Taaleem-owned Greenfield International School (GIS) is a pre-KG to Grade 12 school located in Dubai Investment Park, close to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Highway to the Southeast of Dubai. The school was established in September 2007 and offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes. It is an "International Baccalaureate World Continuum School" meaning that if offers all four IB programmes.
Greenfield International School - GIS - (formerly known as Greenfield Community School) is a Taaleem school located close to Green Community in Dubai Investment Park, nestled between the Jebel Ali-Lehbab Road, the Emirates Road and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road - so easily accessible from a wide range of locations.
Founded in 2007, the school will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2022. For a number of years, GIS seemed to lag behind the other members of the Taaleem Group, which includes KHDA Outstanding-rated Dubai British School and Very Good rated Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, Jumeira Baccalaureate School and Uptown International School. Abu Dhabi based Raha International School, which expanded to a second campus in September 2020, is one of the few Outstanding-rated schools in the capital and only one of a handful of full IB curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi. Only the American Academy for Girls - a unique girls-only US curriculum school is currently rated Good and, under new leadership, we expect to see improvement also.
Taaleem has recently joint public-private partnerships in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai to manage international curriculum schools aimed mainly - though not exclusively - at Emirati families.
What parents think of GIS - feedback to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com via our Parent Survey has been extremely positive. Comments in the current academic year include:
"GIS has one of the strongest parent communities very well supported by the school. The teachers and the leaders of the school are very good and make all the difference. In last one year the school has been through many turmoil and has handled non-academic and academic situations both exceptionally well and beyond my experience. It offers a great mix of learning through different means and is very accepting of parent's views and ideas."
"Good leadership team. Great communication with parents".
"My kids are enjoying school. It is a happy school, very supportive team, and academically strong." "Foreign languages (3-4 times a week), mother tongue programme (more than 10 languages), friendly atmosphere"
GIS was one of the first IB schools to be certified to offer all four IB programmes from the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), through to the Diploma Programme (DP). The fourth IB programme the school offers is the IBCP which is the Career-related programme.
A pioneer for the IB programmes in the UAE, Greenfield International School was one of only a small number of schools globally to trial this programme on behalf of the International Baccalaureate Organisation and was the first school in the UAE to offer IBCP to students seeking a more vocational educational route. The International Baccalaureate is widely regarded as the most prestigious programme of study available and offered in over 5,000 schools across the world.
In addition to its accreditation with the IB organisation, GIS has recently also received accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and NEASC, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, ensuring that GIS students and their qualifications will be recognised by universities around the world and, notably, in the US.
Read our most recent WSA Experience Visit HERE!
There are currently just over 1,200 students at the school from a variety of nationalities - some 75 - who truly make up a United Nations within the school. They include Egyptians - 8%, Indian, American, Lebanese and German nationals - 7%, British and Canadian nationals - 6%, Jordanians - 5%, South African, Italian, and Pakistani passport holders - 3%, and Spanish, Turkish, Danish, Greek, Belgian, Australian and Russian nationals - 2%. Another 57 nationalities represent 52% of the student body.
The 90 teachers that support these students are majority UK passport holders, although they do come from a very diverse range of 60 countries, and the teacher to student ratio is at 1:13. A further 36 teaching assistants work with the teachers to support younger student groups and to provide additional assistance to some of the 9% of students of determination with additional learning needs. There has been growth in the numbers of teaching staff due to the growth in number of enrollments and smaller classes in Pre-K to KG2.
90% of staff are working at a junior level, whilst 7% are working at middle management positions and the remaining 3% are senior level staff representing a good proportion of experience and managerial staff, since it allows healthy student-teacher ratio for the provision of high quality education.
All teachers should have a Minimum of Bachelor Degree in Education or a Bachelor Degree in the subject that they teach and a PGCE Diploma.
The teacher turnover rate in 2019-20 was approx. 18%, a little higher than that of 2018 at 15%, but half that of the 29% of 2017. The average teacher turnover in international schools in Dubai is around 20-22% and it is always a concern when a higher turnover is seen on a fairly regular basis. This is evidently no longer the case at GIS.
Three years ago, the Principal of the school changed from Andrew Wood, who helmed the school from 2014-17. Interestingly, all stakeholders, including students, were involved in the selection of his successor, Dr. Allan Weston.
The 2018-19 KHDA inspection report noted that "at the time of the inspection, the Principal had been in post for 9 months. He has implemented a methodical approach to improvement planning in which a strategic plan identifies clear improvement priorities to be pursued at every level."
