Jumeira Baccalaureate School is a private pre-KG to Grade 12 school which was established in September 2010. The school is located in the heart of Jumeira 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.
The Story so Far...
Jumeira Baccalaureate School (JBS) was founded in 2010 on the site of the original American School of Dubai. Although Jumeira Baccalaureate School's building is over 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. The school originally opened to largely Secondary students, who transferred from Taaleem's Uptown Primary School, prior to the all-through Uptown School opening subsequently. Nowadays, it is an established all-through school catering to children from pre-KG to Grade 12 and offering the International Baccalaureate Curriculum from Grades 1 to 12.
The school states that its Vision is "To prepare all of our students for the innovation age by igniting their passions, purpose and curiosity through challenge and high expectations. Our students will be responsible, confident, and independent learners who are respectful; they embrace and celebrate diversity and have awareness of the environment. They strive to reach excellence whilst maintaining happiness and well-being."
The student body presently numbers approximately 880. The largest nationality group of students is Emirati (some 250 students representing 30%), the next largest group at 10% is French and the remaining 60% come from 65 different countries representing a fairly even spread of Dubai's population makeup.
JBS prides itself on its students attaining high academic standards, but says that its focus is more than this. 'Truly excellent education is about developing a passion for life-long learning and a capability for independent thinking. Our confident and articulate students are encouraged to discover interests that extend beyond the classroom. Our school community has over 65 different nationalities, enabling students to develop moral values, and display kindness, courage, respect and integrity towards each other and throughout our diverse and multicultural environment.'
There are 78 teachers at the school, the majority of whom are from the UK, with 24 teachers in the Primary section and a further 54 teachers in Secondary - an overall number which is growing due to increasing demand, particularly in Early Years. Ten new staff joined the school in September 2020. Teachers come from a wide range of 22 countries and are all qualified to at least Bachelor degree level with an appropriate teaching qualification and at least two years' teaching experience, with the majority holding advanced degrees, including Masters Degrees and Doctorates.
There are also 25 teaching assistants and the teacher to student ratio is 1:9 which is very respectable. Teacher turnover has stabilised over recent years, with that of 2018 being 14%, slightly higher than the 10% of the previous year, but significantly improved compared with 26 percent in 2016-17. 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.
The Core Values of JBS are:
The school follows a varied curriculum 'designed' very much for international students. We think it is very well thought through. From Kindergarten, students follow the International Baccalaureate Organisation's (IBO) Primary Years Programme (PYP). All students learn Arabic from KG1 and there are five Arabic language TA’s trained specifically to work with ESL students. Children arrive at the school speaking a wide range of some 30 different languages.
Intended for children aged 3 to 12 years, the programme focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. Students participate in four to six 'Units of Inquiry' per year. To ensure that children acquire a broad base of knowledge, the Units of Inquiry are developed under six 'organising themes' - Who We Are, Where We Are in Place and Time, How the World Works, How We Organise Ourselves, How We Express Ourselves, and Sharing the Planet.
The six subject areas of Language, Social Studies, Personal, Social and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science and Technology and the Arts are woven into the Units of Inquiry to provide a trans-disciplinary approach to learning. In the last year of the PYP, students participate in the PYP Exhibition, showcasing their development through their engagement with the 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 (from Grades 6 to 10) follow the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). The MYP (initiated in 2011) provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. They are all required to study eight subject groups: Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Arts, Mathematics, Personal and Health Education, and Design.
There is a requirement for all MYP students to engage in Action and Service-learning projects in order to be promoted to the next grade level and all students in the final year of the Middle Years Programme are required to complete a 3,500-word Personal Project which is completed on a topic of their choice. This project is intended to prepare them for the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme or the Reflective Project in the IB Career-related Programme.
In the final two years, students’ study either the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, or the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme. (Grades 11 and 12).
The IBCP was specifically developed for students who wish to engage in career-related learning while gaining transferable and lifelong skills in applied knowledge, critical thinking, communication, and cross-cultural engagement. The IBCP blends the academic rigour of IB Diploma courses with a career-related study along with a core component that includes Approaches to Learning, Language Development, Service Learning, a Reflective Project, and Work Experience. The chosen Career-related study offered at JBS is the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in IT. This is a 60-credit course providing students with transferable IT skills, which can be applied in their chosen career.
In the IB Diploma Programme, students’ study six academic subjects. They are also required to complete the supplementary requirements of the programme, which consist of a Theory of Knowledge course, the Extended Essay, and the Creativity, Activity and Service Programme (CAS).
