ADNOC Schools, Ruwais Branch, Abu Dhabi
Established as the Glenelg School by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in 2010, Gelelg is now being rebranded as ADNOC Schools, in this case, the Ruwais Campus. There are three other ADNOC Schools – in downtown Abu Dhabi, in Madinat Zayed, and in Ghayathi.
Students at ADNOC schools follow the American Common Core curriculum, with a focus on STEAM based curricula – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The STEAM approach adds a strong focus on Art and Design to the narrower engineering and sciences bent of STEM.
The Ruwais branch itself was last inspected by ADEC in May 2015, as a Glenelg school, and was judged to be “B5”, denoting a school performing satisfactorily.
Strengths at the time of the last inspection included attainment in English, science, mathematics and information and communication technology, the development of students’ 21st century skills, students’ personal development, their behaviour and attitudes to learning and good quality relationships and the quality of the school’ buildings and resources, especially the facilities for science and ICT.
Since then the school has combined its leadership team. Originally with two heads for Elementary and Middle/High sections of the school, 2015 saw the arrival of a new management team led, singly, by Dr. Amy Hansen Bhutta. This integration has been at least partly driven by the fact that this is a growing school. As of 2015, the school’s’Elementary School’ catered to 278 children in the KG) and 713 in Grades 1‐5; 324 students were in middle school (Grades 6‐9) and 90 in the high school (Grades 10‐12). Class sizes are small, particularly post-16, although this is more to do with the numbers staying on post-16.
Leadership of the school is still described as “satisfactory” by ADEC, but the senior leadership team will not have had significant time to bed in at the time of the school inspection. We hope to see an improvement in this at the time of the school’s next ADEC visit. In spite of the satisfactory rating ADEC itself notes that “many of the concerns of the previous inspection have been addressed effectively and the senior leaders are committed to continuing to improve the school.”
Parents are in general happy with the progress, believing that their children enjoy learning and feel safe.
Of the 1405 students on roll, 24% are from the UAE, 21% from India, 11% from Indonesia, 8% from Jordan, 7% from Pakistan and 6% from the Philippines. There are further small numbers from other countries around the world. 43% of the students are of Arab heritage and 71% are Muslims.
This year has, as noted, seen further integration with the Ruwais branch now under an “ADNOC Schools” umbrella brand. Students it is hoped will benefit from improved economies of scale. As a combined entity, the school has 6000 students in grades KG1 through 12th Grade. This is however likely to be tempered by the physical distances between each campus – the Ruwais branch is for example 230 Km west of Abu Dhabi.
At the time of the last inspection there were 161 teachers on the staff, along with 64 support staff and 3 nurses – giving a fairly decent teacher to student ratio of 1:9. Faculty in the school are recruited from the Arab world and Western countries, with a significant number from the U.S.
The school has suffered from significant teacher turnover in the past.
Overall there is lots to be positive about with the Ruwais branch of ADNOC Schools – students’ attitudes to learning and the effective quality of the protection, care, support and guidance provided for students are rated highly by ADEC. “Curriculum implementation promotes students’ good interpersonal skills and successfully integrates UAE culture and values into many subjects.The buildings and premises, and the provision and use of resources, support the delivery of the curriculum well. In terms of attainment, the school delivers an education “in line with international standards” in English, mathematics, science and information and communication technology (ICT).
For Arabic, Islamic Education and social studies however it falls below age related expectations.
Note: The school is currently not performing well for children with SEN needs – although progress may have been made over the last 12 months. The school has recently employed a new SEN coordinator…
Facilities are good with a pool, generously sized classrooms, two libraries, music rooms, tennis and volleyball courts, astro‐turfed area for ball games and ICT Suites singled out for praise by ADEC’s inspecors. There is a noted lack of shade for outside activities and a relative lack of equipment for outside KG play.
The mission of ADNOC Schools are to “prepare Emirati and other students, through an academically rigorous curriculum, to achieve their highest potential in a global, technologically advanced society, where Arabic and Islamic values are honored and cultural differences are respected.” We wrote at the time of our first review that the school has worthy and enlightened goals, but still very much goals. This is pretty much still the case, although it is undeniable the school has made significant progress, with the biggest changes only made in the last two years, with a new head, and a combined, 6000 strong new school group.
Turning anything around that big takes time, however the ADNOC schools is already on the right path – and, we very much hope, on course to deliver.
Fees at the school are described as premium by ADEC. However in our classification, they are mid-tier and range from AED 19000 to AED 36,000. More detail below.
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