Buds Public School is a well established institution in Dubai, having been in operation in the emirate for the last 35 years. Currently the school has approximately just over 400 students on its roll (half the number at its peak five years ago), and follows the Indian CBSE curriculum.
Established in 1987, and now 35 years old, Buds Public School (BPS) describes itself as "an inclusive, co-educational, English medium day school following the Indian CBSE curriculum serving various communities.."
According to the school, "The pedagogic practices are aligned to 21st century teaching and learning. Our students are trained to proficient in learning skills such as analysis, problem solving, synthesis, data handling, creative and collaborative skills." However, the fact that the school has achieved the minimum rating required by the KHDA of Acceptable for 8 years in a row, may cause one to question this statement.
According to the school's relatively new website which was created in 2019, the school's Vision is to "Create an inclusive, tolerant sustainable environment that nurtures and groom global citizens."
The school Mission is four-fold:
1. Promote academic excellence through innovation, research and entrepreneurship and character education at par with international standards.
2. Encourage a healthy life style among students through proper diet and fitness programs.
3. Provide a happy, safe and inclusive environment that permit all students to progress.
4. Respect and value the progressive Islamic culture and the rich Arabic language of the land.
The school motto meanwhile, is "Arise, Aspire, Achieve".
The school had close to 900 students on its roll at its height in 2016. This number has fallen by almost half to just 425 at the time of the last KHDA inspection in October 2019. Despite this reduction (or perhaps because of it), Buds will introduce pre-KG in addition to the current KG to Grade 12 classes from April 2022.
BPS is led by Dr. Alpana Sawhney, who joined as Principal in October 2020 from her previous role as Vice Principal and Head of Secondary at the branch campus of Abu Dhabi Indian School. Teacher numbers have reduced from 60 to 34 over the past four years according to the KHDA, although the school website professes to over 110 and an astounding 282,000 students enrolled! Teachers are supported by two teaching assistants, mostly in the Kindergarten and Grade 1, and a Guidance counsellor. Teacher turnover, at 32% in 2019, is well above the UAE average for international schools, and even more so for Indian curriculum schools.
Both teacher and student nationalities are predominantly Indian.
Students follow the Indian CBSE curriculum and take the CBSE examinations at the end of Grade 10 and Grade 12. Students have the option of Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam and Tamil from Grades 1 to 10.
Grade 11 and 12 students have a range of five option groups split between three Science (with compulsory Maths) and two streams of Commerce with compulsory Maths. Although this may seem generous at first sight, in reality, the list of subjects available across the five streams is limited to Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Informatics Practices, Economics, Accountancy and Business Studies.
There is no mention of extra-curricular activities or sports activities.
There is no mention of facilities and support for students with additional learning needs or those with gifts and talents although the school would be required under current KHDA Inclusive Education policies to have these in place.
At the time of the last KHDA inspection, 40 students of Determination had been identified. The report rated the provision and outcomes for Students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents as Weak, noting that "teachers do not adapt the curriculum in ways that help them to adequately meet the needs of all groups of students. This includes provision for students of determination and those with particular gifts and talents".
The inspectors recommended that a review of the entire system of monitoring and support take place to ensure all students make better progress and that the curriculum also be reviewed to ensure that the least able students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for life after school.
The school website notes that "Our graduating students are been accepted by some of the most prestigious universities and colleges around the world", but does not provide any further detail. It also notes that 97% of students go on to university.
Whilst the school does not provide full details of students' successes at Grade 10 and 12 CBSE examinations, to its credit, it does publish a list of toppers which can be found here. Unfortunately, reporting at this level, whilst acknowledging the success of individual students, does not reflect the overall achievement of the cohort and makes it difficult, therefore, to understand just what level of achievement has been attained by all students.
The school website also lists a number of international benchmark tests - presumably taken by students at BPS - including:
ASSET – Assessment of scholastic skills through educational testing
PISA – Program for international student Assessment
TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study)
CAT4 – Cognitive Aptitude Test
No details of results from the PISA and TIMMS tests (which are published for all schools) are provided.
