United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Barsha / Next Generation School

Next Generation School Review

Next Generation School, located in Al Barsha, opened in August 2016 and teaches an American Common Core inspired curriculum in conjunction with an Islamic education.
Parents' Rating
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3.2 out of 5 based on 21 reviews
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 35,000
Annual fees
AED 26,500–40,500
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2016
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr David Kinkead
Owner
Mr Fahad Al-Rajhi
Community
Main teacher nationality
United States of America

Nearby nurseries

0.8km • EYFS curriculum
2km
2.5km • EYFS curriculum
2.7km
3km • EYFS curriculum
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Next Generation School
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 35,000
Annual fees
AED 26,500–40,500
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2016
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr David Kinkead
Owner
Mr Fahad Al-Rajhi
Community
Main teacher nationality
United States of America
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Next Generation School, located in Al Barsha, opened in August 2016 and teaches an American Common Core inspired curriculum in conjunction with an Islamic education.

The story so far...

Founded in 2016, Next Generation School defines its curriculum as "American Islamic," offering "a comprehensive educational experience that cultivates, nurtures, and combines academic excellence with Islamic values, provides a comprehensive Arabic language program, and fosters civic responsibility to develop successful and contributing members of a global society." 

In the 2021-22 academic year, the school is open from pre-KG to Grade 9 and will add Grades 10,11 and 12 over the next three academic years.  Classes are mixed-gender from pre-KG to Grade 3, with students segregated into single gender classes Grade 4 onwards.

The school currently has just under 1,000 students (half of the school's capacity) who together are from 42 nationalities. The largest nationality group is other Arabs (at 35%), though more accurately, Emirati students account for 24%, Egyptian and Pakistani students each make up 12% and Jordanian students a further 10.5%.  The other nationalities from which students are drawn are extremely wide, including Australia, Canada, France, India and the US to name a few.

On opening, the school was led by inspirational Principal Dr Sheryl Steinberg Abukar who sadly passed away in January 2019. Read our interview here with Principal Dr Abukar, where she explained the curriculum at Next Generation School in detail and what the school was seeking to achieve. 

Today, the school is led by Principal David Kinkead.  Mr. Kinkead is described as a true international educator, having worked in four countries as a teacher and a leader in IB, UK and American curriculum schools. An American High School graduate, David went on to gain his Law degree, LLB (Hons) from the UK before moving into education with his PGCE from The University of Sunderland. David has been based in the Middle East for over fifteen years first at the British International School of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and then in Dubai at GEMS World Academy. 

In 2020-21 NGS underwent the NEASC ACE accreditation ensuring that it is educating its students to a standard that is recognised in the United States and which ensures that the High School Diploma that the school will eventually issue to its graduating students is recognised internationally.

Students are supported by a total of approximately 90 teachers who have been attracted to the school from across the world. Whilst the largest nationality is American, there are also staff from the UK, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Canada, the GCC, Pakistan, India and the Philippines. As per the KHDA requirements, all teachers have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor of Education or Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). 

Teachers and students are supported by 70 Teaching Assistants (known as Learning assistants, as their focus is on assisting students with their learning. Learning assistants support 1 to 1 or in small groups at times also running pull out sessions.  The teacher:student ratio in the Early Years section of the school is 1:10 and 1:11 in the rest of the school.  Class sizes range from a maximum of 20 and a low 22 in the remainder of the school.  As a relatively young school, there are an average of 4 classes in each Elementary grade, reducing to three for Grades 5 to 7 and 2 in Grades 8 and 9.

What about the curriculum?

NGS follows the New York State Standards in its Early Years section with the wider school following the New York curriculum of NGSS- Next Generation Science Standards and NGLS – Next Generation Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Maths. Further subjects include Arabic for first and second language speakers, Islamic for Arabic and non-Arabic speakers, UAE Social studies, Quran, Innovation/STEAM, Art, and Physical Education. In the future, with the expansion of high school, French will also be offered.  Teachers offer specific classes in Innovation – standalone sessions where students solve real world problems, Quran – small group Quran sessions with Quran specialists, and Reading – small group timetabled reading sessions.

A focus of the school is on delivering an American curriculum with an Islamic thread, taught using the inquiry model. The school focuses on "weaving the Islamic values" into all that its teachers and students do.

The inquiry model allows students to address major questions linked to social justice themes, allowing them to question and dive deeper into the units of inquiry. In addition to embedding the Islamic thread, the school also focuses on innovation and problem solving through posing real world problems and allowing the students the opportunity to solve the problems in innovative ways.

NGS opened its first High school class in 2021-22. Students have the option to explore a range of academic pathways from a range of humanities, arts and engineering.subjects.

What about support for Students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents?

NGS has a full intervention team that looks after the varied needs of students including
Students of determination, students who require support with English as an additional language (EAL) using the WIDA EAL programme, and students designated as gifted and talented (G&T). Five students have been confirmed as Gifted &Talented and a further 10 have been identified with specific gifts or talents.

