Gulf Model School is a private K-12 school located in Al Muhaisnah, Dubai. The school has been rated Weak in KHDA inspections for eight years.
Gulf Model School (GMS) was established in 1982 and as of 2019 catered to some 2,500 students grouped into 82 classes with 12 at Kindergarten, 33 in the primary phase, 14 in Middle and 24 in the secondary phase.
The school has the distinction of being the only Indian curriculum school in Dubai to be rated Weak by the KHDA during its last inspection in 2019 - the second to lowest possible inspection rating and one that it has retained for eight years running!
It would seem that some steps have been taken by the owners to address GMS' singular failure to make significant improvements that would at least take it to the expected minimum rating of Acceptable, with the replacement of the Principal and the appointment of an Academic Director. Ms. Shiny Davison has joined the school in the latter position part way through the 2021-22 academic year from AMLED School Dubai which closed at short-notice in September 2021. She had held the position of Vice Principal at AMLED.
However, whether this has borne fruit in terms of the improvement needed is yet to be determined, as with the halt to inspections as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, no further inspection outcomes have been published. The school did obtain the second rating of Partially Developed for the Distance Learning Evaluation - brought in to assess the capabilities of schools to deliver on-line learning during the pandemic - in May 2020. Find out more here.
At the time of the 2019 inspection, GMS employed 189 teachers and six teaching assistants. The teacher:student ratio was 1:13, indicating class sizes from the mid-twenties upward. The school also employed two Guidance counsellors. Staff turnover, at 14%, was low by international school standards, but on the high side for an Indian curriculum school.
The school follows the Indian Kerala State Board and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum which subsequently lead to their own individual examinations. Classes are taught in English, which is the main language of instruction, whilst Arabic is introduced in KG in line with the requirements of the UAE Ministry of Education. Starting at Kindergarten level, the curriculum culminates in the All India Secondary School Examination at the end of Grade X and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination at the end of Grade XII, both of which are overseen by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, India and also Kerala State Board.
As is increasingly common in Indian curriculum schools, the UK-based Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum forms the basis of the KG curriculum.
The Primary curriculum from Grades 1 to 5 aims to encourage students’ innate inquisitive nature in order to develop their basic skills through first-hand experiences. Students are encouraged to question, explore, apply, and test what they know, whilst treating each other with respect and developing the beginnings of social etiquette. Core subjects at Primary level include English, Arabic, Mathematics, Environmental Science, Indian and UAE Social Studies, Oral Education, Computers, Art & Craft, Life Skills, Islamic Education & Quran/Value Education, Music, Dance and P.E. Option language subjectes include Hindi, Malayalam or Urdu, subject to a minimum 10 students for any language option.
The Middle School curriculum from Grades VI to XIII seeks to produce confident, competent learners and broadly offers the same subject range with the addition of Moral Education.
On entering Senior School in Grade IX students begin preparations for the All Indian Secondary School Examination taken at the end of Grade X or the Keral State Board examinations. Subjects for the latter include English; Mathematics; Physics; Chemistry; Biology; Social Science; IT; (Arabic; Islamic Education & Quran / Value Education), and additional language choices between Hindi/GK, Malayalam 1/ Additional English and Malayalam 2/Special English.
Finally, as students move into their final two years of study for the All India Senior School Certificate Examination or Kerala State Board examinations, they are required to choose between Science and Commerce streams.
For the CBSE Board, Science stream subjects include English, Physics, Chemistry, (Arabic; Islamic Education & Quran ) and either Biology with Computers (Medical Group), Mathematics with Computers (Engineering Group), or Biology and Mathematics (General Group). The Commerce Stream subjects are English, Accountancy, Business Studies, Economics, (Arabic; Islamic Education & Quran ) and either Mathematics or Informatics Practices.
For those students wishing to take the Kerala State Board Examinations at Grade XII, core subjects are broadly similar with, for the Science stream, English, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, (Islamic Education & Quran / Value Education), and the choice of either Biology or Computers and of Malayalam, Hindi or Arabic. For the Commerce stream, subjects include English, Accountancy, Business Studies, Economics, (Islamic Education & Quran) and a choice between Political Science and Computer Application, and Malayalam, Hindi or Arabic.
The school makes no mention of non-academic, co-curricular or extra-curricular activities that may be available for students.
GMS has a fairly detailed information about its aims and support for students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents.
The Learning support team (LST) works closely with staff in order to support all students' academic, personal, emotional and social well being. According to the school, support is available from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and individual needs are identified by comprehensive observation, interaction, and assessment. The team provides three levels of support, the level of support varies, depending upon the degree of learning concerns.
The team is also responsible for training teachers to accommodate every individual's need in the classroom environment. The Learning support team designs an Individual Education Plan (IEP) /Individual Action Plan (IAP)/Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP) and aims to modify the curriculum according to individual needs for specific and effective learning outcomes. The Learning support team also supports students who find challenges in specific areas, but may not have special education needs.
