Al Israa Private School, located in the Al Jimi area of Al Ain, is a privately owned school, established in 1995, following the Ministry Of Education curriculum. The school is made up of mainly Syrian students (22%), Egyptian (18%) and Jordanian (16%) children. There are approximately 75 children in the KG section, 700 in the Primary school, 330 in the Middle school and just over 200 in the High School.
Some 80 teachers work at the school which is led by a Senior team of the Principal and Vice Principal, both of whom were new in post in September 2016. The school also has a Board of Trustees consisting of 9 members including the owner, 3 parent representatives, 2 teaching staff (we assume the Principal and Vice Principal) and 3 community representatives from Al Ain University,
The school website states that “Choosing the appropriate school for your children is one of the most important decisions you make in your life. At Israa Private School, we promise to provide your children with a healthy and safe educational environment where your children will find what they need to unleash their full potential.
Our goal will always be to graduate our students from our school and to have increased their self-confidence and willingness to make their way in life after they are armed with the educational skills they need for the twenty-first century apply to all situations.”
Despite the obvious ambition of the school to deliver a quality education, the school was inspected by ADEK in April 2017 and rated Weak. However, there seems to be signs of improvement with ADEK’s report noting that although the Overall rating is weak across the school, the arrival of the new Principal and Vice Principal means that acceptable progress is being made.
The new leadership team has initiated more robust action towards improving the school in a short time. Staff are now receiving far more rigorous monitoring of teaching and learning and feedback and are working with each other collaboratively. The very low teacher turnover of the school at 8% also suggests that there is a real willingness among staff to support the new leadership and the school.
In addition, a new KG section has opened offering better resources and a new building that is close to completion will significantly improve the learning environment. It is clear that the owner of the school is committed to seeing its rating rise. Unfortunately, this is clearly a definite requirement.
ADEK’s inspection notes that KG is weak overall. The Primary and Middle school section are weak in Social Studies, Maths, English and Science. However, the situation is better in the High School where all subjects are rated generally acceptable. It would seem that previous hiring decisions are responsible for much of the weak teaching. Many of the middle management tier is new and inexperienced. However, the obvious dedication by the new Senior team is assisting in moving provision forward in the school.
The school’s strengths are defined by the strong vision and drive of the new Senior Leadership Team, the positive progress students make in most subjects in grades 10,11 and 12 and their sound understanding of UAE heritage, culture and value throughout the school. Notably, the Students’ personal development including willingness to learn in lessons and above average attendance are a considerable plus in relation to the ethos of the school.
It is to be hoped that the owner’s commitment and the dedication of the new Senior team will enable Al Israa School to continue to develop its provision in a positive way. It will be interesting to see what the next ADEK report has to say.
For a school whose fees are also deemed to be very low, it will inevitably be a challenge for the school leadership to ensure that the good progress continues. However, since much of the emphasis appears to be in the investment in human capital (the staff), it is to be hoped that the positive steps taken will continue.
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