It is very evident that Dr. Weston's focus is on overall improvement at GIS - and, we assume - at last progression away from the Good rating that the school has achieved for seven years in a row.
And this was confirmed by the 2019-20 KHDA inspection report where 25 of the key performance measures improved - in most cases to Very Good and in several to Outstanding. Details of the report can be read here.
The school is organised in to three classes each in Pre-KG, Grades 1 to 3 and 8 to 12, four classes each in KG1, KG2, Grades 2-5 and 7, and five classes in Grade 6. Classes have an average size of 24 students with a maximum of 26.
As noted in our introduction, GIS is one of a still relatively small number of schools to offer the full IB continuum. Others include sister schools, Jumeira Baccalaureate School and Uptown School in Dubai - both rated Very Good by the KHDA - together with Raha International School in Abu Dhabi, rated Outstanding. In addition, Dubai International Academy, Dubai International Academy Al Barsha and Raffles World Academy (all members of the Innoventures Group) follow the IB curriculum, as do GEMS World Academy, GEMS International School Al Khail and North London Collegiate School.
The 'continuum' is used to describe the structure of three combined programmes, which can be implemented from prekindergarten through grade 12. More specifically, a continuum school will offer the IB Primary Years Programme (ages 3 through 12), IB Middle Years Programme (ages 11 through 16) and the IB Diploma Programme (ages 16 through 19). GIS is IB through and through.
Find out more about the IB curriculum .
What makes the IB curriculum so progressive is its focus on cross curricular links, rather than the traditional subject silo approach, together with the IB Learner Profile which very much aims for students to be Inquirers and independent learners - absolutely necessary in a world that is developing so quickly and where the ability to master new skills is key to success.
Something WhichSchoolAdvisor.com particularly likes is that Greenfield International School also offers the IB Career-related programme.
This is an education framework for students aged 16 to 19 incorporating the "vision and educational principles of the IB into a programme tailored for students who wish to engage in career-related learning". It provides "an academic and practical foundation to support both their further studies and specialized training, thereby ensuring their success in the workforce".
The IBCP is an innovative programme of study which combines the academic subjects of the IB Diploma, a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma course and a core of subjects which focus on work placements and the skills needed for the work place. The school describes its DP and CP curricula as unique in the Performing Arts and Sports subjects offering students pathways to new exciting profession choices.
The KHDA 2018-19 inspection report notes that "post-16 and further education pathways are particularly strong where the combination of the career-related programme (CP) and the Diploma programme (DP) provides students with multiple routes to success."
The IB is an increasingly popular choice as a curriculum, noted for its greater breadth than, for example, A' Levels. It has as much currency as A' Levels with UK university applications, and, arguably, more value for applications to universities in the U.S. and continental Europe.
As a school with a large nationality base, GIS also offers a wide range of language options. These include English as an Additional Language for non-native speakers, and all students have the option of learning French or German (beginning in KG1), in addition to mandatory Arabic lessons from KG1 to Grade 9. The languages education at GIS supports the IB philosophy of maintaining students' mother tongue language. GIS encourages students to continue studying their native languages to support their learning and to gain knowledge and understanding about their native culture.
The GIS Mother Tongue Programme coordinates with external tutors and organizations that offer after-school lessons in French, German, Turkish, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, Urdu, Russian, Swedish, Dutch and Portuguese. The Mother Tongue lessons are offered to students in Grades 1 to 5, once or twice a week, depending on the grade level. These lessons are charged additionally with parents paying directly to the external providers.
Beyond the core academic subjects, GIS is also a strong advocate of a well-rounded curriculum. The school says that "the purpose of the ECA programme is to enhance and grow students’ unique talents and aspirations and provide a platform for them to practice these with confidence".
Options include Music, Drama and Visual Arts as well as Arabic language classes, piano, drums and guitar lessons (through an external provider) and a range of sports activities including Tennis, Football, Karate, Swimming, Gymnastics and Basketball are among extra-curricular activities on offer. Further activities include Choir, STEAM, Environmental Club, Qur’an recitation, Art & Creativity Club, Creative Writing, Poetry Club, French for French Speakers, Model United Nations (MUN), Maths and Physics workshops.
The school continually reviews the programme to incorporate innovation, new technology, and unique approaches to traditional activities. GIS teacher-led ECAs are included in the tuition fees. Other ECAs are provided by local external companies and are charged separately.
GIS also offers a number of educational trips abroad, that include a diving trip to the Philippines and a skiing trip to Georgia. Post-16 students go take part in CAS (Creativity, activity, service)-related trips to Tanzania, Zanzibar and India.
