Dubai British School Jumeirah Park is located at the heart of this new community, close to Jumeirah Lake Towers and the Jumeirah Park/Jumeirah Islands areas. Currently, there are approximately 1,000 children at DBS JP with a total capacity of the school of over 1,600.
Dubai British School Jumeirah Park has been rated Good for the second year 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...
Founded in 2015, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (DBS JP) was set up to build upon the success of its sister school, the original Dubai British School (DBS), located close by in the Springs/Meadows area. With no capacity for extension on the original DBS site, but with on-going strong demand based on the original school's reputation - it was rated Outstanding by the KHDA in 2018, having previously been rated Very Good for several years prior to this - it made perfect sense for Taaleem to try replicate - and in many ways, provide a newer, more spacious and better resourced school - close to the original. Families at the school will no doubt be very pleased to learn that the current Principal of the original Dubai British School will be joining DBS JP in September 2019, when current Founding Principal, Heather Mann, moves to a new position within owners Taaleem.
Dubai British School Jumeirah Park is situated on a large site next to the main Pavilion Shopping Centre for the Jumeirah Park development. Its white exterior with blocks of colour around each section ensures that it stands out from the rather monochrome housing around it. On opening there was adequate parking around the school, but inevitably as the school has grown the usual challenge for finding a space has arisen, and the shopping centre has become a convenient overspill for the school.
The Foundation section of the school (FS1 and FS2) is located in a separate unit, close to the original DBS Meadows and a five minute drive away. School timings however ensure that drop off and pick up from both schools is convenient.
As an organisation, Taaleem, the owners of the school, have taken the lead in the provision of support for children with additional learning needs and are committed to inclusive schools. This means that children with additional learning needs or special access requirements can and will be provided for.
DBS JP has grown rapidly to over 1,000 students, supported by some 70+ teachers and a further 20+ teaching and learning support assistants. With a staff to student ratio of 1:13, students should receive considerable individual attention. The vast majority of teaching staff are UK qualified and experienced.
What about the curriculum?
The curriculum is modelled on the 2014 National Curriculum for England, with GCE, IGCE in years 10 and 11 and AS and A levels examinations in years 12 and 13. The school currently caters for children from Year 1 to Year 10, with year 11 opening in September 2019. This will be followed by years 12 and 13 by September 2021. The maximum number of students in a class is 26 as per Taaleem regulations.
Interestingly, DBS JP has made the decision to offer only Arabic as a foreign language as a core part of the curriculum. Other languages will be available as after-school activities but will not take away from the time devoted to English and Arabic as the core languages. This is unusual; the majority of schools in Dubai at Primary level introduce at least one additional language from year 1 onwards. That being said, French is offered at the school from Year 3 and Spanish from Year 7. Additional language classes are offered as an extra-curricular activity.
In addition to the usual core subjects, the school offers a range of additional activities representing a full range of arts and sports.
What about the facilities?
The school - made up of several buildings - is situated around 3 sides of a spacious site with the Primary school located in the left wing, the Secondary and connected 500+ seater auditorium in the right wing and the main shared facilities at the centre. Outside, to the rear of the centre of the buildings, lies are very large open play area with plentiful outdoor play equipment and behind these are two large sports halls with enormous indoor sports areas and an indoor eight lane temperature-controlled championship-sized pool with training pool, which caters to both Primary and Secondary students. The external facilities are topped off with a very large astroturf pitch, and seating has cleverly been incorporated into the rear of the sports buildings to enable spectators to have a great view of the activities.
The school is entered through the central lobby area which is light, airy and spacious. The teaching wings of the building are constructed over 2 floors, whilst the central area, which includes the library over two floors (incorporating a specialist ICT teaching room) and a school cafeteria that is managed by Mastercook's school catering team, houses the main administration on the ground floor and numerous specialist teaching rooms on the upper floors. The auditorium is very impressive and has been constructed at considerable expense to ensure excellent acoustics and has become a vibrant environment for school assemblies and productions.
Dubai British School Jumeirah Park classrooms are light, bright and effectively furnished. All have windows to the exterior of the building. They feature the usual interactive white boards and appropriate play equipment. The Secondary School includes very well equipped with Design and Food Technology and Science labs in addition to the usual classrooms.
