Emirates International School Meadows is a private all through school established on September 2005 by the Al Habtoor Group and located in The Meadows, Dubai. The school caters to over 1700 students from a very wide range of nationalities.
The Emirates International School campus at the Meadows was among the first schools to open in the Emirates Hills area, the Meadows development itself being among the first to encourage expatriates to purchase their homes in the UAE, which until this time (in 2002) had been restricted to UAE and GCC nationals only. As a result, EIS Meadows sits in the heart of one of the most multicultural areas of the city, and the choice of the IB programmes is only too appropriate. In line with its historic mix of UK curriculum (EYFS and IGCSE), EIS Meadows has an EY1 to Year 13 grading structure.
The school caters to over 1,730 students from approximately 80 nationalities (one of the highest splits in demographics we have seen) and is split into two sections, one section for Primary and Junior school students and another for High school students. It employs 114 teachers all of whom (according to the KHDA) are suitably qualified for their roles and a further 29 teaching assistants. Teachers are mainly from the UK. With a staff to student ratio of 1:12, individual attention and teaching should be a strength of the school. Staff turnover at 22%, is on the higher side of normal for an international school in Dubai (where 20-22% is the norm).
In the 2011-12 academic year, the KHDA, Dubai's education regulator, improved Emirates International School Meadows' rating by one grade to Good - a level which it has maintained for the past eight years. The school is the younger sister to Emirates International School, Jumeirah, which has also been rated Good by the KHDA for nine years.
To maintain the same level of rating for eight years suggests that progress on improvements had not taken place at a particularly fast pace, and the effort involved in improving the rating to Very Good - which the school achieved in the 2019-20 inspection round - should not be underestimated.
EIS Meadows, in common with EIS Jumeirah, now follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum - it is a continuum school, meaning it offers the IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), the Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) and the Diploma Programme (IBDP) for those aged 16 and above. Historically, both schools offered the IGCSE programme in grades 10 and 11, but it seems that the introduction of the IB MYP Diploma examinations (EIS Meadows has been an early adopter) has given EIS and its students and families the confidence to follow the IB programmes in their entirety.
In so doing, EIS Meadows joins Dubai International Academy, also located in the Emirates Hills development and the first full IB curriculum school in the city, in offering the full IB continuum.
Regarded by many as the Gold Standard for university entry, due to the breadth of the curriculum in addition to depth, its focus on "global citizenship, its cross-curricular and independent, enquiry-based approach to learning, the IB curriculum has become increasingly popular in the UAE in recent years. The Diploma programme, in particular, has been adopted by a number of highly-regarded UK curriculum schools and even, latterly, two Indian curriculum schools in Dubai.
What about academic results?
Like its sister school EIS Jumeirah, EIS Meadows has in the past received considerable praise for the comprehensive provision of external examination data.
This is key information for prospective students when choosing a school, and the EIS schools had been models for others to follow. Sadly, this model has not been followed in the past three years, and despite direct requests to the school to provide this data, we currently only have historical information to go by.
In the last set of data provided in 2016-17, 46 students sat the IB Diploma and achieved an average score of 33 - back to the scores of 2011-12, which had dipped to 30 points in 2013.
|IB Diplomas Awarded||51||60||44|
|Average Score of Diploma Candidates||32||32||33|
|World Wide Average Diploma Score||30||30.07||29.95|
|Percentage of students completing full Diploma||92%||94%||96%|
|Percentage of students scoring 24 points or higher||93%||94%||96%|
|Percentage of students scoring 30 points or above||54%||59%||67%|
|Percentage of students scoring 40 points or above||6%||17%|
|Top IB Diploma Score (Maximum 45)||40||43||45|
The school - unusually in our experience - does publish some information about its results for the MYP Diploma programme - a relatively new examination which is largely based on-line and examines the main language and literature of teaching (in the UAE, English), together with Maths, Biology, Physics and Chemistry (or Integrated Sciences), Geography, History (and/or Integrated Humanities).
Notes: A “highly respectable” pass rate at IBDP that would be suitable for entrance into good red brick universities in the UK is around the 34 plus mark. Top-tier universities are officially looking for 38 plus. In reality a 40+ score is more likely to get a student into Oxbridge or Ivy League university.
Facilities at EIS Meadows are in general very good. The school is split into two sections, with the KG and Primary school sections separated from each other to the right of the plot, with the Secondary school located in the main building. There are extensive grounds behind the school.
The Primary school's facilities consist of 65 classrooms with LCD projectors and interactive white boards, two IT suites, a library, a multi-purpose hall, a 25 meter indoor swimming pool, a library, dedicated art, music, drama and language teaching rooms as well as conference and meeting suites for faculty and parents.
