United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Quoz / Springdales School

Springdales School Review

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, Dr. Rajni Kumar. After achieving a Good rating in its first DSIB inspection in 2015-16, there was some inevitable dismay at a down grade to Acceptable the following year. In the 2017-18 inspection, the school is again rated Good.
Springdales School
First Published: Thursday 1 September, 2016
Updated: Wednesday 21 March, 2018
  • School Type
    All through
    Inspection Rating
    Good
    Curricula Taught
  • Availability 2017/18
    not_interested No
    Availability 2018/19
    fiber_manual_record All grades
    Annual Fee Average
    AED 24,000
    Annual Fees
    AED 12,000 - 30,000
    Status
    Open
    Year Opened
    2013
    School Year
    Apr to Mar
    Principal
    Julian Williams
    Community
    Main Teacher Nationality
    Indian
    Main Student Nationality
    Indian

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, Dr. Rajni Kumar. After achieving a Good rating in its first DSIB inspection in 2015-16, there was some inevitable dismay at a down grade to Acceptable the following year. In the 2017-18 inspection, the school is again rated Good.

First Published: Thursday 1 September, 2016
Updated: Wednesday 21 March, 2018

The Story so Far

Over the last 60 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.

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).

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. Its founder, in her introduction to the school on their website states

What we are hoping for is to nurture our children into lovely human beings with enlightened minds and compassionate hearts, children who will grow up to make the world a more vibrant, peaceful and beautiful place in which all can live in harmony.”

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.

In addition to the academic programme, the school also offers a Pupil Enhancement Programme which is mandatory for students from Grades 3 to 9 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.

The Stats

In its first years, the school attracted over 1,400 students to its purpose-built campus in Al Quoz, from 27 different nationalities. Numbers have fallen back to just over 1,200 for the 2017-18 academic year. 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-primary through to Grade 9.

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 improve its KHDA rating.

What do the Inspectors Say 2017/2018

The previous report had the school downgraded in its ranking from Good to Acceptable, mainly due to a drop in student attainment and progress in core subjects, most noticeable in the middle school. This was likely linked to the drop in teaching and assessment in the middle grades. As the report noted, "differentiation of learning, although often referred to in planning, is rarely implemented and the needs of groups of students are not met adequately". There was a limited variety of teaching strategies used and often a 'one size fits all' approach.

In the 2017-18 inspection round, Springdales has been able to attain its Good rating again. This has been driven by the whole school drive to secure improvements in teaching, learning skills and assessment. Almost all teachers who responded to the KHDA pre-inspection survey, were very supportive of the developments made to systematically use data to improve learning and teaching. They were very appreciative of the professional development they receive, expressing a clear commitment to applying this new expertise to create positive learning experiences. These findings were supported by the inspection judgements.

Inspectors also noted the high-quality outcomes in the Kindergarten, the exemplary safeguarding arrangements (rated Outstanding) which keeps the school community safe and the promotion of students’ well-being.

Academically, attainment in Arabic remains Weak across all sections of the school, although progress is rated Acceptable. However, across all other core subjects – English, Maths and Science – progress and achievement are now all uniformly rated Good, with progress in Maths in the Secondary School rated Very Good. Teaching has also improved across all sections and is again rated Good, with Very Good in the Secondary School.

The inspection team also praised the Personal Development of students noting that in the Kindergarten, children’s behaviour is exemplary. They show high levels of care for each other. Attitudes to learning are very positive and the excellent relationships with staff and each other contribute strongly to their learning. Older students show very positive outlooks on learning. They persevere when work is challenging. Students across the school behave very well and collaborate with each other which contributes to the school’s inclusive, family ethos.

Partnerships with parents has improved. Stronger organisational capacity and the expanding deployment of parent representatives is establishing trust. Consequently, parental expectation is now more closely aligned with that of the school. Productive partnerships have been built by Friends of Springdale School (FOSS) with other schools.

The Inspectors advised that there were further improvements to be made. They recommended that Governors and senior leaders improve the quality of students’ attainment and progress in Arabic as an additional language by: improving teachers’ understanding and implementation of good additional language practices and matching activities to the needs of individual students.  Students need more opportunities to develop their reading and writing skills, whilst the school must train and monitor teachers to accurately use assessment data to deliver lessons that build on students’ prior knowledge and improves their achievement. Staff also need to ensure that the needs of the lower and higher attaining students are met through more effective curriculum adaptation.

What do Parents Say? 

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 WSA is still limited, but what we can see so far is that it's mixed. Students do look forward to going to school and there is a sense of belonging. However, parents clearly feel the school needs to do more, and there is clear reservation in terms of whether they would recommend it to other parents.

To tackle this Springdales School needs to improve the quality of its teaching and learning, by ensuring teachers set challenging tasks to meet the needs of all students and to establish more opportunities for students to develop their enterprise, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Most parents, (86%) who responded to the KHDA pre-inspection survey, are satisfied with the quality of education provided. Almost all express confidence in students’ personal development and the access parents have to leaders. A small minority expressed concerns regarding leaders’ listening to their views, the development of independent learning skills, particularly in the reading of Arabic, and feedback to students. These findings were supported by the inspection judgments.

With the clear improvement that has taken place in teaching and learning in the past academic year, the fundamentals at Springdales are in place. If it continues to get the teaching right, everything else will follow.

What are the Fees?

The fee structure is at the mid-end of CBSE schools in Dubai, starting at AED 18,000  for pre-primary, and rising to AED 28,000 for Grade 9-10.

  

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