At a glance
This is a growing school - over 400 new students have joined the school since its last inspection, largely as a result of more students arriving and slowly moving through the school.
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 236 children in KG, 531 in primary, and 632 in secondary and 304 in High School. Boys outnumber girls marginally, 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.
The school currently employs 109 teachers, and 10 teaching assistants. It's teacher to student ratio is we feel a little too high - 1:29 at KG, and 1:30 though other phases. Teacher turnover is running at 20% - average for the UAE.
The school recently aligned its American curriculum to the ‘Virginia Common Core State Standards’.
Few schools in the UAE offer both the UK and US curriculum, a USP for the school. The UK curriculum route seems to be the academic one for the school, and here students at both IGCSE and A Level seem to perform well. According to the school's previous ADEC report, results in English and mathematics in IGCSE, AS and A2 examinations were "very high and exceptionally high in science". The proportion of students gaining the top grades far exceeded international averages.
The latest 2016 report appears to tell a similar story - if a little more muted: "In mathematics, science and English, the results of students in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) in 2015 were above international standards. " No mention is made of AS or A2.
Unfortunately we are not sure of the future of the UK curriculum at the school. The school is licensed as an American curriculum school, "with a four-year concession to continue with a British curriculum". Time on that will be ticking down, and will be one reason why the majority of students now follow the US program. At the time of the last report it was a 50:50 split between the two.
The vast majority of students who take the American (Virginia) High School Diploma "gain grades which compare favourably with schools offering the same curriculum." This is a little vague, but suggests a fairly positive outcome - if not quite at the level of the UK based stream. Note: For university, the school offers SATs - the exam US universities look at. (For university admission the High School Diploma is fairly meaningless). No details are provided of the school's SAT scores.
In Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies, Maths, English and Science overall attainment and progress are almost uniformly deemed Acceptable.
ICS was rated B4 by Abu Dhabi's education regulator, for the second time in 2016 outside the top performing A band. A B4 represents 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. This is quite restrictive in terms of a range of study options. According to ADEC: "There are a limited number of elective subjects in the higher grades, far fewer than in American High schools. Students say they would like a more varied options to choose from. The school intends to introduce more
electives in the next academic year."
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 seem to have jumped markedly since 2014, from a range of 10,525 AED - 23,025 AED up to a range of 23,000 AED – AED 44,000 AED - i.e. doubled. We have yet to be able to ascertain the reason.
Admission is an open process with with an entrance test to determine skills gaps.
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