What the inspectors say
DBS JP hosted the DSIB inspection team for the first time in the February 2018 and received a Good rating - the minimum rating that the KHDA wishes to see all schools achieve. Despite several comments from the KHDA in the past that it is possible for a new school to achieve a higher first rating, so far, in the ten years of inspections, none has done so. Therefore, it seems that DBS JP is on the right track.
In the key performance area of Students' Achievement, DBS JP was rated largely Good. As with many UAE international schools, ratings for the core Arabic subjects of Islamic Studies, and Arabic as a first and second language were rated Acceptable for the most part, although progress in the Primary school was rated Good in all three subjects. Attainment and progress for the remaining core subjects of English, Maths and Science were rated Good across the school for Maths and Science, whilst in English, attainment was Good and progress Very Good. Students' learning skills and the key performance area of Teaching and Assessment were also rated Good overall.
Evident early strengths of the school are Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills - rated Very Good in general, with students' understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures rated Good. Importantly, the Curriculum design and its implementation, and adaptation to meet the individual needs of students were rated Very Good - a definite thumbs up from the inspection team.
And DBS JP received an Outstanding rating for Health and safety, including arrangements for child protection and safeguarding, whilst Care and Support for students was rated Very Good. Support for students of Determination including students with additional learning needs and those with gifts and talents was rated Very Good - a rare achievement so early in a school's development. In terms of the leadership and management of the school, the three key areas of Parents and the community, Governance, and Management, staffing, facilities and resources, were also rated Very Good - again, a very positive evaluation by the inspection team.
Overall, the inspectors found the strengths of the school to be:
In terms of the main areas of improvement, the inspection team identified the following key areas of focus:
Again, in common with many schools, the challenge for teachers is to make use of the assessment data that is gathered through regular tests (both internal and external), in order to better modify the curriculum for individual students. In the case of DBS JP, one important factor is that the data is clearly available (in many schools it is not!), and hence this is an area for development that teachers should be well able to address.
Interestingly also, inspectors, whilst praising the "aspirational and ambitious" vision for the school that is shared by the leadership, noted that "the targets set for further improvement... are not realistic, particularly as the school and its systems are still in the early stages of development". It can be safely assumed that the leadership of DBS JP will have done much to ensure that a more realistic focus on improvement targets has been put in place following the inspection.
There is no doubt that as a first inspection, DBS JP performed very well. The fact that the vast majority of evaluations by the inspection team resulted in at least Good, and in a number of instances Very Good ratings, is clear evidence that the school is on the right track to be held in similar high regard to its older sister school. Bearing in mind that DBS has been open since 2005 and waited 9 years to achieve the Outstanding rating from the KHDA, it will be interesting to see if, and how quickly, DBS JP can catch up.
A relatively low 72 parents responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey. Of these, 97% professed themselves satisfied with the quality of education provided by DBS JP. Parents who responded were overwhelmingly positive about the school. Approximately half of the teaching staff also responded to the survey and were, again overwhelmingly positive, though concerns were raised about the availability of non-technological resources.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey has received a relatively high response rate. 90% of those surveyed felt that their children enjoyed going to school and the vast majority of parents felt by and large that the fees they pay represent good value for money. Similarly, a high proportion of parents are largely satisfied with the academic performance. 60% of parents would definitely recommend DBS JP to others, whilst a further 20% probably would. If you are a parent at DBS JP, please share your thoughts about the school through completing our survey.
Children seemed to be happy and engaged when we visited the school. For families living in the area around the school, Dubai British School JP offers a very convenient, well thought out and equipped option and will no doubt become a real centre for the Community both during and outside school hours.
Fees at the school start at AED 65,000 for Years 1 to 6 and raise to AED 75,000 for Years 7 to 10. The school fees do not include the Application Fee which is a one-time non-refundable non-transferable fee of AED 1,050 required to process each application. This fee, however, is waived for all transferring students from Dubai British Foundation and The Children's Garden Nurseries which are part of the Taaleem group. Fees do not include uniforms, additional SEN/ EAL specialist support, or Extra-curricular activities that are provided by external suppliers.
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