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 12th time during the 2022-23 inspection process.
Primus Private School (PPS), formerly known as Rajagiri International School, is a CBSE curriculum school, teaching boys and girls from Kindergarten to Grade 12 as of the 2019-20 academic year.
At the time of the last KHDA inspection in 2022-23, PPS had approximately 1,250 students (compared with 1,400 in 2019-20) and 79 teachers (far lower than the 108 of three years ago), together with three teaching assistants and three guidance counsellors, the majority of whom were Indian passport holders. This gives the school a teacher to student ratio of 1:16 (an increase from 1:13 at the time of the last inspection) with actual class sizes averaging 27-30 students, erring on the larger side. Teacher turnover was 22% n 2022, in line with the UAE average of 20-22%, although on the high side for an Indian led school, particularly as the figure was 19% in 2020. It is not a good situation to be in when a school is having to employ 1 in 5 teachers as new starters each academic year.
The school is led by long-term Principal, Ms. Arundhati Rawat, who recently has celebrated her tenth anniversary in the role, having joined PPS in March 2013.
One perhaps less usual (and some parents may feel less desirable) focus of the KG curriculum is on Computer skills.
Primus says "We expose our children to the IT world from a very young age. Our state-of-the-art computer labs and Audio Visual rooms are an indication of our adaptability to the ever changing IT world. They provide every student the opportunity to use the computer on one to one ratio, thus making them techno-smart".
There is also an early focus on Parental support in relation to reading, whereby the Kindergarten Reading Program – School Home Link is designed to develop a link between school and home. The programme aims to familiarise parents with the teaching techniques implemented for the kindergartners and thereby enable parents to adopt similar techniques with their children at home as well. To effectively achieve this purpose, the book is being sent home at regular intervals for parents to make ample and suitable use of it.
The Primary phase curriculum from Grades 1 to 5 is imparted through ‘learning by doing’. The curriculum is designed to provide students with opportunities for personal and intellectual growth through speaking, listening, reading, viewing, writing, and representing to make meaning of their surrounding environment. Students completing primary school will be able to question, investigate and make critical observations; the curriculum emphasizes enquiry, creativity, analytical evaluation,
Core subjects include English, Arabic, Mathematics, Environmental studies/Science, Social Studies, Computer Studies, Second Languages (a choice between French, Malayalam or Hindi), and Islamic Education (Muslim Students). Co-curricular subjects include Physical Education, Swimming, Art & Creative Expressions, Vocal Music, Dance, Yoga/Karate, Dramatization, Public Speaking and Gardening.
According to Primus, the Middle School Curriculum is framed on "the principals [sic] of NCERT and also by taking required extensions from International curriculum, focused on key concepts and skills on which growth and development of an individual is built during the early adolescence". The curriculum is designed to develop a balance of knowledge, understanding and application of the key concepts of the core subjects along with focus on the 21 century skills of critical & creative thinking, problem solving and analytical reasoning.
Core subjects remain largely as per the Primary curriculum with the addition of Moral Education and of 'Makers' within the co-curricular programme.
Once students move on to Grades 9 and 10, in preparation for their first CBSE Board Examinations, the focus of the curriculum is "to encourage higher order critical thinking, innovation, reasoning, analytical and logical applications".
The curriculum options are designed to provide ample opportunities for students to study a range of subjects. The core curriculum includes English, Maths, Science, Arabic (as an additional language), Islamic Education (for Muslim Students), Moral Education, a second language option of Hindi, French or Malayalam, and Social Studies both UAE & Indian. A range of co-scholastic activities are offered including Physical Education, Swimming, Music, Art, Dance, Drama, English club, Science club, Maths club, MUN club and Work Experience opportunities.
Finally, in the Senior Secondary section, the curriculum encompasses five major learning areas; Languages, Humanities, Mathematics, Science, Commerce, Health and Physical Education. In common with the vast majority of CBSE curriculum schools, students choose between Commerce and Science streams with a relatively limited range of choices. Although Art and Creative Expression are included as co-curricular options, there are no Liberal Arts subjects included within the core curriculum.
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.
PPS had some 50 students with SEN requirements and promotes itself as an inclusive school. The Student Development Centre takes the lead in providing an inclusive education to students in close collaboration with parents, teachers and external specialists. Primus offers a range of additional provisions which are subject to staffing and availability and are offered in response to the needs of the cohort. They include, but are not limited to: Interventions for literacy, Interventions for mathematics, Speaking and listening, Social skills, Motor skills, Life skills, Directed studies, and Extra-curricular activities specific to students with SEND.
The school's SEN team supports students who are identified as needing learning support, following post-entry and routine screening, are given help either individually or in small groups. Individual Education Plans are drawn up for relevant students. These are managed by the Learning Support team and close communication with parents is believed to be essential in ensuring that this support is as effective as possible.
PPS has developed a network of external providers, who parents can contract to provide specialist assessment and therapy services . These services include Comprehensive developmental/diagnostic assessment, Psycho educational assessment, Behavioral assessment and intervention, Occupational Therapy/Sensory Integration assessment and intervention, Speech and Language Therapy assessment and intervention, and personalised support from a 1:1 Learning Support Assistant.
