United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Dubai Investments Park / The International School of Choueifat DIP

The International School of Choueifat DIP Review

The International School of Choueifat-DIP first opened its doors in September 2012 to students in Kindergarten to Grade 3. The school has offered a full K-12 program in September 2017.
Parents' Rating
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3.0 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
At a glance
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
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Availability 2020/21
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Annual fee average
AED 33,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2012
School year
Sep to Mar
Principal
Jamal Hazbun
Owner
SABIS
Main teacher nationality
Irish
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities

Nearby nurseries

1.2km
2.1km • EYFS curriculum
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The International School of Choueifat DIP
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 33,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2012
School year
Sep to Mar
Principal
Jamal Hazbun
Owner
SABIS
Main teacher nationality
Irish
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
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First Published:
Saturday 24 December, 2016

Updated:
Sunday 14 April, 2019

The International School of Choueifat-DIP first opened its doors in September 2012 to students in Kindergarten to Grade 3. The school has offered a full K-12 program in September 2017.

The International School of Choueifat Dubai Investment Park has been rated Acceptable for the third year in a row in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated inspection report can be found under the Inspection report tab. An update to this review will be completed once the full report has been published.

The story so far...

Part of the SABIS network of schools which cover all five continents (though inevitably as a Lebanese-origin organisation, most highly represented in the Middle East), some 70,000 students attend SABIS schools at the current time.  Established in Lebanon over 130 years ago, SABIS schools are highly regarded by many Arab nationalities in particular.

The Dubai Investment Park school was established in 2012 with the aim of alleviating the demand at the original Dubai school based in Al Sufouh which had been unable to expand beyond its current 4,000 capacity to meet the ever-growing waiting lists. The newer school has clearly been successful with well over 3,000 students on its roll in 2018.  The majority of students are expat Arab.

The DIP school employs 134 teachers (mainly from Ireland), and 23 teaching assistants, providing a teacher:student ratio of 1:23 - on the high side compared with many UK curriculum schools which often aim for around half this number.  This may account for the teacher turnover rate for the school which was a very high 39 percent during the school's first inspection in 2016-17. A high teacher turnover rate can negatively affect consistency, morale, and continuity so it's critical to examine reasons for a high teacher turnover. However, in 2018-19, this figure had reduced to a very low 7% - evidence that earlier teething issues with staff appear to have settled down.

What about the curriculum?

The International School of Choueifat-DIP   follows a predominantly UK-based curriculum offering IGCSE, AS and A Levels, but with a US curriculum option in the final two grades offering SAT and AP courses for US college entry.

Choueifat School DIP follows the same curriculum and ideology as all SABIS schools. This is a rigorously controlled and maintained system. As the school notes on their website, "All courses for students at all levels are clearly structured to enable students and teachers to know precisely what should be learned. Teachers teach one concept at a time using the SABIS Point System® with each lesson alternating frequently between oral work, individual work, and group work."

Part of the day-to-day routine for all students is the on-going computer-based testing that takes place often weekly.  Whilst this is designed to ensure that students have understood the lesson content, and to ensure that teachers have delivered the assigned content during the period, inevitably, the main focus is on a rigid rote-learning programme with little opportunity for deviation and creative thought or independent research.

One of the hallmarks of Choueifat's curriculum is the rigour with which teachers follow to the letter the course syllabus. All lessons move at the same pace, down to the page, and although this ensures consistency, it can affect the ability of teachers to respond to individual student needs. As the KHDA report explains, "The quality of teaching [is] acceptable but better when teachers use the textbook as one of many teaching resources, rather than following its contents exclusively and focusing only on examinations." 

The strictness of the curriculum also affects the school's ability to meet the needs of SEND students and modifications of the curriculum for students with special educational needs and disabilities is not evident. In fact, the school purports to have no students with special needs and does not "admit any students who [are] either ‘physically or mentally compromised."

What about Academic achievement?

In common with all Choueifat schools in the UAE, Choueifat DIP does not publish its exam results. If ever there were a way to vindicate the teaching methodology and the concerns felt by many, a transparent approach to exam results would be a definitive way.  WhichSchoolAdvisor.com encourages all schools to publish their results using the transparent formats issued by most examining organisations.  Whilst exam results are not the be-all and end-all - although, ironically, at Choueifat, they do seem to be - we believe that this is vital information to which existing and potential parents should have access.

What the inspectors say

Choueifat-DIP has been ranked overall as Acceptable by the KHDA for all three inspections.  In this regard, it is following closely in the footsteps of the original Dubai branch which has been rated Acceptable for nine years in succession in 2018-19.

As the report notes, "students’ attainment and progress [is] mostly acceptable across all phases. Students’ learning skills [are] acceptable but there [are] too few opportunities to develop their critical thinking, problem solving and practical skills.

"However, students at Choueifat - DIP are cared for and safe. "The school provide[s] a secure and safe environment for its students. The school [takes] its responsibilities for ensuring the health and safety of its students, seriously. Policies and procedures [are] rigorously followed, including those for fire evacuation. A child protection policy had been introduced and [is] followed by all staff members."

Although the effectiveness of leadership is Acceptable, the school's ability to rate itself and its relationship with parents and the community was found to be Very Weak and Weak, respectively. As was discovered through parental surveys, "The school did not sufficiently involve or encourage parents in their children’s learning or school life in general. The opinions of parents were known through informal contacts, but parents did not all feel that the school welcomed or encouraged their views or involvement [and] some parents complained about the lack of opportunities for meeting teachers."

Facilities include an infant swimming pool, a library, play areas, and an indoor playground for KG. Fees start at AED 23,263 for KG1 and rise to AED 44,296 for Grade 12. 

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