Dubai British School (DBS) is a member of the Taaleem Group of schools and was one of the first UK curriculum schools to open in the Emirates Hills area, providing an English National Curriculum education to families living in the Meadows, Springs, Lakes and wider new Dubai area.
Dubai British School has been rated Outstanding for the second time in the KHDA 2018-19 inspection process. The abbreviated report can be found under the Inspection Report tab. An update to this review will be completed once the full inspection report has been issued.
The Story so Far
Dubai British School (DBS) offers the English National Curriculum, and is open to students, girls and boys, aged from three to eighteen years of age (Foundation to Year 13). According to the latest KHDA report (2017-18), it is currently home to 1151 students aged from 3 to 18. After 2 years of being rated Very Good, DBS finally achieved its KHDA Outstanding rating in 2017-18 - one that had been anticipated for several years and was felt to be overdue. This accompanies a British School Overseas inspection which also gave DBS the highest rating.
The largest single nationality, at Dubai British School, as the name implies, is British, making up approximately two-thirds of the current student population. That said, like all schools in the UAE, DBS offers a very multicultural environment, with over 60 nationalities represented amongst the student population of the school.
Taking care of the students are 84 full time teachers, including the Principal, and a senior leadership team. The school also has 30 teaching assistants including two full time nurses, a doctor, and a Guidance counsellor.
Approximately 5 percent of students have been identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN). Taaleem as a Group, and DBS in particular, has been at the forefront of the development of support for students of Determination as well as providing a focus for students who are gifted and talented.
Dubai British School is a Taaleem school, and "proudly participates in all Taaleem Schools' events and sports competitions".
What about Facilities?
The school sits on a relatively small campus with limited outdoor space, but has made excellent use of the space available. The main teaching block is set across three floors with space in the basement for Performing Arts activities. Primary classrooms are based on the ground floor with a primary library, but students have access to a "STEAM garden" - including an art and design studio with pottery studio, design and technology workshop, two music rooms, three ICT Suites, and six science laboratories which provide access to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths resources.
Foundation stage children have their own separate ground floor building and foundation playground.
Secondary form rooms, a Secondary library, a Sixth form common room and dedicated extended learning rooms are located on the upper floors of the building. An auditorium, very attractive indoor/outdoor canteen/dining area, and Primary playground are also located to the side and rear of the building. Sports facilities include a tennis court, basketball court, swimming pool, sports hall and football pitch.
What about Student Achievement?
Students are entered for IGCSE at the end of the secondary phase and GCE Advanced level examinations at the end of the post-16 phase. The school has a dedicated special educational needs co-ordinator, who runs the gifted and talented programme. DBS also offers students in years 12 and 13 the opportunity to study a BTEC in Leisure and Tourism and a BTEC in Business Studies. The school also offers the possibility of the Extended BTEC qualification which includes a blended A Level option.
Students are also offered a range of additional activities and qualifications in Sixth form in order to widen their experience and qualifications. These include the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, the EPQ / IPQ qualification, MOOC Courses, the LAMDA Qualification, Sports Leaders Awards, Model United Nations, TedX talks, a Prefect Programme and a Peer Mentor Programme.
The school now publishes results on their website, here. For 2016/2017 with the non- selective improving 7 percentage points in A* to A grades this year, with 34 percent of grades A* to A, while a highly credible 62 percent of its students achieved A* to B grades.
For 2017 GCSE's, students were celebrating with 40% A* to A and 71% A* to B grades. In GCSE results for 2015/16, DBS scored 94% A* to C results while 53% achieved an impressive A or A*. In A Level exams, DBS outperformed the UK averages (25.8%) with 27% of students achieving an A* or A, and 100% of the cohort passing, while the UK average for 2016 sat at 98.1%.
2018 GCSE results showed continued improvement with students achieving exam entries at A* - 23%, A*/A - 47%, A*-B - 84%, A*-C - 95%, A*-D - 99%, A*-E - 100%. A Level results were again impressive with A*: 14%, A*/A: 40% (up from 37%), A*-B: 69% (up from 67%), A*- C: 89% (up from 88%), A*-E: 99% (99%).
The school was also particularly proud of students' achievement in the BTEC qualifications, noting that with BTEC courses fully embedded alongside A Levels into the Post-16 offering, all BTEC students were offered university courses, with some even embarking on international work experience, as a direct result of the vocational experience gained during their BTEC courses. 35% of all grades were at A*/A equivalent and 62% at A*-B equivalent, an increase from 53% A*-B last year.
