United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Festival City / Deira International School

Deira International School Review

Deira International School is located in the new part of old Dubai - Festival City, and is currently home to 1,600 students from a mixed range of nationalities (over 80 in total), although the predominant ethnicity is Arab. The school is owned and managed by the not-for-profit Al Futtaim Foundation, part of the Al Futtaim Group, developers of Dubai Festival City.
Parents' Rating
help
3.8 out of 5 based on 20 reviews
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Very Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked Limited
Availability 2020/21
fiber_manual_record All grades
Annual fee average
AED 58,000
Annual fees
AED 39,938 - 80,465
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2005
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
21%
Principal
Mrs Ruth Burke
Owner
Al Futtaim Education Foundation
Community
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities

Nearby nurseries

0.6km
Does your child attend this school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
LET'S GO
favorite favorite_border Save
Deira International School
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Very Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked Limited
Availability 2020/21
fiber_manual_record All grades
Annual fee average
AED 58,000
Annual fees
AED 39,938 - 80,465
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2005
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
21%
Principal
Mrs Ruth Burke
Owner
Al Futtaim Education Foundation
Community
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
MORE arrow_drop_down
First Published:
Saturday 7 July, 2012

Updated:
Sunday 15 September, 2019

Deira International School is located in the new part of old Dubai - Festival City, and is currently home to 1,600 students from a mixed range of nationalities (over 80 in total), although the predominant ethnicity is Arab. The school is owned and managed by the not-for-profit Al Futtaim Foundation, part of the Al Futtaim Group, developers of Dubai Festival City.

The Story so Far

When Deira International School (DIS) opened in 2005, it had a student cohort of 240 and a teaching team of 34 teachers.  In September 2018 the school started its 14th year of operation with the significant growth in numbers of students, teachers and supporting staff.  In 2018-19, the school has grown to almost 1,600 students from over 80 nationalities.  Around 14% of students are from the local Emirati population.  The school also has a substantial number of students of Determination who are provided with access to specialist SEN support.  DIS is an inclusive school with approximately 7% of students identified with SEND requirements. Provision for students with additional learning needs is rated Very Good by the KHDA.

Students are supported by a teaching team of 182, together with a further 47 teaching assistants.  Teacher turnover in 2017-18, at 8%, was on the low side for Dubai (where the average is 20-22%).  However, this figure grew substantially to 21% in 2018-19. This is most likely due to the arrival of a new Director in September 2018, who, no doubt, will have effected changes to strengthen her team.  Ruth Burke, has a strong pedigree as a former Head teacher at JESS Jumeirah and, latterly, GEMS Wellington International School - both rated Outstanding by the KHDA under her leadership.

With a staff:student ratio of 1:9, students are assured of a high degree of personal attention.  The capacity of the school is 2,100 with the addition of two further buildings in 2016-17 and this has enabled the school to reduce class sizes, whilst offering additional places across the school.

Two years ago, management of the school transferred from the previous management company back to the owners of the buildings, Al Futtaim Foundation, reverting to a not-for-profit status. With this change has come a new director, Ruth Burke, whose previous experience included not-for-profit JESS Jumeirah. Significant investments have been made in the school's buildings, infrastructure and resources since the change.

The Director's opening remarks include “As a successful school we will never stand still; we continuously strive for excellence through strategically developing practice and provision to continue to improve. Our DSIB inspection rating of ‘Very Good’ is testament to the high levels of attainment and progress, in all areas of the curriculum, being achieved here at DIS. Care and support rated as ‘Outstanding’, underpins all our decision making and daily practice. Our intense focus on student well-being, health and safety, community building and most importantly personalised learning makes DIS a very special school".

The school states that its Vision is:
To create an outstanding, multi-cultural learning community which empowers students to achieve their potential, become life-long learners and responsible global citizens.

Its Mission Statement notes:
At DIS we believe all students will fulfill their potential in an inclusive, forward thinking and safe environment in which each child’s individuality is valued and encouraged. Our committed team of educators will provide opportunities for creativity and global awareness through a holistic and nurturing curriculum. They will hold high expectations, use innovative learning and teaching approaches, and encourage the celebration of cultural diversity. We will foster partnerships where students, parents, staff and the wider community will actively support and contribute to the achievement of the DIS Vision.

