Al Rabeeh School is an FS to Year 7 school located in Abu Dhabi. It is presently home to 950 pupils, the majority from the UAE, and follows the UK National curriculum.
Al Rabeeh School was founded as it is today in 1979 and until recently offered Primary school years only. It is now open to Year 7 and has approximately 950 students. The majority of students are of Emirati (43%) or Arabic nationalities. The school is unique in offering a "bridging programme" whereby a large majority of students are taught one year ahead of their chronological age, with the aim of aligning students' attainment better to their age.
The school is owned by the Learn Group, part of the Royal Group, which owns approximately 60 companies across the UAE and has direct links to the highest echelon of Emirati society. It was originally established in 1997. Some of the parents whose children attend the school today are former pupils themselves and the focus on parental engagement has been a growing one in recent years.
According to its Vision statement, Al Rabeeh School aspires to be "A global community of thinkers, creators, innovators, and leaders who have a positive impact on the world of tomorrow".
Current Executive Principal Riaan Huyser joined the school in April 2019. Mr. Huyser, is a dual British/South African passport holder, who is responsible for the leadership of both Al Rabeeh School and sister, Al Rabeeh Academy. Mr. Huyser started his UAE career with GEMS Education, having previously been Vice Principal at the Cambridge High School in Abu Dhabi.
The school currently employs 73 teachers, supported by a team of 25 teaching assistants. Average class sizes are 25, with a teacher:student ratio of 1:15. There are between three and seven classes in each year group. Most of the teaching staff are British or have several years of experience teaching the National Curriculum for England.
What about the curriculum?
Al Rabeeh School offers the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum in FS and the National Curriculum for England from years 1 to 7. Children also follow the Ministry of Education curriculum for Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies. In Foundation Stage 1 (FS1) and Foundation Stage 2 (FS2) the curriculum has been designed for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Most of the activities at this age are play-based, as it is through play that children learn best. The curriculum in FS1 and FS2 is designed to ignite children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and to build their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
Year 1 marks the beginning of more formal education. Students develop their reading, writing, counting, adding, and subtracting skills, and explore and extend what they know about themselves and the world. Almost without exception students at Al Rabeeh speak English as their second language, and the language of communication throughout school is English. The school believes that the rapid acquisition of English is of great importance, and places considerable emphasis on teaching children correct English from their first days at Al Rabeeh.
Children are taught largely either on a whole class basis or in mixed ability or friendship groups. But the school also groups children by ability and sets special programmes to cater for the learning needs of individual children. In particular, children are divided into ability-based sets in the core subjects of English and Mathematics in some year groups, with the aim of enabling students to develop and progress according to their individual needs.
According to the school, the curriculum is planned in detail by class teachers and year group/phase leaders to ensure work is well matched to meet the learning needs of the children. Every child is challenged to reach his or her full potential. Children are assessed on a regular basis and reports are sent to parents termly. Testing in Maths and Science suggests that most children perform above curriculum expectations.
Al Rabeeh also offers an extensive co-curricular activities programme including academic, sporting, arts and crafts clubs. The programme is offered to students from FS1 to Year 6 and includes guidance from class teachers as well as specialist coaches from outside agencies. The school encourages students to become involved in ECAs to develop their skills and talents outside of regular school hours.
Relatively little information is provided about the facilities of the school. The last ADEK report notes that "classrooms and outside areas are developed well and used effectively to support independent learning through exploration in the FS. Specialist facilities are well developed, including sports, science and computer facilities. The school premises are hygienic, secure and very well maintained. The school premises provide a pleasant learning environment".
Al Rabeeh has now been rated Good for the third time in the most recent ADEK report for 2021-22. For unspecified reasons - we believe to allow the inspection team to visit the vast majority of schools in the 2021-22 academic year following the cancellation of inspection during 2019-20 and 2020-21 as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic - only an abbreviated report was issued.
The inspection team also only reviewed four of the six key performance standards, resulting in almost 60% of the performance measures not being included. Of the four standards that were reviewed, 12% were rated Very Good (compared with six percent in 2018-19) and 29% were rated Good. We assume that the remaining measures were included within the Good rating, giving the school 88% of measures at this level.
Unfortunately, the report also includes no recommendations, but does show that with the sole exception of English attainment in Year 7 (rated Acceptable), all other measures are Good or Very Good with many improvements across subjects and the school.
If you would like to read the inspection reports - and we strongly advise you to do so in order to obtain a better understanding of the reasons behind the ratings, you will find them here.
Whilst there is not a great deal of information about parents' and students' views of Al Rabeeh School, we do know that the school is considered by its target families as good value, recording above average satisfaction levels for academic attainment and for its partnership with parents.
If you are a parent or teacher at Al Rabeeh School and would like to share your experience with other potential members of your community, please complete our survey here.
School fees range from AED 27,680 in FS1 to AED 34,160 in Year 7, which places it above average in terms of cost. There is a non-refundable registration fee of between AED 1,300 and AED 1,600 dependent on year group.
Al Rabeeh School Abu Dhabi is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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