Glenelg School, Ruwais, Abu Dhabi
Glenelg School, Ruwais is a private not-for-profit primary school that currently caters for just less than 1,000 students from KG to Grade 11. The school was established on September 2010 by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). The school is co-educational with a campus for its Elementary School, and one for its Middle and High School.
In total 23% of students are from the UAE,18% are from other Arabic nations and the remainder are from largely the Far East and Indian subcontinent – although some 40 nationalities are represented in total. Almost three quarters of students (74%) are Muslim, and a significant majority have English as a second language.
The school is currently rated B5, the fifth highest grade in ADEC’s rankings. B5 is the equivalent of a satisfactory rating – something it will no doubt be looking to better. Standards are said to be improving, but attainment and progress are only satisfactory in English, maths and science, and actually unsatisfactory for Arabic and Islamic Studies.
Faculty at Glenelg are recruited from Western countries, with a significant number from the U.S.. The school follows the US core curriculum, modified for the UAE environment. Both teaching, and the curriculum itself have been judged satisfactory with the “majority” in the teaching body described as “competent”. Teaching staff have either a degree or a teaching qualification – ideally they should have both. Turnover in staff has also been an issue for the school
A further issue for Glenelg Ruwais appears to be a lack of adaptation within classrooms for different abilities. Some more gifted students become disengaged because lessons are too easily mastered. This in some cases leads to poor behaviour. Parent feedback we have had from the school as a group rather than the Ruwais branch in particular is that while the curriculum is predominantly US based, the style of teaching is not. Less exploration based, and considerably more strict and learning by rote. The school is also said to be very homework based.
Glenelg School Ruwais itself says it aims to challenge students academically and provide them with a wealth of knowledge about fine arts, IT and world culture. The group of three schools has unusually specific stated ambitions to:
- become a première school in the Middle East, with an emphasis on technology, science, mathematics, and the arts
- closely follow the model of international independent schools provided by the Glenelg Country School in Maryland while still meeting all criteria established by the UAE Ministry of Education
- offer the full Advanced Placement (AP) Curriculum once the school has reached enrollment capacity
- remain a fee-paying, not-for-profit school.
These are worthy and enlightened goals, but still very much goals.
The Ruwais based school does seem to be liked by its students, with largely positive feedback coming to WSA specifically about this campus. That said choice in Ruwais, certainly for expats is limited, with The Asian International School, International School of Chouefat and Glenelg School the three main choices.
The school claims to encourage participation in a range of sports including basketball, soccer, tennis, table tennis, badminton, swimming, volleyball, and handball.
Facilities are said to be improving, technologically the school is well equipped, but learning materials still too limited to fully support the curriculum.
Tuition fees range between 19,000 AED per year for KG1 students to 36,000 AED per year for Grade 12 students. Official fee information for Glenelg Ruwais here.
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