United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Muhaisnah / The Indian Academy

The Indian Academy Review

The Indian Academy is a holistically focused CBSE curriculum school located in the Muhaisnah area of Dubai, close to the airport and to the border with Sharjah. The Indian Academy currently offers pre-KG to grade 10 and will expand year on year until Grade 12.
At a glance
School type
Private
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
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Availability 2020/21
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Annual fee average
AED 12,000
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
2012
School year
Apr to Mar
Principal
Susan Rubin Varghese
Owner
Iqra Education
Community
Main teacher nationality
Indian
Main student nationality
Indian

Nearby nurseries

2.6km • EYFS curriculum
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The Indian Academy
School type
Private
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 12,000
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
2012
School year
Apr to Mar
Principal
Susan Rubin Varghese
Owner
Iqra Education
Community
Main teacher nationality
Indian
Main student nationality
Indian
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First Published:
Thursday 9 February, 2017

Updated:
Wednesday 10 July, 2019

The Indian Academy is a holistically focused CBSE curriculum school located in the Muhaisnah area of Dubai, close to the airport and to the border with Sharjah. The Indian Academy currently offers pre-KG to grade 10 and will expand year on year until Grade 12.

The Indian Academy has retained its Good rating for the second year in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection round. 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...

Muhaisnah-located The Indian Academy (TIAD), established in 2012, offers the CBSE curriculum, but with a holistic approach to all aspects of its students' education.  The school's motto is "Inspire, Innovate, Achieve" and it underpins these goals with detailed information about its approach and philosophy.

The school is owned by Iqra Education, who also own the UK curriculum Oxford School, and Apple International School and its latest acquisition, The Indian Academy Sharjah.

TIAD's approach includes

  • Using technology to enhance learning
  • Empowering students with a global and a local perspective
  • Developing each student’s individual potential for leadership
  • Responding sensitively to the full range of students’ educational needs
  • Bench marking with the highest internationally recognized performance standards
  • Utilizing the CBSE curriculum and reinforcing the core of the program models for our curriculum.

In terms of philosophy, the school aims to 

  • To be recognized by the success of our students
  • To make student development the center of all school decisions
  • To implement the CBSE curriculum Learner Profile in an innovative way
  • To celebrate the diversity of our cultures, backgrounds and perspectives
  • To aspire for to the highest internationally recognized performance standards
  • To create a learning environment that will positively contribute to international and local communities.

After four years ranked as Acceptable by the KHDA,  the improvements that were clearly being made were rewarded in 2017-18, with the school being rated Good in its most recent inspection, with the majority of measures having improved to Good or Very Good. 

Unfortunately, as the school has improved in terms of the quality of education it is providing, since 2016, when it had over 700 students, numbers have dropped significantly to under 600, driven, in all likelihood by the change in economic circumstances for many families. This is a pity, since The Indian Academy is clearly a school that is improving its performance. 

The students at the school come from two main nationalities - Indian (80%) and Pakistani (10%), with the balance made up of a range of other nationalities with a somewhat higher ratio of boys to girls at 7:5.  Average class sizes are expected to be 25, with a maximum of 30 students when the school is at capacity.

Students are supported by some 60 teachers and 12 teaching assistants, across 55 classes. A teacher:student ratio of 1:8 is a very low level and should ensure plentiful individual planning and attention for each student. In 2016-17, the teacher turnover rate stood at over 30% - this has reduced significantly to 11% in 2017-18 - hopefully a sign of a more settled environment after what the KHDA inspectors noted as "a turbulent period of change"

TIAD has a strong focus on inclusion for children with SEND requirements. The Inclusion team consists of eight staff.  In addition, the school has established connections with external referral agencies for screening and assessment, and has put in place trackers for each IEP/BMP/IP program for each SEND child. Teachers provide differentiated learning with learning plans that cater to at least three levels of learners in a class.  There is also provision and support for students with Gifts and Talents.

What about the curriculum?

The Indian Academy Dubai offers the CBSE curriculum. 

It believes in a holistic approach – "a fine blend of the best of all boards is adopted and taught to the students thereby giving them a high and challenging platform for learning and applying their innovative skills. It is integrated, interdisciplinary and theme-based to help children see the connections and correlate thereby enabling retention. It is activity based and experiential thereby fostering involvement and enjoyment. The topics taught are supported by project work, field trips and culminating activities, which enrich and enhance the knowledge and skills of every child. The learning program, is not only challenging, but is designed to address all three (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) learning styles thereby being sensitive to the needs of individual students. We have carefully crafted our curriculum, beautifully blending activities ranging from rigorous sports to creative arts to innovative enterprise". This approach appears to be supported by the curriculum and timetable.

The Kindergarten curriculum, based on the UK EYFS curriculum, is based on age specific learning goals and has been designed to international standards based on early learning goals that need to be attained by the end of Kindergarten. This assessment pattern has been adapted successfully to provide the necessary range and balance. The curriculum framework gives a detailed view of the concepts that are being covered in all the seven areas of teaching:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Physical Development
  • Art and design

Activities such as Personal & Social Development, and Art & Design are integrated in the main curriculum areas of Literacy, Mathematics and Understanding the World. Children in KG undertake gardening, swimming, Music, cookery and PE, in addition to the academic program which includes Arabic from KG1. 

In Primary (Grades 1 to 4), Middle and Secondary Grades 5 to 10) school sections, the core academic subjects include Maths, English, Science and ICT, together with Arabic and Islamic Studies, and UAE and Indian Social Studies, Students are also offered either Hindi or French languages.  Primary, Middle and Secondary School students have access to Arts and Crafts, Music and Dance, Drama and Role Play and Physical Education which are included within the timetable. 

