DPS Dubai, The Delhi Private School, Dubai, is one of a small number of schools to have been rated "Very Good" by the KHDA, the Dubai education regulator's second highest award. Following the initial rating in the 2015-16 inspection round, DPS participated in the Abundance project in 2016-17, whereby it was not inspected that academic year. The school retained its Very Good rating in the 2017-18 inspection round.
DPS has been rated has Very Good for the fourth year running in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full report has been issued.
Delhi Private School is located in Jebel Ali Gardens, near to Ibn Battuta Mall. The school opened in April 2003 and provides education for boys and girls from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The school was once a member of the Indian Delhi Public School Society; a formal relationship between the schools and the Indian brand owner which ended, not completely harmoniously, in 2018.
The school is led by Principal Mrs Rashmi Nandkeolyar, who greets our reviewer with a warm welcome and, from first meeting, displays an obvious great pride in the school. Mrs Nandkeolyar, who describes the school as “humble, but highly aspirational and ambitious”, invites our reviewer to join the school’s 70th Indian National Day celebrations. An event for all of the school’s 3758 students, 288 teachers, 28 teaching assistants plus many guests, the festivities are impressive in both range and scale. We watch spectacular traditional dances, a whole school parade, several sports demonstrations and hear speeches from children as young as 4! The event clearly took significant effort and coordination and we cannot overstate how incredibly impressed by the efforts, achievements and behaviour of the entire student body we were.
After the watching the celebrations, we sit down with Mrs Nandkeolyar to hear more about everyday life at Delhi Private School (DPS). The head, an Indian National who has led the school for the past fourteen years, has ambitions for the school to be the “top Indian School in the UAE”. With that in mind, she tells us that the team not only benchmark themselves against other Indian schools, but against international schools too. More important though than results is the wellbeing of the children:
“Engaged and happy children are our greatest accomplishments. We have so much belief in our happy school. What we do comes from the heart. We believe DPS is an excellent school where everyone can shine”.
Mrs Nandkeolyar describes staff wellbeing as equally important here too, with the management keen to retain and develop existing staff wherever possible. Initiatives such as a Kerala Support Fund (to help teachers with families affected by the Kerala flood disaster) are in place, as well as simple social events and opportunities for professional development. When we meet the teachers (see our DPS EXPERIENCE for more from our conversations with the teaching team) we note a real pride in the school and pupils.
Despite these efforts, the leadership team express dissatisfaction at the current rate of teacher turnover (reported as 16% in the most recent KHDA report). Somewhat surprising as DPS attrition is below average for international schools in Dubai (although on the high side for Indian schools).
Students are almost exclusively from India and typically each class has 30 students (the KHDA reports a staff to student ratio of 1:13, including 3 student counsellors).
The school follows an Indian-based curriculum with students completing CBSE examinations in Grades 10 and 12. Students take a range of national and international examinations including the All India Senior Secondary Examination (AISSE) in Grade 12, the All India Secondary School Certificate (AISSC) in Grade 10, and the International Benchmark Test (IBT) in Grades 3 to 9.
Students also participate in cyclical international assessments such as PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS.
The school promotes academic performance and is quite innovative in its use of ‘the carrot’ to encourage students. At the end of each academic year, it gives a Scholar Badge to students of Grade V and above, for achieving an overall grade of A2 and a grade point average of 8.5 and above.
The school as recently joined The Rahhal Initiative a platform for non-traditional learning created by the KHDA. Students enrolled in Rahhal are able to study part time, or at more than one school, using the balance of their time to develop skills in areas of their own interest. Mrs Nandkeolyar commented on the project, saying that,
“Pupils can still integrate at a regular school while pursuing what they want to pursue. Children who can’t cope with exams can also make use of this option”.
Delhi Private School Dubai has now been rated Very Good for a fourth year in a row.
Clearly bright students seem to do well: The KHDA notes Outstanding attainment of students in English in most phases of the school. Mathematics and Science attainment is rated as Very Good in all phases bar Secondary, where attainment in these subjects is rated Outstanding.
Arabic as an additional language, however, remains Weak again across the Middle and Secondary school (though having improved to Acceptable in Primary this year) which will prevent DPS from obtaining the Outstanding rating which they are clearly close to achieving.
Teaching for effective learning was rated Very Good in KG and Primary and Outstanding in Secondary; whilst curriculum design was rated Outstanding in Primary, Middle and Secondary, but reduced to Very Good in KG.
Strengths of the school, according to Dubai’s education regulator, include highly effective leadership, and the school’s success in promoting students’ personal development which was rated Outstanding across all sections and measures.
Furthermore, the inclusive ethos which underpins the effective care and support for students and the very effective provision for those with SEND was singled out by the inspection team. Provision for students with SEND was also noted and the rating upgraded to Very Good across all sections. Health and Safety were rated Outstanding, and Care and Support were deemed to now be Very Good across all sections.
Inspectors also praised the Senior leaders’ vision and determination to further improve the school. Leadership and Management were rated Outstanding across Effectiveness of Leadership, relationships with parents and the community and Governance, and Very Good for Management and improvement planning, and for management, staff, resources and facilities.
There are opportunities for improvement. The inspection team have recommended that the school accelerates students’ progress and raises their attainment in Arabic by ensuring that teachers: focus on developing students’ speaking, reading and writing skills; raise their expectations of what students can achieve and provide appropriately challenging tasks.
As recommended in the previous school inspection report (2017/18) the curriculum in the Kindergarten (KG) has been improved with more time now spent on the teaching of early literacy, numeracy and scientific skills; children now have ample opportunities to learn by playing, exploring and choosing how to do things. The KG department now achieved Very Good or Outstanding in all areas.
The school offers an array of facilities and extracurricular activities. There are three computer labs, a physics lab, a chemistry lab, a Maths lab, language labs, a library, an auditorium, a basketball court, a cricket ground, a multi-sports complex, an oval field for many sports, a cafeteria and two clinics, one for boys and one for girls. The clinics are operated by two nurses and a doctor. Whilst this school may not have the ‘gloss’ of some of Dubai’s premium fee schools, the school is maintained to a reasonable standard and the space available well used.
Tuition fees for the school start at AED 10,089 at KG1 and increase to AED14,124 for Grade 12. Fees are paid in three installments.
For admissions into senior levels, note this is a selective school and a school that is in very high demand. You may find the requirements here .
Core school hours are 7.45am to 1.45pm for all students, slightly shorter than a typical day in many schools. Optional extra early and late classes are offered.
Students leave DPS for universities all over the world including India, the UK, the US, Germany and Canada.
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