Login | Register
 
Email Twitter Facebook YouTube Google+ 2013 Survey
Which School Advisor logo

Victory Heights Primary School, Dubai

Our school

British curriculum based Victory Heights Primary School (VHPS) currently takes students from KG to grade 6 and serves 525 students from 37 nationalities. The school is located very much in new Dubai, in Dubai Sports City.

The school opened in September 2013.

VHPS follows the Early Years Foundation Stage for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, and children are drawn predominantly from the United Kingdom (56%), Australia (5.4%) and South Africa (5.2%). The school has an almost equal mix of male and female students.

VHPS has a British village primary feel to it and the school says it prides itself on “genuinely knowing” the children under its care. “We not only believe in but breathe the vision of recognizing, nurturing and celebrating the unique potential of each child,” it told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com.

The school currently employs 23 teachers, including five Arabic teachers, 23 teacher learning assistants and 14 specialist teachers.

All teachers have a degree and PGCE Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

vhps 7

Advertisement

Average class sizes are around 25, the KHDA’s recommended size. The maximum class size in terms of student numbers at the school is also 25. VHPS has a dedicated language support teacher offering EAL for the 10% of students do not have English as a first language.

VHPS also employs a learning enhancement teacher and three learning enhancement assistants. The school does not charge for special needs support, except when there is a cost for children needing speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or neuro-developmental therapy. In these cases children are referred to clinics within Dubai according to parental preference.

Staff retention is good. The school had a 10% teacher turnover last year which by Dubai standards is low – however, given this is a relatively new school to some degree this is to be expected.

Victory Heights Primary has grown strongly and healthily since its opening in September 2013. The school opened with 220 children and is currently home to 525. The school is selective on intake, and streams students according to academic ability.

Student numbers have grown mainly in the Foundation Stage age group, and VHPS will be adding another Foundation stage 1 class in the 2015/2016 academic year, and two more Foundation stage 2 classes to keep up with high demand and to accommodate sibling places which it could not offer previously.

While demand exists across Dubai for foundation stage places, VHPS’ success in recruiting new students is largely down to word of mouth. This is a school students and their parents both appreciate and enjoy. In fact, its community came out strongly in support of the school after it received an Acceptable rating by the KHDA, a ranking many felt did not do the school justice.

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com always encourages parents to look deeper than a school’s overall KHDA rating and VHPS is a shining example of why you should do so. In many ways VHPS is already a well performing school, but was let down by its Islamic and Arabic Studies provisioning, and being inspected too early.

That it was inspected early was a decision that was made by the school itself, however it was made with the aim of obtaining approval to open to year 7 in 2015/16 and retaining current students in advance of the planned opening of a new sister Secondary school at Remraam on the Emirates Road in 2016/17.

Most schools wait for more than three years to be inspected. VHPS was inspected midway through its second year, and you can see that many of the areas highlighted as weaknesses by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau are the result of processes still bedding down, yet to become consistent across the school.

However, according to the KHDA the school already shows real strengths in students who display “positive, mature attitudes [with a] real enthusiasm for learning, the effective provision for children in the Foundation Stage and effective quality of support for students in all aspects of their development.”

Areas for improvement however currently outweigh those strengths and include “the quality of teaching, learning, assessment and leadership in Islamic Education and Arabic; the need to improve the quality of teaching so it is consistently good or better across the school; the use of assessment by teachers in lessons to effectively meet the learning needs of all students and to provide appropriate challenge while also ensuring depth of understanding by all students; and to improve the effectiveness of school leadership and self-evaluation so that there is a clear agenda for school development based on an accurate analysis of the school’s strengths and weaknesses in all areas.”

In terms of attainment and progress VHPS is rated acceptable or good in almost all areas by the KHDA except for Islamic Studies and Arabic where is said to be unsatisfactory. The school will be working hard on getting this right in time for its next inspection. The school currently has stronger ratings for its Foundation stage, than its primary.

The school is rated Good overall by British Schools Overseas (BSO).

Victory Heights Primary School has done a lot to make the schools physical presence children centred – “from the bright colours, sunlit spaces, playful elements and whimsical touches, the design is meant to reflect a children’s village.” The layout of the school is striking in that so much of the space is given over to teaching and learning areas and so little to wide corridors, plush waiting areas for parents and staff facilities. The focus is very clearly on the children and their achievements, which are displayed throughout the school.

The foundation block has been designed to be completely separate and self-contained from the rest of the primary school. Each of the FS1 and FS2 year groups currently have their own wing, where classrooms open out to a spacious and well-equipped, central indoor activity area.

resize vhps 5

The central indoor activity areas, in turn, lead out to a shaded outdoor play area, separate from the rest of the school’s playgrounds and specially designed for children of this age. The expansion of the school in September will take place by utilising the neighbouring Wonder Years Nursery (a sister concern which provides direct entry to Foundation 1 currently) for Foundation Stage 1, in order to be able to use the current Foundation Stage classrooms for FS2. A second Wonder Years Nursery opened around the corner from the school late last year and will continue to offer the same direct entry to the school.

The cluster design is repeated throughout Key Stages 1 and 2. Each year group from Year 1 to Year 6, forms its own wing where classrooms for that year group lead out to a spacious and well equipped, shared indoor activity area lit with a skylight.

resize vhps 6 FS1 in classroom

All classrooms have interactive smart boards to enhance the learning process; these offer ways to support and consolidate day-to-day skills and allow controlled Internet access through interactive educational websites.

IMG_7755

The school’s indoor sports facilities include a very impressive indoor, competition-length swimming pool and Junior Gymnasium for PE lessons. VHPS’s outdoor facilities include several separate, shaded play areas (some dedicated for Foundation Stage use and another dedicated to Key Stages 1 and 2). In addition, it has a playing field used for football, rugby, and hockey.

The school has an outdoor multi-purpose court for tennis, basketball and netball.

In 2015/2016 the school opens phase two which will include a much bigger multi-purpose gym with a built in stage, a library, a science lab, and a canteen.

Victory Heights also offers a full range of extra curricular activities, running from Sunday to Thursday across all key stages. All children are entitled to two ECA per week, per term. An external provider provides the majority of Sports activities whilst Arts and other activities are led by teaching staff.

The school has just signed a sister school partnership with St. Dunstan’s College in London and hopes that in the near future this will give it the opportunity to set up a Rotary Youth exchange programme to share best practice, build awareness, understanding and empathy between staff and students – and to provide the opportunity for both schools to have first-hand experience of a different culture.

Fees at Victory Heights are mid to premium end, starting at 33,000 AED per annum, and rising to 45,000 AED for Year 6.

 

Update on August 2, 2015 | Reviewed by WhichSchoolAdvisor.com on July 26, 2015

Share YOUR experience... Have your say here...