Owned by Interstar Education, the organisation behind well regarded Victory Heights Primary School and Delhi Private Schools, South View School certainly has the backers to make its mark in Dubai.
The story so far...
South View School (SVS) opened successfully in the Remraan Community on a purpose-designed and built campus in September 2018, offering FS1 to Year 8, its Principal Joanne Wells telling WhichSchoolAdvisor.com after nearly one full academic year that it felt the school had been "in situ for much longer".
The school is the fifth school in the UAE to be operated by Interstar Advisory Services DMCC (IAS); other schools in the group include Victory Heights Primary School, nearby Wonder Years Nursery, and Delhi Private School (Sharjah and Dubai).
The connection between Victory Heights Primary School (VHPS) and South View is and will remain a strong one. Students from VHPS will move on to South View for their Secondary education, and Principal, Sacha Crabb, at VHPS, has had strong input to the development of "her students" Secondary school. Ms. Crabb is a Board Member of South View School.
The school's stated mission is to "provide students with a high-quality, authentic British education that will truly add value and enable them to access the global opportunities around them". It will offer an inquiry-based and "student-led" curriculum designed to encourage students to be aspirational, creative and entrepreneurial.
"Our aim is for every South View student to achieve their full potential by equipping them with the life skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century world into which they will graduate. The happiness, well-being and success of all our South View family members is our ultimate goal."
On the happiness front the school has clearly made a positive start. According to Ms Wells, it has been "amazing to see how quickly children adapt to new surroundings, welcome new friends and make the school their own..."
Find out more about the design and facilities of South View School by reading about our pre-opening tour in our Experience here.
Nearly the end of the first year in operation, SVS is on its way to being an established school with big ambitions. Currently some 260 children from 3 to 12 years of age attend classes from FS1 to Year 7.
In common with most international schools in Dubai, children come from a wide range of nationalities - 42 in total - with no one nationality dominating. Some 15% of students are Egyptian, 12% from the USA, and 10% each from South Africa and the UK. Boys and girls are almost equally represented - there is a slightly higher ratio of boys currently.
At the opening of the school, Principal, Joanne Wells told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
"We appreciate that parents have a wealth of choice here in Dubai so we will always be happy to welcome families who recognise South View School is right for them and their children."
Teachers are almost all from the UK and degree holders, as well as qualified with a Post-graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). A new cohort of 25 teachers, including "all secondary specialist teachers" will join the school for the 2019-2020 academic year. This includes Mr Sam Holliday, who joins the school from Kings Nad Al Sheba and replaces Ms. Hayley Lamb as Head of Primary.
SVS says it has a good mix of teaching experience among its staff members; a mix of more senior staff with confidence and experience on the one hand, together with ambitious mid-level staff, and newer teachers with the energy and enthusiasm that comes at the start of their careers. All teaching staff in Dubai must have a minimum two years teaching experience.
In the Early Years, and Years 1, 2 and 4, there are two classes in each year group, and one class each in Years 3, 5, 6 and 7. "We are a bottom heavy school, meaning that we can grow organically" said Ms Wells. The school anticipates increasing numbers for each year group for September 2019 and, notably, adding 2 or 3 classes in Foundation Stage.
At capacity, South View School will accommodate 2,000 students with six classes in the Foundation Stage and four classes in each year group from Year 1 upwards. With a teacher to student ratio of 1:18 and average class sizes of 18 students currently (the maximum with be 25), children are guaranteed to receive plenty of individual attention, ensuring that the curriculum and teaching is adapted to their specific abilities and needs.
What about the Curriculum?
The school follows the UK curriculum and will grow to be an all through school. The school's website notes that... "in addition to outstanding facilities and excellent teaching and learning... the education offering at South View includes specialist, mother-tongue language instruction and a highly competitive sports programme, integrated into the school day." At the end of the first year in operation, it is clear that student numbers have hampered the sports programme somewhat, however the school say that they have fielded teams in every sport they possibly could. South View School also played host to the 2019 British Schools in the Middle East (BSME) games, more on which can be found in our South View EXPERIENCE.
The school aims to "provides students with a world-class education that will challenge and extend them, preparing them for life in the 21st century, where the ability to access global opportunities will be paramount."
In addition to the core curriculum of English, Arabic and Islamic Studies, South View provides Science and Mathematics integrated into a STEAM approach, together with ICT through an integrated cross-curricular approach to learning. Ms. Wells is keen to see Design Technology flourish in the school and "bring together learning from other STEAM subjects".
Students from year 3 onwards have a choice of French and Spanish as Modern Foreign Languages. Music and Art as well as Physical Education are offered as part of the core curriculum. Students will participate in external visits both within the UAE and overseas.
Provision for students who are non-native English speakers is also available, both within lessons and as part of a withdrawal programme where required, to ensure that the students can access their learning and make great progress on their learning journey. English Language Extracurricular Activities will also be available to students to support them in their learning of English.
South View aspires to support students in their native language, believing that high levels of language competence are the foundation for success in the global world. With this in mind, the school will provide opportunities for students to attend mother-tongue instruction both within and outside of the school day.
With the emphasis on inclusion and support for students of determination in line with the KHDA's Inclusive Education policy, the Inclusion Department is positioned in the heart of the school to reflect South View's inclusive philosophy and approach. All lessons will be differentiated to support the needs of all learners; this includes students who are more able, gifted and/or talented, as well as those for whom learning presents some challenges.
The overall purpose of The Inclusion Department is to develop, in students, the learning skills necessary to access the wider curriculum, to help extend the most able and to raise each student’s confidence and self-esteem. Interestingly - and very positively - South View School does not make any additional charges for its support of students with additional needs.
SVS also appreciates the need for students to have a focus away from the academic and to develop their interests through Extra-curricular activities. The school offers a full range of teacher-led extra-curricular activities, running throughout the week from Year 1 upwards. A range of sporting, academic, language and creative activities are available to South View students with sports squads additional to these ECAs.
The school also offers a range of paid additional extra-curricular activities by external providers including Los Atletas Tennis Academy, Hamilton Aquatics, Just Play, Chess Knowledge, Musical Expressions and Premier Genie.
What about the facilities?
South View School boasts some exceptional facilities, with specialist areas being provided for every Key Stage; the design of the school will meet all students' academic needs as the school grows to provide IGCSE and A’ Level options. Premium facilities include separate and dedicated specialist science, art, music, IT and athletic facilities for Foundation Stage, Primary and Secondary, in addition to separate playgrounds, break-out areas and social spaces for each of age group.
In addition, South View’s sports facilities, include a full secondary school-sized football field, a competition-sized, temperature-controlled swimming pool as well as a smaller training pool for younger children, three Multi-Purpose Halls for a range of athletics, a dance studio, multiple outdoor roof courts and access to three dedicated tennis courts.
Certainly South View School seems to have the right mix in terms of the Owners' and key staff experience, the facilities and the commitment to succeed. Opening with over 250 children in the current UAE economic environment was an achievement in itself, particularly given the school's somewhat outlying location off the Emirates Road at Remraam and with the long-established (though relatively newly relocated) Jebel Ali School as a neighbour.
We asked why parents should choose South View School over others in Dubai and were told that the school offers a "Perfect blend of affordable fees with rigorous learning and teaching in a family atmosphere, where everyone gets their moment in the sun".
Fees: Founders fees, which will remain in place for the first three years of operation of the school, start at AED 35,000 for FS1 and rise to AED 49,900 for Year 8.
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