New Indian Model School, located in Garhoud, is a private CBSE/ Kerala State curriculum school that currently enrolls 6,538 boys and girls aged 4 through 17.
The story so far
New Indian Model School (NIMS), established in 1988, is a low fee CBSE/Kerala curriculum school based in Garhoud. It is one of several schools in the UAE - others are located in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah - together with the Central School in Dubai - under the same ownership and management. The vast majority of students are India passport holders.
In line with recent economic changes, student numbers have reduced somewhat over the past year, with 200 fewer students now attending the school. Having said that, this remains are very large school with approximately 6,500 children from KG1 to Grade 12. The vast majority of children study in KG, Primary and Middle School sections, with some 30 classes each in KG1 and KG2 alone (approximately 1,500 children). These numbers reduce to 14 classes and some 400 students by Grade 7. By Grades XI and XII, there are six classes each of between 25 and 30 students.
NIMS Dubai has a significant number of students who have been identified as Students of Determination - some 924 in total - and this is therefore clearly a school that does its utmost to support students with SEN requirements.
There has also been a reduction in staff numbers - from 364 teachers and 3 teaching assistants in 2017-18 to 333 teachers and 14 teaching assistants in 2018-19. However, the school does employ 10 Guidance Counsellors to support students across the school. The staff:student ratio has increased from 1:18 to 1:20 - never a good development, since the ability of teachers to plan and teach to meet students' individual needs is inevitably further challenged.
Teacher turnover has also increased in the past year - from 14 percent to 19 percent. Whilst this is still on the low to average side for international schools in the UAE (where the norm is between 20-22%), a 5% increase is quite significant and clearly indicated in the staff:student ratio. Girls and boys are taught separately from Grade 5 to Grade 12.
The school's website states that its Vision is "providing quality education committed to realising UAE national priorities so as to empower our students to lead a successful and fulfilling life as lifelong learners and responsible citizens".
The Mission of NIMS Dubai is "Leading young minds to knowledge through a culture of innovation and research in order to unleash the innate power of every child and to facilitate the discovery and realisation of the true human in him/her through spiritual and intellectual enlightenment".
What about the curriculum?
The school follows the CBSE and Kerala State curricula, though it follows a Montessori-based curriculum in Kindergarten. The curriculum is entirely focused on Science and Commerce streams. In addition to the core curriculum, the school also offers a range of Scholastic and Co-scholastic activities. These include inter-NIMS school competitions such as Urdu Recitation, as well as Art and Sports activities. The latter include Volleyball, Football, Basketball and Cricket. NIMS Dubai offers the Tahfeez ul- Quran course which enables students to memorize the holy Quran completely following the Thajweed rules. To date, some thirty five students have already completed the course successfully and received their degree.
What about Academic Results?
Unusually for many Indian schools in the UAE, NIMS Dubai does provide information about students' achievements in their Board exams. Unfortunately, this is limited only to the Topper information - meaning that there is no way of knowing the average achieved by all students, and whether results are improving overall. We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com believe that full disclosure of academic achievement is a must for all schools as we believe it is important for students to be able to celebrate the achievements publicly and for parents to see the standards of results.
In the March 2018 Kerala Board Exams, 96 Grade XII students participated (split equally between Science and Commerce). In the Science stream, six students achieved 6 A+ results with the topper scoring 96.17%. In the Commerce stream, four students achieved over 90%, with the topper achieving 92.42%. 99% of students passed the examinations. In the Grade X examinations, 50 students sat for the examinations and four achieved 10 passes at A+, whilst four achieved 9A+ together with 1A grade. All 50 students passed the exams.
In the CBSE Grade XII exams, 129 students appeared - 44 in Science and 85 in the Commerce streams. The Science Topper achieved a score of 95%, whilst the Commerce Topper achieved 93.4%.
What about the facilities?
NIMS Dubai sits on a large site of over 5 acres. Specialist facilities include outdoor space for sports and recreation, as well as fully equipped labs for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Home Science. In addition, there are three computer labs and a multimedia lab. Wifi is available throughout the school. The library houses a collection of over 15,500 books, the number increasing each year. NIMS has also started to incorporate SMART boards in the multi-media lab and some classrooms. A school canteen provides healthy snacks and sandwiches throughout the day. Whilst there is outdoor space for sports and recreation, this is limited.
What the inspectors say
New Model Indian School Dubai was again rated Acceptable - for the 10th year in a row - in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection round. An Acceptable rating is the minimum that a school is expected to achieve, although the KHDA targets a Good rating for all schools.
The six key performance areas of Student Achievement, Personal and Social Development and Innovation skills, Teaching and Assessment, Curriculum, the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students, and Leadership and Management, form the basis of the overall rating.
Students' attainment and progress are at least Good in most subjects in the KG, middle and secondary phases, but are let down by the Primary section, where the majority of subjects are rated Acceptable.
Most aspects of students' personal development are outstanding in all phases. Students have an exceptionally well-developed understanding of Islamic values.
Teaching is good in most phases and subjects. The exception to this is in the primary phase and Arabic throughout the school, where teaching is overall acceptable with some significant weaknesses. Teachers’ ability to assess how well students are performing has improved to Very Good in the KG section and to Good in Primary, meaning that this key measure is now at least Good across the school.
The design of the curriculum, its implementation and adaptation to meet the needs of all students has also improved with all measures being Good with the exception of the curriculum design and implementation in the primary section, which remains Acceptable.
The protection, care, guidance and support of students is rated at least Good across the school. Provision and outcomes for students with SEND have improved to Good in a school that is clearly very supportive of both Students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents.
Encouragingly leaders and the governing board know what the school needs to do to improve and are committed to the UAE priorities. Good relationships exist within the school, with Senior leaders encouraging innovation and middle leaders playing a key role in taking the school forward and in raising achievement. Whilst most aspects of improvement planning are Good, the need to improve the quality of teaching in the Primary section remains. Unfortunately, the governors do not provide sufficient funding for the school to improve resources and the limited teaching spaces which, according to the inspection team, "restrict students' development of their academic, aesthetic, physical and creative skills".
There is no question that NIMS is making progress and improving its overall performance, but the challenge of investment requirements in such a low fee is environment may well be a circle that cannot be squared. Having said that, a significantly higher proportion of the key performance measures are rated Good or above than they are Acceptable, and no measure is now rated Weak. If the school can continue to make such improvements, and particularly to address some of the weaknesses in Students' Achievement in the Primary section, a move from 10 years at Acceptable to an 11th inspection rating of Good, may yet be achievable.
Fees for New Indian Model School start at AED 3,836 for KG 1 and rise to AED 6,673 for Grade 12, making this school a very affordable option for families.
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