Bright Riders School is a KG to Grade 12 CBSE curriculum school located in Mohammed bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi. It grew out of a kindergarten founded in the city in 1978 and relocated to its modern premises in 2013.
The story so far...
Bright Riders School (BRS) grew out of the Indian Community Kindergarten (ICK) which was established in 1975 and, until its closure, catered to 500 students. BRS, run by the same management company, was launched in 2013 and the newer school has a capacity to cater to over 4,000 students with approximately 3,300 students already attending the school according to the ADEK inspection report of January 2019.
The group operates two further branches of Bright Riders School, the first in Al Wathba South/Al Dhafra, which opened in 2014 (and which appears to have closed in 2021), and the second in Dubai, which opened in 2018.
The school's website states that "In partnership with parents and the greater community, Bright Riders School intends to provide a quality education so that all students are able to reach their full potential within a caring, secure, and stimulating environment".
The school's Chairman, well-known Indian businessman Dr. B.R. Shetty, introduces the school as follows:
Bright Riders is not just a school. It is a system created for the bright and curious minds to aim for a standard set high in an atmosphere of challenge and support, in order to bring out their best as learners and as individuals. Embracing diversity and the pursuit of excellence, we have created this world-class facility to provide a rich and invigorating learning experience, so that students discover and develop talents as scholars, artists, and athletes. We strive to develop in students a lifelong love of learning, responsible citizenship, and personal integrity, which are grounded in the values of trust, honesty, and respect.
The school's Principal, Dr. Rishikesh Padegaonkar, joined BRS prior to its opening at the new campus in 2012 and introduces his perspective on the education that BRS offers:
For education to be complete, it must include not only the training of the intellect but also the refinement of the heart and the discipline of the spirit. Through explicit and implicit school based activities we provide conscious, relevant opportunities to enable our young learners to acquire knowledge, skills and the habits of mind and heart that will develop them into confident, creative individuals as well as active, informed 21st Century citizens.
The school's vision is "To nurture youth to grow into full-fledged personalities of the future, by drawing out the best in them through support in all forms of learning".
Its Mission is clearly stated:
The staff, parents and members of the School Board of BRS aim to encourage each student in all aspects of learning by:
The vast majority of students are Indian passport holders (98%), with a small proportion of Pakistani and Sri Lankan students (each 1%) making up the other nationalities.
Student numbers are spread across the school in a rather more balanced way than is often the situation in relatively new schools, where the KG and Primary school usually heavily outweighs the Secondary school cohort. Approximately 50% of students attend the KG and Primary sections school, whilst the Middle school (from Grades 5-8) makes up almost a third of students and the Senior grades represent almost one-fifth.
The school is committed to a maximum class size of 30 - high by many international school standards - and with a teacher: student ratio of 1:23 in KG, it would seem that this level has not yet been reached. The staff:student ratio from Grade 1 upwards averages 1:16. Classes are mixed gender from KG to Grade 4, and then single gender from Grade 5 onwards.
Students are supported by some 214 teachers and 15 teaching assistants. Staff turnover, at 10% is around average for an Indian curriculum school, although well below the average for international schools in the UAE which tends to be around 20-22%.
Bright Riders School follows the CBSE curriculum with the medium of instruction being English, offering both a Science and a Commerce stream in Grades XI and XII.
BRS believes that competency is a cluster of knowledge, skills and attitudes that reflect in students’ performance of a task. The class room is seen as the training ground and opportunities are provided to practice problem solving and critical thinking skills that help in improving competencies. The school follows a digital approach to teaching providing classrooms enhanced with technological equipment for the purpose of better learning and teaching.
Students in High School prepare for their Grade XII exams either in the Science or Commerce stream. The Science stream offers options based around a choice of four subjects from among Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Informatics Practices, Physical Education, and Psychology.
The Commerce stream offers the option choice from among Accountancy, Business Studies, Economics, Informatics Practices, Mathematics, Physical Education, and Psychology. Core subjects for both students streams include English, Arabic, Work Experience, General Knowledge/Islamic studies, regular P.E./games and library.
There does seem to be a broad and holistic approach to students' education at BRS, where they are able to routinely participate in a wide range of clubs, sports and co-curricular activities, such as aerobics, swimming, art, vocal and instrumental music and dance. Other activities include house competitions and activity days; sports events (inter-school for older students); arts and crafts club; debating and environment clubs (for middle/upper students); games/computer club; and a book club.
At the time of the last inspection, only a small number of students had been identified with SEN requirements or with intellectual gifts and talents (G&T). The school has a selective policy in terms of its student intake; however, inspectors commented "Students with special educational needs (SEN) are not subject to selection and may enter if they apply."
