Springdales School Dubai is a sister school (though independently managed) to its home campus in Delhi. Springdales School India is ranked among the top 10 outstanding schools in its home country. It was established in 1955 by the veteran British Educationalist, Mrs. Rajni Kumar. After achieving a Good rating in its first DSIB inspection in 2015-16, there was some inevitable dismay at a downgrade to Acceptable the following year. In the past four years, the school again achieved a Good rating.
Over the last 65+ years, the Indian-based school has earned the reputation for being a progressive institution that helps students build character through its unique value-based education. It has received national and international recognition for its high-level of academic excellence, innovative educational practices, holistic approach, and emphasis on performing arts, internationalism and its humanitarian ethos.
Springdales is known for its pioneering role in education in India, and many of the innovative practices implemented by the school have been adopted by schools across India. Given the substantial Indian expatriate population in the UAE, it seems to make sense that a well-known Indian brand should aim to make the transition from its home country to an overseas environment where it would be known.
Feedback from parents at Springdales Dubai to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is limited in number but largely positive, with an overall rating of 4.2/5 - or a positivity rating of 84%. The following statement from a parent is reflective of many; "One of the best CBSE Schools in Dubai with strong leadership team and amazing infrastructure. Both of my sons are growing under the supervision of expert team of teachers for their all round development in academics, sports , music, art and dance. Extremely happy with the environment as students safety is the top most priority for the school. The best part for me as a mother is that they never want to take a leave!" Parents praise teachers, the curriculum and infrastructure of the school.
It seems that not only parents appreciate the school. A number of very positive comments have also been provided by teachers, with the following one an especially detailed response: "A school which believes in creating a love for learning and respecting diversity of different cultures. It emphasis on STEAM, i.e. the integration of science, technology, engineering and enterprise, art and design and mathematics. Focus on holistic development and well being of the child has always been the prime focus at our school. Students feel safe, positive, connected and engaged in this environment which fosters collaborative relationships and positive interaction. Being a teacher at Springdales has been one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences. It has provided me ample opportunities to learn and grow as a member of the school."
Although there has clearly been initial input from the school in India, Springdales Dubai is very much a UAE home-grown commodity, being owned and managed by Goldline Education (a subsidiary of a long-established construction company).
The Dubai school's Vision is is to work for social justice and equality, peace and international understanding, and a sustainable global environment where man and nature can co-exist. Its Mission is stated as "Our students hold the key to the future. We nurture in them a spirit of love and hope, helping them develop rational thinking and compassionate hearts, encouraging them to reach out to those around them with the spirit of service, as members of a global human family."
According to KHDA statistics in January 2022, Springdales School currently has 1,122 students from 27 different nationalities who are taught by a total of 114 teachers. The student:teacher ratio of 1:11 is on the low side for an Indian curriculum school, but teacher turnover at 32% is decidedly above the norm. Replacing one in three teachers can inevitably lead to some disruption.
According to the school approximately 20-30% of students come from overseas, and the balance transfers from other schools in Dubai and neighbouring Emirates. The school offers pre-KG through to Grade 12.
Teachers have been recruited from India, Pakistan, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia and Uzbekistan. The majority are from India, but for the second time, the school has recruited a Principal from the UK. Both the current and former Principals have experience of senior positions at schools in Dubai, which would have supported the school's drive to attain and subsequently retain its Good KHDA rating.
Springdales is currently led by Dr. Brian Gray, following the decision by the school to appoint a non-Indian Principal back in 2016.
Springdales School Dubai follows the CBSE curriculum and has put together a "unique" proposition for parents and students based around both its Indian roots, and international context.
The school is organised into four sections, with its Foundation section incorporating students from KG to Grade 2. The KG curriculum is based on the UK's Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum with a focus on the development of cognitive and motor skills, providing a stimulating atmosphere to encourage curiosity through a variety of creative, kinesthetic, and problem-solving activities.
Adopting the learning-through-play method, using a wide range of learning materials and activities, in both classroom and free-flow environments, children explore language and literacy, numeracy, discovering and understanding the world (science), physical development, creativity and performance, the customs of different countries and social skills through collaboration with each other. Through the exploration of language, numeracy, and the world around them, children develop confidence in communication, gross and fine motor skills, and interpersonal skills. Music, Art and Craft, Physical Education, and Sports activities are a part of the curriculum.
