American School of Creative Science, Maliha is a Kindergarten through to Grade 12 school which follows a US curriculum. The school is part of the Bukhatir Education Advancement & Management (BEAM) group, which operates a number Creative Science Schools across the UAE.
Established in 2013, The American School of Creative Science, Maliha (ASCS–Maliha) provides a unique combination of international education blended with a strong Arabic language program and advanced technological infrastructure. This is a school which operates an ‘East meets West’ ethos in order to achieve its Mission:
“To ignite a passion for learning, by creating an inclusive community which fosters virtues, innovation and best practice focused on achieving successful outcomes for all our students”.
Students at ASCS–Maliha are encouraged to pursue “excellence rooted in faith” in order to become “life-long learners and global citizens equipped with a moral compass”. While many parents in the UAE benefit from the abundance of international schools available, there are those who want to ensure that their children have an education that is strongly influenced by the local Islamic faiths and its values; ASCS–Maliha claims to be one such school that can deliver a forward-thinking, globally-influenced education while instilling children with the Islamic core values of integrity, tolerance, collaboration, courage, and compassion:
“We aim to provide a unique education that is second to none. Our curriculum nurtures, cultivates, and fosters creative and critical thinking skills. We strive for academic excellence with strong moral values to develop successful and contributing members of a global society. ASCS’s aim is to provide the very best of both the American curriculum and UAE national education for Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies”.
ASCS–Maliha achieves this under the governance of the Bukhatir Education Advancement and Management (BEAM) group, a “holistic education entity with longstanding experience in developing successful educational institutions”. The BEAM group, which operates multiple schools throughout the UAE, is described by its CEO & Vice Chairman, Salah A. Bukhatir, as a vehicle through which to “nurture and develop ambitious, committed young boys and girls, men and women, who upon graduation will have preserved their cultural identities and become confident intellectuals, serving as role models in the modern world today and tomorrow”.
The individual responsible for creating such an environment on campus is one Mrs. Majd C. Hussain, who brings with her over 23 years of experience in teaching, pastoral care, coaching, mentoring, and management in both British and American curriculum schools. Having previously worked as Director and Vice Principal at ASCS–Maliha’s sister school, The International School of Creative Science, Mrs. Hussain and her experienced team of dedicated staff are well-equipped to “instil confidence, self-esteem, moral values, and life skills in every student from Kindergarten to Grade 12”.
The school’s leadership are mainly recruited from the USA, and are carefully selected for their excellent qualifications, their experience, and their diverse range of expertise. For example, the school looks for “specialists who complement each other in their various skills, areas of knowledge, and competencies”, as well as having “a proven track record of success in education management”. Meanwhile, teaching staff are “carefully selected from the international educational community for their experience and dedication to the vision and mission of the school”. All members of the faculty are required to undertake the school’s Continuing Professional Development program, to ensure they remain up-to-date with the latest developments in education and teaching techniques.
The school day at ASCS–Maliha runs from 7.00am to 12.30pm for Kindergarten students, while the Elementary School and High School run from 7.00am to 2.00pm.
ASCS–Maliha follows a US-based curriculum, as well as fulfilling the requirements from the UAE’s Ministry of Education (MOE), in order to provide an “enriched, balanced, and broad American curriculum with an international perspective”. ASCS–Maliha follows the American Common Core Curriculum for English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, History & Geography, Arts, and Physical Education, while following the UAE National Curriculum for Arabic Language, Islamic Studies, Social Studies, and Moral Education.
Beginning in Kindergarten, where play and inquiry-based learning is considered key, ASCS–Maliha’s curriculum is designed to:
ASCS–Maliha achieves this by placing an emphasis on high quality teaching and learning, and through the use of rigorous assessment and regular feedback. This methodology is designed to help identify the next step in each students’ learning and attainment, and allows students to thereby make the best of a fulfilling, holistic educational environment which balances an international outlook with a local context.
For example, students can take part in a Qur'an memorisation program, and the school’s English and Arabic departments adopt a common approach to ensure students get equal exposure to both languages. As early as Kindergarten, books used in English classes are translated into Arabic, so that children can interact with the same story through both languages.
Then, in Elementary School, ASCS–Maliha adopts a cross-curricular teaching method, so that students are encouraged to make links between subjects in both the English and Arabic languages, rather than consider subjects in isolation. One example of this is the school's unique Computer curriculum, which meets the objectives of the US Common Core Curriculum while referring to material used in English Studies, Islamic Studies, Maths, and Science.
ASCS–Maliha’s goal is clearly to equip students with both a broad knowledge and the fluidity to move between subjects, making the most of a US and UAE-blended curriculum. This also prepares students to explore their own interests outside of the core subjects in High School, by pursuing a wide range of rigorous electives. Such electives have previously included:
Beyond the academic, ASCS–Maliha also provides a variety of extra-curricular activities, “to support and enrich the academic, physical, social, emotional, and psychological development of students”. Some of these activities include educational field trips, sports competitions, cultural days, academic competitions, and after-school clubs and activities. While the school website does not give a list of current available activities, some previous examples of competitions held at the school include a Spelling Bee, a Maths Competition, a Qu’ran Memorisation Competition, a Science Fair, an Art Fair, and a Cooking Competition.
