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.
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 (2018-19), it is currently home to 1,171 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. In 2018-19, DBS achieved its second Outstanding 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. Long-standing Principal, Brendan Fulton, who has led the development of DBS is set to move to its newer sister school, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park in September 2019. He is replaced by Simon Jodrell, an internal recruit, who will no doubt ensure a smooth transition,
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".
The school's website states that "Our approach to education is founded on our Vision, Mission and Values – a framework of ideas used to guide our development. These are statements to which we would like to be held accountable by our community".
The school's vision statement includes "we believe that every member of our community should Enjoy, Aspire, Achieve!" whilst the Mission statement says "Dubai British School is a learning community where achievement and effort are celebrated. Embracing local and British values, we strive to inspire and challenge young minds in a supportive and tolerant international environment. We believe in supporting all members of the community to develop the skills needed to thrive in an ever-changing global world". The school's values are "Feeling Good, Doing Good!"
The school believes "that people who have high levels of emotional, behavioural and social wellbeing live happy, purposeful and productive lives. Our approach is to develop a learning community which is positive, engaged and connected in line with our school’s vision statement".
What about the curriculum?
As the name implies, DBS offers the English National Curriculum from the EYFS framework through to I/GCSE and A Levels. In addition, it has expanded its offering to ensure that there is a more vocational route available for students who wish to pursue these subjects, with the school offering BTEC (Business Technology and Education Council) qualifications in several subjects, together with access to ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network) qualification network.
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 school's students 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, DBS achieved impressive results.
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.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com strongly encourages all schools to publish the examination results of their students. Whilst not the be-all and end-all of education, nor a single measure of a school's competence, parents - the partners and customers of the school - along with prospective parents, inevitably use this information in their evaluation of any school. We are delighted that Taaleem schools have set the example in providing transparency at its schools.
What the Inspectors Say 2018-19
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, a result it has maintained for a second year in 2018-19. This means that Taaleem now has two Outstanding schools, with the Raha International School, Abu Dhabi having achieved the rating one year earlier.
In the latest inspection report, DBS was rated Outstanding across almost all subjects, phases of the school and key performance standards.
In common with many international schools, if there is an area of relative weakness, it is in respect of the teaching of Arabic. Whilst the ratings in the Primary school are largely Good (with Very Good for progress in Arabic as a second language), Secondary and post-16 achieve ratings of Good for progress in Islamic Education and Arabic as a first language, but Acceptable for attainment. Arabic as an additional language is rated Good for both measures.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Sixth Form Science attainment and progress have also fallen to Good and Very Good respectively. This is as a result of a fall in A Level results over the past three years. However, current assessment suggests that most A Level Science students for 2018-19 were making better than expected progress. Ratings for English, Maths and Science across the Foundation Stage, Primary and Secondary phases are all rated Outstanding.
The inspection team describes the strengths of DBS as:
In terms of areas for improvement, the DSIB inspection team recommended that:
We encourage you to read the full Inspection report under the Inspection report tab.
Relatively few parents - 107 in total - responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey. However, of those who did, 95% stated that they were happy with the quality of education provided at DBS. Parents believed that their children are safe at school and almost all agreed that the school provides good value for money.
Feedback from parents in the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey has been improving and is now a highly respectable 4.2. It scores highly for attainment, discipline, and feedback to parents, mirroring very good actual performance. If you are a Senior student, parent or teacher at DBS, please share your experiences of the school by completing our survey here.
Unsurprisingly DBS is a very popular school. Provided DBS has 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.
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.
What about Fees?
Fees currently range from AED 49,026 for Foundation and Years 1 – 2, to AED 73,540 for Years 12-13. These are comparable with a number of high performing UK curriculum schools, and are considerably below several others.
Full details of fees can be found under the Fees and Availability tab.
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