Although the delivery of the curriculum will be adjusted and more formalised as students move into Grades 1 and 2, the focus on literacy, language, numeracy, science, PE and creative skills remains.
From Grades 3 to 5, students are part of the Preparatory (Primary) section. The curriculum in these classes focuses on encouraging inquiry, exploration and inculcating confidence in key learning skills such as reading, writing, listening, speaking, information technology capability, problem-solving, observation and measurement. Core subjects include English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies, a second language (Hindi or French), and Computer Science. Physical Education, Computer Studies, Art & Craft and Music are also offered and Arabic and UAE Social Studies are mandatory from Grade I along with Islamic Education for Muslims and Value Education for all students. The Primary School years "encourage and motivate young minds to become self-confident, self-reliant and self-disciplined through a variety of curricular and co-curricular activities."
Assessment takes place through Periodic and Term Examinations and is reported formally to the parents. It is followed up with “next steps” and “targets”, aiming for students, parents and the school to work as partners. The objective is to not just provide the students with a grade but to create a road map towards improvement, while supporting each child in reaching his/her full potential in all areas of the curriculum.
From Grades 6 to 8, students are part of the Middle School. The curriculum is designed to provide a broad, traditional foundation of knowledge while increasing the student’s awareness of the relationships between all subjects and areas of learning. Students are encouraged to question and evaluate information critically, to seek out and explore the links between subjects, and to develop intercultural awareness and communication skills.
Subjects include English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, a second language (Hindi/French), Arabic, UAE Social Studies, Moral Education, Computer Studies, Robotics with Art, Music, Dance, Physical Education and Life Skills. Islamic Education is mandatory for all Muslim students. Assessment in the Middle School is based on the CBSE's updated assessment policy which puts a 20% weightage on formative and 80% weightage on summative assessment.
Finally, for students in Grades 9 to 12, the Secondary section encompasses the final four years of education, with a definite focus on the CBSE Board Examinations in Grades 10 and 12. Five core scholastic subjects are offered in Grade 10: English, Mathematics, Social Science, Science and Hindi or French, along with Physical Education, Computer Studies Moral Education and Arabic. Islamic Studies is mandatory for all Muslim students. Assessment in the Secondary School is based on the assessment policy of the CBSE, which puts a 20% weightage on formative and 80% weightage on summative assessment. Students take the All India Secondary Examination (AISE) at the end of Grade 10.
In Grade 11, subject choices tend towards the more traditional Science and Commerce streams - there is relatively little in the way of Liberal Arts. Subjects are divided into six option groups. These include English (code 001) which is mandatory for all students, Accountancy, Applied Mathematics, Biology, Business studies, Chemistry, Commercial Art, Computer Science (code 083), Economics, Entrepreneurship, History, Home science, Informatics Practice, Mathematics, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and elective Physical Education. The curriculum is enhanced through an enriched Work Education programme, which includes Robotics (Humanoid), MATLAB, Python and Tally among others. Islamic Education is mandatory for all Muslim students.
In addition to the academic programme, the school also offers a Pupil Enhancement Programme which is mandatory for students from Grades 3 to 10 and optional for Grades 1 and 2. The aim is to provide extra-curricular activities revolving around physical, social and intellectual ECA's. The school aims for every child to get an equal opportunity to participate in variety of activities and make use of state-of-art facilities and infrastructure available.
These include Cultural Activities such as Classical dance, Western dance, Vocal music, Instrumental Music, Painting, Dramatics, Debating, Public Speaking; Sports such as Cricket, Aerobics, Yoga, Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Lawn Tennis, Badminton and Swimming; and Language including French, German, Spanish and Arabic.
Springdales School states that it is an inclusive school. It welcomes and responds to the diverse needs of all young people and their families. Its mission is to support each and every student to access and accomplish from the same curriculum, develop effective skills and to uphold their rights to an inclusive education centered on the statutory requirements of the KHDA.
