United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Umm Sheif / Horizon International School

Horizon International School Q & A

Horizon International School (HIS) is located in Umm Al Sheif off Al Wasl Road, within close proximity of the iconic Burj Al Arab. HIS is an 'all-through' school offering the British curriculum for children aged 3 to 18.
Parents' Rating
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4.3 out of 5 based on 25 reviews
At a glance
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Good
Availability 2019/20
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Availability 2020/21
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Annual fee average
AED 50,000
Annual fees
AED 34,517 - 65,000
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2008
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Darren Gale
Owner
Al Najah Education
Community
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
British
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LET'S GO

What is the official name of your School?
Horizon International School (HIS). (Read the full review here)

What is your school's Web site address?
www.horizonintlschool.com

What qualities and characteristics would you say define Horizon International School?
HIS is a true community school, based on the core values of respect, manners and a positive work ethic.

We believe our teachers know the students extremely well and are able to personalise their learning and overall school experience.

The school environment is one that challenges students and encourages them to take risks with their learning in a caring and supportive way.

Parental involvement is encouraged as and when is appropriate yet every opportunity is provided to allow students to be independent both as learners and as individuals in day to day life.

HIS strives to achieve the best possible academic outcomes for every child, but also understands that education is far more than that. Significant focus is placed on the Performing Arts and Sport through our 'Performance Institute' and the development of life-long learning skills infuses everything we do. We are a school, where your child really does matter.

How many nationalities are represented at Horizon International School?
51

Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?
Yes, British student account for just over one third of the population - 35% in fact.

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?
FS1 1:11, FS2 1:12, Yr1,2 1:12, Yr 3 1:24.

Does HIS have a waiting list?
Yes in FS1, FS2, Yr1, Yr2, Yr 4. Parents can contact the registrar for the latest information: registrar@horizonintlschool.com

If a secondary school, what percentage of your students achieve entry to higher educational institutions and, in general terms, which countries?
As a developing secondary school we are currently up to year 11. We will open year 12 in Sept 2016.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?
There is 2 hours per week excluding team sports on the timetable, plus an extensive extra curricular (EC) programme catering for all ages...

How do you promote healthy eating?
We have a healthy eating policy .

Does Horizon International School have cafeteria facilities for the students?
We have a juice bar and fresh salad delivery service.

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?
FS1 8am – 12.45pm, FS2 8am – 1pm, Yr 1 up 7.45am – 3pm. On Thursday the school finishes at 1.10pm.

Is there a school uniform?
Yes, we have a uniform shop on site. You can find out more here.

What is your policy on mobile devices such as mobile (cell) phones in school?
Only secondary students are allowed to bring mobile phones. This type of devise is not used in lessons. The school policy states that phones must be switched off and placed in lockers during school time

How does HIS differentiate learning?
We set by ability in Maths and English throughout the school. In secondary all classes are generally split on ability, teachers then differentiate work within the class to suit the needs of the different students. We also work closely with our achievement centre which provides more specific personalised learning for students on our SEN register or gifted and talented.

Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?
Yes, the school has a clear homework policy that is adapted to each phase of school. Homework is given as a means of extending and consolidating learning. Time spent is personal to each student however the school feels it is important not to overburden students with homework. Each year group have a homework timetable to ensure there is balance and coordination between subjects regarding the distribution of homework.

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?
There is feedback to parents through teacher / parent meetings and termly progress reports. Students have target trackers and are constantly made aware of their progress and attainment levels.

How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?
Termly 3 x per year

Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language at Horizon International School?
Yes

Which other languages are taught?
French – primary and secondary
Spanish - secondary

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?
Yes, students with English as a second language are identified on admission to school and language support is put in place from day one. Social Communication groups run throughout the year groups which help to develop both receptive and expressive language skills as well as confidence and greater social awareness.

Horizon International school works closely with external agencies to provide intensive English intervention groups. Strong links are maintained with external agencies and teachers to ensure students make the best possible progress with their language acquisition.

Is Islamic Education/Studies for the Arab Muslim students delivered in Arabic for them?
Yes

Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for the Muslim students?
Yes

If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?
The school offers a combination of GCSE and IGCSE examinations in Year 11, it will also offer A levels in year 12 and 13.

What is your medium of instruction?
English

Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?
Once the individual needs of a student have been ascertained, targeted support is put in place to ensure work set is at an appropriate level and good progress is made. Students receive additional support in small focus groups within the classroom setting, small withdrawal support groups, paired withdrawal support groups and 1-1 support which is focused on Individual Education Plan (IEP) targets. In some cases students may receive 1-1 support if it is felt they require a high level of structure in a modified and individualised curriculum. This 1-1 support is at an additional cost to the parents.