Whilst English is the instruction language of the school, JBS also offers Arabic and French from Pre-KG to Grade 12 including a French Native Speaker Programme (Francophone). This consists of Intensive French lessons every week, supported by extra-curricular activities. It is based on the French National Curriculum. This programme offered at JBS is unique to Dubai for Pre-KG to Grade 5. Small classes are taught by native French teachers to develop advanced French grammar, spelling and reading skills. Students may continue studying French during MYP, the Diploma Programme and Career-Related Programme, alongside benefiting from dedicated mother-tongue activities from Grade 6-12.
The majority of JBS students still undertake the IB Diploma Programme, which is widely regarded as the Gold Standard for university entry, not only in Europe, but also in the UK, USA and Asia and Australasia.
The IB Diploma Programme curriculum is made up of the DP Core of the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) and six Subject Groups. The Extended Essay requires students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying. Theory of Knowledge is a course on critical thinking, where students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme. Creativity encourages students to engage in the arts and creative thinking. Activity seeks to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. Service with the community offers a vehicle for a new learning with academic value.
The final component is the six Subject Groups of Language and Literature, Language Acquisition (learning a new, or continuing an existing language), Individuals and Societies (Humanities), Sciences, Mathematics and The Arts. All students must study one subject from each of the first five groups, although they may choose a second subject from the first five groups in place of the Arts subject. It is the breadth and depth, and the research and inquiry focus of the IB Diploma Programme that has seen it develop it into the most highly regarded university entrance qualification in many Western countries.
However, JBS has also 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.
The school states that it also places positive education, well-being and innovation at the forefront of its curriculum.
JBS offers a wide range of activities to students through an Extra-Curricular Activities programme which include Swim Squad, Yoga, Football, Basket Ball, Rugby, Desert Dance, Karate, Kung Fu, Tennis, Choir, Arabic Singing, Drama Club, Orchestra, Chess, Robotics, World Scholars, Maths Club; Arabic Reading, Quran Club and Francophone French to name but a few. Sports activities that are offered on a paid basis include tennis, football, swimming, cricket, rugby, and climbing.
Secondary students participate in academic trips such as Model United Nations, which are held both locally and internationally, preparing students for careers in International Relations, politics and debate. For the risk-takers, an annual ski trip allows students to experience adrenalin sports, learn new skills and understand new and different cultures.
An integral part of all IB programmes is CASL (Creativity, Action, Service and Learning). To complement the CASL Program, JBS runs an annual CASL trip in partnership with Camp International to locations such as China, Kenya and Sri Lanka, where students work with camp directors to help the surrounding communities and their environments.
Taaleem as a group has always been particularly devoted to ensuring that its schools were as inclusive as possible. The school says it is strongly committed to supporting children with Additional Learning requirements and SEND provided they can access the curriculum.
Jumeira Baccalaureate School prides itself on its inclusive approach to education and our ability to support a diverse range of needs and says it does not discriminate on the grounds of race, nationality, disability or cultural background. Instead, the school sees the diversity of its student and staff population as one of its greatest assets.
Its goal is to support students through high-quality education, enabling them to be as independent as possible and to equip them with the skills to be successful, well-rounded individuals.
JBS believes that the teaching and support of all students, not only those with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), is a whole school responsibility and requires effective communication and collaboration between all parties to ensure success.
The Inclusion Team at Jumeira Baccalaureate School aims to:
1. Identify new students with possible barriers to their learning as early as possible.
2. Continually assess, monitor and intervene regarding student cognitive, scholastic, emotional and social needs across all phases to assist students in reaching their full potential.
3. Review student progress regularly against clearly defined SMART goals on the pupil passports.
4. Work towards smooth transitions at entry, between phases and in preparing to move to tertiary education.
5. To foster effective communication between staff / parents/ caregivers / external professionals and agencies. Parents of students with SEND are kept fully informed of their child’s progress and attainment and the viewpoints of parents/guardians, students and professionals involved are taken into account where appropriate.
6. Provide additional support, through liaising with outside agencies where needed, to provide for the individual student needs.
7. Recognize that special educational needs are the responsibility of all, and thus all staff need to be informed and aware of the procedures as well as suggestions for differentiation support.
8. Foster different learning styles and flexible strategies which will be responsive to the needs of all students;
9. Provide support to teachers, learning assistants (LA), learning support assistants (LSA) and individual learning support assistants (ILSA).
10. Provide/suggest continuous professional development opportunities for all staff regarding SEND (both within and outside of the school).