DIS is fully accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), British Schools Overseas (BSO) and International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO). The school is also a member of the British Schools in the Middle East (BSME) organisation and the Middle East IB Association (MEIBA).

What about the curriculum?

The school follows an English National Curriculum model which is adapted for the international context  and 80+ nationalities represented in the student body. Senior students take the Cambridge Board IGCSE examinations in Year 11 and move into the authorised International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and International Baccalaureate Career-Related Certificate (IBCC) in Years 12-13.

DIS offers a wide range of after-school activities. Extracurricular sports include boys' and girls' football, basketball, rugby, tennis and swimming. The school competes in several of the Dubai-based leagues including Basketball, Rugby, Touch Rugby, Netball, Football and Cricket. Students from DIS recently won two prestigious awards at the 2019 UAE Teen Sports Awards, including Team of the Year – the U19 Rugby Team and Gymnast of the Year. A vocal and instrumental programme offers a broad range of musical study. Band, chorus, dance and art programmes are also offered along with other academic and non-academic programmes. 

The school is a strong advocate of Outdoor Education and Cultural trips and has conducted student expeditions and educational tours to such locations as New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Lebanon, Germany, Nepal, Austria, Mauritius, Vietnam and Malawi. Camps in the UAE are currently provided for Year 4, 5, 6, 7 & 9 students. Deira International School delivers the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme in support of the IB Diploma Creativity Action and Service requirement.

Note: Separate lessons for physical education are provided for boys and girls from years 5 to 13.

What about the facilities?

Deira International School sits on an 80,000 sq. m. campus at the heart of Dubai Festival City. Its facilities include libraries, a multi-media centre, an IB centre, a Business Studies centre, Science laboratories, Design and Technology classrooms, Music rooms, Drama studios, Creative Art classrooms, a Performing Arts hall, sports halls, outdoor swimming pools and large sports fields.  

Read about the look and feel of DIS at our Visit Experience here.

A wide range of improvements have been made, with further planned, since the school's management reverted to Al Futtaim (the owners of the site and buildings) in 2017.

What are Academic Achievement?

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is particularly pleased to see the addition of (strong) examination results on the school's web site.

 

IB results

2019

2018

Name of School

Deira International School

No. of candidates registered in the session

n/a

n/a

No. of diploma and retake candidates registered

65

51

No. of subject entries in the session

n/a

n/a

No. of candidates who passed the diploma

62

47

% of candidates who achieved 40+ points

15

6

% of candidates who achieved 35+ points

43

32

% of candidates who achieved 30+ points

80

77

Highest Diploma points awarded to a candidate

44

43

Average IB points

34

33

Total number of candidates excluded from the statistics

n/a

n/a

2018-19 IB Diploma results were stronger than in 2017-18, and with a considerably larger cohort, the average of 34 points was well above the global figure and one student obtained 44 points and a second 43 points.

For the IB Diploma the average grade of DIS students was 34 in 2016-17 - one of the highest averages in the UAE, and 5 points above the world average. A 34 point grade would be sufficient for most Red Brick universities in the United Kingdom.  

IGCSE results

2018

2017

Name of School

Deira International School

No. of students in IGCSE level cohort:

90

109

% of cohort entered for IGCSE exams

100

100

No. of exam entries

751

881

% of exam entries graded A*/9-8

12

16

% of exam entries graded A*-A /9-7

40

41

% of exam entries graded A*-B /9-6

69

66

% of exam entries graded A*-C /9-4

89

88

% of students achieving 5 A*-C/ 9-4 including English and Maths

88

88

Overall student pass rate A*-C

89

88

Number of students excluded from the statistics

0

0

The IGCSE results for 2017-18 showed an improvement compared with the previous year with 69% of students achieving A*-B grades and 89% of exam entries being rated A*-C.

The IGCSE results for the 2016-2017 academic year were also impressive, considering that 10% of students were registered and identified with special educational needs. The results analysis show that 66 % of students received A*, A and B grades. 14% of DIS students scored A* grades compared to the UK’s 6.7 % A* grades. 41% of all grades at the school are A* and A. 88% of students achieved 5 A*- C grades including Mathematics and English. This is a strong result since 75% of students are 2nd and 3rd language English speakers, though a drop from the record results of 2015 when 92% of students achieved the same results.