GIS has a dedicated Inclusion team that provides required educational support to Students of Determination. The school also supports the development of students' talents via Performing Arts and Sports programmes, as well as Extracurricular Activities.
GIS prides itself on its inclusive nature and ethos and has an open and collaborative approach to supporting students. The school supports a wide range of students with varying needs and ensures that support structures are easily accessible to all. The focus on ensuring that all teachers further develop the skills and knowledge to support learners drives the school's inclusive ethos.
A well established and professional team of specialist teachers ensure that student needs are well supported. Needs that arise are identified collaboratively using well established systems to ensure that resources and support can be effectively and efficiently allocated.
The experienced and well qualified Inclusion team members have varied experiences domestically and internationally and invest time and effort into developing a comprehensive understanding of the needs of all students which enables provision for each student to be highly personalised.
GIS also offers an EAL (English as an Additional Language) programme to support students who are less confident using the English language.
In line with the leading commitment of all schools within the Taaleem group to support of students of Determination and those with SEN requirements, there is no additional fee for this specialist support.
In 2016-17, Greenfield International School became one of the first schools to publish its exam results, which is great for parents and students. It has continued to do so, giving parents and students a historical overview of students' achievement and progress - something we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com value very highly.
As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, as with the 2020 IB Diploma awards, the results for 2021 were a mix of Centre Assessed Grades (provided by the school, based on their assessment of each students' predicted grades) and assessments entered by the students which were marked by IB examiners.
There is general evidence of grade inflation - the global IB average score was raised from 31.34 in 2020 to 32.99 points in 2021, a further significant leap from the figure of 29.62 in 2019, when students last took the IB examinations. This appears to be more marked in the UAE, where the average has grown from 2019, when it was 32.26, and 2020 when it was 34.41, to 35.89 in 2021.
We would anticipate that there will be a correction in 2022 when students are expected to sit exams in the usual way. As a result we would strongly encourage families considering results as a factor in their decision about their choice of school, to look at the history over the previous years where possible.
In July 2021, a cohort of 49 GIS students was awarded the IB Diploma with an average points score of 34.43. The school revealed that 75.59% of awards were at 30+ points, 46.94% at 35+ points and 22.45% at 40+ points. The most significant change was in the percentage of students who achieved the higher point scores (40+) which are sufficient to access the world's elite universities.
The 2020 Diploma Programme and Career-Related Programme Pass Rates were as follows:
The IBCP programme requires students to take a number of Diploma programme subjects, and also a Level 3 BTEC course and further courses relating to core skills. GIS students have achieved a 100% pass rate over the past two years.
In 2019, students gained the highest scores in the school’s history in the Diploma and Career-Related Programmes. In the Diploma Programme, 93% of students achieved the full Diploma, beating the school’s previous record by over 10% and with an average point score of 32 points, the students also set new records. Two students achieved scores of 39 points with 59% achieving scores above 30 points. Results across all subjects were impressive with students scoring particularly high in English, Biology, German, History and Business Management. There were also clear gains in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.
In 2018, the average point score for GIS students was 31 points (above the 29.9 average globally) with a pass rate of 75%. Ella Hohmann gained 41 points out of 45, which is the highest achieved by any student in the school’s history. Risako Yasuda’s 40 points were also impressive, as this equalled the record set in previous year. Ella and Risako gained marks that put them in the top 5% of students in the world. The KHDA report for 2018-19 notes that steps have been taken to address lower than expected IB results in Mathematics and Science.
In 2017, the average point score for the DP class was 30 points, which is the international average, and the pass rate was 80%, which was also the international average. There were however some exceptional results with two students achieving 40/45 points, placing them in the top 5% of IB Diploma candidates internationally. One further student achieved 38 points, which placed her in the top 13%.
GIS’s university Counsellor provides students with the information about the University application process and information meetings with students and parents are held regularly. The University Counselor also organises University Fairs and shares information about Universities Open Days.
