Al Murooj English School Sharjah is a modern and spacious school which offers early years and primary education to children from KG1 to Grade 6. Al Murooj is a mixed-gender school and follows the National Curriculum for England.
Founded in 1994, Al Murooj English School Sharjah (AMES) is located in Al Azra, a popular area for schools near the Ajman border. In the school’s own words, Al Murooj English School Sharjah was founded to:
“. . . provide students with excellent academic programmes and a nurturing environment with close student-teacher relationships. Al Murooj English School prepares students or [sic] success both personally and academically.”
Al Murooj’s Founder, Ms. Nafisa Ahmed Al Mulla, has an MA in Education from Greenwich University, and shares her vision for the school:
“Our school ethos encourages a welcoming, happy and positive learning community in which everyone is encouraged to think beyond textbooks and the classroom in order to instill [sic] in them ‘real life’ skills and awareness.”
The school states that its goal is to 'Empower Children with the confidence to face the future.' It seeks to do so through:
The school is mixed-gender throughout. Students appear to come from a wide range of nationalities – as do teaching staff – but a fundamental requirement is that both have strong English skills. The school says that it accepts students of all backgrounds and ethnicities but requires that all non-native English speaking students demonstrate a mastery of the English language.
Al Murooj offers a Kindergarten programme based on the practices of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), with further primary school learning following the National Curriculum for England. The school seeks to offer a broad and balanced education in a warm and supportive learning environment.
The Al Murooj Kindergarten programme focuses on developing a child both academically and socially, offering ample resources for education and play, and diverting their energy towards positivity. Al Murooj does this by focusing on seven main areas of the EYFS curriculum: Communication and Language; Physical Development; Personal, Social, and Emotional Development; Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; and Expressive Art and Technology.
Early Years teaching at Al Murooj sees children following a thematic approach to their learning, planned and implemented by their teachers. The activities they participate in are structured, play-based, and centred around specific themes, in order to develop not only their social and academic skills, but their natural curiosities as well.
While KG1 has its own range of formal activities, there’s a more flexible approach from KG2 onwards; the curriculum is designed to integrate mini-topics based on children’s interests, to develop their drive as knowledge seekers. Sessions are interactive, and students are often taken to places of interest as part of the learning process. In addition to the core areas of literacy and maths, Al Murooj is a school that seems to understand the importance of the creative for a child, submersing its students in the arts to “help them vibrate with positive energy”.
A unique cornerstone of Al Murooj’s approach is the value it places in the child’s approach to Grade 4. The school posits that this is when a child experiences a change in personality, in intellectual capacity, and in behaviour. Al Murooj cites this as a crucial part in a child’s life, and as such invests resources and focus in this phase by identifying aptitudes, giving encouragement in all spheres, and providing personal counselling. It’s interesting to see that the school sets aside extra time for the discussion of current affairs, even at a young age, and places importance in teaching children etiquette too.
Al Murooj certainly seems dedicated to getting children moving and communicating, rather than learning by rote in a classroom: “A special feature of AMES school is the one-on-one relationship between the teacher and the student. With a lot of patience, care, and concern, the teacher makes the classes interesting and inspiring.”
One thing we hear about repeatedly is the school’s aspiration towards ‘positivity’: a positive sense of self, positive relationships with others, and positive engagement with the world. The curriculum supports this by offering its students a wide range of situations, materials, and challenges that allow children to develop their confidence, their self-expression, and their understanding of the world around them.
Al Murooj seems focused not just on the present but on the future, developing learners who can express themselves in a wide range of mediums, who understand the lifelong importance of physical exercise and diet, and who want to be a part of a wider global community.
Primary students are also taken regularly to different places of interest as part of their learning process. The methodology adopted at the primary level of education focuses on an interactive approach through group and hands on activities. Students are given specific projects to help in the development of an investigative mind and are encouraged to participate in questioning and contributing answers. In ICT classes students are given an opportunity to master the world of technology and electronics.
Learning in the classroom is not merely confined to the text books. Extra time is given for discussion of current affairs, and in order to develop students' general knowledge, audio-visual presentations are used. Discipline is given utmost importance at this age. Activities including art and craft help the children to develop their motor skills, while coaching them in arts like painting, listening, speaking and sports encourages positive energy.
The school also provides detailed assessment timetables and weekly plans for KG1 to Grade 6, which can be found on the school website.
Each of the seven areas of learning and development are broken down in Early Learning Goals, which allows teachers to assess each student in a structured, grounded framework. Throughout the course of the year, teachers assess the achievement of each student in relation to these goals; judgements are made from observation of consistent and independent behaviour.
Unlike schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah schools have not participated in regulatory inspections on a regular basis; while there were a few instances of inspections being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, schools did not generally publish the outcomes. With the initiation of SPEA (Sharjah Private Education Authority), the intention is that schools will be inspected using the common framework already in place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
However, SPEA has decided to seek a collaborative approach with the schools for this process, and although we understand that initial inspections did take place prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, results of these inspections have not been published.
As a result of the pandemic, Sharjah schools have participated in Distance Learning Evaluations, implemented by the Ministry of Education throughout the UAE (these results have been published). In its most recent Distance Learning Review Report (2020), Al Murooj’s implementation of distance learning was rated as Partially Developed.
The inspectors commended student attendance at the school, noting that it allowed them to “maintain momentum and continue with their learning”, and that students “are generally aware of what they will learn in each session”. Inspectors also noted that the school provided sufficient flexibilities regarding the completion of homework in relation to students’ home circumstances. In terms of the school’s operation amidst Covid-19, the report called management of resources “effective” and felt confident that Al Murooj had a “detailed long-term plan which considers different scenarios and the effect this will have on the school if distance learning is to be extended”.
However, the report also suggested that there were a number of areas requiring development.
Firstly, the inspectors felt that there could be some improvements in student care: clearer guidance was needed for students to ensure they were aware of what to do and who to approach if they felt unsafe online, and further wellbeing support was needed to provide an appropriate balance of screen-time, physical exercise, and breaks. In terms of teaching, the report suggested that the school look at a wider variety of planned teaching and learning approaches, “which support and promote equality of access through building students’ IT skills and which provide regular assessment opportunities to monitor students and provide constructive feedback to them”.
Finally, while inspectors were confident in the school’s long-term Covid-19 plan, they suggested the need for further short-term plans and communication with parents, “to ensure they are aware of the intended learning outcomes of lessons, and their roles and responsibilities allow them to be more productive in supporting distance learning”.
If you would like to read the full inspection report – which we strongly advise you to do in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings – you will find it here.
Unfortunately, the school website does not offer detailed information on facilities. However, based on images on the school website, the building appears to be modern and two storey, with some paved outdoor space.
However, the website does make mention of a library, ICT classrooms, and a Nursery learning environment, which is a beautiful, large space in which children can play, specifically designed to create a relaxed ‘home from home’ atmosphere; facilities include a kitchen where children can participate in cookery activities throughout the week. In 2017, every class in the primary section was equipped with a projector, to encourage fun and interactive learning.
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While the majority of schools in Sharjah do not publish fee information online, Al Murooj provides detailed fee breakdowns on their school website.
Total fees range from AED 12,100 for KG1 to AED 15,600 for Grade 6; this includes tuition, books, and uniform. There is also a registration fee of AED 500 for each new student.
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