Al Ansar International School (AAIS) is an all-through school that accepts students from Pre-KG through to Grade 12. Al Ansar offers IGCSEs, AS-Levels, and A-Levels, all grounded within an Islamic ethos.
The Story So Far . . .
Located in the Al Gharayen area of Sharjah, Al Ansar International School (AAIS) opened in 2001, with an aim to provide educational excellence that reflects Islamic principles and values.
Al Ansar’s vision is of an “innovative, pioneering and interactive education that produces capable generations reflecting authenticity and modernity”. As shown in their mission statement, this is a school that wants to excel in both academics and pastoral care:
“An educational institution of excellence, developing quality and transparent leadership in collaboration with parental and community involvement to ensure highly effective learning, focused on innovation and 21st century skills. Producing responsible lifelong learners, national and global citizens, capable of leading changes and pioneering the future within culturally diverse communities.”
The Director of Al Ansar, Mr Monther al Salem, outlines his personal hopes for the school, and his desire to cultivate “a pious generation that is both active and effective in the society. A generation of youth with the high level of understanding, commitment and social responsibility that is well motivated and enable to serve Islam and humanity”.
Al Ansar looks to provide a safe community with a holistic and motivated platform to meet the requirements of all learners, and seems to have adopted a number of approaches in order to achieve this.
For instance, the school relies on its core values of Accountability, Innovation, Collaboration, Excellence, and Quality.
Its Vice Principal, Mr Mohammed Monther, speaks on the school’s practical approach to fulfilling its vision:
“Efforts are made to renew teaching, learning and evaluating strategies. Audio-visuals and latest technologies are put to optimum use”.
Perhaps the most detailed explanation of the school’s approach is in their Strategic Objectives, which break down the school’s vision and mission into different areas:
Al Ansar is certainly a school with big ideas, and one willing to take initiative. For example, the school provides links to its various social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and the messaging service Telegram. In addition, the school has a WhatsApp number where parents can message directly with the school between the hours of 8am and 2pm every day, and receive a response within 24 hours from the Educational Supervisor. Direct emails and phone numbers for various departments and year groups are also provided, all of which was implemented as a result of parent feedback, and the knowledge that suggestions are taken on board certainly adds to the responsive, community feel that the school wants to provide.
The school is mixed-gender up until Grade 4, when classes split into Girls’ and Boys’ sections. While the school accepts students of varying nationalities, a significant portion of the student body appears to be UAE nationals.
The Al Ansar curriculum is modelled on the National Curriculum for England, and the school is a certified centre for Cambridge IGCSEs, AS-Levels, and A-Levels. Approved by the UAE Ministry of Education from Pre-KG through to Grade 12, Al Ansar is a registered and accredited Cambridge International Examination Centre.
Al Ansar is a selective school with entrance exams. The school provides detailed entrance exam syllabi on their website; these exams focus on English, Maths, Science, and Arabic ability. These same subjects form the core of the Al Ansar curriculum, beginning in Pre-KG. Religion is not assessed in entrance exams, but is another core subject throughout all grades.
As students progress through the school, new subjects are added to the curriculum alongside the core subjects. For example, in Grade 1, students are introduced to Computer Studies, Art, and Quran. From Grade 2 onwards, Social Studies and Physical Education are added to the timetables, and students begin to take Moral Education in Grade 3. In Grade 8, students are offered a Humanities subject.
It’s heading into the IGCSEs and A-Levels, though, where we see the most changes to subject options. English, Maths, Arabic, and Religion still form the core of the curriculum, while Science splits into the three main streams: Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. IGCSE options include Travel & Tourism, Computer Science or ICT, and EM (Engineering Management).
Grades 10 and 11 prepare students for AS- and A-Level examinations. In addition to continuing the core subjects, students also have the option of taking Combined Sciences, Economics, Business Studies, IT, and Accounting.
The thing that stands out most about Al Ansar’s curriculum is its emphasis on the more traditional fields like Maths, Science, and Business – if your child is more creatively-inclined, then this school may not be for you. But if you’re looking for a solid education in the mainstream subjects, then Al Ansar certainly has a dense offering.
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. 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 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 Ansar’s implementation of distance learning was rated as Developed.