Facilities at Buds Public school are satisfactory, but modest compared to some of Dubai's more recently established private schools. They include a custom built school campus fully fitted with ICT technology, a library with over 25,000 titles and resources, specially designed Mathematics, English and “Discovery” laboratories (including a STEAM lab) and extended learning centres, Reading lounge, Kindergarten enquiry, a Kiddies Junction, and dedicated science and computer laboratories for higher secondary school students, an art room, an Islamic Studies Room, and a canteen.
There are separate indoor and outdoor play areas for kindergarten students and facilities for indoor games such as badminton, table tennis, carom, and chess. Outside, there is a uniquely designed and fully shaded multi-purpose playground covering over 20,000 Sqft. of area, including a quadrangle for various outdoor games, tennis court, basketball court, and a natural grass lawn for ball games. There are also purpose built health and fitness rooms with dedicated shower facilities.
As a result of the cancellation of all inspections from early 2020 as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, BPS did participate in a Distance Learning Evaluation which rated the provision of on-line learning across three categories. BPS achieved the second rating of Partially Developed - the report can be found here.
With the eighth inspection rating of Acceptable, there were few improvements to be found in the 2019-20 full inspection which took place some six months prior to the DLE.
In terms of Student Achievement, almost all subjects were rated Acceptable across the school for both attainment and progress with only three indicators rated Good (two in KG and one in Primary), with two downgrades to Acceptable from Good in the previous inspection, and with four measures now rated Weak. There was not a single improved measure in this Key Performance Standard.
In terms of the two further Key Performance Standards of Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum - both of which are fundamental to the achievement of students - these were again rated almost entirely Acceptable. The only bright light (and the only improved rating across the entire report) was the improvement in Secondary Assessment to Acceptable.
Ratings for Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation skills remained unchanged - again a mix of Acceptable and Good for the most part - whilst the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students remained Good in terms of Health and Safety provision and mainly Acceptable for Care and Support.
The final Key Performance Standard of Leadership and Management remained Acceptable for the most part, with the school's self-evaluation downgraded to Weak. Whatever the views of the inspectors, families of students at the school are clearly still supportive of it, with its relationship between Parents and the Community rated Good.
In terms of the strengths of the school, the inspection team found these to be:
As far as areas of improvement were concerned, the school must:
On a further positive note, we should mention that the inspection team commented on changes to the leadership of the school, noting that "The recently-appointed senior leaders have instituted a wide-ranging development programme to improve teaching and learning." It is to be hoped that in the two and half years since the last inspection, substantial progress has been made in this regard.
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.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received insufficient feedback from parents to our School Survey to be able to comment on the responses so far.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Buds Public School and would like to share your experience and comments with other potential members of your community, to do so please complete our Survey here.
Just over 175 parents responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey, and 98% professed themselves satisfied with the quality of education provided by BPS. Almost all were satisfied the school’s responsiveness to their communications and the development of their children’s learning skills. Almost all agreed that students were kept safe in school and most agreed with the principle of inclusion. Almost all agreed that they had access to the necessary information to support their children's education. Around a quarter did not know if bullying was an issue.
A sizeable contingent of 274 students responded to the KHDA's Well-being Survey, with the results of survey broadly comparable to other Dubai schools in all indicators. Students reported marginally higher confidence levels in their own abilities. They noted some forms of verbal bullying, marginally more than in other schools. They also indicated that cyber-bullying was an issue. The inspection did not find any evidence that this was the case.
As one of the longer established schools in Dubai, it is always concerning when a school appears to maintain its standards at the minimum level of expectation in terms of the standard of education it delivers. Whilst in reality, to have been able to maintain an Acceptable standard for eight years does not mean that the school has stood still - the requirements from the KHDA have ensured ,effectively, that schools have had to make improvements to stand still - it is disappointing that after this time, no significant improvements have been made.
It is to be the hoped that the changes in leadership and staffing that have taken place will be shown to have resulted in changes to delivery of the curriculum and teaching that are clearly required.
KHDA approved tuition fees for the school are relatively affordable, ranging from AED 7,907 per annum for pre-KG and KG to AED 14,118 for Grades 10 to 12. BPS is currently offering discounted rates of AED 7,750 for KG to AED 13,508 per annum for Grades 10 to 12.
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