International Community School, Abu Dhabi
International Community School, Abu Dhabi is a private K-12 school located in Abu Dhabi. The school was first established in 1990 and caters to 1,240 students almost exclusively of Arab origin with Egyptians the largest single grouping, followed by Jordanians, Palestinians and Syrians.
No students have been formally diagnosed with special educational needs – which is an unlikely scenario. Either students are not being admitted – which is not actually permissible under UAE law which has a philosophy of inclusion, or the school has yet to put in place sufficient SEN resources to pick up specific learning needs of its students.
The school currently has 209 children in KG, 531 in primary, and 534 in secondary. Boys outnumber girls by 732 to 542 – common in the UAE. Students between Grades 1-6 follow an international curriculum designed for a broad range of students. From Grades 7-8 students follow a British National Curriculum which prepares them to make a choice, at the end of Grade 8, between the (British) IGCSE programme through Cambridge University (externally examined at the end of Grade 10); or the American High School Diploma (externally accredited by AdvancEd at the end of Grade 12).
Few schools in the UAE offer both the UK and US curriculum, a USP for the school. Currently students divide almost equally between the two, and in both cases do well. According to the school’s ADEC report, results in English and mathematics in IGCSE, AS and A2 examinations are very high and exceptionally high in science. The proportion of students gaining the top grades far exceeds international averages. Students following the American programme exceed UAE norms by a wide margin and is broadly average compared with international benchmarks. In Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies, standards are also above average, reflecting good teaching in those subjects. Attainment in primary grades is said to be average.
ICS is currently rated B4 by Abu Dhabi’s education regulator, outside the top performing A band. However, B4 is a “satisfactory” but also an “improving” school.
Subjects offered through the school include Science, Mathematics, English, English Social Studies, Arabic, Arabic Social Studies, Islamic, French, Computing, Business Studies, Sociology, Art, Music, and Physical Education, which is quite limited in terms of range of study options. The previous (unpublished) report of 2010 called for a broader curriculum and better resources which the school has begun to deliver on. “IGCSE, AS and A2 courses and the American programme offer sufficient breadth and diversity in the upper grades. In addition, life skills, music, physical education, accounting, art, French and sociology add further variety.” At earlier phases in the school more depth is however still required.
Resources at the school are also said to be, presently, too limited to be able to facilitate the delivery of the curriculum well – this includes a lack of white boards, and well as classroom materials themselves.
Facilities at the school include a library, two computer labs, a gymnasium (equipped for sports such as basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer and badminton), science labs, a music room, art room, cafeteria and medical clinic. Facilities are in effect satisfactory, but as the school continues to grow, its position in the centre of Abu Dhabi will put constraints on its ability to expand these offerings. The school is said to already be considering a move to a new location. Classroom sizes, as well as indoor/outdoor sport facilities are already an issue for the school.
Extra curricular activities at ICS include; art, drama, science club, basketball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, cooking, folk dancing, computer, internet, music, Quran recitation, needlework, board games, flower arrangement, handwriting, journalism, aerobics, French club, first aid course and karate.
Fees are relatively affordable, and especially so for a school offering UK and US curricula, ranging from 10,525 AED for KG1 to 23,025 AED for Year 12. Admission is an open process with with an entrance test to determine skills gaps.
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