United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Al Shamkha / Al Yasat Private School, Abu Dhabi

Al Yasat Private School, Abu Dhabi Review

Located in the Khalifa A/Al Shamkha area of Abu Dhabi (inland from the International Airport), Al Yasat Private School occupies a very large site in a residential area which is mainly occupied by local families. Currently Al Yasat offer the US curriculum from KG1 to Grade 9 and it will eventually grow to grade 12.
Al Yasat Private School, Abu Dhabi
First Published: Saturday 25 June, 2016
Updated: Wednesday 13 December, 2017
  • School Type
    All Through
    Inspection Rating
  • Curricula Taught
    Year Opened
    Annual Fees
    AED 31,500 - 48,300
    Annual Fee Average
    AED 37,500
    School Year
    Sep to Jun
    Jake Madden
    Main Teacher Nationality
    A mix of nationalities
    Main Student Nationality

Located in the Khalifa A/Al Shamkha area of Abu Dhabi (inland from the International Airport), Al Yasat Private School occupies a very large site in a residential area which is mainly occupied by local families. Currently Al Yasat offer the US curriculum from KG1 to Grade 9 and it will eventually grow to grade 12.

First Published: Saturday 25 June, 2016
Updated: Wednesday 13 December, 2017

There are approximately 850 students at the school, which has grown rapidly since 2014, supported by approximately 60 staff, including teaching assistants.  There are, on average, 25 children per class, with an equal split of boys’ and girls’ classes and a student to staff ratio of 22:1. The eventual capacity of the school is approx. 1,200.

The school relocated to its current site in 2014 having previously occupied a city centre site at Al Wahda on Abu Dhabi Island for over 20 years.  As such, it is definitely not a new school.  The school is owned by Mr. Sultan Al Haji who also has two well know nurseries in his education portfolio.

Al Yasat Private School follows the US Common Core curriculum for English and Math, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Science and the Virginia Curriculum for all other subjects.  

Inevitably, with its base in a very heavily Emirati occupied area, the majority of students at Al Yasat are local children with just under 15% of the students being other Arab nationalities; Yemenis, Jordanians and Egyptians each represent about 2%.

The staff is a wide mix of native English speakers – the current Principal joined the school in 2016 and is Australian, following on from his British predecessor. 

There is a very strong focus on Professional Development for staff.  The curriculum follows the US Common Core standards, but also draws from other international curricula making use of best practice and resources.

The school’s website outlines its mission is “to provide a safe, nurturing, educational environment that will enable our students to become lifelong learners.” The leadership of the school captures the reasons behind the mission clearly through its statement of core beliefs.
The school seeks to ensure a creative, safe and nurturing educational environment enables students to learn effectively, an engaging curriculum which provides each student with the opportunity to think independently, explore, question and investigate encourages our students to become lifelong learners. 

In addition, Al Yasat Private School aims to offer a holistic approach to learning, within a structured curriculum that is responsive to the educational and emotional needs of the children promotes environmental awareness and fosters responsible caring attitudes towards others. The school believes in promoting co-operation and team work in a dynamic and supportive environment and providing access to continuing professional development to ensure that our teachers continue to grow".

Al Yasat Private School is committed to providing every student with the opportunity to achieve educational success. The school aims to provide a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on the whole-child. Programmes are designed to inspire the academic, physical and emotional well-being of students.

Al Yasat Private School also embraces diverse learners. The school seeks to ensure that everyone is included, challenged and successful. Al Yasat is an inclusive school serving a diverse and globally mobile community by offering high quality programmes for children who learn differently, so that the entire can be served in one school. The school currently supports approximately 35 children with SEND and 50 who are Gifted & Talented.

The most recent ADEK inspection report from May 2017 rates the school as Good overall and with Very Good in two key areas of measurement - The protection, care, guidance and support of students,  and Leadership and management.

There is no doubt that the recently changed leadership and management are strengths of the school. The Board, the Principal and the senior leadership team are noted by ADEK to provide aspirational and purposeful leadership, whilst staff are fully committed to the school’s vision and direction. This is an absolute must for any school that is seeking to improve. Given that the school roll has increased by 600 students in the last two years and that the Principal, Senior Vice Principal and Head of Arabic took up post only at the start of 2016, they appear to have been extremely effective in marking their stamp on the school in such a brief period.

ADEK's inspectors note that the school provides an education of good quality for students. The attainment and progress of most students in most core subjects is good; in Islamic education and Arabic, it is acceptable. Most students develop good investigative skills and make good progress in developing critical thinking, innovation and creativity. Almost all students have very good attitudes to learning; they behave well and show respect for each other and their teachers.

Students have a good understanding of their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the UAE. They love their country and their culture.

Teaching is good in the majority of lessons and teachers plan for learning effectively and provide interesting and challenging activities for their classes. Assessment is accurate and helpful in directing learning. The curriculum offers students a rich menu of learning experiences.

