SEND 2017 - Abu Dhabi Schools SEND Ratings

One of the most difficult situations faced by families with children who have SEND has historically been the inclusion of their children in a main-stream education environment. Over recent years, there has been an increasing focus by the Regulators on the provision of SEND support in schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
SEND 2017 - Abu Dhabi Schools SEND Ratings
By Lyn Soppelsa
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ADEK announced its new Policy framework in 2014, essentially aimed at creating an environment where “Special educational needs of the students shall not constitute, themselves, a hindrance to the application or enrolment in any Private School. Special Education Needs students should be treated without discrimination and similarly to their peers. Everyone shall be given equal educational opportunities. Students who require special education shall not be denied access to a full education program that meets their learning needs.”

In addition, recent emphasis in the past two years on the provision of SEND, and separate measurements in relation to provision during the inspection process, has started to show results in terms of identification of those schools that show a real commitment to supporting Students of Determination.

None the less, many families have difficulty in identifying schools to which their children with mild to moderate learning difficulties may seek admission. has taken some of the pain out of the process by reviewing all of the most recent Inspection reports issued by ADEK, focussing specifically on the SEND provision.

Since a rating of Acceptable is the minimum that the Regulators have set for schools to achieve, we have sought to identify those schools in Abu Dhabi that are providing a level of support that is at least rated Acceptable and, in many cases, Good and above. We have also checked the number of students currently being supported compared with the total roll of each school, so that parents can see the degree of focus on support for students with SEND.

Lastly, we have looked at the comments made by the inspectors to provide parents with a sense of the commitment and provision at each school. This list is not exhaustive; there are other schools offering support to students with SEND, but the schools on this list are those that we believe show a real commitment and which are genuinely sympathetic, supportive and committed to inclusion.

The inspections carried out by ADEK do not give a specific rating for SEND, although comments may be noted within the report. We have therefore included all schools based on their overall rating and identified those that show evidence of clear support and improving provision for students with SEND, where specific comment has been made by the inspectors.

ADEK inspects schools every two years.


Schools with an overall rating of “Acceptable” - including students identified with SEND and the total roll.

Al Murooj Scientific School – 48/836 - All groups of learners progress at a similar rate, including students with SEN and those who are gifted and talented. Students with special educational needs (SEN) and those who are gifted and talented are identified effectively. SEN students receive helpful support in class.

ADNOC Schools -  Ghayathi – 175/468 - The school has identified a number of students as having special educational needs. Students with identified learning needs who receive individual support often make stronger progress than their peers. Where students receive targeted support in reading by English as second language (ESL) and SEN staff, they make positive progress.

Belvedere British School – 71/816 - Procedures for supporting identified SEN and G&T students are good. The identification of potential SEN students is less well developed and lacks specialist expertise. The curriculum is now adapted to meet the needs of most groups, particularly SEN and G&T students.

Emirates Falcon International Private School – 61/760 - The school has effective systems to track academic progress. Thorough systems are used to identify students with SEN and almost all are promptly and effectively supported. As a result they make personal and academic progress in line with their peers. Gifted and talented students are identified effectively and a range of opportunities are provided to support them in their development.

International Jubilee Private School – 23/769. - The school provides a welcoming and nurturing environment for the 22 students from the Autism Centre. Identification procedures are in place for externally assessed SEN students. Support for these students is a strength of the school. A dedicated SEN coordinator is in place. She is well trained for this role. Students with SEN have their own learning programme, while remaining within mainstream classes. This is shared with parents and updated bimonthly. All these students have one-to-one support from a certified teacher.

Lycee Theodore Monod – 35/1122 - School admission procedures are inclusive. Specialist staff identify and support those students who require individualised educational programmes (IEPs). All students have a designated teacher to whom they can turn for help and advice. Students feel well supported.

Madar International School – 126/2015 -The school’s admission procedures are inclusive and the Board and administrators are committed to ensure that students with special educational needs (SEN) take a full part in school life. The school’s systems for identifying students with SEN are well organised, involving parents at every stage of the process. Students identified by outside agencies have Individual Education Plans (IEP) and these are regularly updated. Teachers manage students with SEN very well.

Ryan International School – 22/396 - Procedures for identifying students with special educational needs (SEN) are good. Identified students benefit from withdrawal sessions with the special needs co-ordinator and extra support in class. Students with disabilities such as hearing impairment receive extra help. Support for those with speech difficulty is currently only available in the English language. Planning for the needs of lower ability students is effective. The identification of gifted and talented students is also well developed.

