United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Old Al Bahya / Al Basma British School

Al Basma British School Q & A

Originally established as a villa school - Giggles English School - in 1980, Al Basma British School was launched in September 2014 at its modern and purpose built premises to the north of Abu Dhabi.
Parents' Rating
3.1 out of 5 based on 19 reviews
At a glance
School type
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Very good
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2021/22
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Annual fee average
AED 31,000
Annual fees
AED 20,000 - 40,560
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Sep to Jul
Allison McDonald
Main teacher nationality
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
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Welcome to the Al Basma British School official Q and A page. Here we ask the questions, and the school answers directly. It is its chance to have its say on specific areas you have told us you want to know about. If you think there are additional questions we should be asking you may contact us here.

What qualities and characteristics would you say define your school?

Al Basma is a school community where all stakeholders are welcome to contribute and participate. Our logo is strive to be the best, ensuring all stakeholders and the school itself aim to be the best that they can be every day.
It is a happy school; staff and children enjoy coming to school. Student discipline is very good. We actively teach core values of tolerance, respect, care, honesty, empathy, resilience and integrity and expect all students to participate in leadership, charitable, innovation and enterprise activities ensuring they are prepared to leave school as valuable members of their society able to contribute to their local, national and international communities.

How many nationalities are represented in your school?

Over 50 nationalities

Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?

Emirati 49%
Arab 79%

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?


Does your school have a waiting list?


Describe your school's approach to education and teaching?

Learning is designed to be engaging, interactive and enjoyable. Technology and practical tasks are incorporated to enhance and bring learning to life. We offer a broad and balanced curriculum from FS1 to Y13 enabling students to pursue their areas of interest and strength and develop their talents. In FS learning is play based following EYFS. Students study music and art are taught by specialists from Year 4 with drama, robotics and French being introduced with specialists from Year 4.
Resistant materials is introduced in Year 7 and from Year 9 students can choose Business Studies, Psychology, Statistics, Economics, Graphic Communication, ICT, PE and Computer Science in addition to the traditional core academic offering of Maths, English Language, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography and French. For less able students we also offer English Second Language and combined science.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?

All students engage in 80 minutes of formal Physical Education weekly. We also offer GCSE and A Level PE. All children from Grade 1 to Grade 10 swim for at least one 6 week block of PE a year. The opening of the second pool in the extension will mean that children have more access to the pool during curriculum time each year.
A wide range of physical activities are offered as part of the in curricula and extra curricula enrichment programmes ranging from yoga to cricket, handball to table tennis. In addition an external company use the school's facilities out of school hours to offer swimming, football, karate and gymnastics to the school and wider local community. The extension will significantly expand the range and size of indoor and outdoor sports facilities available for school and wider community use. The clinic measures and records students BMI annually and awareness of students with issues is raised with parents and the PE team ensuring awareness of the issue.

How does your school promote healthy lifestyles?

A series of themed weeks ensure a healthy and safe lifestyle is promoted annually. Weeks such as Healthy Living, e safety, health and safety, road safety, anti bullying, healthy eating, and sports week all promote healthy lifestyles in addition to the usual curriculum coverage of these topics.

How do you promote healthy eating?

Healthy eating week draws awareness to making healthy food choices for all stakeholders. Lunch boxes are monitored and unhealthy foods are returned home. We are also a nut free school as we have children and teachers with severe allergies.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?


If yes, does it serve hot food?


What would be the amount spent by a student for their lunchtime meal?


What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?

7:50am to 2:35pm

Is there a school uniform?


Please advise on your discipline policy?

Our discipline policy is positive and is tiered. It rewards children who meet expectations. All students start the week with Golden Time which they lose in 5 minute increments when they fail to meet basic level one expectations. Level two infringements result in reports and parent meetings. Level three infringements result in reports and suspensions and parent meetings. Three level three reports result in children being referred to the Governors behaviour panel. Failure to improve whilst on Governors report results in the removal of the offer of re-registration.

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?

Students receive written feedback with next steps on assessed pieces of work weekly or per topic or both depending on the number of lessons per week. Longer term targets are shared with students and parents each term.

How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?

Termly reports and termly parents' evenings

What is your medium of instruction?


Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language in your school?


Which other languages are taught?


Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?

Our student body is 96% EAL so strategies to develop language and vocabulary and make learning accessible are incorporated in all lessons.

Is Islamic Education/Studies for the Arab Muslim students delivered in Arabic for them?


Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for the Muslim students?


Does your school measure Value Added data? Please provide details of your current Value Added average scores


If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?

iGCSE, GCSE, iAS, iALevel

Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?

Daily reading using Booki, Bug Club and Kutubee for KG and primary English and Arabic medium is advised.
Use of Spelling Shed, Times Table Rockstar and Number Shed is also advised for Primary students daily at home.
Weekly spellings will be given with one piece each of English and Maths homework weekly. A topic or science project will also be given each half term.
In the secondary school students are given increasing amounts of homework as they progress through the grades to Y12 and 13 where students are expected to do two hours of homework or independent study for every hour of scheduled lessons each week.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

Learning is differentiated to provide adequate stretch and challenge for able students. We adopt a mastery model, not an early entry approach. Ability sets enable children to access an appropriate curriculum at an appropriate rate. Gifted and talented pupils have individual ALPs which detail specific opportunities or programmes to develop their gift or talent.

What percentage of your sixth form that take exams at 18 go to university, and where, in general, do they go?

The first Y13 will graduate in 2020

Do you have a learning support team in your school?

Yes, we have an inclusion team comprising 2 social workers, a SENCO, a psychologist and counselor and 2 inclusion specialists. 25% of our students of determination have dedicated shadow teachers provided by parents. In addition the Inspire Centre therapists visit school to conduct speech, physio and occupational therapy sessions on site.

Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?

As we operate a fully inclusive model we can accommodate students with mild to moderate needs which can be met in a mainstream setting with support.

Please provide comprehensive details of how well your school did in external exams for students at 16 and at 18 years of age? Please provide sufficient detail to allow parents to have a view on how academic your school is?

GCSE result analysis is available on the school website.

Does your school have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?

No particular specialism, we have children with all types of mild to moderate learning difficulties.

Does your school have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?


Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?

We have an active Parent Team which is open to all parents as volunteers and has an elected Executive Committee.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?


Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?

Yes, each key stage is represented by a elected parent governor.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?

We conduct induction sessions for parents at the start of each year and connect them with the PTT whatsapp groups and facebook where they can get answer to their questions from a parent perspective and make social connections. In addition we host a meet the teacher induction event for all parents each year to introduce them to any new whole school initiatives and the new grade; teachers, routines and expectations. We also produce an updated Parent Handbook each year which is available on the website and a soft copy is sent out to all parents in English and Arabic each year.

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

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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