You can find Deira International School's results in full here

What the inspectors say

The 2018/2019 KHDA report has Deira International School ranked Very Good for the fourth year in a row. This is impressive after four years at Good and three years previous to that at Acceptable.  Its Achilles Heel, in common with many schools in the UAE, is in the teaching and progress of students in Arabic. Given the high proportion of Arabic students in the school, this is inevitably a particular focus of the inspectors. 

However, in overall terms, DIS students' achievement across several subjects and sections of the school are Outstanding.  In the Foundation Stage, both attainment and progress are rated Outstanding, whilst attainment in English and Maths are also rated the highest possible grade. Progress in these two subjects remains Very Good.  In the Primary and Secondary sections, attainment and progress in all three core subjects are rated Very Good, with the exception of progress in Secondary Mathematics and Sixth Form English attainment and progress which are all rated Outstanding.  Learning skills across the school are also rated Outstanding in each section.

The core Arabic subjects of Arabic as a first and second language and Islamic Education have made progress over the last two years; Islamic Education is rated Good across the school (it is not taught in the FS section), whilst Arabic as a second language remains largely rated Good, with the progress in the Primary section Very Good.  Arabic as a first language in the Primary section achieves the same ratings, but it is across the Secondary and Sixth Form sections that ratings are only Acceptable.

Across the other five key performance standards of Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation skills, Teaching and Assessment, the Curriculum, the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students, and Leadership and Management, almost every measure is rated Outstanding.  The exceptions are in relation to Teaching for Effective Learning - rated Very Good in Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form, and the school's Self-evaluation and improvement planning, also rated Very Good.

The DSIB inspection team identified the strengths of DIS as:

  • The vision and direction of the governing board and senior staff, which results in a fully inclusive school, with outstanding facilities and resources;
  • The respect and tolerance that students show towards each other leading to a happy and harmonious school;
  • The development of students' outstanding learning skills, which make a significant contribution to their rate of progress;
  • The attention given to the well-being of students and staff through outstanding care, support and safeguarding;
  • The partnership established with parents to support students' learning.

In terms of areas of improvement, the inspection team recommended that:

  • the governing board and director should ensure that staff in all subjects, and across all phases, work as a cohesive, whole school team, using highly effective communication to: raise levels of attainment and progress in Islamic Education and Arabic to at least match those in other subjects; ensure consistency in planning and teaching of subject specific skills as well as the acquisition of knowledge in all subjects; [and] ensure rigorous evaluation of the impact of the thematic approach to teaching of the primary curriculum.

If you would like to read the entire KHDA inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you - please go here.

Some 176 parents completed the KHDA's pre-inspection survey and 94% were satisfied with the quality of education provided by the school. They valued the improved communication and the effort made by the school to help them to understand how best to support their children's learning. 

543 students participated in the KHDA's well-being survey and the majority confirmed that they are happy at school. The relationships developed with teachers is strong and most students say that they feel safe. Almost all say that they are confident in their own ability as learners and are optimistic about their futures.

In the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey results were not as positive as we would have expected. Only half of parents would recommend the school to others, and only 43% stated that they were satisfied with the academic performance of the school. 50% of parents had considered moving their child to another school, and 43% of respondents felt that school fees did not offer value for money.  We would stress that these results are from a limited number of parents, who perhaps are a dissatisfied minority.

If you are a parent, teacher or senior student at Deira International School, please share your opinions by completing our survey here.

As long ago as 2013, we noted in our review that Deira International was "a school not content with its Good rating". It has proven us right. As one of a very small group of schools ranked Very Good, this puts Deira International just outside the tier-one ranked Outstanding Dubai and Abu Dhabi schools. If the school can address the key concerns of the inspectors in relation to Arabic as a first language, Deira International must surely be rated Outstanding in the near future.

And Fees? 

Fees for the school are on now on the high end of the spectrum. The school has been raising fees every year at the upper end of the range the KHDA allows - and exceeding them in some years. Tuition fees start from AED 39,938 in EY1, reaching AED 56,466 in Year 7 and rise to AED 80,465 in Years 12 and 13.

If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information

Comments
0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All