United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Jumeirah Islands / Dubai British Foundation

Dubai British Foundation Review

Dubai British Foundation is one of a small number of Early Learning Centres in Dubai. A member of the Taaleem Group, it offers a 'Rising 3' and Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum for children aged 3 to 5 years.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
FS/KG
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
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Availability 2020/21
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Annual fee average
AED 60,000
Annual fees
AED 60,000 - 60,000
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2014
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Sharon Storrie
Owner
Taaleem
Community
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
British

Nearby nurseries

1.6km • EYFS curriculum
2.5km • EYFS curriculum
2.8km • EYFS curriculum
2.9km • EYFS curriculum
3km • EYFS curriculum
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Dubai British Foundation
School type
International
School phase
FS/KG
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 60,000
Annual fees
AED 60,000 - 60,000
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2014
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Sharon Storrie
Owner
Taaleem
Community
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
British
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First Published:
Wednesday 25 October, 2017

Updated:
Sunday 21 June, 2020

Dubai British Foundation is one of a small number of Early Learning Centres in Dubai. A member of the Taaleem Group, it offers a 'Rising 3' and Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum for children aged 3 to 5 years.

The story so far...

Set up in the popular Meadows, Springs area in 2014, Dubai British Foundation (DBF), though located across Meadows Drive from the original Dubai British School (DBS), was, in fact, established to provide an Early Learning Centre, offering the UK curriculum-based Early Years Foundation Stage for the newer sister school, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (DBS JP), located a five minute drive away. Children attending DBF have direct access to a place at DBS JP for Year 1.

Operated by Taaleem, owner of both Dubai British Schools, and four other IB curriculum schools (three in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi), as well as the Children's Garden nurseries, DBF takes children from age 2 years and 9 months in their 'Rising 3 class, to age 5. The Rising 3 class is aimed at children turning 3 between September and December, who, although meeting the new KHDA cut-off date for UK curriculum schools, are felt by their  parents to be too young to start "real school" at less than three years.  Children who are 3 years old turning 4 on or after 1st September join Foundation Stage 1, whilst those born a year earlier, so 4 years old turning 5 on or after 1st September, join Foundation 2.

The new Rising 3 class is situated on the current FS1 corridor. It has its own dedicated small outside area and equipment and furniture adapted to this age group. Although separated from FS1 through the timetable, throughout the year the children are increasingly introduced to the FS1 activities and students to support their transition into FS1 the following year.

DBF's mission/vision is

'Delivering educational excellence through bespoke facilities and highly qualified and committed teachers

Building strong partnerships with our families in a nurturing and caring environment

Fostering lifelong learners through a child centred approach, which celebrates the uniqueness of every child.'

The capacity of DBF is approximately 300 children, with a maximum of 20 children per class, attended by one teacher and one teacher assistant, so the teacher/pupil ratio is 1:10. The new Rising 3 class (introduced in 2019) has a maximum teacher:student ratio of 1:8. 

Whilst the majority of teachers are British, children come from a wide range of nationalities in line with the UAE population - there are well over 30 nationalities based on information provided to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com.

Taaleem as an organisation has been at the forefront of inclusion for many years - long before the KHDA Inclusive Education policy was issued in 2018. DBF has qualified staff who are able to support both students of determination and those with gifts and talents.

What about the curriculum?

DBF follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. British English is the language of instruction, with the addition of Arabic taught in 'a unique, innovative and child-friendly manner'. DBF also offers French and Mandarin, which are delivered by external providers and incur additional charges. Additionally, each Foundation class has one hour of swimming per week and Physical Education lessons twice a week.

The prime areas of learning under the EYFS curriculum are: Personal, social and emotional development, Communication and language and Physical development. The specific areas of learning include literacy, mathematics, Understanding the world, and Expressive arts and design. Learning is generally developed through play-based activities, centred around a range of child-friendly topics or themes.

Music has a special focus within the DBF curriculum and through the 'Singing for Learning Programme' all children make rapid progress in language acquisition, steered by a specialist music teacher.

Although not compulsory to teach Arabic until Year 1, DBF is keen to ensure that students have a head start. Unusually, all staff learn Arabic alongside the children. Research has shown that learning an additional language through song promotes the most effective language acquisition and the approach to the teaching of Arabic is similarly supported by extensive singing. The Arabic and Music teachers work hand-in-hand to introduce relevant and meaningful vocabulary through song.

The Rising 3 class teacher and teaching assistant for the class were existing staff at DBF, with lots of experience working with children. The curriculum has been adapted for this younger age group with a 15 minute Arabic lesson, two 15 minute Music lessons, and one 30 minute PE lesson per week.  Due to their age, these younger children do not participate in swimming.

DBF also offers a range of Extra-curricular activities led by both teachers and external providers (these attract an additional fee).  Activities include Learning through Play Workshops, Parachute Games, Music Express, Yoga, Stories from around the World and Art. Ballet, Tap Dance and Football are offered by external providers.

There is also a strong focus on the transition programme from Foundation Stage to Year 1 at Dubai British School JP (DBSJP).  A successful transition from FS2 to Year 1 enables children to adapt to new settings, quickly grasping teaching and learning methods, school processes and new rules and regulations thus enhancing their academic performance and most importantly ensuring their well-being in school. 

