Jumeira Baccalaureate School is a private pre-KG to Grade 12 international school which was established in September 2010. The school is located in the heart of Jumeirah 1, one of the best locations in the city, on the former site of the American School of Dubai. The school is operated by the Taaleem group.
Although Jumeira Baccalaureate School's building is approximately 40 years old, a lot of effort and investment has gone into bringing it back to life and providing a much lighter and more modern feel. It now has its own organic garden that the KG children tend and supply vegetables to the on-site cafeteria.
The most recent KHDA report for the 2017-18 academic year has rated the school as Very Good, after six years of Good ratings. This is an important step forward for JBS, elevating its performance to the second highest rating from the Dubai School regulator. It also means that it is one of now five IB curriculum through-schools performing at the same "Very Good" level - including its sister school, Uptown School, Mirdiff. Clearly, the IB curriculum is now well established and apparently increasingly well-regarded by the KHDA.
The student body presently numbers 790, down almost around 100 students compared with the previous year. The largest nationality group of students, according to the 2017-18 KHDA report, is Emirati (some 33%). The remainder represent a fairly even spread of Dubai's population makeup, with students coming from over 70 different countries including British, and American.
There are 91 teachers at the school, the majority of whom are from the UK. There are also 25 teaching assistants and the teacher to student ratio is 1:9 which is very respectable. Teacher turnover has stabilised over the last year at 10%, compared with 26 percent in the previous year. The average for Dubai is between 20-22% in international schools - a concern when this indicates lack of stability within a school. JBS seems to have settled in this respect.
All students learn Arabic from KG1 and there are five Arabic language TA’s training specifically to work with ESL students. Children arrive at the school speaking a wide range of some 30 different languages.
The JBS entry into WhichSchoolAdvisor.com's Day in the Life video competition
The school says it is strongly committed to supporting children with Additional Learning requirements and SEND provided they can access the curriculum. The Head of Inclusion, Ben Viljoen, is responsible for training staff across the school – this support is not treated as an “add-on”, but integrated into everyday teaching. Some 10% of students have been identified as in need of additional support as Students of Determination.
The school follows a varied curriculum 'designed' very much for international students. We think it is very well thought through. Kindergarten pupils follow International Baccalaureate's (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). Pre KG and KG 1 are taught with English as the primary language, but students also receive regular Arabic lessons as well as exposure to Arabic culture, games, music and language.
The middle phase students follows the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). The MYP (initiated in 2011) focuses on eight particular subject groups: technology, physical education, arts, mathematics, sciences, humanities and a minimum of two languages. Along with English and Arabic students are also able to undertake French as their secondary language starting from primary school.
Older students worked towards the International Baccalaureate Diploma (DP), and, interestingly the more vocational BTEC. The BTEC is often used by IB schools offering the IB Careers- related Programme (IB CP).
JBS has made a particular effort to pick out the best practices from the UK curriculum and transfer them to the PYP and MYP – particularly in regard to tracking of student achievement and subject content, as well as following the “connectivity” requirements of the IB programme.
A unique feature of the school is its French language programme for native speakers. This is a selective programme for students in Pre-KG to Grade 5. Children are provided with intensive French lessons every week, supported by extracurricular French language activities, based on the French National Curriculum. Small classes are taught by native French teachers to develop advanced French grammar, spelling and reading skills. Students may continue studying French during MYP, Diploma Programme and Career-Related Programmes, alongside benefiting from dedicated mother-tongue activities from Grade 6-12.
The school states that it also places positive education, well-being and innovation at the forefront of its curriculum.
What about academic results?
Students in Grades 11 and 12 at JBS have the option of taking either the full IB Diploma programme (IBDP) or the associated IB Career-related programme (IBCP). In 2017-18, 17 students took the full IBDP and achieved a very creditable average score of 32 points (slightly lower than the previous year's score of 32.4), but also above the UAE average of 31.41. 16 students took the IB Career-related programme. The global average IBDP score was 29.78 for 2017-18, and any mixed ability school that achieves above this average is doing very well indeed! One student achieved 41 points, placing him or her in the top 7% of IBDP students globally, and 3 points higher than the top achieving student in 2017.
The 2017-18 KHDA report highlights progress made at JBS over the past twelve months commenting on the strengths of the school as follows:
In summarising Students' Achievement, inspectors noted that " There have been significant improvements in students' achievement. Students’ progress is at least good, and often very good. In the Diploma Programme (DP), progress in English is outstanding as is attainment. Attainment is generally good, although in Islamic education, it is acceptable in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and very good in Arabic as a first language in DP, in English in the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and in science in the Kindergarten (KG). Students apply their very good learning skills in most subjects."