The school believes that collaboration is essential to deliver effective bespoke support to every student. Their progress is championed by the Inclusion Support Team which comprises the Principal, Head of Inclusion, Senior Leader, Inclusion, Parent, Teacher Champion, Inclusion Student Champion, Inclusion Governor, Support Teachers and Learning Support Assistants.
The school is committed to providing teaching and learning experiences that target each student’s needs. Springdales aims to support the diverse learning needs of students by identifying differentiated teaching and learning in all three levels of planning. The inclusion team then implements a personalised action plan to target areas of priority and drive improvement. This ensures that every student is supported to access and participate in the curriculum leading to continuous improvement in student achievement.
Springdales is one of a growing number of schools that offer the ASDAN programme.
ASDAN is a UK-based charity that provides programmes and qualifications for learners
with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). ASDAN's courses have been developed for learners with a wide range of learning needs and disabilities and provide meaningful outcomes through a person-centered approach that prepares learners for adult life.
The most recent KHDA report notes that "Systems for the identification and support of students of determination are particularly effective" with the rating for the Provision and Outcomes for Students of Determination rated Very Good.
Springdales offers the ASDAN 'Preparing for Adulthood' programmes which include:
New Horizons: for learners aged 9–13
Transition Challenge: for learners aged 14–16
Towards Independence: for learners aged 14+ and adult
Work right: for learners aged 14+ and adults
Springdales began the ASDAN programmes in Feb 2019 for its SEND students. Ten students registered for New Horizons, five students for Transition Challenge (Introduction & Progression), and one student for Transition Challenge (Sensory).
Further details of the programme at Springdales can be found here.
The school is located on a very large purpose-built site in the Al Qouz industrial area, with excellent transportation links to both major highways, enabling a wide area to be covered by the school's large fleet of buses.
The 10-acre wi-fi enabled campus boasts a dedicated Kindergarten wing with its own play area, which is located well away from the main buildings housing the Primary and Secondary schools, a cafeteria, swimming pool and parking bay. There are extensive outdoor sports facilities including athletic track, soccer field, tennis court, basket ball court, volley ball court and cricket training pitches.
There are, in total, 110 large and spacious classrooms each equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment; in addition a there's a well-stocked library with a comprehensive collection of educational books and multi-media resources; art, dance, and music studios; and state-of-the-art-science laboratories.
Unfortunately, Springdales does not appear to publish its Grade 10 and Grade 12 CBSE exam results, which we find disappointing. Whilst examinations are not and should not be the be-all and end-all of education, there is no doubt that they are an important factor in student success and in enabling parents to identify the strengths of the schools they are considering for their children.
Springdales has published on its website the outcome of the global benchmark test TIMSS - Trends in Mathematics and Science Standards - but the quality of the upload is so poor that it is impossible to follow the detail.
In a shock to the school, the 2016-17 DSIB inspection resulted in a downgrade from Good to Acceptable, mainly due to a drop in student attainment and progress in core subjects and a drop in teaching and assessment standards, most noticeably in the Middle school section.
These concerns were immediately addressed by the school and in the 2017-18 inspection round, Springdales was able to attain its Good rating again. This had been driven by the whole school drive to secure improvements in teaching, learning skills and assessment. In 2018-19, Springdales again achieved the Good rating.
The 2019-20 inspection, which took place in October 2019, the school continued to show moderate improvements, though these were not sufficient to move the outcome beyond the overall Good rating which is now clearly established.
In terms of student achievement, all core English-taught subjects are rated at least Good, with Primary English and Maths improving to Very Good. Islamic Education is now rated Good across the school, though Arabic retained its Acceptable rating - something that the inspection team would certainly wish to see improve.
Teaching and Assessment, and the Curriculum, the two pillars upon which Student Achievement are largely built, retained their Good ratings across the board, with the exception of the Secondary school Curriculum design and implementation which achieved a Very Good rating for the first time.
What is an area of strength is the Personal and Social Development and innovation skills of Springdales' students. These were rated Very Good across all school sections except for KG, where personal development achieved a Very Good rating, and the Secondary section's Social responsibility and innovation which was rated Outstanding.
The two key performance standards associated with the Protection, care, guidance and support of students were again rated Outstanding (in terms of health and safety including protection), whilst Care and Support retained its rating of Very Good.
