United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Al Mushrif / St. Joseph's School Abu Dhabi

St. Joseph's School Abu Dhabi Review

Part of the Catholic Church-owned St. Mary's Group of Schools, St. Joseph's Abu Dhabi is the oldest member of the group, and only one of two schools within the Group not to bear the St. Mary's name. It is also the only fully Indian curriculum school within the group.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 7,200
Annual fees
AED 5,950–10,290
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
1967
School year
Apr to Mar
Principal
Sister Carmen
Owner
St. Mary's Group
Community
Main teacher nationality
India
Main student nationality
India

Nearby nurseries

1.6km • EYFS curriculum
1.8km • EYFS curriculum
2km • Creative Curriculum curriculum
2km • EYFS curriculum
2.1km • EYFS curriculum
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St. Joseph's School Abu Dhabi
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
AED 7,200
Annual fees
AED 5,950–10,290
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
1967
School year
Apr to Mar
Principal
Sister Carmen
Owner
St. Mary's Group
Community
Main teacher nationality
India
Main student nationality
India
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Part of the Catholic Church-owned St. Mary's Group of Schools, St. Joseph's Abu Dhabi is the oldest member of the group, and only one of two schools within the Group not to bear the St. Mary's name. It is also the only fully Indian curriculum school within the group.

The story so far...

St. Joseph's School is a Primary to Secondary school located in the heart of Abu Dhabi at Al Mushrif.  Similar to its sister school, the St. Mary's Catholic High School in Dubai, St. Joseph's only starts to educate children from Grade 1 - children join from a range of nurseries - in line with the statutory requirement in the UAE that children must attend school from the age of six. 

The school was established in 1967 and is managed by the Apostolic Vicariate of the Roman Catholic Church to Arabia.  St. Joseph's School was always associated with the Roman Catholic Church, and was located initially with the church building on the Corniche strip. Following the decision of the Abu Dhabi Municipality to redevelop the site, the school was obliged to relocate and the present foundation was laid for the church and school buildings on the 19th of March, 1981, being dedicated to St. Joseph, whose feast-day is celebrated on the same day. The day-to-day working of the school is managed by the Carmelite Sisters of St. Theresa, led by the present principal, Sister Carmen. 

St. Joseph's motto is Shine Where You Are. Its Vision is to Educate, Innovate, Empower to become Global Citizens, whilst the school's mission is "To equip students with skills and values to face the challenges of the 21st century, To enable students to achieve their highest potentials by developing their Social and Emotional personality through active learning, To create in students an awareness of Global environmental issues"

St. Joseph's educates both girls and boys in mixed classes from Grade 1 to Grade 6.  From Grade 7, the school is single gender for Girls only. The school has grown to well over 1,100 students, although a halt was placed on the entry of students to Grade 1 in 2017 to allow for some redevelopment of the school; as a result, numbers have fallen from over 1,300.  The vast majority of students and staff are Indian.  A staff to student ratio of 1:14 encourages personal support for each student.  Staff turnover is minimal.

What about the curriculum?

St. Joseph's is affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education in New Delhi. Students follow the CBSE curriculum from Grade 1 and take part in the X and XII standard public examinations.  Core subjects include Maths, English Language and Literature, Science, Arabic as a Second Language, Hindi, French, Islamic Education and Social Studies.  PE is also included, and the school says that it has always encouraged and motivated its students "to discover their forte and provides them with a platform to showcase their talents through their annual events such as Talent’s day, Sport’s day, Elocution, Drama, Science Quizzes, etc".

The curriculum at X and XII standard is relatively limited with a very specific focus on Science and Commercial subjects. These include a Science and Computer Science stream, a Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Psychology, or Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology stream, and a Commerce, Psychology and Maths stream.  Commerce includes Business Studies, Economics and Accountancy, whilst the majority of students also retain English. 

The school aims to ensure that students are academically able and qualified for a university education in order to ensure a wider choice and better career prospects. St Joseph’s School prepare students for university and a future of continuous learning.  The school states that "Through the St Joseph’s School Educational System, students develop a solid foundation of knowledge. They are motivated to strive for academic and personal excellence, and thereby become better geared to meet the challenges of a changing world".

