Deira Private School is a Primary school only, located in Al Twar 3, Dubai. The school follows a British curriculum for children, following the Cambridge International Primary Programme.
The story so far...
Big changes are afoot at Deira Private School which is over 20 years old having been established in 2009. With its recent change in ownership, following the investment of the highly regarded Chubby Cheeks Nurseries' owners - with nurseries located in Al Taawun, Karama, Discovery Gardens and Dubai Investment Park plus a further 16 branches across five emirates in the UAE, Deira Private School (DePS), can expect to see investment in the school and growth.
The school had operated as a Primary school until the 2021-22 academic year when it was announced that DePS was expanding to include Year 7.
The dynamic team behind DePS and the Chubby Cheeks nurseries spoke to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com; read the interview here.
With the involvement of the Chubby Cheeks team, one immediate change at the school has been the opening of a nursery on the school campus. This caters to children from 2-3 years old and also offers FS1 for 3-4 year olds.
Introducing the school, it informs potential parents that DePS is a "Futuristic British Curriculum School that focuses on building a Happy Community, developing Students’ Character and Preparing them for Life. There is a special focus on building a positive character and strong foundation for our students. Character education helps our students become: Conscious, Committed and Competent in doing the right thing". The school say that it offers a family-orientated approach in a world class setting,
Currently DePS has just 200 children registered, catering for students from FS2 (from 3 years of age) to year 6 (11 years of age). There is one class of 22 children in FS2 split into two bubbles (as per current Covid requirements), 60 children in Years 1 and 2 and almost 90 in Years 3 to 6 inclusive. Most year groups have one class, with two in Years 2 and 3. Whilst the maximum permitted class size is 25, in reality, the average is 19 - lower than can be found in many of the Premium schools in the city. However, the school is said to be 'rapidly expanding'.
Students come from 31 different nationalities, with the largest single nationality group being Emiratis, who account for around one third of the student population.
There is an international staff including some 22 teachers from the UK, Australia, South Africa and the Philippines, supported by a further 15 teaching assistants. Teachers are required to have UK curriculum experience and a high standard of spoken and written English. The teacher to student ratio at 1:9 is very much on the low side, as is staff turnover - only 6% in 2019, compared with a Dubai average of 20-22%. This is a sign of a committed and settled staff.
Principal Neil Morris joined the school in 2019 and has been responsible for a range of improvements since his arrival - notably in regard to the curriculum.
The Chubby Cheeks Nursery at DePS is located within the school and is staffed by a separate Licensed Nurse and Nursery Manager. All staff are qualified and Vaccinated. The nursery offers flexible timings, full day care and transportation for children aged 2-4 years old.
Both the school and Nursery offer the services of Chubby Cheeks' in-house Inclusion and Speech Therapy team at no additional cost. The team is seeking to employ additional specialist staff including a RBT and BCBA .
This is in line with the ethos of the group - "to be an education provider for every child. Where each child can reach their highest potential and no child is left behind because of different learning abilities".
Further details of the SEN support offered by the school and Nursery can be found here.
Deira Private School follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in the Foundation Stage 2 class and the National Curriculum for England for students from Year 1 through to Year 6. DePS offers an enriching program, combining literacy, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts and sports. There is also a very strong languages programme where students study Frenchas well as Arabic.
The curriculum has been redesigned. With the advent of the Covid 19 pandemic, while DePS has retained the content and depth of the curriculum in most areas, significant amendments to teaching styles have been made in order to cater for the needs of students in school, in two bubbles and at home. A benefit of this has been a greatly enhanced use of technology in education with the use of GSuite (Drive/Classroom) central to the school's practice.
Read the Deira Private School WSA Question and Answer interview here
The school now offers two extra sessions before and after school for distance learners, in order to provide one-to one/small group support for them that cannot be provided during the school day. All sessions during the day are broadcast live to the other bubble and the distance learners and sessions are recorded for students to revisit the lessons at their own convenience.
The use of Google Classroom has greatly accelerated the use of blended learning which was already one of key aims for development. All students are now confident with the use of Classroom and therefore take a lot more responsibility for the organisation and development of their work. Through Drive, there are also greatly enhanced opportunities for collaboration and quality feedback on work.
In order to track student progress and ensure that the curriculum is adapted as necessary to support them individually, the school uses GL Progress Tests each year for English, Maths and Science and the MOE assessment for Social Studies. For Arabic the children take the IBT tests. DePS also does CAT4 testing for all students from Year 2 upwards. Children also complete PASS questionnaires to check their wellbeing.
