Based in Dubai Academic City, Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou serves the French-speaking community within Dubai and Sharjah. The Academic City branch offers education from CP (Grade 1) to Finale and is one of four schools in Dubai offering an all-through French curriculum, the others being the Lycee International Francais (AFLEC), the Lycee Libanais Francophone Prive and Lycee International Jean Mermoz. Classes are conducted 'en Francais', although all students study English also.
The Lycee Francais Georges Pompidou has again retained its Very Good rating in the KHDA's DSIB inspection round for 2022-23. The abbreviated report can be found under the 'Inspection Reports' tab. An update of this review will take place when the full report has been published.
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou (LFIGP) Academic City was founded in 1973 and currently serves around 2,200 students - boys and girls - aged from 6 to 18 years. The school has its own feeder Nursery and Kindergarden section, based at the original school site in Oud Metha, which accepts pupils from 3 years of age to 6 years. Any additional places being made available will always be welcome to French families, who routinely select LFIGP as their first choice.
Whilst the majority of teachers and students are French, the school counts upto 50 nationalities among the student body. LFIGP is run by a managerial board elected by a group of 12 parents and is a not for profit school. The 180 teachers are said to be very well qualified, and again, are French in the majority. This translates to a staff:student ratio of 1:12 - a relatively moderate figure, ensuring personal attention where needed. Teacher turnover was below the UAE average at 13% in the last academic year.
The Covid 19 pandemic meant that inspections took place between early 2020 and October 2022. Instead, the school participated in the Distance Learning Evaluation for all UAE schools in the 2019-20 academic year and achieved the Developed rating.
After three years where both the Oud Metha Primary and the Secondary were rated Outstanding schools by the KHDA, the Secondary school was downgraded to Very Good in the 2018-19 inspection round and has retained this rating in the two subsequent inspections. Details of the inspection can be found here.
LFIGP follows the curriculum set by the French Ministry of National Education, and prepares students for the Diplome National du Brevet (DNB), as well as the French Baccalaureate in the three main streams (Literary, Social Sciences and Economics, and Science) along with international options.
At LFIGP, all primary classes are recognised by the Ministry of National Education "International Section" and children have a thorough education in English compared to what is mandatory in France. English begins at Kindergarden at age three and continues throughout Primary school for three hours a week. Whilst the main curriculum follows the French one, half of the lessons are in English. In addition to the planned lessons, students have two hours of additional English per week, most often at the end of the day or at lunchtime.
From 4eme (Grade 8), students can enroll in the “European English Section” to achieve the “European English Section ” in their Baccalaureate diploma. In the 8th and 9th grades (equivalent), pupils follow complementary linguistic and cultural topics. In 2017-18, for example, 4eme students organised a Mufti Day and prepared an educational trip to Ireland. In Grade 3eme, they directed short films on medicine in 2040, performed poems on the issue of gender equality, and participated in an introductory programme for an improvisational theatre, Theatresports.
All students from CP to 3eme take mandatory Arabic, which is available as an option also through to Terminale (Grade 12 ). German and Spanish options are also available for 3 hours per week throughout Secondary school.
In 2017-18, just under 100 students had been identified as having special educational needs. By 2018-19, this figure had grown to over 140 students and in 2022-23, the number had attained 226. Despite the significant growth in student numbers, provision and outcomes for children with SEND requirements were again found to be Very Good.
The school publishes its results on its website - something which we at WhichSchoolAdvisor encourage all schools to do - together with the university destinations of its graduates. The success rates of students in these two exams vary between 97 and 100% yearly, with a majority of students achieving Honours.
Whilst the location of the school at Dubai Academic City may not be as central and convenient as the original branch in the centre of Bur Dubai, the big plus is the availability of expansive space - both indoor and outdoor.
The newer Primary section of the school (added in 2013) is set at the rear of the site with separate access, but through a secured gate, children also have access to the larger outdoor facilities of the Secondary site where required.
