Located in Al Mizhar, Dubai, Arab Unity School aims to offer a British based education at an affordable price. The latter it most certainly does, with fees ranging from 5717 AED per year for KG rising to 9560 AED for Year 13. That would be less than a tenth of the cost of some, more recently established private schools.
Arab Unity School has been rated Acceptable for the tenth year in a row in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update to this review will be completed once the full report has been published.
The story so far...
Established in 1975 to offer an affordable British education, unfortunately, while progress has been made at Arab Unity School, it is not yet a beacon of how to do affordable education that's also best in class.
The school currently has a KHDA ranking of Acceptable, an improvement on the Weak rating it received in 2008-9. The school currently has 3,255 majority Asian students, and 205 teachers. A majority of teachers hold a teaching certificate and the school's teacher development programme has "had positive effects upon the quality of teaching, a work in progress," notes the report.
Students are grouped into 127 classes, giving the school an average classroom size of 26. Nearly half of all students are in the primary phase.
What about the curriculum?
The school follows the English National Curriculum, leading to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations in Year 11 and Advanced Level (GCE) examinations in Year 12.
What about academic achievement?
The school does not publish its exam results, so it is not possible to assess how well its students fare academically. However, of note is that A' Level options seem limited. Subjects offered include: Islamic Studies, Arabic, Physics, Accounting, Psychology, Biology, Business Studies, Sociology, Mathematics, Economics and Chemistry.
WSA strongly encourages all schools to publish details of the attainment of students in external examinations. It is of key interest to parents, the partners and customers of a school.
What the inspectors say
The school does seem to be moving in the right direction academically, with noted progress of students in English, mathematics and science in the post-16 phase according to its latest KHDA report. In fact, across phases of the school Arab Unity records largely good progress and attainment for core subjects, save for its Primary phase which is rated satisfactory only for English, maths and science. Despite the recently high turnover in staff (27%), teaching in general is also considered good, save in the primary section. Students in general also make good personal and social development across all phases of the school.
The school has quite a few areas to focus on in order to attain a good overall rating however: More effective teaching in the primary phase is required, greater opportunities for primary and secondary students to develop their learning skills, better accuracy of assessment, better self-evaluation and management of staff performance, a modified post-16 curriculum to ensure senior students have appropriate time to complete A level course requirements, as well as improved classroom provision for SEN students is top of Arab Unity's to do list.
Parents in general seem relatively satisfied with the school in feedback to the KHDA - although they are concerned with the turnover in staff. Students themselves seem less satisfied than their parents, but overall appear a relatively contented group. In the WSA survey, parents are clearly very supportive of the school and would recommend it to other parents. However there are concerns over feedback and the school's disciplinary policies.
Fees range from AED 5,854 per year for KG rising to AED 9,789 for Year 13. That would be less than a tenth of the cost of some, more recently established private schools, but clearly affect the ability of the school to invest in staff and resources, and their ability to improve the quality of education that can be offered as a result.
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