DBF staff organise a practised and well thought transition calendar in collaboration with the staff at DBSJP. The calendar lists a series of events and meetings that prepare children and their parents for this transition in a manner that caters for the individual needs of every child. DBF strives to achieve academic standards on leaving FS2 which exceed those expected on entry into Year 1, thus ensuring the children go in to their new class with a “can do” attitude, ready for any new academic challenges which are placed in front of them. A detailed report is prepared and passed on to the Year 1 teachers in advance of the transfer of the children to 'Big School'.

What about the facilities?

DBF is located in a large, purpose-built, single storey building with extensive outside areas. Classrooms all have external views and are large, light, bright and well equipped.

The outdoor play area is designed to support every aspect of a young child's gross motor skill development. In the cooler months this area is used extensively and is a favourite learning space for many children. During warmer months when it is too hot to work safely outdoors, the multi-purpose gym serves the same purposes. It is equipped with high quality resources and is used for extensive Physical Education lessons, and also as a venue for frequent school productions and Parent Information Meetings. There is also an outdoor swimming pool which is used by children from FS1 and FS2.

A wobble bridge, climbing wall and monkey bars at the outdoor play area help the children to develop a good sense of balance, upper body strength and coordination. 

What the inspectors say?

Taaleem as a group has a policy that all its schools are inspected by external professionals and to pursue accreditation from an independent accreditation body of institutions and academic specialists. Early Years settings such as DBF are not currently inspected by the KHDA's Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB). In February 2018, DBF became the first Early Years school to be granted membership of British Schools Middle East (BSME).

BSME is a quality-assured network that enables schools to share best practice and keep updated with the latest educational developments. It has an extensive professional development programme open to member schools. In order to become members, the organisation needs to formally verify that a school offers a British style education, that the curriculum is based on significant aspects of the National Curriculum for England and Wales and that all teaching staff, including the Principal, are suitably qualified and legally employed.

In November 2018, to further ensure best practice in early years and to continually improve, Taaleem commissioned Early Excellence, a leading UK early years company, to independently audit the provision.  The inspection team used the same OFSTED and Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau processes and rating system.  Dubai British Foundation was awarded a Very Good rating.

The strengths of DBF were found to be as follows:

  • The school has excellent senior leadership, in their knowledge and drive for exemplary early year’s education, both academic and pastoral. They have excellent knowledge resulting in well thought out strategic decisions and innovations.
  • The vision for outstanding education is clear, not just from the senior leads but also from the whole staff team.
  • Pupils were operating at high levels of learning and attainment within the EYFS, which at this time of year was above average.
  • Behaviour and well-being were consistently excellent.
  • Relationships between staff and children are excellent. They are responsive to individual needs and knowledgeable about early child development. This was consistent throughout school and all aspects of the day.
  • There is rigorous monitoring of teaching and learning from senior leadership and a very good awareness of what needs to be improved to achieve their goals.
  • The school is highly inclusive and their approach to involving and supporting families and their children pre entry to school is exceptional.
  • Considerable time and budget has been given to the learning environments and has been very effective, with continued enthusiasm to improve these even further.
  • The impact of high quality professional development is very evident and has been used to design their delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum in the context of the school and their families.
  • Phonics teaching, in particular, has taken a faster pace this year and children’s improved ability to read and use phonic knowledge in their writing is a result.

In terms of areas for improvement, the inspectors identified that:

  • The tracking and evidencing of progress is not yet as robust as it needs to be to prove the impact of teaching on learning but this is being developed and a narrative of the process so far was articulated clearly by the Principal.
  • Incorporate observation and reporting on the Characteristics of Effective Learning into Pupil Performance Review meetings.
  • Consider the rationale behind all routines and use timetabling to maximise the potential for learning. Allow children to have longer periods of time in a mixture of the shared and classroom areas to repeat, apply and master their new knowledge and skills.
  • Action recommended changes to layout and resources in classrooms and shared areas.
  • Middle leadership, Phase leads and class teachers need more experience with data analysis and the new reporting and assessment system to really inform teaching approaches and identify progress but as this develops, provision overall will be outstanding.

If you are interested in reading the complete inspection report - and we advise you to do so - you will find it here.

The buzz

Unfortunately, there has been no external feedback to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com from parents or teachers at Dubai British Foundation.  However, we understand that DBF has recently introduced Parent Class Representatives and seeks to ensure that parents are actively involved in their children’s education. 

If you are a parent or teacher at Dubai British Foundation and would like to share your experiences for the benefit of other potential members of your community, please complete our Survey here.

What about fees?

Fees at DBF are inevitably premium given the facilities, staffing and fees for Year 1 upwards at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park.  Fees for the Rising 3's Class are AED 42,000, whilst those for Foundation 1 and 2 are AED 60,000.

There is an application fee of AED 525, and a registration fee of AED 7,000 on offer of a place which is deducted from the first term's fees.  A re-registration fee of AED 3,500 is required prior to the new academic year in order to ensure that a place is guaranteed - this is also deductible from the first term's fees.

Timings for Rising 3's and FS1 are 7:45am to 1:30pm - Sunday to Wednesday, 7:45am to 12:45pm - Thursday. DBF offers Flexible Drop off for mornings (7:45-8:15am). FS2 timings: Sundays to Wednesdays 8am to 2 pm and on Thursdays 8am to flexible pick-up time between 12.45pm-1.15pm.

Admissions information for Rising 3's. Children do not need to be toilet-trained to join the Rising 3 class, as the classroom has changing facilities in the adjacent room. There is a dedicated nap time between 12:15 - 1:15 pm if the child requires it. This will be on small, moveable beds in the classroom. If the child does not require a nap then this will be a time in the shared area both in and outside the classroom.

 

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