The secondary buildings themselves are connected by cloistered, covered passage ways which open out on to green spaces - much enjoyed by the students during breaks in cooler weather - giving the school a traditional appearance on what is, however, a very modern campus. All the usual facilities in terms of specialist rooms are available and there is also a very large modern canteen for the use of students and staff.
According to the most recent KHDA inspection for 2018-19, LFIGP was rated Very Good after three years of the highest Outstanding rating - (though in 2016-17 there was no inspection in fact, due to the school's participation in the KHDA's Abundance mentoring project).
Whereas the report for 2017-18 showed that this is a school that was achieving outstanding attainment and progress in English, French, Mathematics and Science in College and Lycee, there had been a downgrade to Very Good for attainment in English, Mathematics and Science in the Primary section. Similarly, teaching was also said to be Outstanding in the Senior school, but had been downgraded to Very Good in the Primary. Learning skills in Primary reflected this step back.
A year later, much of the criticism of the 2017-18 report had been overturned, with inspectors noting that "the school sustains excellent achievement in French, English and Mathematics across all three phases. Of particular note is the improvement, in Primaire, in English, Mathematics and learning skills to an excellent standard".
Indeed, in terms of academic achievement, almost every rating for the core subjects (with one exception for Science attainment in Primaire) was rated Outstanding (and the exception was rated Very Good). So too were the rating for Teaching for Effective Learning, and all measures for the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support. The vast majority of other measures were rated Very Good or at a minimum Good.
Why then did the school lose its overall Outstanding rating? Unfortunately, the answer is a simple one. It was found to be non-compliant with the Ministry of Education requirements for Arabic as a first language in Primaire and Lycee, and for Islamic Education in Primaire. Both subjects received downgrades - to Acceptable across the board for Islamic Education - and from Good to Acceptable for attainment in Arabic as a first language in Primaire.
The previous year's report noted that had been significant management changes at LFIGP since the previous inspection, with inspectors noting that all senior leaders, including the principal, were new to the school. In addition, they had expressed concern that the Board had not paid as much attention to the provision of Islamic Education and Arabic as necessary. In particular,the curriculum did not conform then to MoE requirements and timetabling had been an issue.
Frankly, we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com are surprised to see that the school evidently failed to take into account the clearly stated warnings a year earlier from the inspection team - but perhaps the combination of new leadership and a lack of knowledge of the regulators' requirements came together just at the wrong time..
Whilst this matter may not be a concern for parents necessarily, it is one that the school must address if it wishes to avoid further negative reaction from the DSIB inspectors. Other Dubai schools have found themselves downgraded to Good for much the same reasons, and since school rating is attached to the criterion for fee increases, this can imply very practical constraints.
However, so much of LFIGP's delivery remains Outstanding. Overall, the inspectors determined that the strengths of LFIGP are:
In terms of areas of improvement, LFIGP should:
The KHDA inspection rating may not be a factor in parents considering LFIGP; the reality is that French-speaking families will continue to rate the school very highly, not least because of the excellent academic results it achieves in the national exams.
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly advise you to do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
With the Covid 19 pandemic, all physical school inspections were cancelled from March 2020. Instead, schools were required to participate in a Distance Learning Evaluation (DLE) programme which was conducted on-line by the inspectors. The DLE for each school was given one of three ratings - Developed (the highest level), Partially Developed or Not Developed.
LFIGP achieved the highest Developed rating -the report can be found here.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Survey has received insufficient feedback to be able to offer an objective comment on the school.
If you are a parent, student or teacher at LFIGP, please share your experience with other potential members of your community by completing our surveys here.
LFIGP is the pre-eminent French-speaking school in Dubai with a long history and the benefit of its not-for-profit status, which may well also be appealing for French families moving to Dubai. Its fees also reflect the not for profit operation, being considerably lower than many other schools. It is incredibly competitively priced for a Very Good rated school - priced at just over half that of the average of its IB or UK curriculum based peers.
Fees start at AED 35,010 for CP to CM2, AED 44,280 for 6eme to 3eme and AED 48,090 for the final three years of Lycee.
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou 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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