WhichSchoolAdvisor Visit Experience - November 2016.
The new building is impressive. Coloured in white and green with expansive open areas and sports fields, special seating areas separated for older and younger students, attractive shaded areas and interesting external architecture, the building is very different from the former primary school. In addition to the external spaces and specialist classrooms for the range of new subjects that will be taught, the interior of the building is also bright and well-designed and extremely well resourced.
The Foundation section in particular, with its very large communal areas as well as well-planned classrooms with external access and practical arrangements for messy play, is a particularly attractive feature of the school.
One of the benefits of the co-location of the primary and secondary school in one building is that secondary teachers are now routinely involved in the teaching of primary statements. Art throughout the school is taught by the head of secondary art and this subject has been found to be a very good way of integrating non-English speaking students.
The focus of the leadership of the school is on creating an ethos where students are expected to show positive behaviour leading to higher expectations and ever improving study skills. There is a strong focus on ensuring parental involvement with parents receiving a detailed curriculum guide outlining expectations and progress that is targeted across the academic year. Parents have been surprised and pleased by the level of detailed information that has been provided.
As with all Aldar schools and led by a specialist head of inclusion, Al Mamoura aims to ensure an inclusive approach across the entire school. Diagnostic assessments are undertaken which are based on cognitive testing and on baseline assessment which are less Anglo centric in nature than is often the case. A tracking process has been implemented specifically for English and maths to ensure the children's progress is accurately monitored.
One particular practice in the Primary school requires children to apply skills that they have learned in a real-life context - the so-called mantle of the expert. Children become involved in applying their skills to real life circumstances, such as organising events, and their learning is led through a process of questioning by teachers and analysis by the students. Often this activity involves some form of role-play by which children are powered to drive their own learning.
Within the primary school there is capacity for six classes in each year group. Currently as a growing school, there are six classes in FS, five in years one and two, four in years three and four and three in years five and six. There will be a maximum of 25 students in each class.
With this new school and the development of the secondary, the leader ship of the school has also expanded. The new principal, Wendy Roderick has joined the school from her previous post at al Ain international school. An experienced OFSTED inspector and a principal advisor for education in the UK, Wendy brings great experience and enthusiasm for the development of the school.
Many of the staff who were previously at Al Mushrif have transferred to Al Mamoura. This includes the head of primary.
And it is not only the staff who have made the transition. Many of the resources from the former school have moved to the new one, giving it a much more lived in and established feel than would usually be expected. The only missing element at the moment is the much loved chickens. These have remained at Al Bateen until the construction site is completely cleared and they can be safely re-homed.
With such an established past, and in such new and impressive surroundings, we have no doubt that Al Mamoura Academy will be another strongly academic and successful school within the Aldar group.
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