First Looks: Al Mamoura School Hard Hat Tour

First Looks: Al Mamoura School Hard Hat Tour
By David Westley
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Al Mamoura School AD is the second school that Aldar Academies will be opening in Abu Dhabi in September this year. Offering the UK curriculum, the school will open from FS1 to year 9 in its first year of operation. Current expectations are that approximately 900 students will join the school in September, a significant proportion of students coming from the current Al Mushrif School which has been co-located with Al Bateen Secondary school.

Al Mamoura is located on a large plot on the site of a former military base in the heart of Abu Dhabi Island. This will be convenient for the numerous families and staff (including the Principal) from Al Mushrif who will relocate to the new school. The overall capacity of the school is approximately 1,800 of which the Primary School will account for 1,200 places. This deliberate reduction in size for the Secondary School is due to the fact that this will be a single-gender, Girls only, school from year 7 upwards – a first for Aldar Academies, but not unusual within the public school sector in the capital.

Construction of the school has taken place in record time due to the requirement to relocate Al Mushrif, with work started less than a year ago. In order to speed up the process, Aldar Academies borrowed the design of an existing public school in Al Ain and then adapted it to provide the additional Foundation Section that was required. As we visited the school, the building’s construction and finishing was 91% complete and the Aldar Academies team fully anticipate that the school will be ready to open as planned.

The layout of the new school is certainly very different to the facility at Al Mushrif, which the Primary students had most definitely out-grown. The new Al Mamoura school is a modern, low rise two storey building with curved sections of wall. The building is predominantly white, but with bold splashes of green across the façade. Floor to ceiling windows are present throughout the buildings and classrooms, allowing plentiful light to enter.

The Foundation section with its separate entrance, features an enormous rounded open plan lobby area which will be used for displays and activities – very different to the narrow corridors at Al Mushrif. Classrooms in the Foundation stage feature built in cupboards and cubby holes with bright splashes of colour on the furniture doors that match with the splashes of colour among the predominantly white tiles. There is a sink unit in each classroom and long bench areas to allow for preparation of painting and other resources. Each FS classroom also has a shared washroom area and an outdoor patio space. All classrooms will, of course, have interactive white boards and will be Wi-Fi enabled.

The layout of the school is based on a series of trapezium shaped buildings with curved walls along the outside sections and joined together at the centre by a large rectangular area. There are effectively 4 zones with classrooms off 3 of the 4 sections, whilst the last one contains all of the sports facilities.

Between each of the sections and around the outside boundary of the classroom sections, external play areas with rubberised flooring and shading are being incorporated, ready to welcome appropriate play equipment. The main entrance to the remainder of the building features two beautiful glass enclosed staircases which look down on the large light rectangular lobby. Neat touches such as sinks in the central areas, where children can wash their hands after playing or participating in activities, are fun and practical.

On the second floor of the building, specialist science labs and art rooms are currently being completed and the classrooms are all but ready to receive students. One of the highlights of the school is the enormous oval library, which will be stocked with books transferred from Al Mushrif.

As would be expected in a premium school, a canteen and a large wooden sprung-floor Multi-purpose hall including retractable seating are also included in the build, together with a 20 m infinity swimming pool as well as a learner pool. Extensive sports fields will also be available to students to participate in a wide range of outdoor sports including girls’ football.

Careful thought has been given to incorporating facets of Al Mushrif into the new school. Colours and branding have been retained, as have the window shapes. With the transfer of students and staff and many of the resources from the old school, Al Mamoura will have the advantage of a head start in terms of the ethos, organisation, resources and routines already being in place. We understand that the chickens will be rehoused at Al Mamoura too!

As Aldar Academies’ Director of Operations put it “the DNA of Al Mushrif School has been incorporated” in the new Al Mamoura School and the expectation is the staff and students both old and new will settle into this newer, more modern and more comfortable environment very quickly.


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