Established in 1988 as a Kindergarten, Al Bateen Scientific School has come a very long way from its first small steps. It has been rated a Good school by ADEK for the past three inspections since 2015.
The story so far...
Al Bateen Scientific School is one of two schools operated by the Family Development Foundation (FDF) - the other is Ministry of Education curriculum Al Dhabiania School. The Family Development Foundation was established in 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in his capacity as the ruler of Abu Dhabi. FDF is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.
The FDF aims to foster and develop the family in general, and women, and children in particular, to establish a society that is able to compete with learning and knowledge.
Initially set up as a preschool (nursery) in 1985 to support the children of the women who enrolled in the organisation's adult education programmes, Al Bateen Scientific School was initially established as a KG school in 1988, the school initially developed to include both an Arabic and the American Section until 2012, when it was decided that the school would offer solely the US curriculum. The FDF specifically wish to "stick to the customs and traditions of the UAE society and instilling Islamic values ethics in the hearts of the students from the early stages."
The school's Vision is "Joyful learning… world class quality …distinctive ethics." Its Mission is "Preparing a generation of pioneers who are academically, Sustainable development [sic] of its society able to skillfully practice critical thinking and independent life-long learning and participate in the sustainable development of their societies via a pedagogies system competent to face the international challenges."
The schools Values are "authenticity, allegiance. Responsibility, quality, team work, credibility and transparency, respect."
At the time of the most recent ADEK inspection in 2018-19, Al Bateen Scientific School had some 1,068 students. Children are mixed boys and girls from Kindergarten to Grade 3, at which point the school welcomes girls only. Just over half (53%) of students are Emirati, with a further 14% Jordanian, 9% Egyptian and 7% Syrian. There are some 69 teachers, with a teacher:student ratio of 1:15 in the KG and 1:18 in other classes. Teacher turnover, at 22%, is a concern for ADEK who noted this in their inspection report. It is around average for international schools in the UAE, but obviously higher than would be preferred and follows a turnover of 20% two years prior to this.
What about the curriculum?
The school offers a US curriculum. The school rationale is clear as an American school following the ‘Common Core Curriculum Standards’ in English and mathematics, ‘The New Generation Science Standards’ in science, and the ‘Ministry of Education’ curriculum for the subjects taught in Arabic. The school was accredited by Cognia (previously AdvancED) in 2015 for 5 years.
The curriculum is described by ADEK as balanced, relevant and develops knowledge and skills. However, the breadth of the curriculum to meet American curriculum expectations is less secure as no electives are offered to students in the Senior school. The curriculum is described as interesting, offering a range of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities designed to motivate most students. Opportunities for enterprise, innovation, creativity and social contribution are provided. Coherent learning experiences are embedded through almost all aspects of the curriculum to enable the students to develop broad understanding of the UAE’s culture and society.
The school has won a wide range of awards and trophies for participating in competitions and activities such as the Hamdan Bin Rashid Award for outstanding teaching performance, Al-Sharja Award, The Student Crescent Award, The Environment Award (Creative models from Recycled Metal Materials), The Cultural Passport Award, and the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Khalid Al-Nahyan Award for Generations. The school is known for its initiatives in the environmental and sustainable projects.
What about the facilities?
Detailed information is not provided, but the school building is modern and includes, in addition to classrooms, specialist arts facilities including an Art room, music room, auditorium, and drama room. There are also science laboratories and a library. IT facilities are limited - as is the overall provision. Sports facilities include outdoor pitches, a school gymnasium and swimming pool.
What the inspectors say?
Al Bateen Scientific School has consistently been rated Good by ADEK's inspection teams. In the 2018-19 inspection, the inspection team determined that the strengths of the school were:
In terms of progress made since the last inspection, the inspection team found that Children’s achievement, and the quality of teaching had all improved in KG.
Achievement had improved to good in Arabic at primary whilst English had improved to good in primary and to very good in the middle phase. However, Mathematics achievement had declined from very good to good. All other subjects remained good.
Achievement has been raised in KG through the provision of teacher professional development seminars and workshops that had impactedthe quality of teaching and learning across the school. A ‘creativity programme’ with sand, water, an investigation centre and play areas had enhanced the quality of provision and age-appropriate learning practices in KG lessons.
Students in all phases demonstrated good problem-solving skills linked to real life. Most students were challenged through extra-curricular activities and lessons leading to good progress. Support for students with SEN was found to be effective, although support and challenge for students was inconsistently personalised in lessons to meet students’ individual needs, particularly for higher achievers.
Accountability and goal setting procedures for all teachers was embedded in school practice. The senior leadership team and most staff in the school were actively involved in implementing strategies for improvement with a clear development plan, targets and priorities. The inspection team felt that the management team showed good capacity to improve the school further.
In terms of areas of improvement, the ADEK team recommended:
There is obviously still some way to go before Al Bateen Scientific School is able to make the step up from a Good school to a Very Good one. However, for families seeking a US curriculum closely tied to the local culture, in a girls' only environment, there is no doubt that the school offers a niche educational offering.
If you would like to read the full ADEK inspection report - and we strongly advise that you do so in order to see the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
Unfortunately, ADEK does not feed back parent, teacher or student views on the school within their report, although it does note that "The school is successful in engaging parents as partners in their children’s learning and in school life. Relationships and communications are effective and professional. Parents are well-informed about their children’s development and learning".
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Al Bateen Scientific School and would like to share your experiences with other potential members of your school community, please complete our Survey here.
What about the fees?
Fees at Al Bateen Scientific School range from AED 16,719 for KG1 and 2, rising to AED 27,275 in Grade 12 - falling into ADEK's low to medium category. Books are an additional fee that varies between AED 1,638 to AED 2,548 dependent on grade. Bus fees and uniforms are also at an additional fee.
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