The focus on inquiry-based learning continues, as do parallel in-depth explorations of subjects – Arabic , Islamic Studies, Biology, Physics and Chemistry; algebra, geometry and arithmetic; history, civics, geography; language and literature appreciation; art and music; and sports, which often culminate into integrated projects which students have the opportunity to present in assemblies and to their class peers.
There is a strong focus on the integration of technology including resources such as iPads which the schools says "allows growth for powerful differentiation and gives every student the opportunity to work at his/her pace and level".  In addition, current classroom activities such as Flip classes, Powerpoint presentations, and assisting the teacher of working independently in class are designed to develop IT skills. 

The students undergo external examinations including IBT-ACER/ ASSET and Spelling bee and the school will participate in external bench-marking test including TIMSS and PISA.
As the school grows, students will sit the Grade X and XII CBSE public examinations.

The school offers After School Activities, which are apparently appreciated by both students and parents. These include Makerspace Activities such as Robotics, Cookery, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths), Gardening, SUPW, Gavels, Dance, Swimming, Visual arts, Sports and Eco club. One afternoon per week is devoted to curriculum extension activities that offer more opportunities for students to develop their interests, gifts and talents. 

What about facilities?

The school is located on a large rectangular plot, with classrooms spread across the four floors of the main building, together with further facilities is a low-rise building at the back of the reception and administration area.  All classrooms are provided with interactive white boards.

The KG is separately located with its own outdoor covered play areas. A library, canteen and ICT lab are also available, together with a large indoor sports hall, learner and main swimming pool, cricket nets and outdoor (paved) space for PE and sports activities.

What the inspectors say

Having made the move up to a Good rating - the minimum goal of the KHDA for all schools, the DSIB inspection team determined that the strengths of The Indian School Dubai are:

  • Students’ strong sense of personal and social responsibility, respect for others and love of learning.
  • Improvement in students ’ understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures in the primary phase.
  • Improved teaching in English, which results in improved student progress, in the primary and middle phases.
  • Regular performance management that supports improvement in teaching in middle school.
  • Improvements in assessment practices, driven by leaders across all phases.

The DSIB inspectors noted that teaching and assessment have improved significantly. With the exception of Arabic as a second language and Islamic Studies, every measure for attainment and progress across the core subjects was rated Good, including students' learning skills. Of particular note was the improvement in the quality of teaching in the Middle phase and the teaching of English, now a positive feature of the school where progress had been made in both the primary and middle phases and attainment had improved in Kindergarten.

Students’ achievement in Mathematics and Science remained strong across all phases. Attainment and progress in Islamic education and Arabic remained only acceptable - a common area of weakness across many Dubai schools. Progress of students with SEND was found to be good and most students made good progress against IEP targets.

Importantly, "The principal and leaders have a clear and coherent vision for the school, which has been sustained through a turbulent period of change. They are establishing a positive and inclusive culture of learning". Leadership and management of the school have been strengthened through the improvement of self-evaluation and more rigorous monitoring and planning. Professional development for teachers has been well focused on needs and effective in facilitating improvements, particularly in assessment practices. The school's effort to develop their staff has clearly been appreciated. Teachers are strongly supportive of the school leadership. They indicate that leaders and staff listen to parents and act on their views, and that there is collegiality and trust among members of staff. They state that professional development at school has helped them become better teachers. 

The school instils in students a strong sense of personal and social responsibility, respect for themselves and others, and a love of learning. Students’ understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures has improved. Students participate in activities to increase their innovation skills and they enjoy developing their leadership skills. Most students are engaged in entrepreneurial projects within and beyond school.

Areas of improvement noted by the report include the requirement

  • to raise attainment in Islamic education and Arabic by improving student progress rates.
  • to improve the quality of teaching in the primary phase by sharing best practice from elsewhere in the school and beyond, sustaining individual professional development closely linked to teachers’ needs, and to develop the capacity in leaders for effective coaching and mentoring.
  • to ensure that all curriculum adaptation is based on identified student needs and improves student attainment, especially where student progress is below expectations.

This was a very positive inspection report for The Indian Academy Dubai.  As is so often the case, the key to raising student achievement is through improving the quality of teaching and ensuring that the curriculum is adapted to meet the needs of individual students.  It seems, with the progression over the past five years from Acceptable to Good, that the determination lies within the school to ensure that this progress is maintained.

Parents' views

According to the KHDA's inspectors, satisfaction with the school is high. Partnerships with parents and governance remain positive features and both are continuing to improve. Parents feel that students are well behaved, respectful, and happy at school, developing personal and social responsibility and capacity for curiosity and innovation. They feel that literacy and love of reading is promoted in both English and Arabic. Parents of students with SEND feel well informed and confident that needs have been identified accurately. 

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com's own survey has had insufficient responses to be able to share the views of parents.  If you have a child or children at TIAD, please share your experiences with other potential parents by completing our survey here..

Fees start at AED 8,500 for pre-KG, AED 9,000 (reduced from AED 10,622) for KG1 and rise to AED 15,000 (down from AED 20,000) for Grades 9 and 10. The school has reduced all KHDA approved fees by approximately 10%, compared with 2018-19. The school offers a sibling discount with the first sibling receiving a ten percent discount and subsequent siblings receiving a 25 percent discount. 

 

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