In addition, students who require Reading intervention (specific intervention for low readers), Math intervention (specific intervention for those low in mathematical understanding) or Arabic intervention (for those still acquiring Arabic language) are also supported. Approximately 100 students fall into these last three categories.  

As in accordance with the KHDA requirements for SEND, NGS fulfills the requirements the student to teacher ratio with four full time Student Of Determination teachers and two learning assistants. There are also two full time teachers in EAL with one learning assistant, and a full time teacher in reading intervention with two learning assistants. 

Should a student require a full-time Learning Support Assistant, NGS is able to support families in arranging this support through known agencies.  No addition fees are made for the provision of additional support other than that for a full-time, dedicated LSA. 

What the inspectors say

NGS underwent its first Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau inspection for the KHDA in March 2019 and was rated Acceptable.   The inspection took place two months after the passing of the Principal, and was led from the school side by the then Vice Principal - not an ideal situation by any means.  Despite these circumstances, the school achieved an Acceptable rating - the minimum that Dubai schools are expected to achieve by the KHDA. At the time of the inspection, the school was open to students from KG to Grade 7, with a roll of over 1,300 students - the largest proportion Emirati. 

In terms of the six key performance standards, it is probably fair to say that the school achieved a solidly Acceptable rating, but given the dominant student nationality at the time, ratings of Weak for attainment in both Arabic as both a first and second language in both Elementary and Middle School sections, and similarly Weak attainment in Maths, across both sections of the school, as well as Weak progress in Maths in the Middle School, must have been cause for concern.  English progress in KG was rated Good - the only rating above Acceptable for all subjects.

As is so often the case, the two further Key Performance Standards of Teaching and Assessment, and the Curriculum were also rated almost entirely Acceptable, with Curriculum Adaptation in the Middle school rated Weak.  It is very clear, that students rarely attain beyond the standards of these other two key criteria and improvement in both will be necessary if Student Achievement is to improve.

Unsurprisingly, the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students, and the Leadership and Management of the school were also awarded largely Acceptable ratings. If there was a highlight in the report, it was the achievement of Good ratings across most criteria for Students' personal and social development and their Innovation skills.

The DSIB inspection team praised the development of students' strong Islamic ethos and focus on students' understanding of Islamic values, the high quality school resources with inviting and spacious facilities, the commitment and dedication of the school community to the ethos of the school, and the positive attitude and commitment to inclusive practices.

The list of areas for improvement was rather longer and more detailed. Many of the issues related to the very rapid growth of the school which, within one year, had doubled in size.

Fundamental to these was the need for the Governors to appoint a Principal who would be able to set the direction of the school and to put in place appropriate systems and measures, including opportunities for parents and other stakeholders to have a voice in the operations of the school.

In addition, the school's strategic planning and self-evaluation processes (rated Weak) also needed to be improved in order to ensure that 'clear, realistic and measurable targets' were put in place to improve students' performance in key subjects.

The school also needed to develop assessment and monitoring procedures to measure students' progress and development of subject specific competencies. And finally, teachers were called upon to raise the standards and quality of teaching and learning across the school.

If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you can find it here.

What about the facilities?

Facilities are impressive given the school's pricing. They include an Environment- friendly campus fully covered with solar panels, a Z space – used for innovation, coding and robotics, two full science labs, two art studies, a design technology room and a Radio station, Video studio and Maker space, in addition to spacious classrooms with interconnected technology.  There are separate cafeterias, prayer rooms and libraries for boys and girls.

Sports and outdoor facilities include a very large gym, spacious pool, five outdoor pitches, great external play areas and playgrounds including a KG play area, a running track, Ice rink, Green space, and Botanical gardens.

The Buzz

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received a little over 20 responses to our School Survey - a relatively low number for a school of this size.  Those parents who have responded, rated the school 3.2/5 - or an approval rating of 64%.  Views from these parents were somewhat mixed.

62% of parents felt that their children enjoyed going to school 'a tremendous amount' and had a strong sense of belonging.  The same percentage of respondents (and presumably the same parents) were satisfied with the academic performance of the school and had not considered moving their children to another school.  However, 42% of parents felt that they needed to provide additional tuition outside school - well above the UAE average of 30%.

The same 62% were satisfied with the level of feedback from the school, and 58% were satisfied with the disciplinary policy and its implementation.  67% of parents would recommend the school to others, but a significant 24% would not.  Concerns around the value for money represented by the fees paid may account for some of this dissatisfaction - whilst 57% agreed that they did represent value for money, 19% disagreed completely with this statement. 

If you are a parent, teacher or student at Next Generation School, please share your opinions and experiences with other potential members of your community by completing our Survey.

What about the fees?

Fees are very much mid-tier, starting at AED 22,500  for pre-KG and rising to AED 40,500 for Grade 9. Sibling discounts are available and vary from 5-15% depending on the number of children. 

There is an additional application fee which varies from AED 200 to AED 500 depending on entry grade and an Educational resources (Books) fee which ranges from AED 500 in pre-KG to AED 2,850 in Grades 7-9. 

There is an additional transportation fee that is dependent on the distance from the school.  

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

Next Generation School 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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