Now in its tenth year of operation Umm Suqeim 3 located Raffles World Academy is home to 1,880 boys and girls studying the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Course and Diploma Programmes (DP). The school moved to a full IB World school from 2018-19 with IGCSE having been halted at the end of 2017-18.
Raffles World Academy has been rated Very Good for the second year in a row in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full report has been issued.
The Story so Far
Raffles World Academy was established in 2008 and is a sister school to Dubai International Academy which also offers the IB curriculum. RWA prides itself on its "diverse cultural base of students and teachers representing over 85 different nationalities." The largest student nationality group is Indian, whilst the majority of the 175 teachers and 40 teaching assistants are from the UK and Ireland. A teacher:student ratio of 1:10 enables the school to provide individualised support to students. Staff turnover, at 21%, is around the average for Dubai, although in general, schools aspire to manage this to a lower level.
Find out more about the school from our Experience visit report here
The school originally followed both the IB and UK curricula, but this changed from September 2018. Students in KG2 through to Grade 5 currently follow the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), those from Grades 6 to 10 now follow Middle Years Programme of the IB. Students in Grades 11 and 12 follow either the Diploma Programme (DP) or IB Courses programmes.
Historically, a number of predominantly IB schools offered the combination of Cambridge Secondary and IGCSE due to a lack of public examinations at age 16. Results from these examinations are often considered as part of the university application process, particularly in the UK. However, the introduction of the MYP Certificate at the end of Grade 10, which examines English, Mathematics and Science, has led schools to reconsider their position in relation for the need for the IGCSE. In addition, the rapidly growing credibility of the IB Diploma programme globally, has meant that the need for "back up" qualifications is no longer widely felt to be a requirement.
One of the particularly interesting features of RWA, driven by its wide range of nationalities, is its language programme - particularly for native speakers. In addition to French and Spanish, German and Russian are also offered as mother-tongue languages. Non-native speakers study either French or Spanish from Grade 6.
What about Academic results?
Unfortunately, RWA does not publish details of its IB Diploma results for the entire cohort - something we would very much encourage it to do. However, in 2017, six students achieved over 40 points, included the highest score of 43 points. The global average was 29.9 points, with top-scoring Dubai schools such as Jumeirah English Speaking School Arabian Ranches and Repton School Dubai averaging 34 points.
In 2018, RWA provided very little information about the IB results which were published just after the start of the Summer break. However, we do know that the average point score was 32 points - above the 2018 global average of 29.78, and the UAE average of 31.41 - but did not receive details of the overall pass rate or student numbers. This is a pity, since it is difficult to get a sense of how successful the IBDP programme at RWA is without a better understanding of these two key factors. RWA informed us that over 90% (of an unknown number of students) exceeded the world average and 25% of Diploma Programme students attained 35+ points. The top Emirati student at Raffles World Academy attained a total of 38 points and is on her way to Kings College, London, to study Economics.
You may find the schools accreditation on its IB programmes here.
What the inspectors say:
After 6 years of a Good rating, Raffles World Academy has at last achieved the step up to a rating of Very Good in the 2017-18 Inspection round. This is the second highest rating available from the Dubai Schools Regulator and places RWA alongside its longer established sister IB school, Dubai International Academy, for the first time. Given that the inspectors themselves state that the inspection process has become more demanding over time, this is a very positive step for RWA.
Inspectors commented that the strengths of the school lie in "The inclusive ethos of the school and its provision to meet the needs of students with SEND; the positive and supportive relationship between the school and the parents; the students’ personal development, their understanding of Islamic values and world cultures and their social responsibility and innovation skills".
Students' achievement in terms of their progress and attainment in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, together with Arabic as a first and additional language and Islamic Studies, has shown significant improvement this year with 15 of the 28 measures for the non-Arabic subjects having been upgraded to Very Good, together with Students' Learning Skills. Indeed, every measure is now rated Very Good with the exception of post-16 Mathematics' and KG Science attainment which are rated Good. RWA also manages a clean sweep for the Arabic subjects, all of which are now rated Good - a real achievement, since many schools (including those that are rated Outstanding) still languish in the Acceptable field for these subjects.
Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills are rated Outstanding across the school. Inspectors noted that "The students’ personal development is a very strong feature across all four phases. This is supported by the use of the IB Learner Profile which is embedded in the culture of the school. Almost all aspects of students’ personal development are exemplary".
Teaching for effective learning and Assessment process are also predominantly rated Very Good - with the first measure having improved to this level across the Primary, Secondary and post-16 phases this year. Assessment remains rated as Good in Primary and Secondary and will surely be a focus for the current academic year with the goal of improvement in the next inspection.
The measures for curriculum design, implementation and adaptation are all rated Very Good. The report notes that "The curriculum is characterised by breadth, balance and rigour in the DP, coherence in PYP and the ability for all students to take action from their learning. With the introduction of the MYP, cross-curricular links to strengthen learning are extending into a school-wide feature". In addition, inspectors found that "Teachers regularly modify the curriculum in order to provide an effective range of stimulating challenges for students across all phases. This practice is most evident in lessons where teachers ensure that students with SEND are fully engaged in the learning experience".
Indeed the support of Students of Determination was found to be a particular strength of RWA. This area was also rated Very Good across the school where "Governors and leaders facilitate a highly inclusive ethos which is reflected in the school’s admissions policy. The school recruits expert staff possessing a wide range of insightful and knowledgeable skills. Led by an inspiring and committed SENCO, teachers promote best practice in provision, intervention and support".
Similarly, the care and support of students in its broadest sense was also rated Very Good, whilst Health and Safety including Child Protection was rated Outstanding.
The final area of analysis by the inspection team - the Leadership and Management of the school was found to be Outstanding in relation to relationships with Parents and the Community, Governance, and the Management, staffing, facilities and resources. The effectiveness of leadership and school self-evaluation were rated Very Good (an improvement for the self-evaluation measure from Good in the previous report).
Inspectors noted that " The leaders promote an inclusive and caring ethos, which is focused on student well-being through developing positive relationships between all stakeholders. The morale throughout the school community is very positive. The processes for driving change have been developed and implemented across the school".
Importantly "The parents are actively involved in school life and their views are regularly sought. The parent association (PARWA) is having a positive impact through its constructive support. Communication between the school and the parents is highly effective. Parents receive regular reports about their children’s achievements and progress. There is significant involvement in the local and wider community".
The sole area at a top level defined as needing attention by the KHDA is that "School leaders should ensure consistency in the delivery of the curriculum in all aspects of the International Baccalaureate approaches to teaching and learning, and include sufficient opportunities in all subjects for students to demonstrate their transferable learning skills". Although a wide range of areas for development were noted for each key indicator, the lack of improvement recommendation in specific relation to Arabic and Islamic Studies is a real achievement for RWA.
The next challenge for the school will be to see if it can find the elusive formula for improvement that raises its performance to Outstanding.
What about facilities:
Facilities are Raffles World Academy are indeed good, and include well equipped classrooms, art rooms, a dance studio/music rooms, science and computer labs, a soccer field, swimming pool, sports hall, basketball and tennis courts and badminton courts. The school has ample space, covering 30,000 square metres in total.
Feedback to Which School Advisor from the Survey was limited. Concerns exist for feedback and discipline. Parents responding to the KHDA survey are reported to be largely satisfied with both the governance and performance of the school.
The school says it accepts students from any nationality and from any curriculum "able to demonstrate that they have the ability to successfully access the IB curriculum and who will contribute in a positive way to our school".
There is a sharp differential between KG fees and Year 12 fees at Raffles World Academy, so parents who may be able to afford early years education at the school should seriously assess whether they believe they will be able to keep their children at the school for their full school career. Fees start at AED30,384 and rise to AED 85,075 by Grade 12.
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My two daughters had been going to raffles for 9 years and still.
They are very happy over there and its like their second home.
I have visited raffles and i was told they dont have a theater as you say in the report !!
Thanks Naithon. The school itself actually lists have a "theater" on its facilities page - http://www.rwadubai.com/facilities/
I suspect however it's how you define it. For the sake of clarity we have removed the word from our review. Thank you for your feedback.
My child has been with raffles for the last four years and i am too satisfied with it.I would recommend it parents who are looking for workd class education for their children.
Hi Hiba, many thanks for sharing your feedback. I'm sure this will be appreciated by parents looking at schooling options in the Umm Suqeim area.