Reach British School – 103/1131 -The school has appropriate procedures for identifying and supporting students with SEN. The recent appointment of a special education needs coordinator (SENCO), with a full teaching role this school year, has assisted in this. A few students have undergone external observation, with subsequent recommendations included in individual educational plans (IEPs).

The National Torches School – 84/1295 - Thorough systems identify SEN and G&T students. School leaders ensure effective support for SEN students in lessons and when they attend specialist withdrawal rooms. Support and challenge for G&T students is not as well developed.


Schools with an overall rating of “Good”

Abu Dhabi International School – 49/1402 - The well-qualified learning support team has built a good system of identification and support. Support teachers and assistants work closely with individual students.

Abu Dhabi International Private School, Branch – 214/2616 - Support for special educational needs (SEN) students is very well structured and is highly effective. As a result, students make good progress in meeting their specified learning goals. The director of student support services provides effective leadership and is a strong advocate for SEN students and their parents. Parents actively seek enrolment of their children at the school because of the receptive and inclusive provision.

ADNOC School, Ruwais Branch – Ruwais - 27/1111 - The procedures for the identification and support for SEN students are very good. Initial Support Plans (ISPs), followed by Individual education plans (IEPs) are used very well by teachers and support teachers to support SEN students. The Student Support Committee discusses each case and provide very good guidance for teachers. The identification process for SEN students is extremely supportive and detailed to help teachers understand how to meet their needs. Special educational needs (SEN) and gifted and talented (G&T) students make similar progress to other groups of students.

Adnoc School, Sas Al Nakl – 87/2883 - The identification of students with special educational needs is effective. The support for them is making a difference to their rate of academic and personal progress. Guidance and support for students, which is monitored through the counsellors, is a strength of the school. Teachers’ support for SEN students is a particular strength.

Al Ain American Private School - 56/824 - The school has a well-documented SEN policy which has been made available to all in the school community. Planning and intervention strategies are particularly effective for students with identified SEN. Teachers have informative individual educational plans (IEP's) to support students with SEN. An effective team has done exceptional work to institute a well organised and well documented programme.

Al Basma British School – 100/1418 -The school has very good systems to identify SEN and G&T students. Staff provide well-targeted support to help students who need special support to learn well. A key area of strength is the quality of support provided for students who have special educational needs.

Al Dhabiania Private School – 26/1241 - Students’ achievement overall is good; the majority of students attain levels above curriculum standards and make good progress, including those with special educational needs (SEN) or with special gifts and talents (G&T). The school has developed curriculum mapping for SEN provision to plan how the needs of those students will be met, as well as for the integration of ICT

Al Dhafra Private School –70/1630 - The school is inclusive. A strength of the school is its identification of students with special education needs (SEN). SEN students all have individual action plans which are implemented generally well in lessons.

Al Mamoura Academy – 85/905 - The school has highly effective systems for identifying students who have SEN or are gifted and talented. Well-organised support exists for students who have SEN, alongside their peers in class and in specialist support areas. Well-planned procedures ensure the wellbeing of students who have additional needs.

Al Rabeeh School – 45/820 - The school operates a thorough and effective process for identifying students with SEN and those with gifts and talents. Specialist teachers interview all students when they join the school. Intervention to support individuals is arranged in consultation with class teachers. Provision for SEN consists of in-class support by specialist teachers and teaching assistants and withdrawal for intensive work twice a week.

Al Yasat School – 56/841 - The school sets an inclusive ethos. They welcome students with special educational needs (SEN) and make good provision for them. The special needs coordinator (SENCo) is well qualified and has set up effective procedures to identify and support students with SEN and early intervention procedures are in place. Support for students with SEN in lessons is good. Support teachers have a clear role and students regularly provide support for each other.

Amity International School – 23/229 - There are very effective systems to identify those students identified as having SEN. There has been accurate and substantiated identification of students with learning difficulties, who had not previously been assessed. The very strong communication channels between parents, teachers and support staff aids the process very well.

Diyafah International School – 40/1004 - The school has detailed and informed procedures for identifying students with SEN. Students have individual educational programmes (IEPs), and progress is tracked and regularly reviewed. Parents are considered partners and are regularly consulted by the SEN team and teachers in relation to all aspects of their children’s programme. Interventions undertaken by the school in relation to meeting students’ academic needs and in particular their social, emotional and personal challenges are very good.

Future International SchoolF – 53/2070- Students with special educational needs and those who are gifted and talented are identified quickly through regular assessments. Activities in lessons are planned to meet the needs of academically gifted and talented students. Students with special educational needs are supported by specialised staff working with teachers to modify the curriculum to help them in their learning.

