Global Indian International School Abu Dhabi, a K-12 school, is part of the Global Indian International School (GIIS) group of schools. In the latest and second ADEK inspection, the school overall improved its rating to Good.
Global Indian International School Abu Dhabi was the first of two schools in the UAE (the other in Dubai) operated by a group initially from Singapore but now with a widespread presence in India.
Originally due to open in April 2015 for KG to Grade 8, permission from ADEK took until September of the same year to be given. At that point the school opened for KG1 and KG2, with Grades 1 to 8 not coming on board until April 2016. At the time of its second ADEK inspection in 2018-19, the school had attracted some 1,700 students and was open to Grade 12.
In August 2022, the school announced that it was adding pre-KG to its Kindergarten offering, providing the Global Montessori Plus Programme which aims to nurture children in a fun and play-based learning environment.
Students were predominantly Indian nationals (88%), with Pakistani (6%) and Afghani (3%) making up the next largest nationality groups. However, the ADEK inspection report notes that "the student population has increased by 27% since the last inspection and continues to be transient. Only 12% of the current student population have been in the school since it opened." The inspection team is not able to offer a reason for this level of turnover of students, although the economic situation in Abu Dhabi in the past several years may have played a part.
As with most new schools, the majority of students were in the KG (44%) and Primary (46%) sections, with Secondary and High School (Grade 11) representing the remaining 10%. Students were supported by some 100 teachers and 27 teaching assistants providing a teacher to student ratio of 1:12 - relatively low for an Indian school where 1:15 or higher is not unusual. A high staff turnover rate, however, is not a good sign - at 37%, this means that almost one in four teachers moved on from the school - not necessarily providing a stable environment that most schools aim to achieve - although the growth in student numbers may also have attributed to this figure.
GIIS Abu Dhabi follows a Montessori Plus curriculum at KG, and then the most widespread Indian curriculum in the UAE, the CBSE. Both of these sit within the school group's own education methodology, something it calls "9 Gems" - a learning program that "meets the changing needs of a growing child and his/her evolving personality".
Specifically these nine "gems" are: Academic Excellence, Collaborative & Project-Based Learning; Sports, Health & Fitness Excellence; Digital and Visual Arts; Personality Development, Speech & Drama; Creativity, Innovation and Problem solving; Entrepreneurship & Leadership Development; Universal Values, Ethics & Discipline; Community Connection, Care and Conserve and Life Skills, Career and Vocational Competencies.
In the initial years of growth, the focus is on developing universal values, ethics, discipline, creativity and personality development. During secondary and high school years, the focus shifts to academic achievement, leadership & entrepreneurial skills and key competencies for vocational and career advancement.
According to the latest ADEK report, although only a small number of students had been identified with additional learning needs, the use of thorough systems identify and plan support for SEN (Special Educational Needs) and G&T (Gifted and Talented) students using personal plans. SEN students receive specialist support in the SEN room and generally effective support in class.
Although the school has improved its systems to identify special educational needs (SEN) and G&T students, provision for G&T students in lessons does not sufficiently extend their learning, they do not yet plan consistently to address the full range of learning needs and talented students do not always make the progress of which they are capable in lessons. G&T students are provided with opportunities to develop in extracurricular activities.gifted
What about Student Life?
According to the school's web site it provides a wide range of extra curricular activities, "which are imparted through professional instructors". The school also offers "co-curricular" activities allow students to "pursue diverse interests and develop their innate and latent talents through host of fine and performing arts. Qualified instructors and artists impart a wide range of CCAs."
Global Indian International School Abu Dhabi says it uses field trips to help students "improve on their organisational ability, observation, learn to be independent, interaction skills with peers and seniors, and imbibe invaluable insights into life around them."
It has also set up four houses - Chrysanthemum, Hibiscus, Orchid, and Sunflower - among which all students are distributed.
"The houses develop a sense of responsibility and a spirit of healthy competition. The school organises various inter-house competitions, which are held for junior and senior students. Children are encouraged to exhibit their talent in music, dance, cultural activities, and sports."
The campus, spread over 19,000 square meters, includes a synthetic track for athletics, table tennis, a tennis court, a soccer ground, a badminton court, a cricket ground, swimming pool, yoga centre, Wi-Fi enabled classrooms, e-learning technology through video-conferencing, LCD video projection in all classrooms, an audio-video presentation room, a multi-purpose auditorium with a capacity of 600 seats, an exclusive play area for Kindergarten with age-appropriate equipment, a Digital Library, Music studio, Drama theatre, an Art Studio for visual and digital arts a Dance studio and a Cafeteria for students.
In its first inspection in 2016-17, GIIS Abu Dhabi was rated Acceptable - the minimum rating required by the UAE regulators - by the ADEK inspection team. The school did well to raise its rating from Acceptable to Good on its second inspection in 2018-19, particularly given the high turnover of both staff and students.
Summarising their overall findings, the inspection team notes that "the overall performance of the school is now good because achievement of the majority of students in most key subjects is above curriculum standards. The broad curriculum and good quality of teaching overall have been improved by effective leadership, self-evaluation and improvement planning. Although students often arrive with low levels of attainment, they make good progress. Students benefit from a very caring and supportive learning environment but do not always experience sufficient challenge in their learning."
In terms of the six key performance measures, GIIS Abu Dhabi saw improvements in all six, with Students' Achievement, Teaching and Assessment, the Curriculum, and Leadership and Management improving from Acceptable to Good. Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation Skills, together with Leadership and Management, improved from Good to Very Good.
The strengths of the school were defined as:
In terms of key recommendations for improvement, GIIS Abu Dhabi should:
As is almost invariably the case, unless the standard of teaching and assessment, and the delivery of the curriculum are at their best, students' achievement invariably cannot reach the highest levels.
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to see the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
A limited amount of parental feedback has been received by WhichSchoolAdvisor.com to our survey. However, those parents who have responded are clearly happy with the choice they have made, giving the school an overall rating of 4.2/5 - a positivity rating of 84%.
Children are happy to go to school (either tremendously or quite a bit), parents are happy with communication and academic achievement (80% entirely, and 20% for the most part), and the same percentage would not only recommend the school to other parents, but agree that the school's fees represent value for money.
If you are a parent, student or teacher at GIIS Abu Dhabi, please share your experience with other potential members of your community by completing our survey here.
The ADEK inspection report noted that "Parents are successfully engaged in their children’s learning and school life. Effective communications keep them informed about their child’s development and seek their views. Reporting is regular and however it does not clearly inform parents about the next steps in their children’s learning."
It is very clear that the school is on the right track in terms of the road to improvement. It will be interesting to see if the school can maintain this development as the school continues to grow further - this will inevitably present a challenge.
But if GIIS Abu Dhabi can continue to be successful, this will be a benchmark school - very much a gem - in the emirates, where a large segment of the population is currently under-served when it comes to Indian curriculum schools. With only one CBSE curriculum school rated Very Good in the emirate, and none rated Outstanding, we watch with considerable interest. We doubt we are alone in doing so.
What about Fees?
Global Indian International School Abu Dhabi has a capacity for 1,700 students once fully open (from KG to Grade 12) and given the tuition fees has hit that number fairly quickly. These currently range from AED 10,600 at KG, and will hit AED 12,550 at Grade 12. This makes it the most affordable new Indian curriculum school to have opened in the UAE in recent years.
In spite of these value fees, the school seems to have good facilities for its students.
Global Indian International School Abu Dhabi 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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