Kings' School Nad Al Sheba has come some way since its opening in September 2014. The original building now houses only the Foundation section and has been joined by a second building, in identical style, which houses the Primary section. The secondary section opened in the 2021-22 academic year. The school opened to Year 10 in September 2023.
Kings' School Nad Al Sheba (KSNAS) opened in 2014, becoming one of three successful Kings' Education schools in Dubai. The original sister school, Kings' School Dubai, is located in Umm Suqeim and is the only school in Dubai to have been rated outstanding by the Dubai regulator's inspectors every year since opening.
Kings' School Al Barsha also opened to students in 2014 and now offers a full FS to Year 13 education. Kings' Nad Al Sheba initially remained a Primary school for several years, but with development of the residential areas around the school, is now open to Year 10, and will continue to grow until it reaches full FS to Year 13 provision, expected to be in September 2026. It also offers a Nursery section for children aged two to four years. Parents may choose to keep their child in this section until FS2.
Located in Nad Al Sheba, and within a couple of minutes drive of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, the school shares many attractive design elements with its sister schools and is unmistakably part of the Kings' Education group.
At the time of the most recent KHDA inspection report in November 2022, Kings' Nad Al Sheba had attracted close to 800 students (considerably smaller than the Al Barsha branch where student numbers are close to 2,000). The school website indicates that this figure has grown to approximately 1,000 for 2023-24.
The demographic of the school is also noticeably different with the largest student nationality group being Emirati (who make up 50% of the student population). The total nationalities represented with the school is said to be over 50. There are also approximately 90 students of Determination.
Recent feedback from parents to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com as part of our Parent Opinion Survey has been limited.
"The primary teachers are excellent. My children have felt at home and secure since the moment they walked through the doors. The secondary school leaves a lot to be desired. Unruly students and an incredibly high staff turnover."
"My son is borderline autistic but very strong in academics and although the fee I pay is quite - high basic fee + LSA - the Inclusion team is very strong and has supported my son extremely well. The fee is a backbreaker but my child is doing well."
The nursery section opened in January 2020 in two empty classrooms in the Foundation Stage building which had been purpose-adapted for their current use, including a separate entry from the rest of the school. With only 16 children per class.
With an average of 20 students per class in the Primary section and an overall teacher:student ratio of a low 1:12, this branch of Kings' has developed a unique community feel for students and parents alike. A mainly British teaching staff of 67 - 95% of whom are UK nationals and UK trained - together with a support team of 48 teaching assistants, and specialists of other nationalities, make up a particularly strong team. Although the latest inspection report suggests that teacher turnover has grown significantly (to 35%), we believe this figure incorporates additional recruitment with the opening of the next Key stage (Years 10 and 11).
Overarching responsibility across all three schools lies with Mr. Bede Higgins, Principal at Kings Dubai and recently appointed Director of Education, following the departure of Mrs. Rebecca Gray, in July 2023. The Principal at Kings' Nad Al Sheba is Mrs. Kerry Dalton, who joined from Kings’ School Al Barsha where she was Deputy Headteacher.
Mrs Dalton has many years of leadership experience, including six years as Headteacher in an outstanding school in the UK and an executive role in the development of a 60-school-wide Teaching School Alliance, also in the UK. Mrs Dalton holds a First-Class BSc (Hons) degree in Primary Education with Mathematics and is a published author of a book named ‘Hands-On Maths’. Prior to her career with Kings’ Education, Mrs Dalton has worked internationally as a mathematics consultant, working with schools across the UK, Channel Islands and in Dubai.
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Perhaps the most significant development for Kings' Nad Al Sheba had been the decision finally to open the Secondary school, in September 2021, initially with two classes each in Years 7 and 8. Now open to Year 10, the missing Secondary building will provide the specialist facilities required as students begin their I/GCSE studies and move on to A Levels in two years' time.
In common with the other Kings' schools at Umm Suqeim and Al Barsha, Kings' Nad Al Sheba follows the National Curriculum for England. Children in the Foundation Stage follow the Early Years Foundation Stage which is very much based around learning through play.