The final standard of Leadership and Management also retained its mix of Good and Very Good ratings from the previous inspection. Again, it is evident that the relationship between the school and its community is a strong one, as are the facilities, resources and staffing of the school.
In terms of the strengths of Springdales School, these were defined by the inspection team as:
However, there were some evident concerns which the inspection team felt needed to be addressed:
The requirement to improve the quality of teaching across the school is not a new one. It is very clear that without the clear improvement in this regard, the standard of Student Achievement will also be held back. It may be that the demand for improvement in this specific respect accounts for the significant increase in teacher turnover, if the school has decided that new blood in the most effective way to address this issue.
With no confirmation as yet as to when school inspections will next take place (but seemingly not before the 2022-23 academic year), Springdales does at least have some time to make the improvements in this respect.
If you would like to read the inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
The school talks a lot about family - see our video for more on this - and there is no doubt this is a strong, purposeful school at its core. Parent feedback to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com through our Parent Survey is still relatively limited, but what we can see so far is those parents who have so far responded are broadly positive about the school. They have rated it 4.2/5 - or a positivity rating of 84%.
Whilst students' sense of belonging to the school is broadly in line with the UAE average, 65% of children enjoy attending the school 'tremendously', well above the average of 54%.
Parents seem largely satisfied with the school also. 77% have never considered moving their child to another school (the average is 73%) and 80% are fully satisfied with the academic performance of the school, although 30% - which is also the UAE average - believe that additional tuition outside school is required. The vast majority of parents are 'quite' or 'extremely' confident that Springdales can meet their child's individual needs.
Interestingly, there was a striking disparity between parents who believed the school is in the top 50% for sports, and those who felt it was not competitive at all, and between those who felt the school was inclusive in this context and those who believed it to be highly selective.
Parents were also highly satisfied with the level of feedback they receive from the school and its disciplinary policy and implementation. Two thirds of parents had no concerns about bullying - much higher than the UAE average of 47%.
The two most telling responses from Springdales parents were, however, the fact that 83% of respondents would recommend the school to others (though 15% would not), and the agreement of a whopping 75% of parents (the UAE average is 49%) that the fees they pay fully represent value for money.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Springdales Dubai and would like to share your experience and opinions with other potential members of your community, please complete our Survey here.
Just under 420 parents responded to the KHDA pre-inspection survey with 94% stating that they were satisfied with the quality of education provided by the school. They commented positively on the quality of the school's provision, which had resulted in improved academic and social development. They agreed that school leaders listen and respond to their views, and that they have sufficient access to information to support their children at home. Nearly all parents indicated that their children are happy and feel safe at school.
224 students responded to the KHDA's Well-being Survey, with 72% saying that they felt a high degree of happiness with their education. Students who participated in the survey indicated that teachers care for them and that they feel valued. They enjoyed the very safe environment. They have supportive friendship groups and are optimistic about their future.
Whilst it is encouraging to see, from both the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey and the most recent KHDA report, that parents and students are largely satisfied with Springdales, there is a clear call for standards of teaching in particular to improve. Given the reputation of the original school in India, we would expect this to be a focus of the leadership team and its staff.
It seems that, based on the most recent inspection comment - 'The principal and senior leaders work with diligence and enthusiasm to promote the school’s ambitious vision. The school has responded vigorously to the previous inspection recommendations' - with the improvement that has taken place in teaching and learning since the earlier inspection reports, the fundamentals at Springdales are in place. If it can continue to get the teaching right, everything else will follow.
What are the Fees?
The fee structure is towards the higher-end for CBSE schools in Dubai, starting at AED 14,111 for pre-KG and AED 15,776 for KG1 (as a result of a special discounted rate for the current academic year), and rising to AED 32,000 for Grade 12.
There is also a scholarship programme which is available to Middle and Secondary school students (both current and prospective). Scholarships for the 2022-2023 Academic Year will include those for Academic Excellence, Creative and Performing Arts, Sporting Scholarships, Innovation and Digital Technology, Arabic Studies, Arabic Studies Scholarships (Non-Native Speaker), Inclusion Scholarship and Chairman's Scholarship. Full details can be found here.
The school offers sibling discounts of 10% for the second child, 15% for the third and 20% for the fourth.
Springdales 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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