100% of students in 2019-20 either went on to tertiary education or have a confirmed place following a gap year, with university entries to Africa - American University in Cairo, Egypt, The University of Cape Town, South Africa; Asia - American University of Sharjah, UAE, Canadian University, Dubai UAE, Habib University, Pakistan, Herriot Watt University, Dubai UAE, La Salle University, Singapore, Middlesex University, Dubai, Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea, University of Singapore, Singapore, Waseda University, Japan; Europe - American College of Greece, Greece, IE University, Spain, Vrije University Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Bristol University, UK, IUBH, Bonn, Germany, King's College London, UK, Loughborough University, UK, Manchester University, UK, Nottingham Trent University, UK, Rotterdam University, The Netherlands, Sarajevo School of Science& Technology, Bosnia, Sussex University, UK, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, University College London, UK, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, University of Durham, UK, University of Florence, Institute of Design Italy, University of Kent, UK, University of Leeds, UK, University of Edinburgh, UK, University of Nottingham, UK, Würtemberg University, Germany, Yeditepe University, Turkey; North America - University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA, The Savannah College of Art and Design, USA, Carleton University, Canada, University of Texas Arizona, USA, Berkeley College, New York, USA, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, McMaster University, Canada, Queen's University, Canada, Ryerson University, Canada, The University of California San Diego, USA, University of Redlands, USA, University of Toronto, Canada, University of Miami, USA; Oceania - Monash University, Australia, Deakin University, Australia, Griffith University, Australia, Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and the School of Audio Engineering, Australia.
35.2% of students opt for university in the UK, a further 11.2% The Netherlands, 9.6% other countries in Europe, 14.5% UAE, 6.5% the USA, 6.4% Canada, 4.8% Australia 3.2 % Mexico and 1.6% Egypt.
What about Facilities?
GIS sits on a very large 10 acres site on the southern edge of Dubai Investment Park facing the Jebel Ali-Lebab highway. The school has been designed to reflect its UAE environment with stone-coloured low rise buildings. The school is split into separate buildings for KG and Primary to the left of the campus, sports and shared facilities at the centre and the Secondary campus to the right.
Facilities include two swimming pools, auditorium, design technology, information technology and science laboratories, drama, music and art studios, two libraries, tennis courts, gymnasium, sports field, shaded outdoor play areas and indoor play areas and two cafeterias. There are many similarities to GIS's Outstanding rated IB sister school, Raha International School, in Abu Dhabi.
As part of the school's focus on Well-being, GIS also has two Mindfulness Rooms. Describing the reasons behind this, Principal Dr. Weston says that "At Greenfield International School we provide a balanced education, one that acknowledges that academic success is built on a foundation of happiness, well-being and sound values."
The Mindfulness Rooms are more than just a relaxing environment for students to escape to; they also contain IPads with guided meditation routines, a Gratitude Tree for students to display what they are thankful for, a sensory room with a range of stimuli to engage the senses, a reading area, and a positive affirmation wall.
With no inspections having taken place in the 2020-21 academic year, the most recent 2019-20 KHDA report showed Greenfield International School staying at its respectably Good rating for the seventh year in a row.
GIS did participate in the Distance Learning Evaluation undertaken by all UAE private and public schools and was, unsurprisingly, awarded the highest Developed rating. Read the report here.
As we mentioned in reviewing the 2018-19 report, we expected that with all other members of the Taaleem Group of IB schools being rated Very Good or above, not only would the pressure from the regulator be mounting, but we would expect this to be the case within Taaleem too.
It would seem that GIS has indeed responded to this situation. The 2019-20 report shows that significant improvements have been made and, in our opinion, the school is only a step away from the overall Very Good rating.
Much of the education that is being delivered at GIS is of a high standard. In terms of the six key performance standards assessed by the KHDA's DSIB inspection team, a significant number of performance measures are already rated at a Very Good or even Outstanding level.
Previously, in the key areas of Student Achievement, Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum - so intertwined that any deficit in one area is invariably reflected in the others - it has been evident that too many measures were rated Good for any other overall rating of the school. However, with improvements to Very Good in eleven of the ratings across English, Maths, Science and Learning skills, and with English in the DP phase now rated Outstanding, it is evident that Student Achievement is well on its way to an overall Very Good rating.
Unfortunately, in common with many international schools, the ratings for Arabic and Islamic education are largely acceptable, and until GIS remedies this, the overall rating for the school will remain, arguably, at a lower level than is actually reflected by achievements across other Key performance standards.
Students' personal development is rated Outstanding across the school with Social responsibility and innovation skills also rated Outstanding in the KG and DP sections. All other ratings are Very Good.
There has also been significant improvement in Teaching for Effective Learning and Assessment ratings - the two key performance standards that, together with the Curriculum, arguably have the most impact on Student Achievement. Both are now rated Very Good across the school, with the sole exception of Teaching in the PYP section.
The curriculum design and its adaptation to meet the needs of individual and groups of student is now rated Very Good across KG, PYP and MYP sections and Outstanding in the DP section.
A strength of the school is the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students - rated almost entirely Very Good overall, with the exception of an Outstanding rating for Care and Support for DP students.
Provisions and outcomes for students of Determination are also rated Very Good.