ASCS–Maliha describes itself as a school which believes passionately in the importance of inclusion and aims to cater for all students, including those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disabilities:
“American School of Creative Science aims to provide all students with the opportunity to achieve their best academically, emotionally and socially through:
ASCS–Maliha identifies several groups of students for whom this policy is particularly important, including students with Special Educational Needs (SEN); students who are Gifted and Talented (G&T); students with physical or sensory impairments; students who might be subject to abuse or harassment; students at risk of significant harm; students with poor attendance and/or punctuality; students who are at risk of disaffection and exclusion from school; and students with behavioural and emotional needs.
ASCS–Maliha’s vision for successful inclusion sees every students feeling safe, confident, and happy, as well as making the best progress towards achieving their potential and enjoying their time at school – this, the school believes, is “the responsibility of the whole school community, permeating all aspects of school life and applicable to all our students”. So, in order to successfully meet the diverse needs of the student body, ASCS–Maliha has a comprehensive inclusion framework in place:
The group responsible for this is the ASCS-Maliha Inclusion Team, which may be comprised of a Head of Inclusion; dedicated SEN teachers; a champion for Inclusive Education; student representatives; Learning Support Assistants; Social Workers; a Guidance Counsellor; Mentors; external Therapists; a school doctor and/or nurses; and class teachers.
The senior leadership team of the school facilitates and supports the operation of this department, and the Inclusion Team works in close collaboration with all staff to support students with SEN or disabilities. Common approaches employed by the team include coaching and supporting teachers, working with parents, and developing partnerships with external professionals and centres.
The school’s Social Worker is the gateway for SEN provisions – when concern for a student arises, a referral can be made by a teacher or member of staff, a parent, or even through a self or peer referral. Students are then organised into one of the three ‘Waves’ which determines the severity of their need and how best it should be addressed. If the school feels that they cannot adequately accommodate a student's particular needs, they will suggest a referral to an external specialist to get a proper diagnosis, and from there propose the development of an Individualised Education Plan (IEP).
In addition to providing for students who may need extra support, ASCS-Maliha also offers extension work to students who may fall under the Gifted and Talented classification. This policy “is intended to further enhance the school’s commitment to affording maximum educational opportunities for all students regardless of their ability”, as well as enriching the existing culture of providing opportunities for all students to develop their aptitudes, skills, and interests. In order to develop gifted and talented pupils, the school believes that the emphasis “should be on providing an appropriate, challenging, and supportive environment rather than on labelling any particular child”, as well as viewing identification as a continuous process, whereby some students “will be easy to identify at a very early age, while some will emerge later”.
The Inclusion Team will use a range of criteria and sources of evidence to identify these students, including external assessments; information provided at all points of transition; subject-specific criteria for identifying the most able; staff recommendations and observations; reading tests; information from parents, caregivers, and other outside agencies; standardised attainment tests; and standardised assessments of cognitive development and ability. Then, in order to provide appropriate learning opportunities for selected students, the school will ensure that:
ASCS-Maliha offers some insight into student achievement in its annual High School Profile, available on the school website. The school has so far recorded an increasing numbers of graduates per year, and some impressive test scores.
Back in 2017, the school had just 35 graduates, which then virtually doubled to 69 graduates the following year. 2019 saw 129 students graduate, rising to 137 in 2020. Most recently, in 2021, ASCS-Maliha had 162 graduates accepting places in universities all over the world.
The most recent results available are from 2019, and show a varied set of scores with plenty of strong individuals. For example, the SAT Maths scores ranged from 300 – 730, while the SAT ERW scores ranged from 310 – 580. In the IELTS assessment, students scored between 5 and 8 (the highest available band being 9 and the lowest being 1) – a 5 would suggest modest use of the assessed skill, while an 8 would suggest very good use of the skill.
Meanwhile, student GPAs again showed a wide range of achievement, but with a high proportion of very strong results:
These results show that an impressive 39% of students achieved scores in the low 90s, the equivalent of an A- grade.
ASCS-Maliha is also a member of the prestigious Sharakah Program of the American University of Sharjah. This initiative is designed to foster partnerships between the university and select schools in the UAE, and engages both teachers and students by offering a wide range of events, activities, and programs – examples include teacher workshops and training; academic events; sports competitions; and sponsorship for school publications and events. In addition, this program offers exclusive scholarships for students from Sharakah-partnered schools.
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 (DLE), implemented by the Ministry of Education throughout the UAE (these results have been published). In its most recent Distance Learning Review Report (2020), ASCS-Maliha’s implementation of distance learning was rated as Developed.
Inspectors found that students were being provided with “a wide variety of appropriate learning opportunities to ensure continuity and momentum in their learning”, as well as “the resources and technology which enable them to manage their workload effectively”. Teachers were praised for using a range of assessment approaches to help students understand their progress, for allowing students the flexibility to manage their time, and for taking into account students’ personal situations. By adopting this approach and ensuring students had access to the essential content in key subjects, inspectors were satisfied that student learning was being well-supported.
