DESS is the oldest British school in The United Arab Emirates, established in 1963 by Sheikh Rashid, former Ruler of Dubai. The school is a not-for profit establishment administered by a Board of Governors and as such there is generous reinvestment in the school on both a long term and short term basis. This has ensured that the facilities in the school are excellent.
The school opened in 1963 in the upstairs room of a villa where expatriate workers were housed. There was one class which was taught by parents and a British Officer called Flight Lieutenant F. Loughman. The school was soon housed in a ‘Nissan Hut’ in the area where the Dry Docks now are.
DESS is an English National Curriculum School and we follow the key outcomes and objectives required, particularly in the core subjects of Numeracy, Literacy and Science. However in order to make our curriculum irresistible we ensure that it is delivered in a way that is meaningful, relevant, challenging and progressive for all of our children. We deliver our curriculum thematically to encourage the children to transfer skills across subjects and to help them apply their knowledge to real life contexts. Our excellent standard of teaching also ensures our children develop key learning skills such as teamwork, research, speaking and listening and problem solving to prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow.
Summary of KHDA Inspection
Overall, Dubai English Speaking School provided very good education for its students.
- In the Foundation Stage (FS) attainment was very good in English and outstanding in mathematics and science; progress was outstanding. Early work in Arabic was proving very successful. In primary, attainment and progress were outstanding in English, very good in mathematics and science and good in Islamic education. Attainment was acceptable in Arabic as a first language, but weak in Arabic as an additional language, although progress here was acceptable.
- Student’s learning skills were highly developed and effective. Through initiatives such as ‘Creativity, happiness and innovation’ (CHI), students showed their capacity to adapt to new learning challenges where they demonstrated critical thinking and resilience.
- Students showed excellent attitudes to their work and high standards of behaviour and mutual respect. They had a strong understanding of Islamic values and an excellent awareness of the heritage and culture of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other cultures around the world. Their social skills were well developed through high quality opportunities to build responsibility and leadership skills.
- Outstanding teaching in FS and very good teaching in primary classes engaged students’ interest and led to enjoyable and highly effective learning experiences. Imaginatively planned lessons with innovative ideas demanded commitment, concentration and creative thinking. Students rose to the challenge.
- The curriculum in most subjects was of the highest quality and offered a rich variety of experiences. Options such as psychology and business studies and a broad range of sporting and arts based activities ensured that students’ interests were well catered for. A wide variety of extra-curricular activities offered further enrichment.
- The school was a safe, caring and supportive environment in which students could enjoy their education. They felt valued and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were given the support they needed to make very good progress.
- The relatively new senior leadership team under the determined leadership of the headteacher had promoted and embedded a clear and aspirational vision for the school’s development. ‘Irresistible learning’ was seen as being at the centre of the school’s character. Governors provided good support for school improvement. Leadership tasks were widely and effectively devolved with the purpose of building further capacity for improvement.
- The senior leadership team had established a strong and consistent vision for the school’s future development built around the concept of ‘irresistible learning.’
- Children made outstanding progress in all areas in the FS and students in the primary phase performed strongly in English, mathematics and science.
- Excellent learning skills were developed within an innovative curriculum that excited and engaged students.
- Students’ personal development was outstanding and the school offered very effective support to all including students with SEND.
- There were excellent opportunities for students to develop responsibility and leadership.
- Teaching was energetic and motivating and well supported by skilled support staff.