Al Amana Private School is a Cambridge International curriculum school that runs from FS2 to Year 11 and offers IGCSEs. Al Amana is a sister school to Brilliant International Private School Sharjah.
Established in 2004 in the Al Ramla area of Sharjah, Al Amana Private School believes that every child is given by God to be educated and developed into balanced individuals with well-rounded personalities. The school’s mission is to “discover the student’s potential, nurture and transform them into responsible world citizens”, using the underlying philosophy of providing a global education that’s steeped in rich Islamic values and UAE culture.
The majority of the school population at Al Amana is Pakistani, although there are 46 nationalities represented among the students and staff.
The school’s principal, Roshan Ahsan, believes that it’s not just the students who learn at Al Amana, but the teachers, parents, and staff as well, through a commitment to “understand and improve the educational process, using team strategies, while wholly centering [sic] on student achievement”.
At the heart of the school is its dual strategy of educating with Love and Logic. Love is about nurturing “trusting relationships, where students feel respected, appreciated and loved by the teachers”, while Logic “helps develop in students personal responsibility, self-control, good decision making skills, self-confidence, and character building with high moral values”. Al Amana believes that these are the two essential elements which foster a positive learning environment for students, and Mrs. Ashan’s sign-off certainly sums up not only her personal goals for the school, but its wider ethos:
“We value igniting the spark of creativity and curiosity in our students”.
Al Amana seems to be a school that’s invested not just in creating an open, inspiring atmosphere for its students, but in extending this to staff and parents as well. In her welcome message, Mrs. Ahsan says that learning is a social activity, and to that end encourages parents to come and speak with the school in person for a more detailed perspective:
“I look forward to be working with you as we help create a school where parents are welcome at any time, students are engaged in meaningful learning and the staff members are valued and appreciated for their efforts”.
There is mention of a parent council on the school website, although no further details are given.
Al Amana is a Cambridge International curriculum school, which aims to “empower our students to grow as individuals with strong open discerning minds with an international perspective, preparing them to make a mark in the global village”.
The school follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) programme for FS2 and Y1, followed by the Cambridge Primary programme for Years 2 to 7. Heading into the secondary school, Al Amana uses the Cambridge Secondary programme for Years 8 and 9, and offers IGCSEs for students in Year 10 and Year 11.
The EYFS programme at Al Amana focuses on a number of key areas of learning: Personal, Social, and Emotional Development; Communication, Language, and Literacy; Problem Solving, Reasoning, and Numeracy; Knowledge and Understanding of the World, Physical Development; and Creative Development.
Al Amana believes that these early years of exploration, interaction, and play are when children need the utmost care and guidance, which is why their programme “underpins all future learning by supporting, fostering and developing children for personal, social and emotional well-being”.
Next comes the Cambridge Primary programme, which is when the school begins identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses. By focusing on which areas are in need of development, Al Amana hopes to offer a seamless journey through the middle years into secondary education. This is also a time when the breadth of subjects expands; students take Arabic, Islamic Studies, National Studies, English, Mathematics, Science, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Art, Physical Education (PE), and Tajweed. French and Urdu are also offered from Year 4 onwards.
Once students have completed the primary programme, they begin Cambridge Secondary, which “provides learning from all angles and facets to help each child realize their potential and prepare them for demands of the various IGCSE assessments”. Available subjects at this stage include Arabic, Islamic Studies, National Studies, English, Mathematics, Science, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Physical Education (PE), Tajweed, and French or Urdu. Environmental Management (EM) is available from Year 9.
As an accredited Cambridge Assessment school, Al Amana is approved to conduct IGCSE exams in May/June. Students are offered six compulsory IGCSE subjects from Year 10, in order “to cover a broad and balanced curriculum as recommended by Cambridge University”. IGCSE examinations are split across the two years: the ICT and English IGCSEs are taken and examined in Year 10, while the remaining four subjects are examined at the end of Year 11.
In common with many schools catering to students from Asia, Al Amana offers two different streams for its IGCSE; one in Science and one in Commerce. All students take the compulsory subjects of English, ICT, and Mathematics, and then choose three more subjects depending on which stream they opt for. In the Science stream, students take Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, while students in the Commerce stream take Accounting, Business Studies, and Economics.
Students also have the option of taking an IGCSE exam in Environmental Management or English as a Second Language. Other subjects included in the timetables throughout secondary school are Arabic, Islamic Studies, National Studies, Social Studies, PE, and Moral Education (which is mandatory from Year 2 until Year 9).
While the school website doesn’t provide any information on extra-curricular activities, it does highlight a number of events that the school has run in recent years. These include a fancy dress competition, as well as the celebration of National Day, Flag Day, Tolerance Day, Colour Day, Pinktober Day, and Fruit Day.
Al Amana’s admission policy for 2021 states that Al Amana is “an inclusive school who welcome[s] children with a range of learning preferences, including students of determination, students who are gifted and talented”. The school’s aim is to educate all students in a common learning environment with similar-aged peers, but ensures that all children can participate fully by providing teaching strategies that are tailored to meet a diverse range of learners, and which can be adjusted if needed.
For students who may need extra help, teachers can design individual plans, and additional support can be provided by a Learning Support Assistant. The school requests that upon admission, all applicants share full details of any special educational needs, individual education plans, or other specialist reports (e.g. psychological evaluations, speech and language therapy, or occupational therapy).