GEMS Cambridge International School – 159/3000 - The procedures for the identification and support of students with SEN are secure and consistently applied. Parents are consulted and informed of progress on a weekly basis and meet with the inclusion team termly to discuss next steps. There are satisfactory Arabic resources, a dedicated area for Arabic support within the inclusion room, and a teacher of Arabic has been trained to support SEN students. Students with identified SEN make good progress as a result of thorough planning and focused support to meet their specific needs.

GEMS United Indian School – 15/1482 - The school is inclusive. It has an SEN coordinator to identify and support students. The school has good procedures to identify students with SEN or G&T. Students are identified internally, based on information provided by parents and teachers. SEN students have IEPs based on their needs. A large majority of students attain levels that are above curriculum standards and make good progress, including those with special education needs (SEN) or with gifts and talents (G&T).

GEMS Winchester School Abu Dhabi – 33/1222 - The curriculum has been modified to meet the needs of different groups of students. Additional support is available for students who require it. For example, teaching assistants support the learning of individual students in classrooms and students also gain extra support in specialist rooms. Overall, all groups of students, including those with special educational needs (SEN) or who are gifted and talented (G&T) make good progress.

Good Will Children Private School – 21/551 - There are well structured systems for identification and support for special educational needs students (SEN). In most lessons, SEN students make good progress in line with their identified needs. The school provides Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for SEN students and Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs) for those identified as gifted and talented (G&T).

Horizon Private School – 200/1990 - Students who have special educational needs or additional learning needs make (good) academic and social progress to that of their peers and very good progress against targets set in their Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Students who are considered gifted and talented, although not yet formally identified, make good progress.

International Community School Branch 1 – 79/854 - The identification of students with SEN and those with gifts and talents (G&T) is good. There is early identification of needs and intervention to support children from KG1. Specialist teachers and the SEN coordinator interview students when they join the school. Class teachers also make referrals. The identification of G&T students is equally thorough.

International Indian School – 6/94 - There are effective procedures to identify students who have special educational needs (SEN) and the counsellor monitors and evaluates their progress. Generally, the few students identified by the school as having special education needs (SEN) make good progress because of the support they receive and the tailored tasks they are given.

Liwa International School for Girls – 43/379 -There is consistent behaviour management across the school and good systems to identify students who have SEN or those who are gifted and talented. Teachers and their assistants support students well who find work difficult. The SENCo provides effective support both in and out of class resulting in good personal and academic progress. Teachers develop suitable individual educational plans (IEPs) for students with SEN and advanced learning plans (ALP) for the more-able.

Liwa International Private School – 23/2482 - Identification of students with special educational needs (SEN) and those deemed gifted and talented (G&T) is good. There is appropriate support for SEN students and some external opportunities for G&T students to participate in. Students are nurtured in the older grades to help them make informed choices about their next phase of education, training or employment.

Ryan Private School – 118/1114 - The school has robust procedures in place for identifying students who require additional care or additional help with their studies. The teacher with responsibility for these students provides appropriate classroom support. Students with gifts and talents are effectively identified by teachers and their work is celebrated well
The Sheikh Zayed Academy for Boys -75/564 - The school has highly inclusive and effective procedures to support students with SEN. This enables them to fulfil and in some cases exceed their identified goals.

West Yas Academy – 71/270 - The school has very good procedures to identify SEN and G&T students. Well-targeted support ensures that SEN students make good progress in relation to their different starting points. Teachers monitor students’ academic progress and personal development and regularly report to parents. Parents appreciate the good care and support their children receive from staff.


Schools with an overall rating of “Very Good”

Al Ain International Academy – 104/713 - The inclusion department diligently provides excellent care regarding implementation of the policies and in planning for the needs of SEN and EAL students. Constant and effective monitoring ensures that interventions are being delivered and adapted quickly. The school is very successful in providing highly effective personal development, guidance and support for students.

Al Yasmina Academy – 174/1732 - The school follows extremely successful procedures to identify students who have SEN and G&T, through teacher referral, parent referral, and highly effective screening. It is rigorous in its support of students with identified special needs. A great strength of the provision is the outstanding partnership the school achieves with parents. The curriculum meets the full range of students’ needs exceptionally well, including students with identified SEN and G&T.

American Community School Abu Dhabi – 61/1213 - The school has identified students with special educational needs (SEN). They all have individual education plans (IEPs) and their teachers and parents are involved effectively. Most of the specific support is for literacy skills to enable students to access a range of subjects. Gifted and talented students are not specifically identified, yet the way the curriculum is delivered provides effective scope for them to be stretched.

