St. Mary's Catholic High School Muhaisnah opened in September 2015 and is the second branch of St. Mary's Catholic School in Dubai and part of St. Mary’s Group of Schools which operates schools in Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, and Sharjah.
St. Mary's Catholic High School Muhaisnah opened in 2015 and is the second branch of the St. Mary's group in the Emirate of Dubai and the second of four schools throughout the UAE, including schools in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujeirah. The school is operated using both secular and non-secular staff. The overall academic responsibility for the school lies with Director, Sr. Teresita Bayona, whilst the day to day management lies with Principal, Jaime Roth.
Currently the school is operating from FS1 to Year 11. Student numbers have grown rapidly to 1,100, made up predominantly of Indian students. The majority of the 64 teachers and 14 teaching assistants are from the Philippines. A teacher:student ratio of 1:17 is on the higher side - reflective of larger class sizes more commonly found in affordable schools. Staff turnover rate of 17% is on the lower side (the UAE average is between 20-22%).
FS students follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum (which is part of the statutory National Curriculum of England for the children of this age for foundation years), the Primary and Secondary School curricula.
Starting in Primary, the school also offers Bible study which is offered at the same time as Islamic Studies for Muslim children. "Children of other faiths will follow a programme in Citizenship Studies," the school notes. Core subjects through to Year 9 include English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Islamic, Arabic, Moral Education, Religious Studies, French, Computing, Music, Arts, Physical Education. The school will eventually offer A Levels, although at this point Year 12 is not yet open. As the school notes on its website, it "will offer the following subjects at A Level: Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, Business Studies, Accounting, Psychology and English."
Extra-curricular activities are broken down by school phase. Key Stage One and Two (Primary School) offer two periods of activity within their schedules which rotate every term. Key Stage Three and Four (Secondary School) will offer more extracurriculars for students including: Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Cricket, Cookery, Quilling, Scrapbooking, Music, Dance, Science Club, Environment Club, Chess Club and Board Games, and Quiz Club.
In common with all schools in Dubai, St. Mary's Muhaisnah participated in its first KHDA inspection in its third year of operation. It achieved a rating of Acceptable, the minimum expected by the Dubai School regulator, showing that children are achieving academically at the expected level for the curriculum. The KHDA's intention is that all schools should be rated a minimum of Good - suggesting that St. Mary's has further progress to make.
The fourth inspection of St. Mary's Muhaisnah took place in May 2022 and the school again achieved an Acceptable rating.
There was little change in terms of the individual ratings for the key performance standards and indicators, with Students' Achievement largely rated Acceptable though English and Science showed some Good ratings. Arabic as a second language remained rated Weak - which is likely to potentially hinder any overall upgrade in the school's rating.
At the core of Student Achievement are the quality of Teaching and Assessment, and the Curriculum. These two key performance standards were rated Acceptable across the school and until there is improvement, student achievement is unlikely to improve substantially.
On a positive note, students' personal and social development and their innovation skills remain a relative strength, as does the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students - both rated Good. Leadership and management is a mix of Good and Acceptable.
In terms of the overall strengths of the school, the DSIB inspectors found these to be:
It is evident from of the recommendations, notably with regard to the curriculum expectations pertaining to assessment, and to teaching of the curriculum, that there are some gaps in the knowledge of both leaders and teachers in terms of expectations from both. This must be a concern.
As far as areas of improvement are concerned, the school should:
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings and the requirements for improvement - you will find it here.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received insufficient feedback from parents to our school survey survey to be able to comment on parents' views of the school. The small number who have commented have given the school a rating of 3/5 - a positivity rating of 60%.
If you are a parent, teacher or older student at St. Mary's Catholic High School, Muhaisnah, please share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey here.
There was no pre-inspection survey of parents prior to the visit by the DSIB team, but their report includes the following comments: "Parental partnerships are good. Parents are actively involved in their children's education. They use the school’s portal as the prime means of communication. The school engages parents as partners in their children’s learning through a range of online forums. They receive regular reports on their children's performance in internal and external assessments. These keep parents informed about the work and progress of their children. Parents of students of determination express their satisfaction at the progress that their children make."
The St. Mary's Catholic schools around the Emirates appeal to a specific group of parents, mainly Indian or Philippino Catholic families who want their children to have a traditional education. For these families, it is the community of which they and their children are part, as much as the curriculum and teaching that matters. It is evident that there are improvements to be made in the quality of education currently being offered by the school, but we doubt that parents will be placing pressure on the school to achieve these - which is why the inspection process is such an important one.
Fees start at AED 11,228 for FS1 rising to AED 17,500 for Year 11. Books, uniforms and transport are additional.
The school's website is helpful and offers information for current as well as prospective students.
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