Throughout the school, the National Curriculum for England provides a framework that is adapted to ensure a conceptual, integrated and enriched learning experience for young learners. Staff aim to 'contextualise' the curriculum so that children understand what they are learning and why, by using the environment around them. The curriculum is also influenced by the individual and evolving needs of the children. The result is a rigorous bespoke curriculum, relevant to children growing up in Dubai, but designed to produce happy and successful global citizens, ready to take their place in the world.
In the introduction to the school we are told that "We equip our pupils with the skills they need to be a knowledgeable and inquisitive, ensuring that all pupils are inspired, and confident to step onto stage, to take part in both competitive and non-competitive sports, to use their imaginations to write stories, to plan and experiment, to ask their own questions and challenge their own ideas."
The curriculum delivery is enriched by specialist teachers of French, Spanish, Arabic, PE, ICT, Swimming, Music, Islamic Education and The Creative and Performing Arts.
The school has a strong reputation for its Arabic teaching - particularly in terms of the way it is taught - and the Nad Al Sheba school is working hard to ensure that it maintains this. Arabic is taught in the children's classrooms (rather than in a separate Arabic room) and very much based around informal learning through play initially, before moving on to a more formal programme in year 1.
In addition to English and Arabic, French is also taught from Foundation Stage and Spanish from Year 2. The school also has a strong learning support team in place including speech and language therapists, working with children with a range of additional learning needs including Dyslexia and learning delays. There is also specific support for English Language Learners.
Another area of particular focus at Kings' Nad Al Sheba is its STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) Academy which was founded in 2019 and is a core element of the curriculum. With the introduction of Robotics and Engineering, the school had been keen to raise awareness among staff, students and parents, and has received an enthusiastic response from all sections of the school community, and notably in the Primary section. Parents felt that this should be a priority.
With the opening of the Secondary school in September 2021, one consideration that Kings' Nad Al Sheba has taken into account is the way in which it will manage what is, and will remain, a co-educational environment, despite its relatively large Emirati student base. In fact, in Mrs. Dalton's experience, most local families who are considering the school for their children are keen that they attend a mixed-gender school, in line with the development of the UAE in terms of work place and further education.
However, it was felt that there were specific subjects where a single gender approach would be better suited to the students. As a result, PE has been segregated by gender from Year 5. Staff and students in Years 5 and 6 genuinely feel that for PE, lessons work better since girls are able to pursue sports such as netball, whilst boys are able to develop their skills in the sports that they enjoy. Arabic and Islamic Studies are also separated in the Secondary school.
On completion of their I/GCSE's students will continue into Sixth Form, studying for A Levels.
I/GCSE Cambridge International Examinations are offered in the following subjects: Maths, English (Language and Literature), Science (Double award and Separate Sciences), Design Technology, Food Technology and Nutrition, Information and Communication Technology, Enterprise, Global Perspectives, Geography, History, Music, Drama, Dance, Art & Design, French, Spanish, Physical Education, and Psychology. Students also to continue to study Arabic and Islamic Studies as appropriate.
Unlike the Al Barsha branch, there is no mention of Kings' Nad Al Sheba offering a more vocational route to students such as BTEC Level 2 and 3 qualifications which are offered at the sister school.
From Year 2, students may participate in competitive sports. The school operates a two-term training model, which allows students to be fully prepared for each competitive season. Kings' Nad Al Sheba is a full members of the DASSA and BSME associations, giving students access to the top International School sports competitions in the Middle East.
The school also says that it offers a vast range of extra-curricular activities, from sports to music, science to arts, and involves the Student Voice to generate ideas for the activities so that everybody has a chance to develop their passion. Activities change termly, but the list includes activities from chess to rounders, origami to zumba, cooking to photography, and a Dragons Den business club. External providers offer ballet, karate, yoga, engineering, and Lego club. Students from Year 2 can join two internal clubs per term for free, as well as any number of external clubs, which incur an additional charge. Students in Year 1 can start the ECA programme from the beginning of term 2 (January).
