United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Twar 3 / Deira Private School

Deira Private School Review

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 Programmes for Primary and Secondary..
Parents' Rating
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3.8 out of 5 based on 16 reviews
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 27,500
Annual fees
AED 21,142–38,042
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2009
School year
Aug to Jul
Principal
Dr Dr. Ritika Anand
Owner
BRS Ventures
Community
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
Main student nationality
United Arab Emirates

Nearby nurseries

3km • EYFS curriculum
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Deira Private School
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 27,500
Annual fees
AED 21,142–38,042
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2009
School year
Aug to Jul
Principal
Dr Dr. Ritika Anand
Owner
BRS Ventures
Community
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
Main student nationality
United Arab Emirates
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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 Programmes for Primary and Secondary..

The story so far...

Big changes are afoot at Deira Private School which is well 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.  Following its KHDA inspection in May 2022, when DePS was again awarded an Acceptable rating, it will expand to Year 8 in August 2022.


Chubby Cheeks Nursery is also incorporated into the campus at DePS.

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,

DePS has grown very significantly over the past two years, with just 200 children registered at the time of its purchase by the Chubby Cheeks team to close to 700 children at the time of the DSIB inspection in 2022, catering for students from FS2 (from 3 years of age) to year 7 (12 years of age).

Whilst the maximum permitted class size is 25, prior to its expansion, the average was 19 - lower than can be found in many of the Premium schools in the city. However, the school is said to be 'rapidly expanding'.  This is reflected in a teacher:student ratio of 1:13, - more suggestive of the class size of 25 - according to the KHDA report.

Students come from 31 different nationalities, with the largest single nationality group being Emiratis - of whom there were 119 at the time of the inspection, who account for around one fifth of the student population.  The largest ethnic group according to the report is Arab.

There is an international staff including some 54 teachers mainly from India, supported by a further 46 teaching assistants. Staff turnover has grown significantly to 85%! This is suggestive of a mass clear out of the original teachers, who previously were native English speakers from the UK, Australia and South Africa, and all of whom needed to have UK curriculum experience. 

To be fair, some of this figure will also relate to new staff taken on for the expansion to the Secondary section, but when new teaching staff account for 8 out 10 teachers,  there is potential cause for alarm. However, the school evidently needed to find a way to reduce fees to attract new students, and teachers are usually the most expensive element of the budget.



Former Principal Neil Morris joined the school in 2019 and had been responsible for a range of improvements since his arrival - notably in regard to the curriculum. However, with the change of owners has come a change of Principal in the form of Dr. Ritika Anand. 

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.

What about the curriculum?

Deira Private School follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in the Foundation Stage 2 class and the National Curriculum for England using the Cambridge International Curriculum for students from Year 1 through to Year 8.  DePS offers an enriching programme, combining literacy, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts and sports. There is also a very strong languages programme where students study Frenchas well as Arabic.

Read the Deira Private School WSA Question and Answer interview here

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.

What about support for Students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents?

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 diagram 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.

What the inspectors say

The school has a varied history in terms of its ratings, having been ranked Acceptable for eight years in a row by the KHDA, slipping one rating from the 2011-12 inspection when it was rated Good.

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.  And when the postponed inspections did restart, Deira Private School again achieved an Acceptable rating in May 2022 - the minimum requirement of the KHDA which aims for all schools to achieve at least a Good 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:

  • The commitment of the school to include all students, whatever their abilities or needs
  • The improved progress in mathematics and science
  • Students’ environmental awareness
  • The school’s health and safety procedures.

There are clearly significant issues around the quality of teaching and assessment within the school, with the inspectors commenting that "The quality of teaching is acceptable. Where teaching is most effective, teachers know their students’ abilities and provide opportunities for them to learn at the correct level of the curriculum expectations. In many classes, this quality of teaching is not evident. Internal assessment systems are not fully meeting the expectations of the National Curriculum for England (NCfE) or for those of the Ministry of Education (MoE)."

And in terms of the Curriculum - the other key performance standard, together with Teaching and Assessment, that has a fundamental impact on Student Achievement, concerns were also raised by the DSIB inspection team; "The curriculum is acceptable. In FS, it provides children with the opportunity to learn from practical experience but lacks the necessary degree of challenge for children to reach higher levels of attainment. In the other phases, gaps in curriculum planning are not identified. The curriculum is not always adapted well enough to meet the learning needs of all students." 

In fact, in terms of Student Achievement, whilst two measures had improved from Acceptable to Good (for Progress in Primary Maths and Science), five measures had gone down (including Progress and Attainment in Arabic as a Second Language in Primary to Weak, joining the same rating for the Secondary section). Overall, there was a downgrade of 12 measures in total and an improvement to only three. Those related to Arabic and Islamic Studies are likely to be a particular concern for the KHDA.

In terms of areas for improvement, the inspection team identified the requirement to:

  • Raise students’ attainment in all subjects and phases by ensuring that:
    o internal assessments of students’ attainment and progress are accurate
    o teachers make effective use of assessment information when adapting the curriculum to meet students’ needs
    o appropriate support is provided to ensure that the progress of all students is at least good.
  • Improve the quality of teaching and learning by ensuring that monitoring clearly identifies any weaknesses in teachers’ knowledge and that expectations are consistently high.
  • Ensure that school development planning clearly identifies the key improvement priorities necessary to raise students’ attainment.

There is little doubt that the results of this inspection will have been a disappointment to the school and its new owners.  It is to be hoped that as the school settles into its rhythm, with its new staff and ownership, it will be able to address the concerns raised by the report. 

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 and the full recommendations for improvement - you will find it here.

What about the facilities?

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.

The Buzz

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.  88% would recommend the school to other parents whilst 82% agree 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.

No KHDA's pre-inspection survey took place in 2022. However, the inspection report notes that "The school is successful in engaging parents as partners in their children's learning. There is a range of systems in place to seek the views of parents. A variety of methods are used to ensure effective communication between home and school. Reports to parents include next steps or targets for improvement. The language used in reports is not always easily understood by all parents."

Our View

When we last reviewed Deira Private School in 2020, we said that "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." 

Our hope had been, based on information provided by the owners of the school, that their investment would ensure further improvement.  We are therefore disappointed that the latest inspection report does not appear to show such progress.  We would expect that the report will be something of a wake up call.  However, we do find it difficult to see how the school can hope to make the investment (particularly in training), when it has reduced what were already affordable fees still further.

What about the fees?

Approved KHDA fees are in the affordable range from AED 21,412 for FS rising to AED 38, 042 for Years 6 to 8.  However, these fees have been reduced still further for 2022-23 to AED 19,800 for FS1, FS2 and Year 1, rising to AED 21,800 for Years 2 to 4 and AED 23,800 for Years 5 to 8.

Parents can expect to pay a range of additional fees - the following are for Grade 5 as an example and are said to be optional, (though we cannot see how this would apply to uniforms and books): Transport (AED 5,000 to AED 9,000), Uniform (AED 190), Books (AED 2,500), Extracurricular Activities (AED 2,500 to AED 5,000), and School Photographs (AED 150 to 500). By contrast, FS1 book fees are AED 1,600!  Mandatory fees include AED 1,200 in most grades for "Activities and Educational field trips".

Additionally, the KHDA has also approved a 10% tuition fee discount for the 1st sibling; a 13% tuition fee discount for the 2nd sibling; a 15% tuition fee discount for the 3rd and next sibling(s).

 

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

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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