Support with their learning is not just restricted to those children who sometimes find the going difficult – it is the school's aim that students at the top end of the ability spectrum are also given support and challenge within their learning, so as to further enhance their skills and achievement.
Unfortunately, PPS does not include any details of students' academic achievements at Grade X or Grade XII although the first cohort of Grade 12 students would have completed their studies in 2021 and would have received assessed results as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. The second cohort would have sat examinations in 2022.
This is a great pity as WhichSchoolAdvisor.com believes that sharing the achievements of students with their school community is an important means for parents and older students to make decisions on the suitability of a school at this level. With a return to full examinations in 2023 and an effort to return marking to pre-pandemic levels, we would hope that PPS will join the growing number of schools who provide full information about their students' successes.
The school does, however, include full details of PPS students' participation in one of the major international benchmarking tests - TIMSS (trends in Maths and Science), which last took place in 2019. PPS students performed well ahead of target in this and the full detailed report is available here.
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.
For the twelfth inspection in a row, Primus achieved the KHDA's minimum targeted rating of Good (as opposed to the minimum required rating of Acceptable). As is so often the case, though, the overall rating does not really cover the full situation.
The 2019-20 inspection report must have been something of a disappointment to PPS. For whilst there were improvements in ratings - notably in Primary and Middle School English attainment to Very Good, and in KG Science to Good - eight further ratings for Student Achievement were downgraded, all in relation to Progress, and across each section of the school aside from KG.
In contrast, the 2022-23 shows a range of improvement in Student Achievement, with the majority of ratings for English, Maths and Science across the school now rated Very Good. The majority of rating for Arabic and Islamic Studies are now Good.
The two further key performance standards to which the inspectors always pay particular attention of Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum are rated Good (and in the case of Curriculum design in KG, Very Good), though there has been no further improvement compared with the last inspection. Only with improvement in these two fundamental standards can the school expect to see overall improvement in Student Achievement.
Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills are clearly strengths, being rated Outstanding across the school for Personal development, and Very Good across all sections of the school for
Understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures, and Social and innovation skills.
Health and safety (including Child protection), previously rated Outstanding across the school has been downgraded to Very Good. The inspection team noted that "Although there are regular checks of the site, some important health and safety issues have not been identified, including the safe storage of chemicals in science laboratories. Procedures for checking health and safety aspects, including those in KG, are not rigorous enough". Addressing this concern will no doubt be a priority for the school.
The key performance standard of Care and Protection retained its Very Good rating with the Provision and outcomes for Students of determination receiving an improved rating to Good.
Finally, the remaining key performance standard of Leadership and Management retained its mix of Good and Very Good from the previous inspection with the exception of Management, Staffing, Facilities and Resources which was downgraded to Good. The reason for this was that school leaders has not produced a digital learning plan, which would focus the school on the use of digital resources, particularly the interactive whiteboards in each classroom.
In terms of the strengths of PPS, inspectors identified these as:
Students’ positive and responsible attitudes.
The quality of care and guidance which all students receive.
The positive, informed and meaningful role which parents have within the school community.
The welcoming and inclusive atmosphere which permeates the school.
Inspectors particularly commented on the commitment of the Principal and senior leaders to the school and to the wider school community, noting that parents are fully engaged in the work of the school, and are important partners in their children's education. Families will no doubt be encouraged to learn that that according to the inspection team, "The governing board is ambitious and is planning for future improvements to the premises and to learning opportunities".
As regards the main areas of improvement, the inspection team advised that PPS should:
Ensure that the analysis of internal and external assessment data is consistent across all subject areas and phases. (The inspection team noted that Internal and external assessment data are collected systematically across all phases, but the consistent use of data to inform teaching strategies varies across subjects.)
Improve the rigour of health and safety checks in the school so that they are more proactive rather than reactive.
Review teaching and learning resources, both digital and non-digital, and reconsider how they are used to support and enhance teaching and learning.
If you would like to read the Inspection report in full - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
Feedback to the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey has been limited and is insufficient for us to draw conclusions.
In order for us to be able to share a more representative view of the school for potential members of your community, if you are a parent, teacher or student at PPS, please share your opinions and experience and complete our survey here.
In a new section of the DSIB inspection report, the school was rated for the quality of wellbeing provision and outcomes. This was adjudged to be of a High level on a scale of four ratings Very High, High, Moderate and Low.
The inspectors noted that:
It is very evident from parent and student feedback that the community at PPS is a satisfied one. However, from the view of the DSIB inspection team, there are clearly improvements still to be made. Any school that achieves the same rating for twelve inspection, has most certainly made progress in its provision - the demands from the KHDA have grown annually and schools that stand still are, in reality, going backwards.
It seems that PPS is one of a number who, on the face of it, are not quite prepared to make the step up to the next level, despite there being obvious areas where they are out-performing the current rating.
KHDA approved tuition fees range from AED 11,679 per annum for KG rising to AED 23,413 for Grades 9 to 12. Despite receiving approval to increase its KHDA approved fees, PPS is maintaining discounted fees for 2023-24. Full details can be found here.
In addition, the school charges an annual Resources Fee for KG1, KG2 of AED 300, and from Grade 1 to 12, of AED 400. 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.
Primus Private 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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