Comprehensive systems identify SEN and G&T students and plans to support these groups are shared with staff and parents. SEN students benefit from successful support by specialist teachers. While students with SEN are fully integrated into lessons, provision for G&T students is less successful at fully developing these students’ abilities in lessons.
Unfortunately, Bright Riders School - in line with many Indian curriculum schools - focuses all of its attention on its Toppers. It is simply not possible to gauge from the details provided how well the entire cohort performed - by providing an average score across all subjects and students - nor, does the school reveal how many students appeared for the examinations. This is a great pity in our view, since it prevents the school celebrating its students' achievements as a whole, and provides insufficient information to enable prospective parents or students to conclude how successful overall the school is academically.
Having said this, we do know that in the 2018-19 Grade XII examinations, the Toppers achieved overall marks of 97.6%, 96%, 95.4% and 95.2%), The eight Subject Toppers achieved scores from 100% (for Computer Science and Maths) to 86% for Accountancy.
The most recent ADEK report also notes that a large minority of Grades 3 to 10 students participated in external assessments set by the International Benchmark Test (IBT) through the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in English, mathematics and science. The average performance levels were similar to international averages.
BRS Abu Dhabi is set on a large campus of 36,000 square meters. Smart classrooms enable teachers to use the resources available on the internet as well as the content available on the internal server of the school.
Facilities at the school include libraries, which house a vast collection of 15,000 books, digital sources, resources and information, separate labs for Biology, Chemistry, Physics and ICT, indoor and shaded outdoor play areas; an athletic track, a high jump and long jump pit, cricket and soccer field, a basket/volleyball court and a 25m indoor swimming pool.
Indoor Facilities include an indoor air-conditioned sports facility which includes a Multipurpose Hall for Aerobics/Gymnasium with marked areas for Indoor Basketball, Indoor Badminton, Indoor Table Tennis, Chess/Carom and an Adventure play area for Kindergarten Students.
The 2,200 sq.m. auditorium is a feature of which the school is particularly proud. It can accommodate up to 1700 individuals and is fully provided with a Surround sound system, theatrical lighting, WIFI connection, projector and projection screens,a podium and two green rooms.
What the inspectors say
Bright Riders School Abu Dhabi was rated Good again for its most recent inspection in 2018-19 by the ADEK inspection team. In fact, BRS is clearly making improvements across the board (despite the concerns expressed about CBSE results), with Students' personal and social development, and their innovation skills, and the Protection, care, guidance and support of students being rated Very Good.
Given that the school was rated Weak in its first inspection in 2014-15, and Acceptable in 2015-16, its progress to a Good overall rating only one year later (usually Abu Dhabi schools are inspected every two years), is an achievement that should not be underestimated! The fact the school maintained and continued to improve its performance in the 2018-19 inspection clearly shows the dedication of the leadership and owners.
Inspectors commented on the progress made since the previous inspection, noting that "The overall performance of Bright Riders School remains good. Students’ progress is at least good in all subjects. Teachers provide lessons that interest and engage students. School leaders have ensured good provision has been maintained and, in some areas of the school’s work, provision has improved significantly." The provision of professional development for all staff has had a particularly positive impact in the Senior section.
Overall, the ADEK inspection team found the strengths of BRS to be:
Those key areas for improvement identified by the inspection team were:
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.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent survey has received a limited number of responses from parents at Bright Riders School Abu Dhabi. Overall, the results are less positive than we would have expected for a school that apparently has good relationships with parents and and is offering a good quality of education.
According to the most recent ADEK inspection, "Innovative communication methods, such as the electronic portal and social media groups, allied to regular reporting of school activities in magazines and circulars ensure parents are kept very well informed about school life. The parent portal enables parents to effectively contribute to their children’s education. Parents receive regular and helpful reports about their children’s academic and personal progress."
Main concerns seem to revolve around fee levels - evidently felt to be too high for the quality being provided - and dissatisfaction with the level of feedback provided by the school. Bullying also appears to be a significant issue for those parents who have responded. Under 1 in 2 parents would recommend the school to others and over half felt that the standard of education offered did not match the level that would be offered in their home country.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Bright Riders School Abu Dhabi, please do share your feedback and experiences of the school with other potential members of your community by completing our Parent Opinion Survey here.
Based on its progress on the path towards improvement over the previous five years, Bright Riders School Abu Dhabi clearly has the capacity to continue deliver not only a Good education, but even a Very Good one. We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com look forward to seeing the results of the next ADEK inspection. With only one Indian curriculum school rated Very Good in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, this is a rating that Bright Riders can clearly aspire to.
Tuition fees at Bright Riders School Abu Dhabi fall within the affordable range, starting at AED 9,200 in KG1 and 2, rising to AED 19,100 in Grade 12. Additional book fees range from AED 400 in KG1 to AED 700 in Grades 11 and 12.
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