In addition to support for students with specific additional learning needs, JBS also offers support to students who are non-native English speakers through an EAL (English as an Additional Language) support programme for identified students in Grades 1 to 10 as well as additional support where required for Early Years and Grades 11 and 12.
The aim of this EAL programme is:
1. To help students communicate and express themselves in various social and academic contexts so that they are able to engage successfully when learning through the IB programmes.
2. To encourage students to develop effective literacy habits and approaches to learning in English.
3. To support work across subjects by developing a comprehensive understanding of linguistic and literary texts. Students need to access a variety of texts for information as well as communication. The learning of text conventions, accurate grammatical usage, academic vocabulary and research skills, as well as developing spoken, written and visual communication, are central to learning how to process and produce texts in all subject areas.
4. To monitor the attainment and progress of students who may be at the earliest stages of learning English.
5. To ensure that the cognitive challenge remains appropriately high and is not reduced because the English language command is reduced, recognising that EAL learners’ conceptual thinking may be in advance of their ability to speak English.
6. All EAL learners have a right to access the IB Curriculum. This is best achieved within a whole school context. Students learn more quickly when socialising and interacting with their peers who speak English fluently and can provide good language and learning role models.
A more recent development has been the link between JBS and The Developing Child Centre (TDCC) in a programme involving two transitional classrooms at JBS. The provision of the programme is aimed at children between the ages of 4-8 years who are not currently able to access mainstream schooling due to learning, communication, behavioural or adaptive functioning needs.
Students are provided with significant support from trained and certified educators and specialists (4:1 student to educator ratio) in classrooms of no more than 12 students. This new approach aims to provide a successful stepping stone into the International Baccalaureate programme and to help children develop independence and school readiness within the JBS nurturing school environment.
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). WhichSchoolAdvisor.com strongly advocates that all schools should provide details of their students' attainment in core exams, and JBS has shared their information with us since 2017.
In 2019-20: JBS had 36 IBDP/CP students of whom 24 were IB DP entrants, 11, IB Career-related Programme entrants and 1 an IB Courses student. JBS did not provide pass rates, but the overall average JBS score was 32.13, compared with a global IB Diploma point score was 29.92.
In 2018-19, 17 IB CP Programme graduates achieved a 100% pass rate and 49 DP graduates achieved a 96% pass rate. There were also two IB Courses students. The overall average score was 33 points, which was above the global average of 29.63 and a full point higher than 2017-18. The highest individual score was 41 points.
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), 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.
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 32.4 (2.1 percent higher than in 2015-16) with 66% of students achieving more than the IBDP global average of 30.07, and 21.4% reaching a score of over 36 points (versus the world average of 20%). Notably, JBS students also achieved 12 bi-lingual IB Diploma qualifications. Students taking the Career related programme who also achieved a BTEC qualification achieved a 100% pass rate and were awarded two Distinctions, four Merits and five passes.
JBS has a full-time career and university counsellor who oversees Grades 9 to 12, and who supports students with career and university advice and guidance throughout their application process. Details of university destinations can be found here.
The JBS campus sits on approximately eight acres of prime land with excellent sporting and outdoor facilities. Classrooms within the Primary and KG sections are all at ground floor level, in the original main entry building to the campus and are light and open with external access.
Students in the Middle and High School sections are located in separate buildings, with Grades 2 to 5 on the Ground and First Floors of the 'Bacc' building which has also been extensively renovated and extended, and includes two Science labs and a Science Prep room. The top floor of the building is for the exclusive use of High School students for Arabic and Foreign Languages. The 'S' building is used by students from Grades 6 to 12 and includes a full range of specialist rooms such as ICT labs, science labs, a Product Design Studio, a dance studio, PE Hall and a cafeteria.
Performing arts facilities include a multi-purpose auditorium, designated music/drama and visual arts rooms. The school also offers a separate two floor library/ media centre and shared play areas for younger students.
Sports facilities include a FIFA sized grass pitch with both football and rugby facilities, a 25m swimming pool and additional training pool, two large gymnasiums (that qualify as full-sized professional basketball courts and can be accommodated for netball, indoor football, badminton, indoor hockey and volleyball), two roof top tennis courts, two outdoor cricket training nets, and track and field areas with changing facilities.
The school is also home to the region's first installation of a hydroponic container farm on a school campus. In collaboration with Madar Farms and the school's food supplier, the farm is made from a recycled shipping container and students and staff at the school are using the farm to grow pesticide-free premium leafy greens for use in school meals.
