Hor Al Anz located Queen International School is a KG - Grade 12 school, which despite its grading structure, follows the UK curriculum, providing education in English for approximately 1,200 students, boys and girls aged four to 18 years. The majority of pupils are Arab nationals.
Queen International School (QIS) was established in 1998 and offers the UK National curriculum from KG1 (FS2) to Grade 12 (Year 13). For reasons that are not known to us, the school has not adopted the usual UK curriculum grading structure.
The school's website states that its Vision is:
"to meet each child's needs educationally, emotionally, and socially. We envision a school where children are educated through a collaborative effort among parents, faculty, staff, students, and the community. Our school environment encourages children to take risks and become creative producers without fear of failure. Through cooperation and a unity of spirit, challenges become opportunities where achievements are recognized and celebrated".
Its mission statement says that
"Queen International School is committed to active, reflective, creative learning. We believe learning is maximized when it takes place in an environment enriched with support, encouragement and assistance. We celebrate the pursuit of lifelong learning and are committed to nurturing high self-esteem and respect for others. We believe that everyone can learn become better thinkers and independent learners. An integral part of our learning process will have our school community learning how to ask questions, solve problems and make thoughtful decisions".
After five years of receiving an Acceptable rating (the minimum requirement) from the KHDA's DSIB inspection teams, in 2016-17, QIS was able to achieve a Good rating - the target for all Dubai schools by the regulator. This rating was solidified in the 2017-18 inspection which took place in February 2018.
However, in the 2018-19 academic year, the school unfortunately reversed its rating back to the previous Acceptable, and this was retained in the 2019-20 inspection round.
For more details, read our What the Inspectors say section below. In addition to the change of rating, there has also been two changes of Principal in the past two years - with the current Principal, Glenn Atkinson, having been appointed in August 2019.
Mr. Atkinson was previously Head of Teaching and Learning at the Sheffield School, Dubai. The most recent KHDA inspection report notes that "The recently-appointed principal has a clear vision for the school and the capacity to improve it".
Unfortunately, there is very little current information available about the school - it is evidently in the process of creating a new website, but with minimal content currently available, our review, unfortunately, is heavily reliant on the KHDA inspection reports.
Just over 1,000 students attended the school in the 2019-20 academic year and the majority are Arab nationals including 120 Emirati students.
Staff - some 67 teachers and 9 teaching assistants - are, in common with most UK curriculum schools at this price-point, from India. The school has a relatively low teacher to student ratio with 1 teacher to 16 students, although concerns had been previously raised with regard to the number of students in Foundation classes. Staff turnover, at 13%, is slightly below average for international schools in general in Dubai, although turnover at Indian schools does tend to be lower.
Queen International School follows the National Curriculum for England, preparing children for the London Board Examinations at IGCSE and GCE AS Level. The medium of instruction is English.
In common with a number of UK curriculum schools educating predominantly Arab and Emirati children, it does not offer the usual final 13th Year/Grade, since many students will go on to local universities or colleges where AS level is treated as equivalent to the local High School leaving exams. The school offers IGCSE exams in Grade 11 and then AS examinations, but not full A' Levels (A2s). As a result, the post-16 cohort is described as 'relatively small'.
QIS follows the Early Years Foundation Stage for beginners, the Cambridge Primary syllabus from Grade 1 to Grade 6, the Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme from Grade 7 to Grade 9, eventually preparing students for the IGCSE in Grades 10 and 11, and in Grade 12 GCE AS examinations from the University of Cambridge Examination Board.
The school does not provide a great deal of information about the subjects taught but does appear to have some focus on ICT, English, Science and Maths for which it organises focused weeks.
QIS states that "Information and Communication Technology is an essential part of the curriculum at the Queen International School from Grade 1 onwards. ICT is introduced as a tool to enrich students’ knowledge base, problem-solving and communication skills. Students are also exposed to a variety of other practical applications of ICT, including the Internet that is vital in today’s technology-oriented world".
The school also has both Biology and Chemistry laboratories which are used for practical sessions for IGCSE students.Apart from the Middle and Secondary School, students of the Primary School also have regular laboratory sessions. This is aimed at offering younger students the opportunity to use their analytical and creative skills also.
Outside of the regular classroom subjects, the school offers a limited range of Extra-curricular clubs including ICT, Art, Environment, Literacy, Maths, Science and Sport. A complaint from parents and students noted in previous inspection reports was the lack of interesting extra-curricular activities and clubs.
Despite the fact that its students apparently perform extremely well at IGCSE (according to the KHDA), QIS does not publish its exam results.
This is a great pity, since examinations are clearly an important measure for any school, and we, at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, believe that parents should have access to such information, but also, if a school is performing well, it should be possible to recognise and celebrate this fact.
The inspection report notes that all secondary students excel at IGCSE English whilst students consistently do well in IGCSE Maths examinations. The few students who take the A level gain positive awards.
However, in Science, progress in lessons throughout the school is limited by teachers who control the pace of learning and provide insufficient challenge. Despite this, external assessment information show much stronger progress in Secondary and Post-16.