With some 90 students identified as students with additional learning needs, Kings' Nad Al Sheba provides the same support as the other schools within the group. Inclusion Support Teams are comprised of experienced and highly skilled staff who operate as a team together under the 'Learning Inclusively at Kings’' umbrella (LInK)
Students at Kings' Nad Al Sheba are supported by Qualified Special Education Needs Coordinators (including NASENCo), qualified and experienced teachers and leaders, a Speech and Language Therapist, Dyslexia Intervention Specialists, Communication and Interaction Specialists (Autism), Literacy and English as an Additional Language Teachers, Learning Support Teachers, Intervention Staff and In-class Learning Support Assistants.
The LInK team provides Diagnostic Assessment and Identification in order to establish the support requirements. A JCQ Experienced Exam Access Arrangement Team is responsible for ensuring that students receive allowances and additional support (e.g. scribes) for examinations.
The provision and outcomes for students of Determination was rated Outstanding (an improved rating) in the 2022-23 DSIB inspection process.
The inspection team commented that:
Kings' Nad Al Sheba follows a similar layout to the other Kings' schools, with a handful of key differences that reflect the ethos and culture of the school.
At the centre of the campus lies an extensive and established garden with student-led vegetable patches. It is enjoyed throughout the milder months during lesson and break times, for selective sporting events, and as a garden theatre for special occasions and celebrations. The nursery and school buildings are linked to the garden on either side and a number of shared facilities are to the rear.
These include the Arabic Academy, STEM Academy, a Centre for Creative and Performing Arts and Black Box Theatre, a fully equipped dance studio, Music recording facilities, Media technologies, an Auditorium with stage and a host of sports amenities.
State-of-the-art technology though a fully wireless campus operates throughout the school and classrooms, together with a Computing suite, Apple TVs in every classroom, interactive whiteboards throughout the school and a Primary and Secondary multi-lingual libraries including e-library facilities. Students are provided with iPads or laptops. There is also a popular parent cafe.
Further facilities include indoor and outdoor play areas for all, large breakout spaces outside classrooms for group work, two swimming pools, sports halls, a gymnasium, a multi-sport astro pitch, hard courts for netball and basketball and a grass sports field for football, rugby, and hockey.
2016-2017 was the first year that Kings' School Nad Al Sheba was inspected by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) and was awarded a rating of Good - the minimum rating which the KHDA expects all schools to achieve and the highest rating awarded on first inspection. The second inspection in 2017-18 also saw the overall rating as Good.
On the third inspection in 2018-19, Kings' Nad Al Sheba achieved a Very Good rating - only one step away from the top Outstanding rating which Kings Al Barsha achieved for the first time on its third inspection, and Kings Dubai has achieved since inspections began in 2008. In 2022-23, after a hiatus of three years as a result of the pandemic, Kings' Nad Al Sheba was again awarded the Very Good rating. As is so often the case, the overall rating does not reflect the strengths and areas for improvement at Kings' Nad Al Sheba.
Student achievement, one of the six key performances standards reviewed by the DSIB team, saw changes with which the team at Kings' Nad Al Sheba are likely to have been disappointed. Notably, in the FS section, its Outstanding ratings for Attainment in English, Maths and Science had fallen to Very Good, whilst in the Primary section, attainment in English had fallen from its previous Very Good rating to Good.
On the plus side, progress in Arabic as a Second language in Primary improved to Good, mirroring the ratings for Arabic as a first language and Islamic Studies, where attainment retained its Acceptable rating across all three subjects. Clearly, with such a high proportion of Emirati students within the school, these subjects will inevitably be a focus of the inspection team.
Students' Personal and Social Development, and their Innovation skills are now rated Outstanding across FS and Primary, as the Curriculum Design and Implementation. Teaching and Assessment is rated Very Good in both sections.
For the Secondary section, which was inspected by the DSIB team for the first time, the outcomes were more varied.
Arabic and Islamic Studies, together with English attainment were rated Acceptable. English progress, and Maths and Science attainment and progress were rated Good. Similarly, Teaching and Assessment and Curriculum design and implementation achieved a Good rating, whilst Curriculum Adaptation was rated Very Good. Whilst students' personal development was rated Very Good, their Understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures and Social responsibility and innovation skills achieved the highest Outstanding ratings.