What about support for students of Determination and those with Gifts and Talents?

Only a small number of students with additional learning needs had been identified at the time of the last ADEK inspection - some 1% which equates to approximately 10 students.  The inspection report notes that "identification and support of students with special educational needs (SEN) and those who are gifted and talented (G&T) is good overall. Most students receive highly effective guidance and support. SEN and G&T students mak[e] similar progress to their peers from their respective starting points". 

What about academic achievement?

Although St. Joseph's does not publish its exam results in detail - providing only Toppers - the 2017-18 ADEK report includes the following information:

"CBSE 2017 data for Grade 10 students show that attainment was outstanding in English, Mathematics and Science. The 2017 CBSE data for Grade 12 students indicate that attainment was outstanding in English, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, very good in Mathematics and Business Studies, good in Accountancy and Economics and weak in Psychology. Attainment was outstanding in Islamic education and very good in Arabic (Second Language)".

What about facilities?

The School Building is situated in a campus area of 400 x 400 sq.mt. The main building consists of 49 class rooms, 4 Science Laboratories, an IT suite with both desk top and laptop computers and a well equipped Library.  Sports facilities are limited to outside shaded spaces.

What the inspectors say

St. Joseph's has been inspected by ADEK's inspection team on a bi-annual basis and has consistently achieved a Good rating.  Students' personal and social development, and their innovation skills were rated Very Good, as was the Curriculum, and the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students during the 2017-18 inspection which took place in May 2018.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, no inspections took place after February 2020, and there has therefore been no subsequent inspection of St. Joseph's to-date.

In 2018, inspectors identified the strengths of the school as:

  • The achievements of the students in English, the sciences, Islamic education and UAE social studies.
  • The relationships at all levels, the students’ personal and social development and their attitudes to learning.
  • Students’ appreciation and understanding of the heritage and culture of the UAE and Islamic values
  • The protection, care, guidance and support of students
  • The leadership of the principal and the senior team.

Overall, areas for improvement identified by the Inspection team were to: 

  • Further raise achievement in all subjects, and particularly in Arabic as a second language and [the] primary phase by: ensuring teachers in all subjects improve their use of assessment data [and] plan to consistently meet the needs of different groups of students, especially the more able and G&T students; improving teaching in Arabic through more rigorous monitoring and evaluation of teaching and learning, and the sharing of good practice from other departments; increasing the rigour of curriculum review in Arabic to improve provision; ensuring good practice in teaching in middle and high phases is shared further with primary phase teachers; [and] developing additional opportunities across the curriculum to challenge more able and G&T students.
  • Improve students’ enterprise, creativity and innovation skills by: providing additional opportunities across the curriculum to develop these skills; ensuring teachers’ planning consistently challenges students to make full use of opportunities for independent learning; [and] broadening the range of resources in classrooms, including new technology, so that students have extended opportunities to research using a variety of sources.

Whilst many of the improvements in the first recommendation may well be achievable by the current staff and resources of St. Joseph's, the second recommendation requires not only potential teaching and curriculum changes and staff development to achieve these, but also a not inconsiderable investment in physical resources, and specifically IT, which is costly. 

If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reason behind the ratings - you will find it here.

The Buzz

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has not yet received feedback from parents to our School Survey.  If you are a parent, teacher or student at St. Joseph's please share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community by by completing the survey here.

The latest ADEK reports notes that "Partnerships between parents and school are very strong. Parents’ views are sought and acted upon by school leaders. Parents make a substantial contribution to school life, volunteering to help, for example, in updating the ICT facilities and assisting with careers advice".

Our View

St. Joseph's has already committed to significant improvements to the school site; it will be interesting to see if the Church and school are able to make the funds available to invest further in the resources of the school - bearing in mind that ADEK deems its fees to be Very Low.

What about the fees?

Fees range from AED 5,950 in Grade 1 to AED 10,290 in Grade 12.  There is an additional book fee which varies AED 395-475 dependent on grade. This is a remarkably low level of fees for a school that consistently delivers academically (albeit with limited subject options).

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