Compared with a year ago, when the majority of ratings for attainment and progress for English, Mathematics and Science were Good, 9 measures have increased to Very Good in the current inspection, with attainment and progress in English at the DP level having been raised to Outstanding. Only one measure has gone backwards; this is for attainment in Mathematics at DP which is now rated Good, compared with Very Good a year ago. Overall standards in Islamic Education, Arabic as a First Language and as an Additional Language, are also predominantly rated Good. Arabic as a First Language at DP is rated Very Good. This is an area where many schools struggle to achieve the higher ratings.
Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills are clearly a strength of the school. Ratings are almost exclusively Outstanding with the exception of Understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures in KG and Primary, which are rated Very Good. The inspection report notes that "Students are highly innovative and make a significant contribution to the school, local and global communities."
Significant improvements have also taken place in relation to the key areas of Teaching and Assessment and in Curriculum. Teaching and assessment is now rated Very Good across the board, with 5 of the 8 measures having been raised to this level. Curriculum design and implementation, and its adaptation are rated Very Good across KG, PYP and MYP phases and Outstanding in the DP programme.
The protection, care, guidance and support of students in an Outstanding feature of JBS, with both key measures of Health and Safety, and Care and Support now being rated at this level. Inspectors commented that "The arrangements for protecting and caring for all students remain outstanding. Students’ health is given a high profile. Expectations for students’ behaviour and attendance are clearly understood. Guidance and support for students, including the systems for identifying and supporting students with additional needs, have improved and are highly effective in all phases."
Unsurprisingly, given the overall rating and those of the key indicators, Leadership and Management measures are predominantly rated Outstanding. In particular, the relationship between the school and parents and the community, Governance, and Management, staffing, facilities and resources have achieved the highest rating. The effectiveness of leadership and the school's self-evaluation and improvement planning are rated Very Good.
Inspectors noted that "The principal, school leaders and governors, share their vision with staff, parents and students for an inclusive and innovative school. They are very effective in bringing about improvements. Self-evaluation processes are strengthened and leaders have a very good understanding of the school's performance and the priorities for further improvement. Governors provide high quality resources and more than adequate staffing numbers to enhance students’ learning."
Inevitably, there is still room for improvement, and the Inspection team's recommendations were that JBS should
2016/2017 was the third year in which students graduated from JBS with the IB Diploma and the first year for students completing the IB Career related programme with BTEC. Students achieved a 100% pass rate for both programmes, with an IB points average of 32, (2.1 percent higher than in 2015-16) and with 66% of students achieving more than the IBDP global average of 30.07. Notably, JBS students also achieved 12 bi-lingual IB Diploma qualifications. Students taking the Career related programme who also achieved a BTEC qualification also achieved a 100% pass rate and were awarded two Distinctions, four Merits and five passes.
Facilities at the school are very good, and include a multi-purpose auditorium/gym, indoor sports hall, KG indoor playroom, 25 metre shaded swimming pool, two roof top tennis courts, natural grass sports pitches, track and field with changing facilities, extensive two-storey library/media centre, playgrounds, ICT labs, science labs, art studios, dance studios, music studios, rehearsal rooms and cafeteria.
The current KHDA inspection report is very positive in its comments about the relationship between the school, parents and the community noting "Parents are active partners in the life and work of the school. Their views are influential in determining priorities for school improvement. Highly effective communication with the school gives families a comprehensive understanding of their children’s progress. Partnerships with the local, national and global communities extend and enhance students’ learning experiences exceptionally well."
Progress at JBS has not only been noted by the KHDA. Compared with a year ago, a very significant change in opinion has taken place among parents who completed our on-line survey. 70% now agree that they would recommend Jumeira Baccalaureate School to another parent. They believe there children have a real sense of belonging at the school, but are more critical of the level of fees with only 30% believing that they represent value for money based on student attainment.
That said, the number of responses to the survey is still low. We encourage more parents to contribute and add their opinion.
JBS has not introduced a fee increase hence the tuition fees remain at the same level of 2016/17. Fees begin at AED 56,131 per year for Pre-KG students. There is a flat rate of AED 72,970 for students from Grades 1 through to 10. Years 11 and 12 pay AED 84,197. Fees are paid in three installments. There is an additional AED 5,000 initial registration fee. Applying to the school will cost you AED 1,050 including VAT. The fees noted above are for tuition only. Additional activities and external examinations, are subject to additional charges. JBS also offers a sibling discount of 10% on tuition fees for the third (youngest) and subsequent child in each family for the 2017/18 Academic Year.
Note JBS offers a debenture scheme through Taaleem for corporates who want to guarantee places at the school for their employees. It costs AED 100,000 and depreciates over 15 years to 10 AED, but guarantees a place at the school. Naturally, over time, this will make entry into the school more difficult for those working for companies with no debenture system in place.
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