The inspectors noted a number of positive features exhibited by the school, and applauded many of the attitudes and skills displayed by teachers and students. Inspectors remarked that the students’ employed strong learning behaviour to ensure that they could continue to learn new skills and knowledge, and that both teachers and students were skilled in the use of distance learning technology and confident when working online. Inspectors were particularly impressed by “their respectful relationships with their peers and teachers, and their safe and secure access to a wide range of distance learning resources”.
Furthermore, inspectors felt that the teachers’ planning ensured continuity and progression for students, and made objectives clear: “The adaptations teachers make in response to the outcomes of effective assessment arrangements ensure students’ learning needs are met consistently. Students’ receive helpful and informative feedback to support their understanding of their progress”.
Finally, the Distance Learning Evaluation commended Al Ansar’s whole-school short-, medium-, and long-term planning, highlighting the school’s ability to address the emerging and changing needs of all stakeholders, using sound analyses of a range of monitoring and evaluation approaches. The report was confident that Al Ansar’s plan took into consideration a range of possible future scenarios, and were well-prepared for the continuation of distance learning if needed.
While Al Ansar was rated as Developed in every category of the report, the inspectors did note two potential areas for development.
Firstly, it was suggested that the school “continue to develop the range of teaching approaches to embed distance learning for the future”; examples of this would be involving students more interactively with their peers through group work, to bridge the social gaps caused by distance learning. Secondly, the report suggested teachers should more closely be monitoring the time students were spending on screens, “to achieve an appropriate balance with off screen work and breaks”.
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.
While the school website doesn’t seem to give details about the academic record of the school, it’s clear that this is a school that pushes its children to succeed, using a number of competitions and awards. For example, students can apply for the Al Ansar Award for Excellence, and there’s a huge variety of competitions for each grade that run throughout the year. This seems to be where the school incorporates a more creative element, challenging students to use their imagination in writing, building, drawing, and more.
Competitions include contests in English and Maths; Dress Up Days; Poetry; Poster Making; Reading Challenges; Creating a Dhow for Social Studies; and the Hadeeth memorising competition, which is run by the Department of Religion and Quran.
Al Ansar describes itself as “spacious and ultra-modern”; it’s colourful buildings and front wall of stained glass windows certainly catch the eye.
The school website doesn’t give specifics about classrooms and shared learning areas, but images do show bright primary classrooms and equipped science labs. The website does, however, mention state-of-the-art sports facilities, which include an Astro Turf sports field which is circuited by a 300m synthetic race track.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received a fairly low number of responses from the parents at Al Ansar, but current opinions on the school seem to be mixed. While the majority of parents are satisfied with their child's academic achievement, 100% of responders felt that they needed to give their child additional tutoring to supplement their learning. Some parents also felt unsatisfied with the school's feedback and its disciplinary policies, although others felt generally confident in the school's ability to meet the specific needs of students.
It's difficult to accurately judge a school, however, 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 student at Al Ansar International School and would like to share your experiences with other potential members of your community, please complete our survey.
While many schools in Sharjah do not provide fee information on their websites, Al Ansar offers a breakdown of its school fee structure, as well as additional costs like transportation.
School fees are inclusive of books, educational platforms, and uniform, and are payable in three instalments, beginning at AED 14,900 for Pre-KG and rising to AED 28,200 by Grade 12.
Transportation costs are not included, but school bus places can be paid for in four instalments, both for one-way and two-way trips. Bus route locations include Sharjah, Ajman, Dubai, Dubai/Al Suoh, Umm Al Quwain, Al-Dhaid, and Al-Madam/Al-Fili/Mulaha. Fees vary depending on the distance from the school, and can range from AED 3,000 for a two-way trip within Sharjah to AED 7,000 for a two-way trip from Al-Madam. It also seems to be better value for money if you take the two-way option (two-way from Sharjah, for example, is AED 3,000, while one-way is AED 2,100).
There is an additional AED 500 fee for new students, and an AED 500 charge applicable in cases of cancellation, withdrawal, or failure to complete the registration. Further charges may be added for additional subjects or exams; for example, the Grade 11 fees are inclusive of 3 AS-Level subjects, so extra subjects will incur extra costs, and the relevant exams must be paid for separately as well.
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