Primus Private School, located on the Dubai- Sharjah border area in Al Waaq'a, was previously known as Rajagiri International School. The school has undergone a brand transformation, whilst maintaining its Good rating by the KHDA for the 9th year in a row.
Primus Private School has been rated Good for the tenth 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
Primus Private School, previously known as Rajagiri International School, is a CBSE curriculum school, teaching boys and girls from Kindergarten to Grade 11 in 2018-19. The school will add Grade 12 in 2019-20, enabling students to complete their education from KG to their leaving certificate.
The school has approximately 1,500 students and 108 teachers, the majority of whom are Indian passport holders. This gives the school a teacher to student ratio of 1:14. Actual class sizes average 27 students, which is erring on the larger side. The school has some 65+ students with SEN requirements and promotes itself as an inclusive school. Teacher turnover is currently at 19 percent - below the UAE average of 20-22%, although perhaps on the high side for an Indian school.
The school offers its Vision and Mission statements on its comprehensive website, stating that
Our Vision in imparting Education, is to mould, groom and transform our students in becoming future world citizens with Intellectual competence, spiritual maturity, physical and mental health and social acceptance, to enable them to become champions for the cause of justice, love, truth and peace and ever open to further growth.
Its Mission statement informs visitors that
Primus Private School facilitates comprehensive and integrated development of its students, to eventually grow as individuals imbued with righteousness and courage of conviction. We are dedicated to the individual development of attitudes, skills, knowledge and responsibility essential to successful achievement in school and society with a rich, child friendly, diverse and nurturing learning environment.
What about facilities?
Classrooms are spacious, with no overcrowding, and provide a good learning environment. They are child friendly equipped with interactive white boards to facilitate modern teaching methodologies and embrace the advantages that technology has to offer, whilst at the same time ensuring a "smooth blending with traditional chalk and talk". Recent improvements to playground surfaces have also expanded outside learning opportunities for students.
Specialist facilities include a KG rumpus room, a learner and larger swimming pool, an updated library, a large football field and covered indoor sports area, KG play areas with large climbing equipment, an indoor activity area with table tennis and indoor sports activities, Music and Art rooms, computer and science laboratories and an auditorium.
The school offers a variety of co-curricular activities for Kindergarten and Primary Students. The co-curricular activities for the Kindergarten takes place during their regular school time. The activities for the Primary Section are conducted between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm.
All children participate in activities including swimming, literary club. Music, Dance, Games, Gymnastics, Aerobics, and Art. The Literary Club includes different activities such as elocution, drama, recitation and reading. A Reading club supports students whose reading skills need improvement. Students are able to display their dance and musical talents at special assemblies, UAE National Day Celebrations, Environment Day, Sports Days, Concerts and Talent Week.
The school provides a well balanced and graded physical education programme which includes healthy sportsmanship. The children are introduced to the basics of games including football, badminton, table tennis and basketball. There is also a focus on different activities according to the students' ages, starting from Mass Drill, March past, Parades and the basics of gymnastics. Special emphasis is placed on track and field games.
What the Inspectors say 2017-18
For the ninth year in a row, Primus School has achieved the KHDA's minimum expected rating of Good. Although the KHDA inspection team found many positives in the most recent inspection, in terms of Student Achievement, there is a degree of inconsistency across subjects and sections of the school. Whilst Primary and Secondary school ratings are largely Good or Very Good (notably in Primary School), both the KG and Middle School were found to be a mix of largely Good. In particular, attainment and progress in KG English and Middle school Science have dropped back to Good from Very Good previously. However, both Primary school Maths and Secondary school English and Science have improved to Very Good.
Inspectors commented that "Improvements in students' achievement in mathematics in the primary and middle phases are in place. Students' achievement in English, and science in the secondary phase has also improved. CBSE Board scores for Grade 10 students in English and mathematics are well above curriculum standards". The latter statement is clearly very good news for students currently studying in Grade 11, who will face their final board exams in 2019.
Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills were also rated highly by the inspection team. With the exception of KG (rated Very Good) all ratings for Personal development were Outstanding. The remaining ratings for this key indicator were largely Very Good. Inspectors commented that "Students’ involvement in projects and charitable in the upper three phases has resulted in outstanding personal development and exemplary behaviour. Students in the Kindergarten and the secondary phase demonstrate a very good understanding and practice of Islamic values". In terms of innovation, inspectors found that "As a result of opportunities occurring in lessons and activities, greater opportunities for students to develop the skills of innovation are being provided. In some phases of the school, students have initiated entrepreneurial activities to raise money for community charities. Students have deployed innovative approaches to inform and influence other students. Teaching strategies are emerging which, include the use of technology within lessons. The development of skills using the technology is not systematic". This will inevitably be an area of focus for the school and the inspection team when it next visits the school.
The key performance area of Teaching and Assessment received largely unchanged ratings, with the majority of measures being rated Good. However, a decline in KG teaching for effective learning to Acceptable will be a concern, although the improvement for the measure of Assessment to Good in the Middle school section will be seen as a positive step. Inspectors were very clear about their grounds for the reduction, noting "In the Kindergarten teaching is overly directed restricting opportunities for independent learning. Most teachers plan well but in the Kindergarten the planning of activities and tasks does not sufficiently take into account the particular learning needs of different groups of children".
