) of respondents also felt that the fees they pay fully or partially represent good value for money.
Two particularly positive comments from parents were provided to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, providing more information about the curriculum and overall impressions of the school.
One parent noted that "Its an Indian curriculum school with teaching practices from IB and British curriculums. The parent engagement is also very strong", whilst a second confirmed that "Kindergarten students have activities like swimming, music, yoga etc as part of their curriculum. Their infrastructure is good. They communicate and update via their own app which is convenient."
We would very much like to be able to include more similarly informative comments:
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Amity School Dubai, please share your experience with other members of your community by completing our survey.
Judging by the success of Amity International School in Abu Dhabi which achieved a Good rating by ADEK in its first inspection, and repeated this with four of the six key performance measures being rated Very Good or above at its second inspection, Amity School Dubai may well have been somewhat disappointed in the outcome of its first KHDA inspection. However, based on the experience that exists within both schools and across the Amity Education group, we have no doubt that significant steps will have been taken to address the concerns of the regulator.
We look forward to seeing the progress of the school when it is next inspected in the 2022-23 academic year, and to further feedback from parents.
Amity School Dubai is currently accepting applications for Pre-KG to Grade 9. Fees at the school start at AED 15,000 for Pre-KG, AED 13,500 for KG1 and rise to AED 26,100 for Grade 9 - these fees have been further reduced from the KHDA approved fees.
Amity School Dubai 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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