Established as the Glenelg School, Abu Dhabi by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Glenelg is now being rebranded as ADNOC Schools, in this case, the Abu Dhabi Campus In addition, the Primary and Secondary School campuses are being led separately, each with their own Vice Principal. There are three other ADNOC Schools – in Ruwais, in Madinat Zayed, and in Ghayathi.
ADNOC Schools, Abu Dhabi is a private not-for-profit K-12 school that is very popular with Emiratis, located in Umm Al Nar. The Primary phase is currently rated Good following its most recent joint ADEK inspection with the Secondary Schools in 2018. The school was opened in 2008 from KG to Grade 5 and is heavily oversubscribed. It now has 1750 students with over 400 in the KG section alone.
Students at ADNOC schools follow the American Common Core curriculum, with a focus on STEAM based curricula – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The STEAM approach adds a strong focus on Art and Design to the narrower engineering and sciences bent of STEM. Until the ADNOC Schools rebranding, the school administered tests according to the Iowa system of accreditation. Since then it has switched to the increasingly prevalent (in the UAE) American Common Core Standards following the Massachusetts model.
At the Primary section, almost all students are Muslim and Arab. UAE nationals form the bulk of the population (89%) with very small numbers from other countries such as Yemen, Jordan, USA, Egypt, Oman, Canada, India, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Pakistan.
The school is co-educational until Grade 5, from which point classes are separated by gender.
153 teachers and 75 teaching assistants enable a staff to student ratio of 1:25 in KG and 1:22 through the rest of the school, which although not a low ratio, certainly appears to work at this school. Teacher turnover at 7% is very definitely well below average (around 22% in the UAE) and a sign of a happy team.
The most recent ADEK inspection which covered both the Primary and Secondary School campuses rated the school Good. The team of principals, referred to as the unified team, is building a shared sense of community across the school’s campuses. From the time students enter the school in the kindergarten (KG) they are encouraged and nurtured by their teachers to be successful learners. This establishes a strong foundation.
Students’ achievement is good overall. Attainment and progress in English strengthen from good to very good as students progress through the school. Students’ successful achievement begins from the time they enter the KG. Across the school, progress for all groups including gifted and talented students and students who have special educational needs (SEN) is good in most subjects. With more challenge, the minority of gifted and talented students would achieve even more highly.
Across the school, progress for all groups including gifted and talented students and students who have special educational needs (SEN) is good in most subjects. With more challenge, the minority of gifted and talented students would achieve even more highly. In most subjects, students develop and make effective use of a range of learning skills such as research, collaboration and working independently. EMSA data proficiency levels shows students in Grade 5 in Arabic reading and writing achieving levels above national expectations; Arabic reading is stronger than writing. For example in the KG, almost all children can write their names and a few letters appropriate to their age.
Attainment and progress in English strengthen from good to very good as students’ progress through the school. In the KG, children use an advanced vocabulary for their age and apply this language well in different subjects including, for example, science. Mathematics is one of the stronger subjects across the grades levels. Students consistently achieve above curriculum benchmarks showing progress year on year. For example, students in Grade 3 are making effective use of data presentations such as pie charts and they can use fractions in a range of contexts.
Science is also strong throughout the school with many examples of students progressing well using science contexts for their language development. In Grade 5, for example, students gain a good understanding of key ideas such as condensation and evaporation, and recognise these in real-life situations. Inspectors also rated both Art and Music as Good and there is a strong emphasis on PE and general health and sports activity promoting healthy life-styles.
Students’ personal and social development is good. The large majority of students are keen to learn. Their attitudes and behaviour are very positive.
Teaching and assessment is good overall. Most students make effective progress in most lessons. Lessons are well structured with a good variety of activities. Teachers encourage research and higher-level skills. Students are confident with the routines and systems that teachers use in KG and the primary phase. This confidence and security aids their learning through repetition and reinforcement and provides a solid platform for future learning.
Most teachers use a mix of teaching strategies which enables students of all abilities, regardless of their learning preferences, to succeed. The learning environment in KG and Primary is lively, stimulating and well resourced. A growing number of teachers are using assessment more accurately to inform their lesson planning so that students, including those with special educational needs (SEN), are able to progress well.
The curriculum was deemed to be good and balanced. The use of the Common Core Standards for the teaching of English and Mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Science, provide an effective basis for measuring student outcomes. Concepts are consolidated and individual teachers ensure there is progression within phases. In most subjects, teachers relate student learning to the world in which they live. Cross-curricular links are good. Subjects swiftly spiral from one topic into the next. This encourages students to think creatively in all subjects. Teachers enrich the curriculum by ample in-class and extracurricular activities.
Most students display very good behaviour and respectful attitudes in lessons and during recreation on campus. The school is well thought of in the community. Parents are very involved in, and positive about, the school and the Parent Teacher Society is active and supports the school well. The school works closely with the local community and is well respected. There is a very strong focus on healthy living.
Inspectors identified the strengths of the three schools as the shared vision of school leadership contributing a cohesive school community; the school’s promotion of students’ learning skills and personal development; students’ educational progress across the schools, and the protection, care, guidance and support of students at all levels.
Areas of Improvement remain teaching strategies and appropriate use of the curriculum to engage and motivate small groups of students; teachers’ marking to guide students’ next steps and students’ punctuality to school.
According to the school's web site, a broad range of extra-curricular activities are offered, most of which do not involve additional cost. In the boys campus these include: Ultimate Frisbee, Football, Arabic Language Club, Volleyball, Triathlon, Arabic Calligraphy, Newsletter Journalism, Tennis, Basketball, Environment Club, Book Club, Healthy Lifestyle, Darts/Card Games, and Badminton. At the girls campus, the school offers Silent Reading, Aqua Jogging, Basketball, Embroidery, Cooking, Cartooning, Healthy Lifestyle, Book Club, Arabic Language Club and a Public Speaking & Debating Club.
Fees at the school currently fall in a WSA defined "value" range of AED 23,000 to AED 32,000 for the Primary School campus.
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