In addition the Learning support team identifies Gifted and Talented(G&T) students through observation, screening tests, parent’s nomination and external assessments. Appropriate classroom activities which are challenging to them are included with regular classroom lessons. Flexible grouping within classrooms provides opportunity for the G&T students to work either individually or with other gifted/potentially gifted students.
Unfortunately, whilst the aims of the Learning Support team may well be appropriate, their effectiveness has not yet been proven. The last KHDA inspection report notes that "the new leadership team promotes a vision and culture of inclusion that provide all students with equal opportunities to learn. Class teachers, however, are experiencing difficulty in implementing the vision and in creating inclusive classrooms for students of determination".
What about academic achievement?
Unfortunately, GMS provides very little information about its students' achievements and does not provide detailed data about examination results. This is disappointing, since whilst examination results are not the be-all and end-all of education, they are clearly an important factor for parents and students who may be considering the school. GMS does provide a list of Toppers in the traditional style (though without details of their scores), and this is no way provides real data about the overall success of the cohorts. What information is available can be found here.
As of 2019-20, the school received the KHDA inspection rating of Weak - for the eighth year in a row. Although there had been an improvement in seven individual ratings - of a total of 80 - there had also been a decline in two. This is in some ways a school of two halves. Whilst Student Achievement in the Middle and Secondary sections is largely rated Acceptable, the KG and Primary sections continue to be Weak in terms of the key English taught subjects. UAE Social Studies are Weak across the school.
Once again, it is the two Key Performance Standards of Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum which so clearly impact on Student Achievement that lie at the overall level of weakness of the school. Teaching and Assessment is rated Weak in six of the eight measures, with only Assessment in KG and Teaching for Effective Learning in Secondary again being rated Acceptable - there were no changes to these ratings from the previous inspection.
The curriculum is now rated Acceptable across the school (Primary finally having made the improvement from Weak), but adaptation of the curriculum to meet the needs of individual students again retained its Weak rating across the board.
The protection, care, guidance and support of students was again rated Acceptable and Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation skills remains a relative strength of the school with five of the twelve measures rated Good and Personal Development in the Middle and High School being awarded Very Good ratings for the first time, though this measure was downgraded to Acceptable from Good in Primary.
The final Key Performance Measure of Leadership and Management is now largely rated Acceptable, with an improvement for the Management, staffing, facilities and resources, though School self-evaluation and improvement planning remains Weak.
Overall the inspection team found the relative strengths of Gulf Model School to be:
As far as the focus for improvement is concerned, GMS should:
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
As mentioned in our introduction, Gulf Model School also participated in the Distance Learning Evaluation carried out under the instructions of the UAE Ministry of Education for all UAE schools in 2020. The school achieved a rating of Partially Developed (the second of three possible outcomes). You can read the report here.
The WhichSchooladvisor.com Parent Survey has received insufficient feedback to be able to comment in any detail on parental perceptions. Those parents who had responded appear to be almost diametrically opposite in terms of their views.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Gulf Model School, please share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey here.
The inspection report found that "Most parents are satisfied with the school's improvement in the last academic year. They appreciate new initiatives such as artificial intelligence and robotics and report improvements in discipline. Communication, including reports on their children’s progress, has improved through the use of electronic media."
Just over 600 parents responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey with just over half (at 51%) agreeing that they were fully satisfied with the quality of education provided by GMS - this is unusual, as in general, parents who complete the survey are either highly satisfied or highly dissatisfied. 5% of respondents were dissatisfied.
The report notes that almost all parents who responded felt satisfied with the quality of education. They thought that their children were safe in the school. A majority felt that they were rarely involved in activities. Most considered that school leaders listened to them and acted upon their views. Around one quarter thought that bullying among students was an ongoing issue.
Just over 1,000 students completed the KHDA's Well-being survey. Most students who completed the survey reported high or medium levels of satisfaction with their happiness, perseverance, teachers and the school climate. Almost all said that they felt safe in the school. A majority felt that there was no physical, verbal or social victimisation, and most felt that there was no cyber-bullying. These outcomes were broadly in line with the results for all Dubai schools and with the inspection findings, though in conflict with the views of parents.
It is very difficult to be positive about a school when there is so much negative information to be found about it and the most recent information is now two and half years old. There were some encouraging signs from the last KHDA inspection in terms of improvements that were being made under the new leadership - notably the following comments, which we hope have continued to show a positive trend despite subsequent changes in leadership:
Until such time as further objective information about GMS - both from existing parents, students and teachers through the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey, and through the inspection process - is available, we would be in breach of the regulator's advice that parents should move their children from schools rated Weak, should we recommend Gulf Model School.
Fees at Gulf Model are very affordable and payable on a monthly basis, starting at AED 3,560 for KG and rising to AED 6,470 at Grades 11 and 12. Any fee increases will be constrained by its Weak rating and failure to improve.
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