Elite English School is a private K-12 school located in Deira, Dubai teaching the CBSE curriculum.
Elite English School has again been rated Acceptable, for the ninth year in a row, in the 2019-20 KHDA inspection process. The inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update to this review will be completed in due course.
The story so far...
Elite English School was established in 1992 and, with the exception of 2010/2011 when it was rated Good, has consistently been rated Acceptable by the KHDA. This is the minimum standard expected by the regulator which is pressing all schools to achieve a Good rating. The school educates 1,879 students at present, with 67 full-time teachers, most of which have appropriate teaching qualifications. Interestingly, the 2015/16 figures show a drop of 7 teachers from the 2014/15 figures of 62 and yet the school had an increase of over 400 students. A further 279 students have joined the school in 2016/17. This will be one reason why the teacher : student ratio sits at a very high 1:30.
In 2016/17, inspectors again noted that weaknesses lie in the key areas of teaching, progress and attainment which in most subjects remained Acceptable.
Elite English School teaches a CBSE English speaking curriculum with compulsory subjects also being taught in Arabic. It is difficult to find any information on how well Elite students do in exams as the school does not publish any results or 'topper' information on its website. However, the most recent KHDA report notes that students do well in the CBSE exams, based on the level of student attainment in Secondary English which is rated Good.
The three previous inspections have also acknowledged strengths in students’ personal and social development. The personal development of students is good, and it gets better at the secondary phase. In addition, students’ appreciation of the role and values of Islam in UAE society, and understanding of different cultures, is strong. A wider range of extra-curricular activities is now available. The school was commended by the KHDA for the very positive relationship, based on mutual respect, between students and teaching staff. There is also a very strong sense of community and good relationships with parents.
Procedures to ensure the health and safety of students are now good; there is a bright learning environment for students. Levels of care and support provided for students are acceptable. Partnerships with parents have been reported as being consistently strong. The previous improvement (2015/16) in kindergarten children's attainment to acceptable had been maintained. Secondary students' achievement in English remained Good.
However, primary students' progress in Islamic Education had slowed to Weak. Secondary students' achievement in mathematics had gone down to Acceptable, while the middle and secondary students' achievement in science had also gone down to Acceptable.
This year, inspectors noted that whilst the school's leaders had a clear understanding of the importance of innovation and its role in establishing a culture of innovation, they had not yet produced a strategic plan or developed a vision to support it and the school's use of resources to foster students' innovation skills was limited.
School leaders have still yet to develop a strategic approach to the national priority of innovation. The skills that promote innovative thinking are not evident during lessons.The curriculum is not modified in a way that promotes innovation, although the concept of innovation is promoted in assemblies and extracurricular activities.
Furthermore, last year, the school's inspection report noted a strong need to better integrate ICT (technology) into student academic life. The school boasts a number of science and computer labs. Students are keen to be provided with opportunities to undertake projects which enable them to think differently. Through the student council, a small group of students has lobbied senior leaders to develop innovative and sustainable approaches to the environment.
Recommendations over the previous three years have also focused on matching the level of difficulty of work provided for the students to their abilities, and on the need for governors to hold school leaders to account.
Whilst teaching is generally acceptable, examples of better practice can be found in secondary compared with the rest of the school. However, assessment is weak in the three upper phases and only acceptable in the Kindergarten. Curriculum design and adaptation remains acceptable, although there are weaknesses in modifying the curriculum to meet the needs of different groups of students.
The most recent report again focuses on these areas with additional emphasis on the need to better identify and support students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The inspectors note that the identification of students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is inaccurate, resulting in work not being matched to students’ abilities.
The Principal has been in post since the school opened. The rate of teacher turnover had been reduced from previous years and is currently 7%. This is a low level compared with the average of around 20-22% across Dubai schools. It is a positive sign in terms of the stability of the school and its leadership, but may result in challenges in terms of implementing the necessary changes. This may well be reflected in the judgement that Self-evaluation and leadership in the school are rated only acceptable.
In addition, weaknesses in governance have resulted in systems of accountability being inadequate. The absence of a clear system of governance, where each governor has a defined role, restricts the board's capacity to hold school leaders to account. The dual role of staff members both as school leaders and members of the Governing body results in them often holding themselves to account. Consequently, complete information about students' learning and personal development is not fully understood by other board members.
In addition, the work of the governing board is not systematic enough to enable it to exert a positive influence on the school's leadership and direction. This results in inconsistencies in students’ achievements, and in the school being prevented from moving to the next level.
The recommendations from the KHDA inspection clearly focus on the issues of the governance of the school and advise that a Governing Body should be created that includes representation from all groups of stakeholders, and is independent of the school’s leadership and management to eliminate any possible conflict of interest. It should hold school leaders to account for attainment, progress and learning outcomes of different groups of students in all year groups and for all subjects, especially those with SEND and gifts and talents.
In addition, the Governors should strategically manage the self-evaluation process to ensure that it accurately identifies weaknesses and provides direction on how to address them and scrutinises all data from international, national and internal assessments to ensure their
reliability and integrity in a way that informs school planning and self-evaluation.
Further, the school should create an assessment system that guarantees the integrity and accuracy of data and ensures that it is used to inform lesson planning. This should involve all staff in the analysis, moderation and use of data to identify starting points in learning for all groups of learners in every subject and enable the teachers in every subject, especially Islamic education and Arabic as an additional language, to match differentiated work to the abilities of students.
The system should enable staff to provide meaningful feedback and quality marking of students' work which should be monitored effectively by senior and middle leaders to inform staff training needs and to provide evaluative feedback to teachers on the quality of their teaching. It is to be hoped that this additional focus on assessment and training will enable the school to raise standards of attainment across the school. The school has been slow to react to these recommendations previously, but it is clear that the inspectors will not overlook these requirements.
As of 2016 fees are very much at the low end of the spectrum, ranging from AED 4286 to AED 9461 per year depending upon grade.
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