Dovecote Green Primary School, located at Dubai Investments Park, provides a primary education to a small community of just under 200 pupils.
Dovecote Green Primary School has been rated Good on its second inspection in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full reports have been published.
The story so far...
Dovecote Green Primary is currently the only UK curriculum school within the Dubai Investment Park area - home to The Green Community, The Palisades, Ritaj, Dunes Village, Dubai Lagoon and the EWAN Residences. The school serves the Green Community particularly well with a footpath linking the two "enabling children to walk from their homes... We encourage families to walk and cycle to school."
The school opened with just 40 pupils and was initially and in its own words, was a "little quiet". Over the last three years it has grown substantially however and is now home to over 200 pupils. The school now describes itself as "a wonderfully small British school with a fantastic community spirit".
The school provides an Education based on the National Curriculum for England with students from FS1 to Year 6. Years 7 and 8 have a planned opening in 2018-19, subject to KHDA approval.
In its first KHDA inspection in January 2018, Dovecote Green was rated Acceptable - a rating the school will now be working hard to improve on.
The school has a capacity of 560 children by expanding the number of classes for each year group - the school has 30 classrooms. Dovecote Green streams subjects for different abilities to tailor material and teaching for those who may need more time, as well as for those talented and gifted children within a subject that grasp the concepts more quickly.
The school covers “all National Curriculum subjects and set high standards in all.”
The school's teachers are predominantly recruited from the UK, and have both a BA with PGCE (a post graduate certificate in education) or equivalent. At the time of our first look at the school class sizes had an average of 10 children and the largest classroom had 20. The smallest has 9 pupils. A staff turnover of 20% was noted in the KHDA report. This is average for the UAE, but still a little towards the high side we feel.
In the last set of figures we had from the school was that one in two students came from the United Kingdom, 40 percent were European, and 10% from "other" nationalities. A total of 10 nationalities were represented at the school. However, we believe the school has evolved significantly from its first cohort and its student demographic more broad based.
What the inspectors say
A rating of Acceptable is the minimum expectation of the Dubai Schools regulator, the KHDA, and in achieving this on first inspection, it is clear that Dovecote Green Primary School is establishing itself as expected. Inspectors noted that "Although this is a relatively new school and leadership is still developing, systems and processes are being established that will support enhanced student achievement in the future. Leaders have prioritised the establishment of a community of students, parents and staff".
Strengths of the school were found to be "the creation of a community for all students, parents and staff through a shared vision for the school; Systems of care and guidance that lead to very strong personal and social development; A very safe and secure school environment; [and] Good progress in the Foundation Stage, enabled by effective teaching, learning and assessment".
On closer examination of the attainment and progress of students in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, whilst in the Foundation section, attainment is deemed to be Acceptable and progress deemed to be Good in all three subjects, the same evaluation only applies to Science in the Primary School. Both in English and Mathematics, attainment was found to be Weak by the inspectors, whilst progress was only Acceptable.
A similar picture was found in Islamic Education (rated Acceptable for both attainment and progress in Primary) and Arabic as a first language (rated Weak and Acceptable respectively). The situation with regard to Arabic as a second language was deemed to be Weak for both measures. It is very clear that substantial improvement is required in academic delivery before Dovecote Green can move forward in relation to its overall rating.
The picture for the other five key criteria measured by the inspection team is somewhat brighter. Students' personal and social development and innovation skills were found to be Very Good in relation to personal development and Good in relation to Innovation. Teaching and Assessment were rated Good in Foundation and Acceptable in Primary.
Similarly, the curriculum design was deemed to be Good across both school sections, and for its adaptation to meet the needs of individual children, Good in Foundation, whilst Acceptable in Primary.
Health and Safety were rated Very Good across the school and Good in both sections for the care and support of students. Reflecting many of the ratings, the leadership and self evaluation of the school were rated Acceptable, whilst the relationship with parents and the community, and the Management, Staffing, Facilities and Resources were rated Good. Governance was rated Weak, with inspectors noting that "The governing board is not representative of all stakeholders and therefore systems of accountability are not fully developed".
Specific recommendations from the Inspection team are that:
Despite the overall rating, there are many positive comments in the report which indicate that staff are already aware of some of the short-comings and are addressing these. The challenge for the school will be to take substantive measures to improve across a range of areas in a relatively short timescale.
The fact that this is a relatively small school is likely to be a significant benefit. With a teaching staff of only 17, together with 7 teaching assistants, winning hearts and minds, delivering training and putting in place effective monitoring systems should be somewhat easier than attempting the same in a much larger school.
What about Facilities?
Facilities at the school are very good, offering an attractive and 'bright' environment for learning. The school is set on a large plot of land, part of which was initially earmarked for a full sports field, and may still be - however part of which is now described as "ripe for further development and expansion".
The school is essentially an inverted T shape with the main reception area located at the front of the building and the three teaching blocks located behind. The corridors are wide and bright – unlike many schools, there is natural light throughout the building.
To the side of the main block is a very spacious indoor sports hall, and a multi-purpose dance studio. There are two outdoor swimming pools - a 20m meter pool and a Toddler pool. Currently, there is a green area with play equipment at the front of the building, a large covered, shaded area with rubberized flooring at the back of one teaching block and a third area under development as a garden/play space.
Extra-curricular activities offered by the school include football, swimming, dance, martial arts and yoga. Of these the teacher led extra-curricular activities are free to all pupils.
Dovecote Green believes its strength lies in it "catering firmly for the 'whole child', developing each child's thinking skills in order to become a successful 21st century learner. Even when it reaches full size it will much smaller school than many found in Dubai which will appeal to parents seeking a smaller, more homely environment. Class sizes will be set at around 20 students, and the focus of the school will be on educational quality and sports activities whilst developing strong links to the local community.
The school is in a good location for growth - just watch the area as Expo 2020 approaches, and with a very defined set of objectives, it is a school to watch.
Fees range from AED 42,000 in FS1 to AED 48,000 in Year 6 - definitely on the premium end.
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