In line with Al Yasat Private School's mission, the safeguarding of children is a priority and processes to enable students to lead a healthy and safe life are well established. The school is successful in meeting the needs of almost all its students.

ADEK noted that Al Yasat Private School's strengths were the achievement of students in social studies, English, mathematics, science and learning skills, and the proficiency with which most students communicate in English, in all sections of the school. Students also demonstrate very positive attitudes to their studies.

This is a school that is clearly improving and ambitious!  It has made good progress in addressing the recommendations of the previous inspection report and in improving its overall performance. 

There are areas of improvement identified by ADEK's inspectors, notably that attainment and progress in Islamic education and Arabic and consistent implementation of good classroom practice across the school are not at the level they should be. The skills of middle managers to support senior leaders in school improvement also requires that staff across the school “up their game” to ensure that changes are implemented at all levels.

But ADEK’s inspectors believe that there is continued Good capacity for the school to improve, which can only be a positive sign for students.  Whichschooladvisor.com looks forward to witnessing the continued growth and improvement at Al Yasat Private School, which based on all indicators, seem to be almost a given.

Read our Visit Experience below:

Built over three floors in a U-shape around a central quadrangle, Al Yasat Private School features classrooms, a canteen and library on two sides of the building, with the sports facilities (including an indoor swimming pool and sports hall) on the third side. 

The KG section occupies one side of the ground with its own internal play area, keeping the youngest children separated from older students.  To the rear of the building and within the larger outdoor central quadrangle area is plentiful outdoor space featuring multi-purpose courts, seating areas for lunch and space to run around. 

The school has significant resources with its own TV/radio station, two IT suites, a media suite, a Food Technology lab, Science and Robotics labs, as well as dedicated Music, Drama and Art rooms. 

There is a Bring Your Own Device policy for students from Grades 6-8.

Books are available in hard cover form from the Library, backed up by digital copies available on-line.  The school offers the Read, Write, Ink programme which offers a balanced approach to Literacy, and enables the school to monitor and award prizes to students for every set of 10 books that they read. 

The aim is to provide a holistic education linked to the culture and history of the UAE, an approach evident  from the moment a visitor enters the school.  During our visit, a display at the centre of the lobby was based around the theme of the environment and recycling.  At its heart was a large globe-shaped planet Earth made from recycled paper and to its side stood a palm tree and a camel made from drink tins and plastic bottles. 

The ethos of the school is expressly intended to be family-orientated with respect for the language, tradition and history of the UAE, but with an international perspective, offering a balanced value-based focus of respect, responsibility and integrity. 

One of the most striking elements of the school can be found in the corridors of the Middle School, where large boards in the corridors spell out the expectations of students – “We do real, we do smiles, we do respect, we do honesty, we do fairness, we do I’m sorry”; a total of 13 different positive statements. Key among these is probably “We do mistakes, Oops!” and “We do Second Chances”. 

Another board lists the values expected of students – “Honesty, Integrity, Be Cool, Be Curious, Be Happy” and so on.  A positive attitude is at the heart of everything that goes on in the school and the reasons behind expectations are clearly explained. 

These values and behaviours are also reflected in the way in which students are treated by staff, with rewards and sanctions appropriate to the situation. 

There are clear expectations set by the Principal in relation to attendance and other areas that may represent a challenge in some schools.  Where there has been an excellent whole-school attendance, for instance, an SMS is sent to parents.  Children who behave with respect and good manners are feted at assemblies.  This respect extends to the Principal’s behaviour, as she is making a specific effort to learn Arabic.   

With such a large non-native English speaking student base, there is a focus on English as a Second Language teaching in the school.  This is supported further by provision for children with mild to moderate additional learning needs. 

Families are responsible for arranging shadow support where required, but these staff are then guided and supported by the school team.  Al Yasat plans to extend the support to children with additional needs further and particularly in the area of provision for children on the Autism spectrum. 

A Special Educational Needs coordinator joined the school in September 2016.  The school also added to its overall non-academic support through the addition of a School Councillor and Careers advisor in the same academic year. 

In addition to the strong academic and support focus within the school, the Principal has placed an equally strong focus on community involvement.  Parents are encouraged to be actively involved with school life and take part in a range of Parental events including Sports Days, celebrations for Mothers’ Day, Back to School events and Parent evenings.  Consideration is being given to the addition of a Parents’ Council as the school grows.  

Rated Band B, Grade 4 in the first ADEC inspection report on the new site (in 2015), the school was praised for providing securely satisfactory academic achievement across almost all subjects, the quality of the building and resources, the care and support provided for those students with special educational needs and a strong positive ethos where students are well cared for. 

The strongly integrated leadership team that shares a common vision for high standards and sustained growth, the celebration of the culture and traditions of the UAE across the school and the focused language development programme were also singled out for positive comment.    

This is a busy school with engaged staff and students, provided with very good facilities. It is very evident when visiting Al Yasat School, that the can-do attitude of the school’s Principal and her very clear belief that her students are capable of great things, is having an extremely positive impact of the students who attend the school.  


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