Do you have a learning support team at Horizon International School?
Yes we have an Achievement Centre which is made up of three full time qualified teachers with a range of expertise and experience in special needs education.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?
Students who are particularly, or exceptionally able in a subject(s) are quickly identified and teachers ensure they are suitably challenged in class. In addition to this we have a range of internal and external extra-curricular clubs which students are encouraged to attend to further develop a skill, talent or keen interest. From Chess club to Sailing, students are actively engaged in these clubs and are given the opportunity to compete against other schools and clubs at competition level.

Does HIS have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?
Yes

Kindly provide details on the support for specific learning needs your school provides?
Achievement Centre with 3 full time qualified specialists catering for students with a variety of specific learning needs, some students receive 1:1 or small group support. This may be in class or within the Achievement Centre depending on the need. Our dedicated team of learning assistants are integral to this process and all staff are part of our targeted support programme.

Does Horizon International School have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?
Yes, through our inclusion department we have linked with numerous external agencies and specialists.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?
Yes, the Parent Teacher Association - interested parents can contact chris.j.bourke73 at gmail.com

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?
YesPaired reading, assisting children with english as a second language, assisting with sports teams, trips and excursions, being an active member of the PTA, helping with social events, performances and productions...

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?
Yes.There are two elected parents on the school board, one of whom is the chairperson. The board meets 4 x per year...

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Comments
9 Archived Comments
Minu Agrawal
Archived 30th May 2016, 21:21

Thinking of putting my kids in year 8 and year 3 ....please help with honest review about school .

Anxiousdad
Archived 26th Feb 2016, 20:34

Hi all, my child got selected to foundation stage for 2016-17; would love to hear feedback about school from parents who have their kids already going to Horizon International... Thanks.

Rachel
Archived 2nd Mar 2016, 11:39

Hi There
Both my children moved from a popular British primary school in Dubai to Horizon Intl. We moved when the children were Y4 and Y6 and haven't looked back. Some of the reviews on here are quite old and the school has come along in leaps and bounds, The school class sizes haven't changed in a few years and they are adamant not too. My children are very happy there and love the teachers. There is also an extremely varied after school activity programme. We honestly haven't looked back. The only negative thing is the exam results are yet to be established as this is the first year of GCSE's, although some students took their Spanish exams a year early and all achieved A*. The school is also inclusive rather than selective which I think is a huge positive, but this isn't an opinion shared by everyone. I have friends with children in FS who are also very happy with the school. It's great that you can have the continuity of FS up to A level all under one roof. Good luck whatever you decide!

Mrs realistic
Archived 2nd Oct 2015, 21:02

Mrs Supernova - if I didn't know any better, I would say you work at the school.

Great that you have had a good experience with the school but the majority of parents I know have not.

As for; 'I don’t see many other senior leadership staff standing on the school gates every morning in Dubai' - Errr, no actually, you do and it usually doesn't involve holding a costa coffee in their hand looking gormless.

'Class sizes of 22/24…good in Dubai' - yes, of course but parents pay for it - it's not a state school!

Not trying to 'bash' the school. I am giving my honest opinion that I have not been happy with it. ESPECIALLY, over the last couple of years. As a parent, who has paid thousands in school fees over the last 6 years, I have a right to give my view, whether you like it or not.

M harris
Archived 10th Feb 2014, 17:51

Class rooms getting bigger along with the yearly non refundable deposits. Academically disappointing.

No shining star
Archived 20th Nov 2013, 23:15

No Special Educational Needs provision. NO anti-bullying policy. Definite deficiency in academics (our youngest child was in 'top set' for maths at Star yet failed math assessment at another school admission test. Very worrying. Head teacher/principal seems to be puppet for the head of secondary. Lacking leadership.

mrs segar
Archived 29th Apr 2013, 13:18

Offers hardly any after sport school activities, classes are expanding, non refundable deposits to secure the next academic year have increased and this year (without informing the parents) they decided to charge a penalty fee of 500 AED per child if payment of the deposit was late.

Mr Supernova
Archived 18th Jun 2014, 17:22

To say this school does not offer 'hardly any after school activities' is quite frankly ridiculous! At last count, the school offered over 40 activities per term from Foundation through to KS3. The choice, as mentioned in the above review, is phenomenal. The school has successfully grown year on year and has overcome many of the usual challenges Dubai throws schools way. The staff (always properly qualified) are dedicated to the children and will always listen to the parents. I don't see many other senior leadership staff standing on the school gates every morning in Dubai? 500dhs late fee...sorry, but pay your fees on time and there would not be a problem. Class sizes of 22/24...good in Dubai? Consistently graded as 'Good'. Think there are just some people trying to bash this great school through their reviews. Make your own mind up, go for a tour, I did and have never looked back.

Mr Phillip
Archived 30th Apr 2013, 17:26

My wife and I were also astounded with the 500 dirham penalty charge for late payment of the deposit, especially as we have three children! Star had ample time to warn parents of this charge but chose not to. More worryingly is that the Headmaster believes this is an acceptable way to run a school.

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