Having opened with approx. 650 students in September 2014, Kings Al Barsha has grown to 1,975 students in its 5th year, of which approximately 700 students are in Secondary. The majority of students are British passport holders. The school expanded to the first year of Sixth Form (Year 12) in 2017-18 and now offers all year groups from 2018-19.
In only its third inspection, in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process, Kings School Al Barsha has been rated Outstanding, following a Very Good rating in 2017-18 and a Good rating in 2016-17. This is an extraordinary achievement. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full report has been issued.
The Story so Far
Kings' School Al Barsha is an integral part of the Kings’ Schools family of schools which was founded in 2004, starting with Kings’ School Dubai, which is the only school in Dubai to have achieved an Outstanding rating by KHDA every year since inspections began.
Experience Kings' School Al Barsha with WSA here
The school uses an adapted and enriched National Curriculum for England framework for their students, from FS1 to Year 12. Secondary school students at the school work towards their GCSE and A-Level qualifications. In addition, all students in the Secondary School also work towards their Gold Level (Duke of Edinburgh) International Award. This award is bestowed on students for completing a series of community, action and service elements at increasing levels of difficulty, with the Gold Level requiring 12-18 months of commitment. The completion of the International Award is highly regarded by universities.
Much of the teaching at Kings Al Barsha is also building on the IB curriculum with teaching concept-based and often student led. There is no doubt that the environment is busy and students in both Primary and Secondary seem motivated and enthused by their teachers.
The close to 1,650 students are supported by a teaching team of 161, predominantly British, teachers, together with a further 66 teaching assistants. The staff:student ratio at 1:10 means that considerable personal attention for each student should be possible. Staff seem happy with their employment - staff turnover at 4.5% is very low for an international school - the Dubai average is between 20-22%. This can only be positive as the school ensures continuity at all levels.
What about Student Achievement?
The school's first GCSE cohort, grades were good with 44% scoring A* to A and 92% A* to C.
What do the Inspectors Say?
For the school's first KHDA report in 2016/2017, Kings' Al Barsha received a Good rating. The strengths of the school were found to be the overall provision and the curriculum, which the report ranks as Outstanding, the students' behavior and personal development, and the energetic leadership. In the second inspection round for 2017-18, Kings Al Barsha achieved a Very Good rating - the second highest from the KHDA. To achieve a step up to the next rating level only one year on and in its fourth year of operation, is impressive. Clearly, Kings Al Barsha aims to follow its older "sister" school, Kings Dubai, in achieving the top Outstanding rating as soon as possible and given the number of Outstanding mentions within the current report, it seems Kings Al Barsha is on the road to achieving its aim.
The 2017-18 report notes that the strengths of the school are Outstanding attainment and progress in English, Mathematics, Science and learning skills in the Foundation Stage; Very good attainment and progress in English, Mathematics, Science, learning skills in all other phases, and good progress in Primary and Secondary Islamic education (a particular challenge in many schools and one under increasing scrutiny); the excellent attitudes to learning, the courtesy and harmony evident across the whole school community; Outstanding arrangements for child protection, safeguarding and health and safety, with a strong emphasis on healthy lifestyles and healthy eating, and access to a range of high quality physical activities for all students; Excellent parental engagement and support from governance to sustain and improve students’ learning experiences; and the commitment, vision, strong sense of purpose and teamwork of the school’s leaders at all levels.
In terms of the core academic subjects, almost all key indicators for English, Mathematics and Science have improved to Very Good for Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form (in its first year), whilst both progress and attainment across English, Mathematics and Science in the Foundation section of the school are rated Outstanding. Aside from progress in Islamic Studies (rated Good across all three sections of the school - Foundation is not included), other measures for Islamic Studies and Arabic are rated Acceptable - clearly an area of focus for the future.
Inspectors noted that "Teachers know their subject matter well, and create vibrant and challenging learning environments. Staff know the students’ strengths and weaknesses through the effective use of assessment information. This enables them to ensure tasks and activities meet the needs of all students and promote critical thinking and problem solving skills".
The Foundation section continues to set the bar in relation to the other key areas of inspection, being rated Outstanding for Students' Personal Development; Teaching and Assessment; Curriculum; and Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students. The other sections of the school are rated Very Good in all aspects with the exception of Students' Personal Development and Health and Safety, including arrangements for child protection /safeguarding, which are also rated Outstanding across the school.
The curriculum was found to be broad, balanced and adapted to meet the interests and needs of almost all students. "On-going reviews and updates ensure the highest quality provision for students’ academic and personal achievements. The excellent range of quality extra-curricular activities enhances students’ experiences and enjoyment. Opportunities to develop students’ innovation skills are channelled through creative, physical and practical activities that promote inquiry-based learning".
Leadership and Management are rated Very Good in terms of the effectiveness of leadership and school self-evaluation, whilst Parents and the community; Governance, and Management, staffing, facilities and resources are all rated Outstanding.
Read our Q and A with Kings' Al Barsha here
Kings' School Al Barsha is very clear about its commitment to inclusion. As the school explains on their website, "The whole school community is encouraged to ensure inclusion and the best possible social, emotional, behavioural and academic progress for all of our students. This is provided through innovative learning and teaching, dissemination of information, training and access to quality staff at all levels."
This focus on the value and important of inclusion been identified by inspectors who rate the school's provision and outcomes for students with SEND as Good. They raised one concern about the availability of provision, noting that "Governors and senior leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to inclusion. The head of inclusion is pivotal in ensuring that effective provision is in place, especially in the Secondary phase. There is appropriate investment in recruitment and deployment of specialist staff. The specialist provision for autism is not fully inclusive."
The recommendations for the school in this second inspection report focus on the requirement to improve attainment and accelerate progress in Arabic language by raising challenge and expectations that reflect curriculum standards in all phases, [and by] providing more opportunities and follow up support for students to write in Arabic for different purposes; [and to] drive the teaching and learning to outstanding across all phases by consistently promoting students’ use of their enquiry and critical thinking skills in innovative ways, using the school’s high quality technological resources in meaningful ways to enrich students’ learning across all subjects. Senior leaders should ensure that the quality of provision is consistently high across the school and especially for those students with the highest levels of special educational needs and disabilities.
What About Facilities?
The facilities at the school are outstanding and include:
Sports Facilities are also impressive and include:
Even though the school is relatively new, Kings Al Barsha seems to be very much an established school and once the remaining facilities open, it will also be an extremely well-resourced one.
What About Fees?
Fees at Kings' School Al Barsha start at AED 52,007 for FS1 and rise to AED 100,300 for Year 12. However, the fees have been frozen starting at Year 11 at AED 97,798 so Years 11 - 13 will not rise above that fee rate. Excitingly, Kings' School Al Barsha offers scholarships. As they note on their website "Kings’ Education is proud to offer Scholarships to exceptional students. We want to attract and nurture the most gifted and talented children through our scholarship programme." There are GCSE Scholarships and A Level Scholarships.
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