Similarly the Secondary school has 6 IT suites with full wireless connectivity across the campus, a cafeteria, Senior student lounge, library, multi-purpose sports hall/gymnasium, dance studio and Weight room, 25 meter indoor swimming pool, two Astroturf sports fields, two art suites, two music suites, a drama room and a language teaching room.
Unfortunately, the location of the school on a roundabout next door to a shopping centre on Meadows Drive does mean that the area around the school can be very congested at peak times. The school does run a comprehensive bus service which is probably the safest way for students, who are unable to walk to school, to arrive and leave safely.
What the inspectors say
Arguably, EIS Meadows' achievement of a Very Good rating has been a long time coming - eight years is certainly a long time to retain a Good rating, though it must be said that the KHDA's expectation have grown with each year, and to retain any rating shows that a school is not standing still. However, to make the step up to the next rating is something that, in our opinion, should have happened sooner. The school had previously been rated Outstanding for both attainment and progress for the core subjects of English, Maths and Science for Post-16 education. Two years ago, it dipped from that high.
In the 2019-20 DSIB inspection round, EIS Meadows was one of a relatively limited number of schools that went through the inspection process due to the Covid 19 pandemic. As such, the improvement will no doubt leave a strong imprint on all those concerned.
Fundamental to the step up in rating was undoubtedly the improvement in ratings across the KG/Foundation stage of the school, where all measures for English, Maths and Science improved to Very Good, joining those of the PYP and MYP programmes. Although Arabic (as an additional language) and Islamic Studies retained their Good ratings, Arabic as a first language remained Acceptable, and there will no doubt be considerable encouragement for the school to improve the rating for this particular subject.
In fact, with the exception of the downgrading of Science attainment in the DP programme to Very Good from its previously Outstanding rating, the changes in the ratings for KG/FS section of the school were the only variations for Student Achievement. The DP section retained their Outstanding for ratings for English and for Science progress .
Nor were there any changes to the ratings for Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation Skills, which remained largely rated Very Good, and Outstanding in the MYP and DP sections of the school.
There is little doubt that the achievement of Very Good ratings for Teaching and Assessment in the KG/FS and Primary sections, joining those already awarded to MYP and DP in previous years (and with assessment rated Outstanding in the DP section), contributed to the overall improved rating for the school. The improvement in Curriculum Design and Implementation in the lower two sections of the school to Very Good would also have ensured the improved overall rating.
Ratings for Health and safety, including arrangements for child protection/ safeguarding, retained their Very Good ratings, as did the Outstanding ratings for Care and Support of students. EIS is also rated Very Good in relation to Inclusion of students of Determination.
However, the inspection team has recommended that the school consider alternative pathways for students less suited to following a highly academic programme. Currently, the school does not offer the IB Career-related programme (which is more vocational in nature and often linked to the UK's BTEC qualification); nor does it offer the IB Courses programme, which is a scaled down version of the Diploma.
Leadership and Management is now rated almost entirely Very Good, with the exception of Governance, where some concern still remains about the role of the school's Advisory Council.
Overall strengths of EIS Meadows were identified as:
The very effective school leadership and accurate self-evaluation that ensure a continuing focus on improvement in a positive learning environment.
The very good teaching and the thoughtful use of assessment information that underpin students’ impressive achievement, particularly in English, mathematics and science.
The stimulating and engaging environment provided for children in EY that promotes rapid progress in all areas of learning.
The strong partnerships with parents and the very good arrangements for keeping students safe and promoting their well-being and healthy lifestyles.
The inclusive ethos that ensures that all students are provided with excellent care and support and encourages a strong sense of social responsibility.
In terms of the main areas for improvement, the KHDA inspectors identified these as follows:
If you would like to read the full KHDA inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to find out the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
According to the KHDA inspection report, parents feel that the school provides a family atmosphere where children are supported both academically and personally. They believe that their children are safe in school. They value the open-door policy and the quality of academic reports that they receive. Over 250 parents responded positively to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey, with 91% saying that they were satisfied with the quality of education their children receive at EISM.
Over 520 students responded to the KHDA's wellbeing survey, with the vast majority of students reporting that they generally have a sense of belonging, feel happy, optimistic and safe.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com School Survey has received a relatively limited number of responses, and these were decidedly less positive than the responses to the KHDA!
Fees seemed to be among the biggest bugbear for parents, of whom 55% stated that they totally disagree that what they pay represents value for money. Only 12% felt that they were getting what they pay for. 79% of parents said that they had considered moving their child to another school, and only 24% of parents were fully satisfied with the level of academic achievement of the school. 78% of parents felt that they needed to provide additional tuition to their children outside of school! Over half of the parents who completed the survey (52%) said they would not recommend EISM to other parents...
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As of 2020/21 school fees range between AED 26,802 per year for EY1 (FS1) students, rising to AED 35,175 for EY2 and Year 1, and progressively to AED 79,488 for Year 13 students - high end, but on a par for high achieving UK/IB curricula schools.
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