United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Warqa / Ignite School

Ignite School Review

Ignite School is a US curriculum school that opened in September 2018 in Al Warqa. The school's initial aim was to attract 500 students when it opened to Grade 5. In its fourth year of operation, Ignite School was open to Grade 8 with close to 700 students, and will open Grade 9 in August 2022..
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
No data
Availability 2023/24
No data
Annual fee average
AED 35,000
Annual fees
AED 28,000–41,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2018
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Ms Wedad S Saada
Community
Main teacher nationality
United States of America

Nearby nurseries

1.5km • EYFS curriculum
2.1km • Montessori curriculum
2.9km • EYFS curriculum
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Ignite School
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
No data
Availability 2023/24
No data
Annual fee average
AED 35,000
Annual fees
AED 28,000–41,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2018
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Ms Wedad S Saada
Community
Main teacher nationality
United States of America
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Ignite School is a US curriculum school that opened in September 2018 in Al Warqa. The school's initial aim was to attract 500 students when it opened to Grade 5. In its fourth year of operation, Ignite School was open to Grade 8 with close to 700 students, and will open Grade 9 in August 2022..

The story so far...

Ignite School, located in Al Warqa, Dubai, near Mushrif Park, added another option for parents seeking a US school when it opened in August 2018.

The school opened with Elementary levels and is growing the Middle and High schools year on year, opening Grade 9 in August 2022, and achieving full opening to Grade 12 in August 2025. The overall capacity of the school is approximately 2,150 students.

At the time of the school's first KHDA inspection in February 2022 - a year behind the original scheduled inspection date as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic - Ignite School achieved an Acceptable rating.  This is the minimum required level expected by the KHDA for Dubai schools - there is a stated aim that all schools should achieve at least a Good rating. 

The school has clearly seen some changes since its opening - notably the departure of its Founding Principal, who was replaced in April 2021 by Ms. Wedad S. Sadaa.  The report notes that the largest nationality group is Arab, which is probably explained by the some 239 Emirati students who attend the school - a significant 34% of the total student body of the school. 

This will clearly add impetus to the need for the school to improve its KHDA rating without delay, given steps by the KHDA, prior to the pandemic, to encourage local families to move their children from Acceptable schools to those rated at least Good. 

Students are supported by 56 mainly American teachers and a further 20 teaching assistants, together with a Guidance Counsellor.  Staff turnover of 39% is a concern, although it is not clear how much of this figure is a reflection on recruitment of new staff as additional grades open.  This leaves the school with a teacher:student ratio of 1:12 - a low enough figure to allow teachers to adapt their teaching to the needs of individual or groups of students.

What about the curriculum?

The school will offer a Kindergarten to Grade 12 education using the New York State Learning Standards and the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards. 

Ignite is currently a candidate school for accreditation by NEASC - the New England Association of School and Colleges - a requirement of the KHDA to ensure that US curriculum schools are delivering a curriculum that is recognised and accepted by US and international colleges and universities.

What about support for students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents?

At the time of the KHDA inspection, there were 57 students of Determination who had been identified by the school.  The inspectors found that the school has a process to support the early identification of students of determination and provides support for them inside and outside the classrooms.  However, this is clearly a work in progress...

The provision and outcomes for students of Determination were found to be Acceptable, but the inspectors commented that "The inclusion department’s action plan is not sufficient to address the future development of the provision".  A range of recommendations were made for improvement.

What about the facilities?

Ignite School has been built over a large site spanning 23,000 square meters. Elementary School facilities in an ELC indoor playroom, ENL center, Music studio, Theatre (black box) studio, Art space, Science lab, Makers and robotics lab, Learning support center, Learning resource center (library), IT lab, and 42 'Learning spaces' - which we take to be classrooms.

The Middle and High School sections will have two ENL centers, two Learning support centers, 42 Learning spaces, an Art space, Theatre (black box) studio, Makers and robotics lab, Music studio, IT lab, five Science labs with prep room, a Multipurpose shared space, and a Learning resource center (library) with higher education entry center.