WSA strongly encourages all schools to publish the examination results of their students. Parents, the partners and customers of the school, along with prospective parents, use this information in their evaluation of any school.
What do the Inspectors Say 2017-18
In November 2015 Dubai British School was also awarded an Outstanding rating by British School Overseas and many felt that this should have been reflected in the KHDA inspection rating for 2015-16. However, after two years of Dubai British School being rated as a Very Good school, DBS was awarded an Outstanding rating in the 2017-18 KHDA inspection round. This means that Taaleem now has two Outstanding schools, with the Raha International School, Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi having achieved the rating one year earlier.
The Inspection team singled out the Leadership of the school as a key element of its success stating that:
"Students’ well-being, personal development and achievement are at the heart of this school. Leaders, inspired by the highly effective principal, are determined that all students enjoy learning and achieve as well as they can. Parents hold the school in high regard, particularly regarding the sense of community, underpinned by an unswerving commitment to inclusion".
This is, primarily, due to the quality of the teaching and assessment and the attainment and progress of students across subjects. As the report notes,:
"Teaching across the school is imaginative, engaging and highly innovative. Teachers provide personalised feedback which means students are clear about their next steps towards improvement. Assessment systems are exemplary. As a result, teachers ensure work is pitched at the right level of challenge for all students."
Interestingly, the KHDA survey completed by 216 students in advance of the inspection also strongly concurred with the inspectors' view:
"Almost all students who responded to the survey express very positive views about most aspects of the school. They are particularly pleased about the quality of teaching. They appreciate the support and individual feedback staff give about their strengths and weaknesses."
Furthermore, this is a school where care and detail have gone into curriculum development, described as "broad, balanced, rich and exciting". Teachers interpret the curriculum imaginatively. Typically, a unit of study starts with a ‘wow’ moment which intrigues students and stimulates their curiosity. Through lessons and widespread extracurricular activities, students learning is enriched with memorable experiences.
The inspectors summarised the strengths of the school as follows:
"Under the inspirational leadership of the principal, the school successfully fulfils its mission to ensure students develop into well-rounded, caring and aspirational individuals within a stimulating learning community. Children in the early years thrive due to the highly skilled teaching which promotes their independence, curiosity and their key skills in numeracy, literacy and science. Students’ attitudes, behaviour and sense of responsibly are exemplary; they are tolerant, respectful, and mutually supportive, Highly effective teaching and the use of assessment means that students acquire excellent learning skills and make at least good, and often outstanding, progress in all subjects. The imaginative, engaging, and challenging curriculum, together with high quality support, contribute significantly to the achievement of all students, including those with special educational needs and those who are gifted and talented".
The sole area for improvement highlighted by the Inspectors, where attainment was rated as Acceptable across all phases of the school, was the need to raise achievement in Islamic education. This should be achieved through: improving students’ memorisation of the Holy Qur’an and their recitation skills; establishing students’ starting points, identifying the next steps in their learning, and setting them clear targets; tracking students’ progress and making adjustments to the curriculum when appropriate.
In general, the ratings for Arabic as both a first and second language were Good - an achievement in itself, since this is an area where many schools still find difficulty. However, the vast majority of ratings across all the key criteria are rated Outstanding, with only a scattering of Very Good ratings and one drop from Outstanding to Very Good in relation to post-16 English attainment.
DBS has also clearly made significant strides in its implementation of international bench-mark testing, Social Studies and Moral Education (as prescribed by the Ministry of Education) and offers a "systematic culture of innovation."
It is difficult to see how much more the school can do to improve, but no doubt the Leadership team will have their own plans already in place.
Unsurprisingly DBS is a very popular school. Provided DBS have provided the information, our admissions tab should have information on which years have spaces, however if it says there is no availability please check with the school. We do not show availability unless the school explicitly tells us it has spaces.
Feedback from parents in the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey has been improving and is now a very respectable 3.6 It scores highly for attainment, discipline, and feedback to parents, mirroring very good actual performance.
The school places an emphasis on making sure that the community is involved in the school’s future and planning for it, with the school’s advisory board having school staff, parents, and members of the Taaleem executive board. DBS has an active Parents and Friends Association (PFA), who organize regular events such as Winter Fair and Spring Fair.
The PFA meets regularly once a month at the school.
What about Fees?
Fees currently range from AED 48,032 AED for Foundation Years 1 – 2, to AED 72,049 for Years 12-13.
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