DePS also offers varied opportunities for students to discover their passion and uncover their hidden talents, through its Enrichment programme. After School Clubs offer activities such as karate, ballet, hip hop, zumba, yoga, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, football, netball, badminton, creative arts, music, debate, public speaking, robotics and coding. The school also - under normal circumstances offers a good range of educational field trips.
The school's SEN policy is based on the Dubai Inclusion Framework and KHDA regulations and requirements.
The SEN team comprises of two members of staff for the Inclusion team, the SEN Coordinator (SENCO) and one Learning Support Assistant (LSA).
The Head of Inclusion is a highly qualified teacher (BSC Hons UK/PGCE UK/PDip) with 26 years experience in a school in the UK for students with complex speech and language difficulties and Autism. The LSA has 11 years of experience in UAE, and is qualified to Cache Level 3.
All staff are responsible for students with differing needs, ensuring that they differentiate, adapt resources and teaching and learning. If it is felt necessary, students are referred to the SEN Team and in consultation with Principal/HOD/Teacher and Parents next steps are taken to identify needs in terms of learning, social, behavioural and emotional difficulties.
Assessments, classroom observations and prior reports are carried out and looked at, strategies, adjustments, differentiation and accommodations are considered. All teachers aim to provide equitable opportunity and high expectation for all students of determination, identifying a child at risk and intervening as quickly as possible to address the differing need.
Individualised Behaviour Plan (IBP) assists students in building positive behaviour and to replace or reduce a challenging behaviour and to ensure that their behaviour does not impact on their learning. Teachers, along with guidance and support from the Inclusion team, ensure curriculum modifications and accommodations and are considered and planned for children with differing needs through guidance and ongoing support.
A flow diagramme is followed in terms of outcomes and next steps based on the intention to continue with high quality teaching in class, differentiation, tracking and monitoring by teachers and the Senior Leadership Team through progress meetings.
A report is written by the SEN department taking into account the pupils needs, different strategies, differentiations, adjustments, barriers to learning and accomodations.
Initially, a students may be placed on Wave 1 if required and is closely monitored - usually within the classroom - ensuring strategies and accommodations and any barriers are taken into account. If the child requires further support or has more specific needs and support or there is a lack of progress then the child would be moved onto Wave 2 in consultation with all professionals involved with the student.
Wave 2 provides for more targeted learning support and a six-weekly Individual Education Plan (IEP) is shared with parents and all professionals involved with the child. Intervention and class support is provided by the inclusion team and, depending on the level of need, if required, a Shadow teacher. Detailed interventions, assessments and observations are kept throughout the terms. Barriers to learning, accommodations and strategies are shared with all staff working with the student. Goals and plans are reviewed regularly and weekly input from the Inclusion team ensures all students needs are considered and support is given as it arises.
Wave 3 students are those who require specialist external support through centres or agencies, and have an IEP which is written and reviewed every 6 weeks and shared with all professionals and parents. The Inclusion team is highly active in the support for the students on this wave. A multi-disciplinary approach is used for W2 and W3 pupils along with personalised additional targeted support through 6 weekly IEP targets.
Currently DePS, has seven Wave 3 students, six Wave 2 students and 9 Wave 1 students, together with a further 10 students who have been registered as Gifted and Talented. Specific facilities for students with additional needs include an Inclusion and Well being Room.
Currently the school sources Shadow teachers/LSA’s if they are required. No extra costs are made to parents for this additional support. Chubby Cheeks (now owners of the school) provide Speech and Language assessments.
With a significant portion of students being non-native English speakers, teachers work closely with Arabic staff to support the needs of students whose first language is Arabic. Activities and support in class are adapted with the use of visuals and symbols for students to develop their language and to enable them to understand and process what is being taught and communicated. The curriculum is language rich to enable children to learn English and develop and extend their speaking and listening skills.
The school has now been ranked Acceptable eight years in a row by the KHDA, slipping one rating from the 2011-12 inspection.
In the 2019-20 inspection (which took place in November 2019, prior to all inspections being put on hold as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic), the school retained the Acceptable rating.
With no inspections taking place after February 2020 and during 2021, Deira Private School participated with all UAE public and private schools in a Distance Learning Evaluation (DLE) and achieved the highest Developed rating. In fact 10 of the 13 areas of inspection were awarded the highest rating.
The DLE report for the school can be found here.
