Dubai British School Jumeirah Park is located at the heart of this newer community, close to Jumeirah Lake Towers and the Jumeirah Park/Jumeirah Islands areas. Currently, there are approximately 1,100 children at DBS JP with a total capacity of the school of over 1,600.
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 were no doubt be very pleased to learn that the ambition for the school to be rated Outstanding school, in line with the original DBS, was very clearly restated with the appointment of Brendan Fulton from DBS as the new Principal at DBS JP from September 2019. And in the first year of Mr. Fulton's headship, it is clear that the ambitions for DBS JP are already being realised, with the school having achieved an improvement from Good to Very Good in the 2019-20 KHDA's DSIB inspection round.
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 94 students of determination on its roll in 2019-20.
DBS JP has grown rapidly to 1,100 students, supported by some 103 teachers and a further 36 teaching and learning support assistants. The vast majority of teaching staff are UK qualified and experienced. If there is any cause for concern around staffing, it is the turnover of 25% which is on the high side for international schools in the UAE, where the average is between 20-22%. How much of this is due to deliberate action by the school's management to address specific areas of weakness is not evident, but replacing one in four teachers is not a situation that any school is likely to wish to retain.
Students come from close to 70 different nationalities speaking 44 languages, although the largest single nationality group is from the UK. With a teacher to student ratio of 1:11, 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 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 were due to take their exams in June 2020, but with the cancellation of all public examinations due to Covid-19, students will instead be issued with assessed grades.
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.
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.
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 eleven years of inspections, none has done so. The second inspection in March 2019 saw the same Good rating.
As we noted in our comments after the release of the 2018-19 inspection report, on closer analysis, it was clear that DBS JP was very much on track towards that Very Good rating, and this has been borne out by the 2019-20 inspection result where DBS JP has achieved a Very Good rating.
It is clear that there has been considerable improvement in Students' attainment since the 2018-19 inspection, with improvements to Very Good across all core English-led subjects across the school. The sole exception is Science attainment in the Secondary school which maintained its Good rating. There has been no improvement in the ratings for Arabic or Islamic Education - rated largely Good in the Primary section but Acceptable in Secondary. This will clearly be an area that the school will continue to need to improve.
Students' personal and social development and innovations skills are clearly strengths of the school and received an improved rating of Outstanding - the highest rating achievable.
Teaching and assessment - and notably Teaching for Effective Learning - is now rated Very Good across the board, as is the Curriculum.
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 again rated Very Good. Inspectors noted that "Leaders ensure that an inclusive ethos, reflected in the school's positive admission policy, permeates the life and work of the school. Improvements in the professional development of staff are having a positive effect on planning interventions in lessons, in most subjects."
In terms of the leadership and management of the school, the four key areas of Leadership and management of the school, 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:
There is no doubt that at its third inspection, DBS JP has performed very well. Addressing the next step up to Outstanding will require still further investment in the development of students and staff. Bearing in mind that the original DBS has been open since 2005 and waited 9 years to achieve the Outstanding rating from the KHDA, it will be interesting to see 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.
Well over 200 parents (compared with 80 a year ago) responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey. Of these, 97% professed themselves satisfied with the quality of education and communication provided by DBS JP. They are confident that the school keeps their children safe, looks after their well-being, and provides them with the skills to be successful learners. A quarter of those responding say that they are involved in school activities at least once per month.
251 students participated in the KHDA's Well-being census. Students’ responses to the well-being survey were positive and higher than from other students in Dubai. Most feel a strong sense of belonging to the school and believe that they have good relationships with each other and their teachers. Most students enjoy school and are confident in their ability to be successful. The large majority confirm that they never experience bullying in school.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey has received a relatively high response rate. 80% 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 has 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.
Dubai British School Jumeirah Park is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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