Owned by Interstar Education, the advisory behind well regarded Victory Heights Primary School, South View School certainly has the backers to make its mark in Dubai.
South View School 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 just one month that it felt the school had been "in situ for years".
The school follows the UK curriculum and will grow to be an all through school. 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.
No official opening tally of students has been provided by South View, but Ms Wells did tell us it was happy with progress, but that it was also being realistic.
"We appreciate that parents have a wealth of choice here in Dubai so we will always be happy to welcome families who recognize South View is right for them and their children."
The school is the fifth school in the UAE to be operated by Interstar Advisory Services DMCC (IAS); other schools in the group include Delhi Private School (Sharjah and Dubai), Victory Heights Primary School and Wonder Years Nursery.
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."
The school "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."
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..."
In addition to the core curriculum of English, Arabic and Islamic Studies South View will also provide Science and Mathematics integrated into a STEM approach, together with ICT through an integrated cross-curricular approach to learning. Students from year 3 onwards will have a choice of French and Spanish as Modern Foreign Languages. Music and Art will also be offered as part of the core curriculum.
Provision for students who are non-native English speakers will also be 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.
With the emphasis on inclusion and support for students of determination in line with the KHDA's Inclusive Education policy, the Inclusion Department will be 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 wilder curriculum, to help extend the most able and to raise each student’s confidence and self-esteem.
South View also 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.
The Director of the school Vinita Nayyar led the WSA team on a tour prior to the school opening, joined by both Principal, Ms Wells, and the owner, Dinesh Kothari. South View School shares the same architect as the well-received Victory Heights Primary School. Unusually in our experience, the school was built in one go, with no phases to the construction. It has been built on an area of 200,000 square feet with a built up area of 132,000 square feet. There are four main blocks – an Administration block, Foundation Stage block, Primary and Secondary block and a Sports block.
The Foundation block on the ground floor has two wings, each class with an outdoor learning area and its own playground. “Each class and outdoor area was designed with visibility in mind", Ms Nayyar explained. "We want the kids to be independent, but also students should be in the line of vision of the teacher or any adult in the room.”
Built on a design philosophy of flow and movement, the school has both a sense of interconnectedness and ease of movement. The school is designed as an organic structure "where the child actually grows with the school,” added Mr Kothari.
Parents have three drop off zones and there is a separate entry for secondary students. The ground floor has Years 1 to 4 in the primary block and Years 5 and 6 on the first floor. A central courtyard play area is provided for primary students, with toilets provided within the play area.
The first floor also has secondary classes and science labs. There are six science labs and three theory rooms. There are also separate and dedicated specialist Science, Art, Music, IT and Athletic facilities each for Foundation Stage, Primary and Secondary, in addition to separate playgrounds, play areas and social spaces for each age group.
Outside the Foundation Stage classes and behind the admin block is the Sports block, with a swimming pool on the ground floor, secondary multipurpose hall above it and multipurpose roof courts on the top. A canteen/cafeteria is placed between the swimming pool and the field with windows on both sides.
Ms Nayyar explained to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com the reasoning behind this location: “With extra curricular activities, parents who have their kids on either side can easily watch the students from the cafeteria while having a cup of coffee.
"We decided to put the cafeteria right in the middle with easy visibility.” The school has three multipurpose halls – one for the Foundation Stage, one for Primary students and one for Secondary."
There is no auditorium in the school. This was a deliberate decision by the team who wanted to give more space to each phase of the school and decided to use the space for the three multi-purpose halls. There is an emphasis on sports with three tennis courts being built across the street, an ICC cricket academy on site as well an a full secondary school-sized football and hockey field, a competition-sized, temperature-controlled swimming pool, as well as the smaller training pool for younger children.
Interstar itself claims not to have a ‘cookie cutter’ approach, with each of its schools having its own uniqueness and culture, "driven by our school leadership teams, teachers and administrators". The design and construction of South View School would certainly support that claim.
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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