Al Najah Private School is a private K-12 co-educational school licensed by the Ministry of Education. It was originally founded on Abu Dhabi Island in 1987, prior to relocating to the Mussafah/Mohammed bin Zayed City area in 1995. It offers predominantly the UK curriculum, but has recently added the IB Diploma programme.
Al Najah currently has approximately 2,460 students on its roll with the largest nationality groups being Egyptian: 33%, Jordanian: 21%, and Syrian. 6% of students are Emirati and a very small proportion of students are registered with SEND requirements. The school employs 150 teachers and a small number of teaching assistants, resulting in a teacher:student ratio of 1:22 in the FS/KG section and 1:16 in other sections of the school.
Al Najah Private School was founded with the aim of providing the most comprehensive British Curriculum as a college preparatory education to students of all nationalities. A unique bilingual programme in English and Arabic, along with strong Maths and Science programmes, aims to enable graduates to pursue higher education worldwide. In addition to its accreditation for IGCSE and GCE exams, the school is accredited for the IB Diploma.
The school’s facilities include 90 classrooms including Physics, Chemistry and Biology labs, a library, three playground areas, two covered areas, two Astroturf football fields, two basketball courts, a canteen , two computer/language labs, a school clinic and administration offices. The school is equipped with wireless internet facilities for administration, staff and students as well as guests.
Al Najah Private School’s mission statement is based on teaching every student to the best of his/ her abilities. "To educate young men and women to be capable of initiative and critical thinking, who will serve as role models in a global society. The curriculum aims for excellence at all levels and embraces the education of the whole person. Graduates will have developed self-discipline, problem-solving abilities, social responsibility, self-confidence, and awareness of, and respect for, the interdependence of nations in all their diversity".
The school claims to have an outstanding record of being the highest scoring school in the UAE in GCE and IGCSE examinations for the past 10 years (with first in Physics worldwide in June 2007, a student in the top ten worldwide in AS Biology in June 2008, and on the Honors list in 2012), but does not publish results of university destinations on its website although it states that many of its graduates attend top British Universities. However, the most recent ADEK report notes that the school performs well in international examinations.
The school works to promote learning in a caring, family atmosphere where each individual pupil has a feeling of belonging. Although the school prides itself on excellent academic results, it also strives to produce a well-rounded individual, who on leaving, is ready to contribute to the community, and, if of a good academic standard, to pursue his/her studies further at university or college.
The school claims to recruit the best British and internationally qualified and experienced teaching staff who are assisted by equally enthusiastic support staff. While the majority of the students have Arabic backgrounds, the school is truly multi-national. A very interactive after school activities programme is also implemented.
What the inspectors say:
The most recent inspection was carried out in October 2017 and the overall performance of the school was found to be Good. Inspectors noted that the Principal has been in post for two years and is strongly supported by a new governing board which has enabled her and the school’s leadership team to successfully secure school improvement since the last inspection.
Students’ achievement is good overall. The school has maintained high standards in international examinations and students’ English language skills continue to develop well overall, particularly in speaking. Achievement in Arabic as a first and second language, Islamic Education, and Social Studies is acceptable. Across the subjects and school sections, the inspectors found a mix of Acceptable to Very Good achievement with improving levels in the more senior sections of the school and with stronger levels in English, Maths and Science compared with the Arabic subjects, particularly in the lower sections of the school.
In the Grade 12 MOE examinations, students’ performance was outstanding in Islamic education, Arabic, and Social Studies. In the 2016-17 International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations, students’ performance was outstanding in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Management, Mathematics and Accounting, very good in English – Second Language, Arabic and ICT, and good in English – First Language.
Standards in the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level examinations were outstanding in Arabic, very good in Biology and Chemistry, good in Mathematics, and acceptable in Physics. They were outstanding in Arabic and Biology, very good in Chemistry, and good in Mathematics and Physics in Advanced (A) Level examinations. In the relatively recently introduced International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), students’ performance was outstanding in Arabic and Business Management, very good in Biology, Mathematics (Standard Level), Chemistry (Higher Level) and History, good in Chemistry (Standard Level) and English, and acceptable in French, Physics and Film.
Learning skills were found to be good overall. Students enjoy their learning and interact and collaborate well together, communicating their learning clearly. They are able to work independently, taking responsibility for their own learning. They regularly relate their learning to their experience of real life, and to what they learn in other subjects. They find things out for themselves and use technologies to support their learning. Their critical thinking and problem-solving skills are developing steadily.
Students’ personal development is good. Their relationships, attitudes to learning and attendance are very good. Students understand their responsibilities as members of a school and wider community. They often volunteer to help in projects, for example supporting a charity and are aware of important environmental issues. They take care of their school and participate in a range of activities and field trips which develop their understanding of sustainability and conservation.
Teaching and assessment and the curriculum were found to be good overall. Teachers deliver purposeful lessons which interest students. School data analysis systems are generally strong enabling teachers to match their teaching to students' abilities. The curriculum is planned well and reviewed regularly, providing a range of choices for older students and preparing students well for the next phase in their education. However, it was found that the KG curriculum was not as closely aligned to the UK EYFS curriculum as it should be and this was an area for specific improvement.
The overall quality of protection, care, guidance and support within the school is good. Provision to ensure the health, safety and protection of students is very good. Staff provide good academic and personal development guidance to support students including effective university entrance guidance and partnership arrangements including one with the Paris Sorbonne University.
Overall, the ADEK inspectors identified the strengths of Al Najah Private School as the effectiveness of distributed leadership arrangements; students’ very positive attitudes to learning and behaviour around the school; the school’s promotion of students’ development and well-being in a safe and caring environment; the use of data tracking and assessment systems at primary, middle and high phases and the planning of the curriculum to prepare students for the next phase of their education.
Areas for improvement were identified as the need to improve students’ achievement in the Arabic-medium subjects; improve support for lower and higher attaining students; improve assessment processes in KG1 and improve communication with parents.
Al Najah is clearly a school that is on the right path to improvement under strong leadership. There is an evident need to improve attainment in the Primary and lower Secondary sections which is being addressed. If the school can develop its provision and attainment levels across the board, this can only bode well for future students and their attainment in the highest grades.
Fees range from AED 13,500 – AED 35,000 – moderate range for a UK/IB curriculum school.
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