The school is the largest UK curriculum (IGCSE, AS and A' Level) school in Dubai with 5,170 students consisting of 72 nationalities. Students from Pakistan, Egypt, India, and other Arabs and Asians are also studying in the Westminster School, Dubai since its establishment in 1995. The school employs 281 teachers and 18 teaching assistants, posting a 1:23 teacher-student ratio (FS) and 1:18 ratio in other grade levels.
Located in Al Qusais, Dubai, the aim of Westminster School is to prepare students to take the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) course, the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level Examinations, and A-Level Examinations of the Universities of Cambridge and London (UK).
The Westminster school has received a ‘Good’ rating from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
KHDA has outlined strengths by the school including school leadership, students' personal responsibility, and teachers’ preparation of students for external examination. Innovation and creativity especially located in the school's artistic sphere were also recognised as positive points.
The Westminster School has a culturally rich environment they offer to students. Students have the opportunity to study and work side by side other students from different cultures and backgrounds. Widely diverse academic and extracurricular activities are suitable to school community members.
A part of the GEMS network, the school is one of the largest international schools in the UAE and GCC region offering a British curriculum. It provides students with a vibrant learning atmosphere with the opportunity to develop their potential. The school has 180 classrooms for all subjects and a wide range of academic and extracurricular activities.
The medium of instruction is English and a mandatory first language for all Year Groups from KG to Year 13. Students are expected to uphold a high level of oral and written English usage.
Meanwhile, Arabic is the required second language from FS 2 to Year 9. As per the Ministry of Education requirements for Arab Nationals and non-native speakers, there are two levels of Arabic. There are also other language options such as French or Urdu from Year 3 to 8. From Year 9, the Arabic is included as first language, and French or Urdu as second language.
Summary of KHDA Inspection
The Westminster School was inspected by DSIB from 12 to 16 February 2017 . The overall quality of education provided by the school is good. The section below summarises the inspection findings for each of the six performance indicators described in the framework.
- Students' attainment and progress in Islamic education are now good. Progress has improved in Arabic as a first language in both the primary and secondary phases. Attainment in Arabic as a second language is weak although progress is acceptable. In the Foundation Stage (FS), attainment and progress are at least good. Progress in English is very good across the school. Attainment and progress in English in the secondary phase have declined from outstanding to very good, as have attainment in mathematics and science in the post-16 phase. Senior students’ learning skills are very good. In the other phases they are good.
- Students' personal responsibility is outstanding across the school. Their understanding of Islamic values, and social responsibility are outstanding beyond the FS where it is very good. Students of all ages benefit from a very wide range of innovative leadership opportunities. By their senior years, students become highly confident, articulate, perceptive and worthy ambassadors for social responsibility and tolerance.
- The quality of teaching and teachers' use of assessment are at least good across the school. Varied and motivating teaching approaches, commendably aimed at developing students' skills as self-confident learners, are best developed in the post-16 phase. In other phases teachers' developing assessment practice does not sufficiently capture students' attainment and progress in every lesson.
- The broad and balanced curriculum offered by the school continues to evolve, with additional subjects introduced since the previous inspection. Several promising new initiatives are not yet fully established. Curriculum adaptations meet the needs of learners very effectively, including the gifted and talented and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They offer a wide range of innovative, imaginative, and stimulating learning experiences.
- The school's very good arrangements for health and safety have focused on improving emergency evacuation procedures. Very good care and support provides comprehensive advice and guidance at important points in students' education. Very effective arrangements for students in the post-16 phase support them in preparing for next steps beyond their school career.
- School leadership very effectively promotes a bold vision of student-centred learning and personal development. Leaders at all levels are well-focused on continuously improving students' attainment and progress. The school comprehensively engages parents as active partners in their children's education and parents reciprocate with active support for the school's objectives. Governance has supported the school's staff complement well but needs to solve continuing accommodation issues.
- Leaders at all levels share, and ably support, the school's compelling vision for 21st century learning that is clearly set out and led by the principal and the vice-principal. Students are also empowered to lead a wide and varied range of initiatives, often musical, artistic and innovative.
- Students' outstanding personal responsibility, both individually and collectively, contribute very significantly to the communal ethos of the school. This is demonstrated in their excellent understanding of Islamic values, and their social responsibility and innovation.
- Very good arrangements for health, safety, care and support, ensure a safe and secure environment and high quality advice and guidance for students in all phases.