Additional outdoor play, sports and performing arts facilities include a swimming pool (with changing rooms), shaded multipurpose hard court sports, an artificial grass 5-a-side football field field, a dedicated ELC outdoor play area, a dedicated Elementary School play area, an indoor multipurpose sports hall/auditorium, a fitness studio, a Dance studio, grass areas with seating for social activities and an indoor dining area.

What the inspectors say

Ignite School received its first DSIB inspection on behalf of the KHDA in February 2022 and was awarded an Acceptable rating.  Student achievement was rated almost entirely Acceptable across all subjects and grades, with the exception of Arabic as a Second language in the Middle school section which was rated Weak.

The other two key performance standards which are direct and vital contributors to Student achievement - Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum - were also rated Acceptable across the school, as was Care and Support.  However, the inspection team were more impressed with the Personal and Social Development of students and their Innovation skills - rating these Good across the school, the same rating was given to Health and Safety.

Overall, the inspectors found the strengths of the school to be:

  • Students’ personal development, social responsibility, understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures
  • The school’s arrangements to ensure the health and safety of all students
  • The school’s effective partnerships with parents and the community
  • The school’s commitment to inclusive education.

There were inevitably a wide range of recommendations for Ignite School. These included the need to:

  • Improve teaching across the phases by ensuring that teachers:
    – build on students’ prior knowledge to bridge gaps in learning
    – raise the level of challenge in planning and delivering lessons
    – provide more collaboration, investigation and independent problem-solving opportunities
    – use assessment information more effectively to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all groups of learners.
  • Develop students’ learning skills to improve external assessment results and accelerate their progress in all subjects, especially in lessons.
  • Ensure that the self-evaluation process makes better use of the available data to produce a more realistic assessment of the school’s performance.
  • Develop the school’s improvement plans to be better linked to the self-evaluation process and contain success criteria that are more focused on the impact actions have on student outcomes.
  • Ensure the governors use valid and reliable processes to hold the senior leadership team to account for the school's performance.

To be fair, there are many positive comments about Ignite School within the inspection report - staff are well qualified and create positive classroom environments with well-established routines that facilitate learning across all phases, the school curriculum has a clear rationale and follows New York Common Core State and Next Generation Science Standards and the school is actively working to improve curriculum design and implementation. The premises are well designed, bright and spacious with specialist facilities that enable access to learning for all. 

If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to find the reasons behind the ratings and the steps to improvement - you will find it here.

The Buzz

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received very limited response to our Parent Survey.  Those parents who have shared their feedback feel that their children largely enjoy going to school and have some sense of belonging.  Parents are split on to what extent fees represent value for money.  They are satisfied for the most part with the school's academic performance, with the level of feedback they receive from teachers and the disciplinary policy.  None has considered moving their child to another school and 2/3 would whole-heartedly recommend the school to other parents.

If you are a parent, teacher or older student at Ignite School, please share your experience and opinions with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey.

According to the DSIB inspection team, "Parents are actively involved in the life of the school and participate in school events, such as the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings and Book Drive. The school’s frequent and ongoing communication with parents is a strength. Parents are regularly informed about their children’s progress and academic challenges. Teacher conferences proactively provide solutions to problems."

What about the fees?

Fees at Ignite School range from AED 28,000 in pre-KG to AED 41,000 for Grade 9, placing them firmly in the Affordable bracket. There are a range of additional fees for uniform, ICT, stationery, and some extra-curricular activities.  The school is offering a 5% fee discount, available in most grades.

There are Application Fees of AED 500 (Assessment fees included) and Enrolment Fees of up to 10% of the tuition fees on offer of a place which are non refundable and deductible from the 1st term fees.

In addition to sibling discounts and an early payment discount, the school also offers discounts to Emirates Airline staff of up to 15% and to UAE Government Employees, up to 10%.

 

If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information

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