Across all sections of the school, Health and safety, including arrangements for child protection/ safeguarding were rated Outstanding, whilst Care and support was rated Outstanding in FS and Very Good in the rest of the school.
Finally, in terms of Leadership and Management, three of the five measures were awarded Very Good ratings, whilst School self-evaluation and improvement planning received a reduced Good rating. The Management, staffing, facilities and resources of Kings' Nad Al Sheba were rated Outstanding.
Overall, the inspection team described the strengths of Kings Nad Al Sheba as:
An ambitious and progressive vision has been established by very capable leaders, prioritising inclusivity, diversity, and high expectations
Excellent provision for the broad range of students of determination
Rapid progress for the youngest children in English, mathematics, and science
Clearly there are areas of improvement on which the leadership team at Kings Nad Al Sheba will focus over the current academic year, although many areas for development were identified within the inspection report.
The inspection team recommended that Kings' School Nad Al Sheba:
If you would like to read the full KHDA inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons and the recommendations behind the rating - you may find it here.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey has attracted an acceptable number of 30 responses, although we would like to see a broader range of participation from the school community.
Those parents who have participated so far have rated the school 3.7/5 - a positivity rating of 74% - lower than we might have expected.
Respondents tell us that their children enjoy going to school and have a strong sense of belonging. In general, the reviews reflected by parents are largely in line with UAE averages. 76% are satisfied with the academic performance, and 24% have considered moving their child to another school. 29% feel that they need to provide external tuition (a growing trend in all UAE schools). Parents are more satisfied with feedback from the school and its disciplinary policy and implementation than the average.
A substantial 86% of respondents would recommend Kings' Nad Al Sheba to other parents. However, the remaining 14% most definitely would not (a third higher than the UAE average). Opinions are black and white in this context; no parents were unsure about recommending.
If there is a difference compared with the UAE averages, it is in relation to parents' views as to whether the fees that they pay represent value for money. Again, it was those respondents with a negative view that swayed the feedback. Whilst 52% of respondents agreed that fees did represent value for money, and 34% partially agreed with this premise, 14% disagreed - compared with the average of 11%.
If you are a parent, teacher or Secondary student and Kings' Nad Al Sheba and would like to share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community, please do so by completing our survey here.
In a new initiative implemented by the KHDA in 2022-23, and following on from the regulator's highly regarded focus on Wellbeing in recent years, the DSIB inspectors were asked to evaluate 'The quality of wellbeing provision and outcomes'. Kings' School Nad Al Sheba was found to offer a high level; the second highest of four ratings.
The inspectors commented that:
There is no question that Kings' Nad Al Sheba has all of the positive aspects in terms of resources and staffing that should allow it to be recognised alongside the other Kings' schools. It is a school that has not yet reached full maturity, but with the support of the other two branches (and particularly Kings' Al Barsha with its well-established Secondary provision), will no doubt continue to seek and achieve the highest standards.
As the developments around the area grow, Kings' Nad Al Sheba will seek to attract families who are seeking a quality UK education in a well-planned, smaller and more homely environment than some of its immediate (much larger) neighbours (which include Repton, GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis and GEMS FirstPoint School).
Fees are currently a little lower than the Kings' Al Barsha branch, starting at AED 52,499 in FS1 and rising to AED 82,040 in Year 10. Year 13 fees at Kings' Al Barsha are AED 99,699, and parents can expect a similar level at the Nad Al Sheba school when all year groups are open. The fees for the Nursery section start at AED 42,000.
An application fee of AED 500 + VAT is payable online as part of the application process, and a deposit (not specified) is required on offer of a place. The school also offers sibling discounts as follows: 2nd child - 5% discount, 3rd child - 10% discount, 4th child or more - 15% discount.
All children are assessed prior to a place being offered as follows: FS1 and FS2: a play based observational assessment (with a focus on communication, interaction and the ability to follow instructions); Years 1-2: involves a teacher led assessment, and Years 3 upwards involve a computer based Cognitive Ability Test (CAT4).
Kings' School Nad Al Sheba 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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