In terms of Leadership and Management, there is also recognition from the inspection team of the improvements that can be seen across the key performance standards. The effectiveness of Leadership is now rated Very Good, whilst Management, Staffing, Facilities and Resources and the relationship with Parents and the Community have both improved to Outstanding.
Overall, the inspection team identified the best features of GIS as:
In terms of areas of improvement, inspectors recommended that the school should:
With the aim of accelerating progress and raising attainment in Islamic education and Arabic for native speakers, build on recent developments which have been implemented by governors and senior leaders to improve the curriculum and teaching.
Exploit the improvements to assessment at all phases fully, to ensure that teaching is more consistently of the highest quality across all subjects.
Again, this is not a long list of recommendations, though the effort required to make the improvements should not be under-estimated.
Just prior to the 2019-20 inspection, when we commented on the inspection for 2018-19, we noted "It will be interesting to see how far the school has come when the next inspection takes place relatively shortly, and particularly whether the obvious improvement in teaching and assessment translate through to improvements in Student Achievement - the first priority for any school".
Given the improvements recognised in the 2019-20 inspection report, we have high hopes that GIS will finally receive the recognition we think it deserves for what is clearly a Very Good school in so many respects.
If you would like to read the full KHDA inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so - you will find it here.
Feedback to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, whilst limited, is generally positive. The school received an overall parent satisfaction rating of 4.3/5 - or a 86% approval rating.
The school makes it easy for parents - children look forward to going to school - and parents seem positive regarding the progress made and attainment by their children. Parents are generally happy with the quality of academic performance - not a single parent was dissatisfied with this key criterion - though having said this, a surprising 22% felt that they needed to organise tuition outside the school. They, along with its students, also appreciate the school's strong community ethic as well as the work it does to build individual confidence and strength.
There are the common Dubai private school grumblings of fees being too high, with around 11% of respondents feeling that they do not offer value for money, though 89% each felt that they partially or fully agree do so. And some 30% of parents (compared with 43% a year ago) have considered moving their child from GIS to another school - although, clearly they have not followed through on this consideration. 85% of parents would unreservedly recommend GIS to other parents - the majority of the remainder were not sure if they would do so, though 4% said that they would not do so.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Greenfield International School and would like to share your experience with other potential members of your community, please complete our Survey.
Feedback from the most recent KHDA inspection report noted that "The governors take full account of the views of parents and other stakeholders in a variety of ways, including through the work of the School Advisory Board (SAB), whose members include representatives of the governors, parents, and business people. The SAB itself takes account of the views of the Greenfield Community Parents'.
They continued "Parents are highly appreciative of the school’s open-door policy and inherent sense of community. Ready access to very informative online platforms, three-way face-to-face meetings and detailed written reports ensure that parents feel extremely well informed about what their children are learning and how they can support them. Consequently, they are very effective partners in their children’s education and in the life of the school group".
In direct feedback to the KHDA pre-inspection survey, of some 172 parents, 98% of respondents said that they were satisfied with the quality of education provided by the school and believe that their children are kept safe. A high proportion feel that school leaders and staff listen to and act upon their views.
A sizeable 515 students also expressed their opinions through the KHDA Well-being census. Almost all students who responded to the survey indicated that they feel safe in the school. Responses on the school ethos and their sense of belonging are positive. Almost all expressed satisfaction with organised activities.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has long been an admirer of Greenfield International School - as we are, it must be said, of all Taaleem schools. Operated as a not-for-profit group, we have been consistently impressed by the schools' dedication to their students of all abilities - the group has led the way on inclusion - and of the pioneering IB curriculum schools, including, notably, GIS for its early and on-going involvement in the introduction of all four IB programmes.
With the improvements that have taken place under the current leadership of the school over the past three plus years, we believe that GIS is finally reaching a level of maturity that is enabling it to achieve the high standards of the other Taaleem schools.
As of 2021-22 the fees for Greenfield International School (which include discounts from the approved KHDA fees) range from AED 31, 750 for pre-KG, AED 36,750 for KG1, AED 38, 750 for KG2, AED 49, 732 for Grades 1 to 6, AED 62, 440 for Grades 7 to 10 and AED 76, 315 for Grades 11 to 12 - which places the school in the premium end of the Dubai education market.
A registration fee of AED 4,000, due on offer of a place at the school, is deducted from the first term's fees. An annual re-registration fee of AED 2,000 is required to secure a place for the following academic year and is deducted from the first term's fees. There is a sibling discount of 10% on tuition fees for the third (youngest) and subsequent child in each family.
Greenfield International School 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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