Indian High School Dubai is a private K-12 school. After 5 years in a row of being rated Outstanding, the 'Old Dubai' Oud Metha branch of the school received a KHDA inspection rating of Very Good in the 2017/18 inspection round. The Garhoud located junior school has received a Good rating since inspections began.
The Story so Far
The school was established in 1961 with nine students and has since grown to approximately 15,000 students with 800 teachers - if you include its recently opened third campus in Dubai's Silicon Oasis free zone. The Oud Metha branch alone contains over 5,600 students with 454 teachers, the Garhoud branch around 4,200. Economies of scale partly explain how the Indian High School Dubai is so affordable with fees ranging from 4000 AED at KG, rising very little to 8,500 AED plus for Grade 12. We say partly, because despite the strength in numbers, this is a school that will need to be run incredibly efficiently with these price points.
The Junior school for students between Grades 1-4 is located in Al Garhoud, the Secondary school for students between Grades 5-12 is located in Oud Mehta. The newest campus located in Silicon Oasis caters to students right through from Grades 1-12. The schools are officially recognized by the UAE's Ministry of Education and affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi.The schools provide education to children of Indian expatriates and those interested in the Indian curriculum. Although the schools are co-educational, the classes are split separately for girls and boys.
In May 2022, in the year in which it is celebrating its 60th Anniversary of operations, the leadership of IHS announced its aim to cut waiting lists and enrol more pupils after opening a new three-storey building. The Oud Metha branch currently has about 9,000 pupils on site and will be able to expand to accept pupils who have been on a waiting list.The school has also opened a happiness tent, a social meeting space for parents and teachers, as part of its expansion project, which took two years to complete.
The 60,000 square feet of expansion is spread over three floors, adding a total of 44 classrooms, laboratories, special activity rooms and a happiness tent. The school's new classrooms are equipped with technology such as smart boards so pupils can download notes from lessons. The school has also established a well-being centre, where pupils can seek help from counsellors if they have mental health concerns. All essential common shared services including administration, transport, finance, and account departments will be moved to the new building.
Indian High School Dubai follows the CBSE curriculum with core subjects from grades 1-4 including English, Hindi, Arabic, Mathematics, General Science, Social Studies, Art Education, Moral Science / Islamic Studies, Work Experience, Physical and Health Education as well as Computer Education.
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Facilities at the main campus include a number of state-of-the-art ICT laboratories, three science laboratories, a home science laboratory, an auditorium (with 1800 person seating capacity), canteen, as well as a library and research centre. The school also comes equipped with three counselling centres, and a number of medical centres equipped with full time medical officers and a number of trained nurses. Transport is also offered to all students with a fleet of 81 buses.
The Oud Metha school also offers a number of extra-curricular activities as well as scholarship programs to encourage students. Extra-curricular activities include a number of sporting programs, a radio station which is run and managed by students and a selection of publications which are also written by students.
What the Inspectors Say
As one of the schools involved in the Abundance Project (designed to enable Outstanding and Very Good schools to mentor weaker schools in Dubai), there was no inspection in 2016/17. It will no doubt, therefore, have been a disappointment to the school that following 5 years of the top (Outstanding) rating, the DSIB inspectors felt that there had been some areas of less positive progress in the 2017/18 inspection round. However, despite the slip in the overall rating, the Indian High School remains Outstanding across many inspection areas.
It is extremely impressive that the school, with its student numbers, is able to deliver a largely Outstanding level of education at secondary level, and a 'Good' level at primary (with Outstanding attainment in English and Maths). Note: The CEO at the Oud Metha branch has been in the post for some 18-years...
The Inspectors note that "students’ personal development is a real strength and has remained outstanding in all respects. Their behaviour and attitudes are almost always excellent and their attendance is good. Students’ awareness of Islamic values and of the UAE is well-developed and they make a significant contribution to the community and to caring for the environment".
The main areas identified by the Inspectors for improvement relate to Student Achievement (a measure of Attainment and Progress) – with Secondary English, Maths and Science Progress, and Maths Attainment and Progress in the Middle School downgraded from Outstanding to Very Good. However, the Inspectors note that students’ attainment is at least Good and often Very Good throughout the school and remains Outstanding in English, Mathematics and Science in the Secondary phase.
Teaching and assessment also slipped from Outstanding to Very Good in Secondary. A key area for improvement identified by the inspectors is the measurement of students’ progress over time for which the school needs to establish adequate processes. Some teachers have the same expectation for all students regardless of ability and do not assess students’ progress during lessons and over a longer period. They do not always make effective use of assessment information to plan lessons that meet the needs of different ability groups to improve their learning skills.
The school is urged to improve the rate of progress for students in Arabic as an additional language, by ensuring teachers in the middle phase set aspirational and achievable objectives. In addition, teachers should increase the rate of students’ progress in speaking and writing in the Middle phase. It would appear that the time allocation requirements for Islamic education in the secondary phase are also not being met.
With the clear focus on support for children with Additional Needs following the introduction of the KHDA’s Inclusive Education framework, this has been an area of particular review by the Inspectors. Curriculum adaptation is downgraded in both sections (Middle School to Good and Secondary School to Very Good), since the curriculum is not always appropriately modified to meet the needs of students with additional needs. Support for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) was found to be effective in the Learning Centre, but not consistently effective in other classes.
In addition to the 6 main areas for inspection, all schools have also been judged on the areas of National Agenda targets (that is the preparation of students to participate in external benchmarking of student achievement in International tests PISA and TIMMS), the implementation of the UAE Moral Education programme, the implementation of the UAE Social Studies programme and the school’s progress in creating an innovative environment. The school's provision for achieving National Agenda targets was deemed to meet expectations. The school's implementation of the UAE moral education programme is developing. The school's implementation of UAE social studies is well developed. The promotion of a culture of innovation is emerging. However, opportunities for innovative learning and creative thinking are limited.
The Inspectors found that whilst Senior leaders are committed to the UAE national and Emirate priorities and have overseen significant success in students' attainment in some core subjects, insufficient attention is given to ensuring that students of all abilities make consistently outstanding progress in lessons and over time. Consequently, there has been a decline in progress in English, Mathematics and Science. Accordingly, the effectiveness of leadership and governance have slipped from Outstanding to Very Good.
Irrespective of the Inspectors' findings. there is no question that the majority of students, parents and staff are more than satisfied with their experience of the Indian High School. 87% of students who responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey stated that they were definitely or for the most part happy at IHS; 95% of parents said that they were satisfied overall with the quality of education of their children, and 100% of teacher respondents agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of education at the school.
The Garhoud junior school received a largely consistent review from the KHDA with a nod to its attainment in English and maths. However, it also suggested improvements could be made helping younger students develop independent critical reasoning skills that would enable them to "investigate independently".
The Indian High School is very highly rated by its student body and by parents, who primarily point to its high academic success as proof the school is run and managed well. Parents and students also appreciate the large range of extra curricular activities the school offers. There are the standard grumblings over school fees and "extras".
For every parent that grumbles over those fees however, there are 100 wishing they were paying them. According to a recent XPress report, “There were queues extending up to a kilometre when I had gone to collect a token for the lottery for KG1 admissions at Indian High School. And all this for just 100 seats from several thousand applicants,” said the father of a three-year-old...
The school is rated highly for the quality information it provides to parents about their children’s progress.
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