We understand that Queen International School has basic facilities, with Wifi having only been introduced to the school over the past year. It provides Science and Computer labs as specialist facilities. QIS describes the Biology and Chemistry labs as spacious and offering modern and excellent equipment, where students are encouraged to use their analytical and creative skills through research and experimentation.
According to the school, all the Computer labs are equipped with multimedia tools that provide ample opportunities for students to acquire mastery in ICT skills. Videotapes, audio cassettes, multimedia projector, smart board, overhead projector, document camera and educational CD-ROM’s are available in a well-equipped multimedia centre.
According to the inspection team, the premises provide an adequate environment for students, and specialist facilities are available. However, the school does not have a prayer room. The principal has taken steps to improve the use of technology. There are insufficient resources for reading and independent study for both younger and older students.
Whilst it is clear that the return to an overall Acceptable rating after two years at Good came as a shock to QIS and it has taken steps to address this through the appointment of the new Principal and greater investment by the owner and governors in the resources of the school.
The DSIB inspection team from the KHDA had much that is positive to say about Queen International School. The team defined the strengths of the school as:
These achievements were reflected in the ratings given for Students' Achievement, where the vast majority of ratings in the Secondary and post-16 section were either Good or Very Good. With a strong contingent of Arabic speakers in the school, ratings for Islamic Education and Arabic as a first and second language were almost all entirely Good (let down by an Acceptable for post-16 attainment in Islamic Education), but counterbalanced by the very strong performance in Arabic as a first language, rated Very Good for both measures in Primary, and Good fin Primary as a Second language.
There is no doubt that from an academic perspective, it is the Secondary and post-16 sections of the school that stand out. English, Maths and Science are all rated Very Good in Secondary and with no English students in post-16, Maths is rated Good, whilst Science is rated Very Good.
The challenge for the school lies within the Foundation (KG2) and Primary phases, where English and Maths are largely rated Acceptable, but whilst Science is rated Good in Primary, it fell to Weak in the last inspection.
Students' personal and social development, and their innovation skills were generally well thought of by the inspection team. Personal development and the Understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures were largely rated Very Good in Primary, Secondary and post-16,but although rated Good in Foundation for Personal Development, the second measure was downgraded from Outstanding to Very Good. Social responsibility and innovation skills were rated Good across the school.
Unfortunately, it is very clear where the weaknesses at QIS lay when the ratings for Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum are taken into account. As the two key performance standards that contribute to Student Achievement, there is no doubt that considerable effort is still needed to improve the standards.
Whilst the quality of teaching for effective learning was described by inspectors as good in Secondary and post-16, it is rated Acceptable in Foundation and Primary. Assessment is now rated Acceptable across the school.
QIS is also challenged is in relation to both the curriculum design and implementation, and its adaptation to meet the needs of individual students. Although all measures for the first measure are now rated Acceptable with improvements in Foundation and Primary, curriculum adaptation is rated Weak across the school.
Given the focus of recent years by the KHDA on ensuring that curriculum standards and their adaptation are adequate, there is clearly some way for QIS to go in this context.
On a more positive note, the key performance standard of the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students, has improved in terms of Health and Safety including safeguarding to Good across the school, whilst Care and Support remains Acceptable.
These concerns also impacted the Leadership and Management ratings which are rated a mix of Acceptable and Weak (the latter for School self-evaluation and improvement planning and for Management, staffing, facilities and resources.
Clearly the school, its owners and governors have high expectation of the new Principal. The KHDA report suggests that the inspection team too expects much to be achieved by both governors and the leadership of the school, noting that "The principal is supported by the owner and governing body and has the capacity to continue to improve the school". This is to be hoped for, since he certainly has a sizable task to accomplish.
In terms of the key recommendations from the inspection, QIS should:
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to better understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
Some 87% of the 147 parents who returned the KHDA pre-inspection survey expressed satisfaction with the quality of education provided by the school. The majority of parents who responded to the survey believed that their children are happy, safe and hard working. A large minority feel that school leaders and staff did not listen to them or act on their views.
271 students participated in the KHDA's Well-being Survey and indicated that secondary students were more positive than those in other schools in Dubai on most of the well-being measures. Students persevered more and engaged more with schoolwork in this school. On a few measures, Emirati students were much more positive than their fellow students, and more positive than other Emirati students in Dubai.
WhichSchoolAdvisor has not yet received sufficient feedback from parents in its survey to add additional comments here. If you are a parent, teacher or student at Queen International School, please share your experience with other potential members of your community by completing our survey here.
Whilst rated Acceptable currently, there is much about the Secondary section of QIS that can be admired and this is reflected in the ratings from the KHDA inspection teams. This now needs to be seen through in the KG and Primary sections. Add to this the steps that have already been taken by the new Principal and the investment being made by the owners and governors to raise standards across the school and we expect QIS to continue to deliver high standards in the Secondary and post-16 sections and improving standards in Primary.
Tuition fees at Queen International are relatively affordable for a UK curriculum school, starting at AED 14,381 at KG and rising to AED 26,969 for Grade 12.
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