A condition of entry to Al Amana is that students must demonstrate the potential for grade-appropriate English Language proficiency, as English is the main language of instruction at the school.
Like most schools in Sharjah, there is no recent public record of academic achievement at Al Amana. However, the school website does provide a bit of information about how its students are assessed.
For students studying the EYFS curriculum, for example, a record of individual student attainment and progress in the key areas is maintained through an ongoing system of spaced oral and written activities. Parents are then appraised of their child’s progress at the end of each term.
The Cambridge Primary and Secondary programmes use a variety of assessment methods, which include:
Unlike schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah schools have not participated in regulatory inspections on a regular basis; while there were a few instances of inspections being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, schools did not generally publish the outcomes. Al Amana was inspected by the then Sharjah Education Zone on behalf of the Ministry of Education in 2013-14, and was rated Good (second highest of four ratings available at that time), however, no copy of the report is available.
With the initiation of SPEA (Sharjah Private Education Authority), the intention is that schools will be inspected using the common framework already in place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
However, SPEA has decided to seek a collaborative approach with the schools for this process, and although we understand that initial inspections did take place prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, results of these inspections have not been published.
As a result of the pandemic, Sharjah schools have, however, participated in Distance Learning Evaluations, implemented by the Ministry of Education throughout the UAE (these results have been published). In its most recent Distance Learning Review Report (2020), Al Amana’s implementation of distance learning was rated as Partially Developed.
Inspectors noted that students “engage enthusiastically in the learning activities; their good and respectful behaviour enables them to continue to learn new skills and knowledge”. Inspectors also commended the “well-organised curriculum”, which “ensures a balance between the academic and non-academic subjects”.
Another positive area of note was the planning and use of resources by teachers. Inspectors felt that students’ work was “assessed consistently, and they, along with their parents, receive helpful feedback on what they have done well and where they need to improve”.
Finally, the evaluation was satisfied that the school’s short- and medium-term planning “addresses the emerging and changing needs of all stakeholders and is based on sound analyses of the outcomes of a range of monitoring and evaluation approaches”. Regarding the longer-term impact of Covid-19, inspectors were confident that Al Amana’s long-term planning took into account a range of possible future scenarios, including the continuation of distance learning.
The report also outlined some areas for development.
Firstly, inspectors felt that Al Amana needed to “reinforce to parents and students at regular intervals the procedures for keeping students safe on-line and to continue to develop the IT skills of the younger students”.
And while inspectors praised the teaching of the curriculum, they did suggest that teachers “plan and implement a wider range of teaching approaches which take more account of students’ wellbeing needs, for example involving students more interactively with their peers”.
Finally, the report suggested that the school should develop further communication with parents and offer more outside of academic feedback, such as the formation of parent support networks.
If you would like to read the full inspection report – which we strongly advise you to do in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings – you will find it here.
The school website provides minimal information about facilities at Al Amana. However, it is mentioned that the school has a well-stocked library, a clinic, canteen, and IT and science labs.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received a fairly low number of responses from the parents at Al Amana Private School to our Survey, but general feedback is either mixed or negative.
For example, there was an even split between parents who believed that their child felt quite a bit of belonging at the school and parents who believed that their child felt no belonging at all. And there was another 50/50 split between parents who were not confident at all in Al Amana’s ability to meet special learning needs versus those who were extremely confident in Al Amana’s abilities to do so.
In terms of academic performance, parents were either only partially satisfied or wholly unsatisfied with their child’s academic performance at Al Amana (although none of the reviewers felt that they needed to give their child additional tutoring to supplement their learning). Reviewers only partially agreed that the fees they paid were good value for money, given the quality of education being offered.
Generally, it certainly seems that the negatives outweigh the positives, especially in terms of school environment. For example, the majority of feedback from parents showed that their children did not enjoy going to school, and while Al Amana was not generally considered a competitive school in areas like the arts, feedback did indicate that sport was largely selective rather than inclusive.
Parents were either unsatisfied or only partially satisfied with Al Amana’s disciplinary policy and its implementation, and 100% of reviewers were unsatisfied with the level of feedback they received from the school. Perhaps most notable is that, when asked about bullying at the school, reviewers responded that they felt moderately concerned to very concerned.
The overall conclusion from reviewers seems to be that they would not recommend Al Amana to other parents. However, it's difficult to accurately judge a school from only a small sample of survey responses, so the popular opinion of parents may vary from what has been recorded.
If you are a parent, teacher or senior student at Al Amana Private School, please share your experience with other potential members of your school community by taking part in our survey.
The fees at Al Amana are considered affordable, ranging from AED 9,000 for FS2 to AED 12,500 for Year 11. Fees are paid in three instalments over three terms, and do not include the cost of uniforms or books.
There is an AED 500 reservation fee, and a 5% discount available for siblings of current students (siblings of current students are also given preference in terms of places).
Al Amana offers two-way transportation for the following areas: Sharjah (AED 2,650), Ajman (AED 2,750), and Dubai (AED 3,500). These bus fees are to be paid in three instalments.
Al Amana is a selective school, with entrance exams for FS2 to Year 9. The school website offers detailed exam syllabi for each year group, and final admission is decided based on the child’s performance in the entrance exam and subsequent interview.
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