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 Dubai has retained its Good rating for the second year in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full reports have been published.
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 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.
The school currently has some 1,200 students to its purpose-built campus in Al Quoz, from 27 different nationalities. 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 11.
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 2016-17 report downgraded the school 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 judgments.
Attainment and Progress in English, Mathematics and Science were found to be good in Kindergarten. In the primary, Middle and Secondary phases, attainment and progress in the core subjects were also good, with the exception and progress in mathematics in secondary which is very good. Attainment in Arabic as addition language was found to be weak in primary and middle phases, but progress is acceptable. Islamic education was deemed to be good for both attainment and progress in the middle and secondary phase. The overall picture of student’s achievement is consistent.
Teaching and assessment were rated good in all the phases with the exception of very good for secondary in effective teaching and learning. The Curriculum has a clear rationale and develops a balance of knowledge, skills and understanding.
The arrangements to secure the health and safety of all the students were found to be outstanding, In particular, the safeguarding policy is well understood by all the members of school community. This is well supported by the good arrangements for the care and support of students. The overall effectiveness of the Leadership is good, along with the effective partnership with parents, which 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 day to day management is very good, with the processes to ensure the effectiveness of self evaluation and governance found to be good.
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. In the Primary, middle and secondary phase’s personal development was rated very good, showing a good understanding of Islamic values, awareness of other cultures and social responsibility, and environmental issues facing the UAE.
Overall strengths of the school were defined as:
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:
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 12,000 for pre-KG (as a result of a special discounted rate for the current academic year), and rising to AED 30,000 for Grade 11.
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