Established as a separate Boys School to allow a single shift at the original Our Own High School in Bastakiya, Our Own High School Al Warqaa opened in 1975. Run by GEMS Education, OOHS AW currently has 4, 700 students on its register, looked after by 218 teachers.
Our Own High School Al Warqa'a has been rated Good for the ninth year running in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full reports have been published.
The story so far...
The original Our Own High School was founded in 1968 in Bastakiya, making it one of the oldest international schools in Dubai, and its younger associated school (catering to male students only from Grades 2 to 12) also follows the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum. There is a close relationship between the schools with ‘Our Own’ Al Warqa’a sharing the same vision, ethos and work culture as the parent school.
The Principal of OOHS Al Warqa'a, who has been with the school since 2012, explains the ethos of the school as follows:
“At ‘Our Own’ Al Warqa’a, we strive to create a stimulating and secure environment, to help develop lively enquiring minds and a positive desire to learn. We aim to help students develop creativity and give them opportunities to hone their talent in various co-curricular activities like music, dance, public speaking, sports, art, and drama. We ensure that our students develop a strong sense of self-esteem and individuality by encouraging self-reliance and independence. The school’s mission is to ensure that its students imbibe sound moral and spiritual values within a supportive and caring community”.
OOHS AW believes that its students should be fully involved in the process of building a curriculum that appeals to them and embraces 21st century learning – allowing them to follow their own interests and retain connections with their own country and culture. To widen the learning platform for students and to incorporate a holistic learning environment, the school curriculum focuses on STEAM, integrating the learning of Science and Maths with Art, Technology and Engineering. STEAM education focuses on promoting creativity and spirit of exploration in the learning process.
In addition, the school has had an interest in Robotics and has participated in the U.A.E. National Robotic Olympiad for a number of years. Our Own High School has represented the United Arab Emirates in the World Robotic Olympiad at Naning (China 2006), Taipei (Taiwan 2007), Yokohama (Japan 2008), Seoul (Korea 2009), Manila (Philippines 2010), Abu Dhabi (UAE 2011& 2012), Malaysia (2012) & Jakarta (Indonesia 2013). Its students were Winners of National Robot Olympiad -2014.
OOHS AW is also committed to encouraging students to explore their talents in areas such as music, dance, public speaking, sports, art, and drama, in order to develop a strong sense of self-esteem and individuality. In addition to its successful involvement in Robotics, students from the school have also won First Place in the Children’s Film Festival, Dubai with the winning film subsequently being represented overseas, and achieved First Place in the Under 19, CBSE World Athletics Games held in India.
To its credit, unlike many GEMS schools, OOHS Al Warqaa does publish its results- although somewhat confusingly with the wrong date information in the text. However, Whichschooladvisor.com is sure that these are indeed the 2017 results. 301 students took part in the grade 12 CBSE exams, and the school achieved a 99.9% pass rate. Unfortunately, no further detail of average scores are provided, so it is not possible to ascertain how well students performed. This is a pity. However, the KHDA Inspection report notes that Secondary phase students, especially Grade12, perform at a high level in physics,
chemistry and biology board examinations with almost no difference in performance between the three subjects.
Facilities at the school are in line with most GEMS Indian curriculum schools – functional and adequate without being at the high end of the spectrum. The building has spacious classrooms and wide passages. The administrative offices and the lobby are centrally air-conditioned. The school has a large multi-purpose hall, an indoor play area, an art and craft room and a canteen. A large canopy covers the courtyard where the school can assemble under its shade for morning assembly.
Basic facilities include a spacious library stocked with periodicals, newspapers and books catering to all age groups. There is also a collection of maps, charts, audio and video-cassettes, and CD-ROMs are available as teaching aids. Computers with internet access are available for students' use in the Senior Library. A Composite Laboratory, equipped with materials for Maths and Science, helps students form concepts through realistic and meaningful activities.
Three large well-equipped Science laboratories provide the facilities necessary for demonstration, experimentation and project work at various levels in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The schools also has five fully-fledged computer laboratories. All laboratories have Pentium processor machines with the latest software and interactive white boards. An independent work station is made available to each student.