On a wider scale, the report found that the school was regularly reviewing its planning and making modifications to meet various potential distance learning scenarios, even those long-term. School leadership were also commended for their management of resources.
In terms of areas for development, the report suggested two. Firstly, the evaluation suggested that ASCS–Maliha work on its communication of the school’s processes and protocols to address safeguarding concerns. Secondly, inspectors advised that the school work on the development and facilitation of parent support networks.
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.
ASCS–Maliha boasts a modern campus with colourful classrooms and state-of the art equipment – the school website offers a virtual tour of the campus to show off the attractive facilities. In particular, the BEAM group claims that the Creative Science schools are currently the only Promethean Innovation Hub in the world, and the only Promethean UK Centres of Excellence in the UAE and the Middle East.
Check out our WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Experience of ASCS–Maliha.
Classrooms are designed “to support optimal movement” by combining a stimulating indoor learning environment and activity stations with immediate outdoor access. All classrooms are fitted with the latest computers, Interactive White Boards, and ActivTable, encouraging students to get creative about integrating technology into their work and making it second nature to ‘think outside the box’. Students on the campus also have access to wireless internet, tablets, e-resources, digital projectors, digital visualisers, and ACTi Votes. Digital displays around the school provide information and can be used to showcase and celebrate student work.
Specialised facilities include a library; an auditorium; dedicated activity rooms; an advanced ICT room; a kitchen; a canteen; a school clinic; both indoor and outdoor playgrounds; an indoor swimming pool; a gym; and a multi-purpose hall with ample seating for events.
The Inclusion Department has its own Resource Room for SEN students – this colourful space holds specialised equipment and learning tools to create a safe, engaging place for students receiving extra support.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received a low number of reviews for ASCS–Maliha. However, of the 5 responses received, the opinions are overwhelmingly positive.
In terms of student experience, for example, 100% of parents believe their child feels either ‘a tremendous amount’ (80%) or ‘quite a bit’ (20%) of belonging, and 100% feel that their child enjoys going to school ‘tremendously’. All reviewers similarly said that sport at the school was inclusive, allowing everyone to feel they could take part, and noted that the school in general had improved their child’s confidence either ‘a great deal’ (60%) or ‘a lot’ (40%). Even from this small set of reviews, parents indicate that students at the school feel happy, confident, and included.
ASCS–Maliha does not focus on just its students' experience either; parents cite positive responses in a great number of areas included fees, discipline, feedback, and teaching. For example, 100% totally agree that the fees they pay represent good value for money, given the quality of schooling offered, and do not feel the need to provide any additional tutoring outside of school to supplement their child’s learning. Similarly, 100% of responders reported feeling either ‘quite confident’ (60%) or ‘extremely confident’ (40%) in the school’s ability to meet their child’s specific learning needs, especially in terms of developing skills such as public performance and speaking/presentations.
In terms of school leadership, parents report a 100% satisfaction rate with the level of feedback from the school, and 100% satisfaction with the school’s disciplinary policy and its implementation. While there is a response from one reviewer indicating that they are extremely concerned about bullying at the school, the other 80% of responders felt either only ‘slightly concerned’ (40%) or not at all concerned (40%) – this would suggest that there was potentially an isolated incident.
Ultimately, the most telling questions on the survey ask about academic performance and parent satisfaction with the school as a whole. 100% of responders, for example, reported being satisfied with the level of academic performance, said they had not thought about moving their child from the school, and would recommend ASCS–Maliha to another parent. And while such a small sample of responses cannot give a fully accurate picture, it certainly shows that the support is there within the local community.
If you are a parent, teacher, or senior student at ASCS–Maliha, please share your experience with other potential members of your school community by taking part in our survey.
Fees at ASCS–Maliha begin at AED 25,100 for Pre-KG students, and reach up to AED 46,000 for Grades 9 to 12. Medical fees are included as part of this total, but books, uniform, transportation, and canteen deposits do not; there is also an AED 500 registration fee for each new student.
In terms of additional fees, parents should expect to pay for books (these fees can range from AED 800 to AED 3,000, depending on the grade) and to pay a canteen deposit (AED 500 to AED 1,200). For students needing one-way bus transport, this can be arranged for between AED 4,500 to AED 7,900 (depending on the area); two-way transport costs range from AED 5,500 to AED 7,900. ASCS–Maliha operates a bus service for the following areas: Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Al Dhaid, Al-Madam, Al-Filly, and Flaj-Al Mualla.
Prospective students applying for places at the start of the year should expect to undertake an entrance exam and an interview in order to be accepted into ASCS–Maliha. KG1 and KG2 children will be invited to the school with their parents for a formal interview, while students in Grades 1 to 12 will be invited for a computerised exam and an interview.
Any students who apply for places during the school year will have their applications tested and evaluated by the Registration Department and the Senior Leadership Team on a case-by-case basis. These mid-year admissions will be based upon availability in the relevant year group, term reports from previous schools, and CAT4 results.
American School of Creative Science, Maliha 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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