Brighton College Abu Dhabi - 70/1546 - The school has highly effective procedures for identifying, caring for and supporting students with special educational needs. Their needs are identified at an early age or as soon as possible after they join the school. Support is comprehensive and highly focused through individualised planning and effective review procedures, all of which underpin students’ excellent progress. Staff also identify students who are gifted and talented and challenge them very effectively.

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi - 48/1033 - Overall, all groups of students, including those with special educational needs (SEN), the 42% of students for whom English is an additional language (EAL) and Emirati students, make very good progress. Students who are gifted and talented (G&T) make very strong progress. Curriculum adaptation overall is outstanding, with detailed individual education programmes for students requiring additional support.

GEMS American Academy – 31/1941 - There are effective relationships with the learning support team providing very good in-class support from trained ‘shadow teachers’. Educational assistants (EA) and Learning Support (LS) teachers are used effectively to provide targeted support to learners for whom English is an additional language (EAL) and students who make slower progress through the curriculum.

GEMS World Academy – 53/484 - The curriculum is effectively modified to meet the individualised needs of students with SEN and EAL, through very well-planned ‘pullout’ or ‘push-in’ provision. Students with special education needs (SEN), those who have English as an additional language (EAL) and more able students make very good progress due to the highly effective systems in place for supporting their individualised needs.

Lycee Louis Massignon – 67/1746 - The school analyses data to identify and support students with SEN. Withdrawal groups support students in primary grades and additional support is provided throughout the school. Students are given support within the SEN room and also inside their respective classrooms. The identification and provision for G&T is well developed.

Repton School Abu Dhabi – 53/503 - The school is inclusive, and comprehensive procedures for the identification of students with special needs (SEN) including emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) and gifts and talents (G&T) are highly effective. Attainment data demonstrates that overall Emiratis and students with identified special educational needs (SEN) make very good progress as a result of thorough planning, additional support, and interventions designed to meet their particular needs.

Sheikh Zayed Academy for Girls – 26/1405 - The school has robust systems in place for identifying students with SEN and those who are gifted and talented. Individual action plans support the learning of SEN students.

The American International School Abu Dhabi– 148/1399 - A team of specialists in the primary, middle and high school phases provides support for SEN and gifted and talented students. Identification of students with SEN and gifts and talents is thorough and involves formal and informal processes. The school provides high-quality and inclusive support for students with SEN and gifts and talents, particularly in the KG and primary sections. This includes well differentiated instruction by class teachers in most lessons and in-class specialist learning support.

The British International School Abu Dhabi – 181/1582 - A comprehensive process that involves parents ensures prompt and focused identification of students with SEN and G&T. Entrance procedures are wholly inclusive. Individualised planning, high quality record-keeping and ongoing analysis of attainment supports students in making very good progress. The school provides well-focused, inclusive support to students during lessons through a range of resources together with effective class teachers and specialist staff.

The British School Al Khubairat – 314/1878 - Students who need additional support or challenge are well taught in most areas of the curriculum. A dedicated team of very effective learning support teachers works closely with individual students in class and outside. Students who are identified as being gifted and talented receive additional provision in clubs and competitions.

The Pearl Academy – 60/699 - A highly professional and exceptionally well-led multidisciplinary team provides outstanding support for SEN students. They build strong relationships with parents to engage them as active partners in supporting their child academically and socially


Schools with an overall rating of "Outstanding"

Al Muna Academy – 64/605 -Students with identified special educational needs (SEN) and those who are gifted and talented (G&T) make outstanding progress; this is accelerated by exceptionally thorough planning and well targeted challenge and support to meet their particular needs.

Brighton College Al Ain – 112/617 - Procedures to identify students with SEN and G&T are comprehensive and very effective. The high quality of specialist intervention is reflected in the enhanced rates of progress that SEN students make, which matches that made by other students. The curriculum is comprehensively planned to meet the full range of students’ needs including those with special educational needs (SEN), who may be gifted or talented (G&T) and have English as an additional language (EAL). As a result, they make enhanced progress in their learning and personal development.

Raha International School – 75/1836 - The school strives to be inclusive and this is not simply an aspiration. The care with which the school treats all its students demonstrates that it sees each student as special. The school also gives great emphasis to the fact that all teachers are teachers of all students and this ethos is clearly visible. The specialist student support team effectively identify the additional learning needs of students. The school works very closely with teachers and parents to provide the most appropriate support programme for each child.



The WSA 2017 SEND Guide - 3 years on

SEND 2017 - Dubai Schools SEND ratings

SEND 2017 - Abu Dhabi Schools SEND Ratings

SEND 2017: UAE Centres offering SEND support

SEND 2017: Clinics, Support & Therapy Groups

New Schools with Specialist SEND support

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