In the most recent inspection, the strengths of the school identified by the DSIB inspection team included:
Having joined the school early in 2019, Mr. Morris must have been pleased to see initial improvements in English and Maths progress in the Foundation Stage, and in Primary Islamic Education and Arabic as an additional language - all four improved to Good. Whilst the remaining measures remained Acceptable in terms of Student Achievement, the majority of measures for Students Personal and Social Development and their Innovation Skills are rated Good, as is Curriculum Design and Implementation across the school. Health and Safety (rated Very Good), Care and Support (rated Good) and the relationship between the school, its Parents and the Community were found to be Very Good.
In terms of areas for improvement, the inspection team identified the requirement to:
It would seem that the change in ownership of the school, which has taken place subsequent to the inspection, was possibly driven by the first key recommendation.
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.
Located in Al Twar 3,the school says that it offers 'top notch' facilities. Convenient for families coming from Sharjah and Dubai, the school provides bus services to a range of areas including (but not limited to) Al Nahda, Al Qusais, Muhaisnah, International City, Mirdif, Mizhar, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubailand, Karama, Oud Metha, Burdubai, and Mankhool among others.
The Nursery and Primary areas have been purposefully designed to create an environment where young people can develop, socially and academically.
The Nursery, including FS1, has a separate entrance, outdoor play area, biking track, indoor gym, atelier and clinic.
The school boasts of a large Auditorium, well-resourced Library, Sensory Mindfulness Room, STEM Room, Food and Design Technology Room, Science Lab, Atelier, Art Studio, Music Lounge, ICT Suite, Gymnasium, Yoga Studio, Dance and Drama Studio, Green Recording Studio and a Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Room with a Wall Climbing Feature.
The outdoor areas comprise of a Football Pitch, Cricket Practice Nets, Climbing Frames, Outdoor Eco-Science Lab, Organic Farm, Forest Garden, Outdoor Reading Rotunda, Biking Track, Mud Kitchen and multiple areas purposefully designed where students of different age groups can play freely.
Parents to whom WhichSchoolAdvisor.com spoke rated the school highly - in the main because the school's students are a happy crowd. Several parents spoke favourably of the quality of the leadership at the school.
We have received a very limited number of responses to our School Survey from parents, but those who have replied are generally happy with their choice of school. All would recommend the school to other parents and are either in total agreement (67%) or partial agreement that school fees represent good value for money.
If you are a parent or teacher at Deira Private School, please share your experience with other potential members of your community by completing our Survey.
Some 70 parents responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey. The majority of parents who responded indicated that they were satisfied with the quality of education, communication, child safety and friendship among students. Most parents stated that their children’s wellbeing and academic success are equally important. Most parents believed that their children worked hard in school and few parents believed that bullying was an issue in the school.
With a change of ownership and change of leadership, all taking place within a relatively short period, there will clearly be pressure on Deira Private School to implement the changes and recommendations made by the KHDA some eighteen months ago, in order to improve the overall quality of education that students receive.
Based on the information that has been provided to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, we can already see that the commitment for improvement is clearly visible within the school. It will be interesting to see how the school performs after having this period to settle into the new ownership - based on our knowledge of the team behind the school, we expect to see significant progress.
For parents seeking a small school Primary-focused environment, where the owners and staff really know and care about their community, we would definitely recommend that potential parents get in touch with the DePS team.
Families can arrange for school tours and admissions from Sunday to Thursday 2:30pm to 4:00pm and on Saturday from 10am to 3pm. All school visits are with appointments only, following highest safety precautions during school tours. If parents prefer not to make a physical visit to the school, DePS will arrange a Google Meet meeting with the Vice Principal or Head of Admissions.
School Fees are in the affordable range from AED 21,412 for FS2 (Reception) to AED 33,042 for Year 6. Year 7 fees have now been published on the school website and are AED 38,042 per year.
Families are eligible to siblings' and cousins' discount: 10% discount for second child, 13% discount for the third child and 15% discount from fourth child onwards. The school also has a referral reward bonus of AED 1000 for every registration received from parental reference.
Fees for Chubby Cheeks Nursery at DePS vary depending on the choice of timings that children attend for and range, per year, from AED 18,000 for Morning Nursery (8am to 11am), AED 21,000 for Half Day Nursery (8am to 2:30pm), AED 12,000 for Afternoon Nursery (2:30pm to 5pm), and AED 24,000 for Full Day Nursery (7 am to 6pm). There is also a special Government Employee arrangement of AED 25,000 for 7am to 3pm.
Deira Private School 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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