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 1,040 children at DBS JP with a total capacity of the school of over 1,600.
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 DBS JP will no doubt be very pleased to learn that the ambition for the school to be rated Outstanding school, in line with the original DBS, has very clearly been restated with the appointment of Brendan Fulton from DBS as the new Principal at DBS JP from September 2019.
Founding Principal, Heather Mann, moves to a new position within owners Taaleem as part of a public-private joint venture supported by ADEK in Abu Dhabi.
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. The school had approximately 70 students of determination on its roll in 2018-19.
DBS JP has grown rapidly to over 1,000 students, supported by some 90 teachers and a further 30+ teaching and learning support assistants. With a teacher to student ratio of 1:12, and an average class size of 23, students should receive considerable individual attention. The maximum number of students in a class is 26 as per Taaleem regulations. The vast majority of teaching staff are UK qualified and experienced. Students come from close to 70 different nationalities speaking 44 languages, although the largest single nationality group is from the UK.
What about the curriculum?
The curriculum is modeled on the 2014 National Curriculum for England, with IGCSE 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 11, with year 12 opening in September 2020 and Year 13 by September 2021. The first cohort of IGCSE students will take their exams in June 2020.
Interestingly, DBS JP has made the decision to offer only Arabic as a foreign language as a core part of the curriculum in the lower Primary school (Key Stage 1). Other languages are available as after-school activities but do 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. Some are lead by the teaching team and others are organised by external specialist companies. These sporting activity programmes include tennis, football, swimming, and various holiday camps among other activities.
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 600+ 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 is very well equipped with Design and Food Technology and Science labs in addition to the usual classrooms.
What the inspectors say
In addition to the KHDA's annual DSIB inspection process, DBS JP has also been accredited by Council of British International Schools (COBIS), British Schools of Middle East (BSME), and was rated Excellent in its first inspection by Penta International on behalf of British Schools Overseas (BSO) which uses the UK's Department of Education criteria.
The 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. The second inspection in March 2019 saw the same Good rating. This may well have been something of a disappointment, given the other UK curriculum schools within relatively close proximity of DBS JP (including Kings School Al Barsha, Safa Community School and Nord Anglia International School), each of which achieved a Very Good rating on their second inspection.
However, on closer analysis, it is clear that DBS JP is very much on track towards that Very Good rating. English attainment in the Primary section and progress in both Primary and Secondary is rated Very Good. Progress in Mathematics in both the Primary and Secondary school has also improved to this rating. However, Science and overall Learning Skills retained the Good rating from the first inspection. Progress in Islamic Education is rated Good across the school, and Arabic both as a first and second language is largely rated Good in the Primary section. However, in common with many international schools, Arabic is rated only acceptable in the Secondary school, and will need to improve before the overall Very Good rating is likely to be awarded.
Evident early strengths of the school are Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills, all now rated Very Good. Similarly, the Curriculum design and its implementation, and adaptation to meet the individual needs of students were rated Very Good again - a definite thumbs up from the inspection team.
Where improvement is evidently required is in relation to Teaching for Effective Learning - which retained a Good rating - though Assessment was upgraded to Very Good across the school. Whilst there are obviously strengths in certain subjects (notably English and Mathematics), other subjects are not yet at the same standard. Since the tracking of student progress both internally and against international standards is such a key element to ensure that teaching is appropriate to individual students' needs, an improvement in assessment should -logically - lead to an improvement in teaching. It is the triumvirate of interdependent standards - Students' Achievement, Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum - that are at the core of any improvement programme.
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. In the second inspection, the leadership and management of the school was upgraded to Very Good.
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:
There is no doubt that as a first inspection, DBS JP performed very well and the second shows continued progress in the right direction. 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.
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do in order to find out the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
A relatively low 80 parents (8 more than the previous year) responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey. Of these, 94% professed themselves satisfied with the quality of education provided by DBS JP. Parents who responded were overwhelmingly positive about the school which was highlighted by positive individual comments. They believe that school leaders and staff listen to their views and ideas. Most parents are involved in school activities at least once each month and feel that this brings a strong feeling of community to the school.
237 Year 6 to 9 students participated in the KHDA's 2017 Well-being census. Almost all students believed that they engage well with their teachers and feel they belong in the school. Most students are happy and optimistic about their school life, although a large minority commented that they worry about things. Most students agreed that there are adults who are important to them and who motivate them in their work.
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. Just over two thirds of parents would definitely recommend DBS JP to others, whilst a further 25% probably would. Interestingly, some 36% had considered moving their child to another school at some stage, but have not done so.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at DBS JP, please share your experience with other potential members of your school community by 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.
What about fees?
Fees (reduced from the approved KHDA fees) at the school start at AED 65,000 for Years 1 to 6 and raise to AED 75,000 for Years 7 to 11. The school fees do not include the Application Fee which is a one-time non-refundable non-transferable fee of AED 525 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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