The Curriculum Design and implementation, and its adaptation to meet the needs of different students, retained the Good rating across almost all measures. However, the rating for the curriculum in KG was also downgraded from Outstanding to Very Good. Inspectors found that "Curriculum implementation is less effective in Kindergarten than previously but is still strong. However, the implementation of the curriculum in the Kindergarten does not sufficiently enable children to lead their own learning and make choices".
The key performance measures of Protection, Care, Guidance and Support remain an absolute strength of Primus School. Health and Safety including Child Protection remain rated Outstanding across the school, whilst the Care and Support of students is rated Very Good across the school. Inspectors commented that "Arrangements for the protection, care, and support of students remains a primary focus for this school. Much effort has again resulted in the very good quality of provision". Further support for students who have SEND requirements or a Gifted and Talented is needed in order to raise this measure to the highest level. As a result of the deficits noted in this particular regard, the rating for the provision and outcome for students with SEND has fallen to Acceptable.
In respect of the final key performance area, the inspection report notes that "Leadership and management remains good overall. The partnerships with parents and the performance of governors are particularly strong". They commented particularly on the leadership of the school by the Principal and senior team, noting that "School leaders, led by the principal, have set a clear direction and vision that has been embraced by the entire school community. They have created an inclusive school. Data is used carefully and analyses disseminated to teachers. However, middle managers do not work as consistently to implement the vision". The focus on assessment data in order to modify both teaching and the curriculum to support the need of individual students, and also to raise standards across schools in the UAE, particularly in relation to international bench-marking tests, is one that is growing stronger with each inspection cycle.
Inspectors underlined further the need to continue to invest in this key area, commenting that "The evaluation of the school's performance by examining internal and external data remains generally accurate and insightful. Senior leaders consider both qualitative and quantitative measures in an effort to evaluate effectively. The evaluation of the resulting curriculum modifications and the effectiveness of teacher's interventions are less well monitored". Primus School is clearly on the right track, but the impact on teaching standards and curriculum design will be strengthened further if the school implements the inspection team's recommendations in this regard.
The inspection team was clearly impressed by the relationship between the school and parents and the community, who are also influential in the governance of the school. The ratings for both these measures, together with that of the Management, Staffing, Facilities and Resources of the school were Very Good. Inspectors noted that "All staff members are suitably qualified although not every teacher has teacher certification. The premises are well-maintained and updated with specialist facilities to support learning. All phases are provided with a wide range of learning resources to support 21st century learning skills".
It is evident that there is much that is really Good or Very Good at Primus School. The challenge will be to raise those areas that are currently rated Good or Acceptable across the board - with much of the focus evidently on Teaching and Assessment and the curriculum, using the data which the school largely already possesses. This school is clearly on the improvement path towards a higher overall rating; after 9 years of Good, it would be Very good to see them reach the next level.
In terms of the key recommendations made by the DSIB inspection team, Primus School should:
What the Inspectors say 2016/2017
Overall student attainment and progress is Good amongst most academic subjects. Middle School attainment and progress in maths has dropped to Acceptable which is because, "work in lessons does not provide an appropriate level of challenge, particularly for those capable of making more rapid progress. There is an excessive emphasis on knowledge acquisition rather on the application of mathematical skills such as calculation."
In English, attainment and progress has improved to Very Good in both the Primary School and the Middle School. As the school notes, "The International Benchmark Test (IBT) scores confirm that the majority of students are working at a higher level than expected."
Overall, strengths of the school in the latest inspection report are: students’ very good attainment and progress in English in the KG; students' Very Good attainment and progress in science in the primary and middle phases; the Outstanding personal and social development of students; the strategic direction set by the governing board and the principal, which "ensures that there is a continuing focus on improvement, in a happy and positive learning environment;" the school’s excellent arrangements for promoting healthy life styles and keeping students safe; the very good links with parents and the wider community.
What do the Inspectors Say? 2015/2016
The school's 2015/16 KHDA report notes the "the school [has] sustained good academic outcomes for students in most subjects." Other strengths of the school include an outstanding quality of health and safety at the school, excellent internal relationships, the school’s caring and friendly atmosphere; and an outstanding partnership with parents and the community.
The school is rated Good across all phases of the school for both attainment and progress for the core subjects of English, maths and science. It is rated either Acceptable or Good for Islamic Studies and Arabic. The school is said to have an Outstanding Kindergarten curriculum which combines the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Early Years Foundation Stage curricula. International benchmarking is used including the use of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), and the International Benchmark Test (IBT), which supports good attainment in English, mathematics and science.
The school's report notes the need to continue to improve attainment in all key subjects across the school; consistently use assessment information; and to improve the quality of school self-review and improvement planning. However, in in general parents, students and teachers at the school appear to be largely satisfied with the way the school is run, and the quality of education offered.
What are the Fees?
The school charges an AED 450 registration fee at the time of admission, along with a separate AED 250 admission fee. There is an additional resource fee that ranges from AED 300 to AED 400 depending upon the grade of the child. Tuition fees range from AED 11,339 per annum for KG rising to AED 22,731 for Grades 9 to 11. The school offers sibling discounts of 10% for each additional child.
Tuition fees may be paid in 10 equal instalments during the academic year. There is a lump sum payment discount of 5% for payment in full and parents also have the option to make full payment by credit card.
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