Having opened with approx. 650 students in September 2014, Kings Al Barsha has grown to 1,950 students in its 5th year, of which approximately 700 students are in Secondary. The school expanded to the first year of Sixth Form (Year 12) in 2017-18 and now offers all year groups.
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; the only school in Dubai to have achieved an Outstanding rating from the KHDA's DSIB inspectors every year since inspections began. It was logical that a Secondary school would be added to the family, given the success of Kings Dubai, but Kings Al Barsha offers a full through-school with the Secondary school being fed by both Primary schools. A third Kings school - at Nad Al Sheba - has taken a little longer to develop in terms of numbers of students, but will open its own Secondary section in September 2019.
The ethos at Kings Al Barsha is apparent in the way in which the Principal and Director of Education, Rebecca Gray, introduces the school.
She states that "Kings’ School Al Barsha is an educational community centred around positive outcomes for young people. We believe in ‘Results the Right Way’, where academic excellence is of vital importance, but even more important are the values that go with it. Our value, ‘The Best by Every Child’, highlights the way we work, both during and beyond the school day".
Having opened the school with around 650 students, Kings Al Barsha has now grown to some 1,950, the majority of whom are British passport holders students. However, in common with most international schools in Dubai, Kings Al Barsha is home to students from around the globe, with over 60 nationalities represented at the school, including a significant 80 Emirati students. Kings Al Barsha also supports over 120 students of Determination with additional learning needs.
Students are supported by a teaching team of 192, predominantly British, teachers, together with a further 72 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 11% in 2018 and 4.5% in 2017 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 the curriculum?
The school uses an adapted and enriched National Curriculum for England framework for their students, from FS1 to Year 13. 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.
Read our Q and A with Kings' Al Barsha here
Kings’ School Al Barsha offers an extensive programme of Extra-curricular activities for all students in Years 2 to 6. Year 1 children can join clubs from their second term, in January. Activities take place before and after school, and most clubs are run by Kings’ teaching or support staff, but there are also some externally run clubs.
A wide range of activities are offered, from sports to music, science to arts, and students are encouraged, through the Student Voice, to suggest ideas for the activities so that everybody has a chance to develop their passion. Activities change termly, but include everything from chess to rounders, origami to zumba, cooking to photography, and even includes a Dragons Den business club. External providers currently offer ballet, karate, yoga, engineering and a Lego club.
What about the facilities?
The facilities at the school are outstanding and include:
Sports Facilities are also impressive and include:
Find out more about our Experience at Kings School Al Barsha with WSA here.
Even though the school is relatively new, Kings Al Barsha seems to be very much an established school and an extremely well-resourced one.
What about Academic Achievement?
The school's first GCSE cohort who sat their exams in June 2017 achieved 44% of exam entries scoring A* to A, 70 per cent achieving A*-B grades and 92% A* to C. Students’ performance was strong across all subjects, but particularly in English Literature, Arabic and History, with 100 per cent of students attaining A*, A or B grades. Students also excelled in the fields of Drama and Science.
In 2018, 62% of all grades achieved were A*- A, (or 9 – 7 under the new grading structure), an increase of 18% on figures for 2017 GCSE results. A total of 78 % of all results achieved were A*-B, which was also a significant increase on the previous year. 54% of exams were passes at A* (or Grade 9 – 8) under the revised grading structure, and 78% of exam passes were at A* to B (or 9 – 6).
Kings Al Barsha's first AS cohort will take their exams in June 2019, with the first full A Level results expected in 2020.
What the Inspectors Say
In only its third inspection, in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process, Kings School Al Barsha was rated Outstanding, following a Very Good rating in 2017-18 and a Good rating in 2016-17. This is an extraordinary achievement.
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 ranked 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, was impressive.
Clearly, Kings Al Barsha aimed to follow its older "sister" school, Kings Dubai, in achieving the top Outstanding rating as soon as possible and in 2018-19, it did just that.
In terms of Students' achievement, every rating for attainment and progress in both the Primary and Secondary section for Maths, English and Science was upgraded to Outstanding, joining the Foundation Stage in matching their achievement in 2017-18. Progress in English in the Sixth Form was also upgraded to Outstanding, as were the students' learning skills, although attainment and progress in Maths and Science remained Very good. There were limited improvements in Islamic Education (Sixth Form attainment is now Good), and in Arabic which is largely rated Acceptable. This is an area that the school - in common with the vast majority of private schools in the UAE - will continue to need to address.
Inspectors' comments in relation to students' behaviour were glowing, noting that "Students' behaviour is beyond reproach. Their attitudes to work and to others are excellent...At all phases, students respond extremely well to opportunities to be innovative, responsible and entrepreneurial".
In fact, the ratings for all other key performance measures, including Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills, Teaching and Assessment, the Curriculum, The protection, care, guidance and support of students, and Leadership and Management are now rated Outstanding, with the sole exception of Assessment in the Sixth Form, which is rated Very Good. 24 of the 34 ratings moved up from Very Good to Outstanding.
Kings' School Al Barsha is very clear about its commitment to inclusion and this was also acknowledged by the Inspection team who awarded a Very Good rating. 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."
The DSIB inspection team noted Kings Al Barsha's strengths as:
Almost inevitably, although there are areas for development across all key performance areas, the only recommendation for improvement was Kings should:
If you would like to read the KHDA inspection report in full - and we strongly recommend that you do - please go here.
Some 209 parents responded to the KHDA pre-inspection survey. The vast majority were satisfied with the overall quality of education provided. They felt that Senior leaders listen and act upon their views and that children are safe at school. Teachers help their children to develop learning skills.
Over 560 students participated in the KHDA's Well-being census and expressed positive views about the school. Almost all felt that they were safe in school and that there is a strong climate of welcome and belonging. They appreciated their teachers and the wide range of extra-curricular activities.
Our WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey has received a high number of responses. Among the key responses, 74% of parents were fully satisfied with the level of academic achievement of their children, with a further 14% partially satisfied. Parents were also satisfied with the feedback they receive from the school and with its Disciplinary Policy. 78% of parents would also wholly recommend Kings Al Barsha to other parents, although 16% would not. 78% also feel that the school's fees are wholly or partially value for money. Not all parents, however, are fully satisfied with every aspect of the school - 30% had considered moving their child to a different school at some stage.
If you are a parent, teacher or senior student at Kings Al Barsha, please share your experiences and opinions by completing our survey.
It seems highly likely that Kings Al Barsha will not only now maintain its standing and level of achievement with its sister Kings Dubai (rated Outstanding since inspections began), but continue to attract families and staff seeking to join this much larger school. Whilst other schools in Dubai may be finding it a challenge to recruit families at the present time, it seems highly unlikely that any of the Kings schools will face that issue.
What About Fees?
Fees approved by the KHDA at Kings' School Al Barsha start at AED 53,622 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. For more information, please see here.
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