The former Giggles School, located just behind Deerfields Mall and now renamed Al Basma British School, stands on a large, purpose-built site in a quiet residential area, less than 5 minutes from the Sheikh Rashid Highway. The school operates 24 buses throughout Abu Dhabi to cater for students travelling from all over the city and its surrounds.
The new school is impressive; bright and colourful from the exterior and this continues within the building. A purpose-built Early Years section is located on the ground floor, with access to outdoor and indoor play areas. There is also an impressive gymnasium/multi-purpose hall and indoor swimming pool, as well as outdoor space at the rear of the school – this is not fully developed yet. Security is a real feature of the school, with CCTV cameras at all access doors to the outside and also the larger common areas internally. There is a canteen where breakfast and a hot lunch is offered – a rarity among schools in Abu Dhabi, although a growing trend.
There are currently over 1,000 students attending the school, 60% of whom relocated from the former Giggles site and the remainder were new students for the opening of the school in 2014. There are over 20 different nationalities at the school with a broad mix and a maximum 25 students per class. The school also has a Special Educational Needs specialist, who works with parents of children requiring additional support to employ Shadow teachers where necessary, whom the school then trains. There are Teaching Assistants in all EY classes and through Key stage 1.
The school has a slightly unusual grading structure with FS1 for 3/4 year olds (following the style of the British curriculum), but then adopting the international grading structure for FS2, so that this becomes KG1. The school will eventually offer classes through to Grade 12 (the equivalent of year 13). The majority of staff come from the UK, together with Canadian and South African teachers. In addition, Arabic and French are taught by native speakers.
One of the ambitions of the school is to offer the best that a British curriculum education can provide, whilst remaining close to the local culture. There is a strong focus on good behaviour and respect for the local traditions and sensitivities, and this is evident from the appearance and behaviour of both staff and students, together with the provision of prayer rooms.
For families wishing to place their children within a UK curriculum school in a truly international environment that aims to foster respect and understanding for the local culture, Al Basma British School is well worth consideration.
Al Basma British School is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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