External facilities, including two Basketball courts, a Volleyball court, Cricket Nets, and an Astro-turf playground, are provided for Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Cricket, Badminton, Table Tennis and Athletics. Students are trained in various sports including cricket, football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, chess, athletics and swimming. Special coaching is given outside regular school hours for which transport is provided. The school conducts a Sports Day separately for Primary, Middle and Senior School.
The School also has a strong Parent Support Group and an active Parents Advisory Committee who partner with the school to raise its standards by providing regular feedback. They regularly support endeavours of the school with positive advice and help accelerate the school's efforts towards improvement.
What do the Inspectors Say? (2017-2018)
OOHS AW was again rated Good for the 8th year by the KHDA inspection team who visited the school in September 2017. The exemplary attitudes and behaviour of students across the school, appreciation of their own and the UAE cultures, and the high level of social responsibility and work ethic they exhibit were particularly noted by the Inspection team. Students’ achievement in most key subjects in the primary and secondary phases were rated as Good or better and the collaborative relationships and the highly developed lines of communication between the school, parents and staff were also singled out by the inspectors as strengths of the school.
Students' achievement was found to be at least Good except in Arabic as an additional language in the upper phases. In the primary phase, attainment and progress in English and Mathematics have improved to Very Good, and, as a result of improved progress last year, attainment in Arabic as an additional language has also improved to Good. The only decline in students’ achievement was in Science in the secondary phase where the rating has fallen to Very Good from Outstanding. Whilst this may not be a cause for major concern, it must, none the less, be disappointing, since it was the only area of Teaching and Assessment to have achieved the highest rating.
Teaching and assessment were deemed to be effective across the phases, being rated Good for the most part. This is clearly the key indicator which will need to improve if the school is to achieve a higher overall rating. Teaching is stronger in the secondary phase and although school leaders have improved certain aspects of teaching, such as developing students' critical and higher order thinking skills, these remain inconsistent. The use of assessment data to modify teaching to meet the needs of all students was found not to be effective and to hinder progress – this, again, is clearly an area upon which the school must focus.
Curriculum design and implementation have evidently improved in the primary phase. Rigorous review, collaborative planning and better curriculum adaptation in the primary and secondary phases is resulting in better achievement. This is a key element of tailoring teaching to individual students - fundamental to supporting both more able students, and also those with SEND requirements. Although the processes for identifying and providing specialist support to SEND students are effective and the quality of counselling and academic support provided by staff is very good, teacher support in lessons does not, according to the inspectors, always meet the needs of different groups of students.
The inspectors' recommendations for improvement included the development of consistently high quality teaching by: improving middle leaders’ effectiveness in evaluating teaching and modelling best practice, and implementing the performance management system for all staff members. The school also needs to effectively use the available testing, bench-marking and profiling data to adjust teaching strategies and provide all students with meaningful learning experiences. And lastly, staff must improve students’ achievement in Arabic by reviewing the design and implementation of the curriculum to provide balanced development of the four language skills.
What do Parents Think?
Parent satisfaction with the school is high and has been ranked Very Good by the KHDA team. "The involvement of parents in learning and in school life is a strong feature of the school. Communication is very effective and ensures that parents are well-informed about students' achievement. This strong partnership has led to improved student achievement and to the vibrant ethos within the school".
Close to 1,200 parents responded to the KHDA's pre-inspection survey and over 95% are satisfied with the standard of education their children are receiving. They feel the school is a safe and secure place for their children. They appreciate the teachers who are responsible for their children’s education and well-being.
Whilst the KHDA may feel that there is room for improvement at OOHS AW, the vast majority of parents seem satisfied with the school. With demand for moderately priced Indian curriculum schools a constant in Dubai, there is little doubt that the school will remain a popular choice with parents.
What are the Fees?
Fees for the 2017 - 2018 school year start at AED 8,557 for Grades 1 to 3 and rise to AED 14,763 for Grades 11 & 12 (Science). There are additional fees including a AED 30 for students' bus ID card, diary and report card as well as Board Exam Fees which are AED 375 for Grade 10 and AED 425 for Grade 12.
Fees are paid monthly
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