Beaconhouse Private School in the Falaj Hazzaa School District is a new UK curriculum that has opened from FS2 to Year 6 for the 2019-20 academic year. It is owned by the Beaconhouse Group, who have two further UAE-based schools in Dubai and Sharjah, and a further school in Muscat, Oman.
The story so far...
The Beaconhouse Private School, located in the Falaj Hazzaa School District in Al Ain, is the fourth school to be opened by the Beaconhouse Group in the UAE and Oman. Three further schools, in Dubai Newlands School, in Sharjah Beaconhouse Al Khaleej International School, and in Muscat make up the group's presence in the Gulf. Altogether the 44 year old Beaconhouse Group's schools are to be found in eight countries and educate over 300,000 students; predominantly following the UK National Curriculum.
The new Al Ain school will offer places from FS2 to Year 6 in its opening year, expanding to Year 11 through organic growth and requesting approval from ADEK to open Years 12 and 13.
The school says that it offers 'a holistic approach to education; all aspects of the child are developed, and a focus on sustainable development goals and the student’s understanding of their rights and responsibilities in the world. All students are included at Beaconhouse Al Ain'.
Led by Founding Principal, Janet Desjardins, Beaconhouse have ensured that the leadership is strong and experienced. Ms. Desjardins has spent 28 years working in the educational sector, 15 years of these in her home country of Canada, and 13 years in international settings - in Europe, South East Asia, Kuwait and the UAE - with 9 years in senior leadership roles. Moreover, Ms. Desjardins is a specialist in Special Education and Technology, and is currently completing a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Bath in the UK.
The school is opening with a team of 11 teachers and it is a point of pride for Beaconhouse Al Ain that it will have a diverse set of teaching staff from multiple countries. All teaching staff have a minimum of a Bachelor of Education degree and a valid teaching qualification. The school has also employed three teaching assistants who are used to support all students learning in the classroom.
Professional development (both internal and external) is provided for staff weekly and is an important commitment of the school to ensure continuous training and development of staff.
Maximum classes sizes will be 25 students with 22 in the Early Years and Year 1 and Year 2 classes, and 25 students in Years 3 to 6. An additional teaching assistant will be placed in each FS2 to Year 2 class, providing a ratio of 1:11. The school is opening with one class per year group initially.
What about the curriculum?
Beaconhouse students will follow the UK National curriculum, in an adapted context for the UAE, leading to GCSE/IGCSE in Year 11 and AS/A Levels in Years 12 and 13. Students in the Foundation Stage will follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum infused with the Reggio Emilia approach, which is an enquiry-based approach to learning.
Staff focus on the development in students of the core attributes of the Beaconhouse Learner Profile, where students are expected to be Creative and Innovative, Analytical, Resolute, Inquisitive, Empathetic, Globally aware, Ethical, Healthy and active, and Digitally literate. These attributes translates the school's mission of promoting holistic learning and helps prepare students to become lifelong learners and responsible global citizens.
Special focus will be placed on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the rights and responsibilities of the students in the school to the greater world. Technology is implemented as an extension of the curriculum to support student learning. Beaconhouse staff are focused on having students being excited about their learning. The school is a fully inclusive environment - with a special leader in the Principal - and the needs of all learners will be met through differentiation, accommodation or modification of programme where necessary.
Core subjects are English, Mathematics, Science and the MoE prescribed subjects of Arabic as a first language, Arabic as an additional language, Moral Education, Social Studies and Islamic education. In addition, Beaconhouse School builds innovation into the curriculum through a mixture of subject initiatives and cross-curricular opportunities. Teaching approaches are designed to foster 21st Century Learning, requiring students to take responsibility for their learning and appropriate and impactful use of emerging technologies.
The school will offer French instruction in Primary school, and Urdu as an Extra Curricular Activity. These options will increase as the school grows up to a whole school.
What about the facilities?
Brief information is provided about the facilities at the school, which include, on opening, 8 operating classrooms with Wifi throughout, set in a modern, purpose-built environment. Sports facilities include a Soccer pitch, basketball court, and a multipurpose hall.
The Beaconhouse Group is known for its provision of good quality education at an affordable price. Beaconhouse School Al Ain appears to fit this mould. It is early days, but if it can deliver on its promise, the school will be a welcome addition for parents seeking an experienced organisation, offering a well-reputed curriculum at an affordable price.
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What about the fees?
Fees have been reduced by 25% for Founding families in 2019-20 only. They start at AED 15,000 in FS2 (the approved fee is AED 20,000), AED 18,000 from Year 1 to Year 5 (approved at AED 24,000) and AED 20,250 (in place for AED 27,000). Fees for Years 7 to 11, as already approved by ADEK, are AED 29,000 with an approved discount to AED 21,250.
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