The KHDA report for the 2017-18 academic year rated the school as Very Good, after six years of Good ratings. This was an important step forward for JBS, elevating its performance to the second highest rating from the Dubai School regulator. It also meant that it was one of now four IB curriculum through-schools performing at the same "Very Good" level - including its sister school, Uptown School, Mirdiff. JBS retained the Very Good rating in the 2018-19 inspection process.
Following the announcement by the KHDA in September 2019, that schools rated Very Good or Outstanding would no longer be subject to a full inspection annually, instead receiving only a one day review visit, no subsequent report for 2019-20 has been issued.
The 2018-19 KHDA report highlights what the school does best, noting that the school:
Students' achievement has not seen the same level of improvement in 2018-19 as it did in 2017-18, when nine measures improved to Very Good, with attainment and progress in English at the DP level having been raised to Outstanding. 2018-19 has clearly been a period of consolidation, and, in fact, there have been some movements backwards in terms of ratings - notably for Arabic as an Additional Language in PYP, which has slipped to acceptable for attainment and good for progress. Mathematics progress in the DP section has also fallen one rating to Good.
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.
Teaching and assessment retained its rating of Very Good across the board, whilst Curriculum design and implementation remained Very Good across KG, PYP and MYP phases and Outstanding in the DP programme. Where substantial and important improvement was noted is in respect of Curriculum Adaptation, which is Very Good in the KG section, and Outstanding across the rest of the school.
The protection, care, guidance and support of students is an Outstanding feature of JBS, with both key measures of Health and Safety, and Care and Support rated at this level.
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 achieved the highest rating again. The effectiveness of leadership and the school's self-evaluation and improvement planning are rated Very Good.
In terms of areas for improvement the Inspection team's recommendations were that JBS should:
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly advise that you do, so that you see the detailed reasoning behind the ratings - you will find it here.
The current KHDA inspection report is very positive in its comments about the relationship between the school, parents and the community noting that parents are "extremely happy" and acting as real partners with the school. The KHDA's pre-inspection survey received responses from 157 parents, 97% of whom were happy with the quality of education provided by the school. Approximately 25% of parents are involved with school activities more than once per month. Most think their children are kept safe and are happy at school. Parents feel that teachers help their children learn effectively.
164 Grade 6 to 9 students participated in the KHDA's Well-being Census. On most measures of social and emotional well-being, students feel the same as others in Dubai. Emirati students in the school feel safer and have a greater sense of belonging than Emirati students in other schools. Participation in sports is higher than other Dubai schools.
In the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey, 87% of respondents are fully satisfied with their child's academic achievement, and similarly high numbers are satisfied with feedback provided by JBS. A significant 84% now agree that they would recommend Jumeira Baccalaureate School to another parent although, despite this, 26% have considered moving their child to another school. However, they believe their children have a real sense of belonging at the school, but are more critical of the level of fees with only just under 40% believing that they represent value for money based on student attainment.
That said, the number of responses to the survey is still relatively low. If you are a parent, teacher or student at Jumeira Baccalaureate School, please share your experiences with other potential members of your community by completing our rolling survey.
Without question, JBS is one of the most inclusive schools in the city - a tribute to the efforts made by Taaleem to lead from the front in its efforts to see mainstream schools open their doors to students of all abilities. Taaleem led the drive to Inclusive Education in Dubai and students throughout the city are benefiting from the KHDA's efforts to open the doors in its private schools to students of all abilities.
That JBS should now offer the IB programme - and particularly the IB Diploma programme - one of the most academic curricula, and therefore the most highly regarded - is a tribute to the school's determination to support students across the board.
The school is genuinely not selective and to some extent, this means that it will not necessarily achieve the highest average scores, but rest assured, it can and does enable the most gifted and those less able to achieve their potential.
JBS tuition fees begin at AED 37,950 for Pre-KG rising to AED 43,750 in KG1 and AED 48,500 - substantial reductions of fees of two years ago. Fees rise to AED 52,500 for students in Grades 1 and 2, to AED 58,500 in Grade 3 and AED 62,500 for Grades 4 and 5. There is a flat rate of AED 72,970 from Grades 6 to 10 whilst students in Grades 11 and 12 pay AED 84,197.
Fees are in paid in three installments. An application fee of AED 525 is payable for new students. On offer of a place, a registration fee of AED 7,000 is payable within 7 days to secure it. This fee is deducted from the first term tuition fees.
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.
Jumeira Baccalaureate School is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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