United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Al Nahyan / Emirates National School Al Nahyan (Secondary)

Emirates National School Al Nahyan (Secondary) Review

Emirates National Schools (ENS) opened its first branch in 2002 at Mohammed Bin Zayed City. The schools currently consist of five campuses. Three of the campuses are in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Al Ain City and on Abu Dhabi Island, and in the Emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah. The Al Nahyan Abu Dhabi school consists of two gender-separated Boys and Girls schools on separate, but geographically-close, campuses for students from Grades 5-12.
At a glance
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2018/19
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Availability 2019/20
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Annual fee average
AED 36,500
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2008
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
23%
Principal
Pierre Scottorn
Owner
ENS - Emirates National Schools
Community
Main student nationality
Emirati

Nearby nurseries

0.4km
1.7km
2km • EYFS curriculum
2.2km • EYFS curriculum
2.3km • EYFS curriculum
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Emirates National School Al Nahyan (Secondary)

Emirates National School Al Nahyan (Secondary) Review

School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Curricula taught
Availability 2018/19
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 36,500
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2008
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
23%
Principal
Pierre Scottorn
Owner
ENS - Emirates National Schools
Community
Main student nationality
Emirati
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First Published:
Thursday 5 April, 2018

Updated:
Friday 6 April, 2018

Emirates National Schools (ENS) opened its first branch in 2002 at Mohammed Bin Zayed City. The schools currently consist of five campuses. Three of the campuses are in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Al Ain City and on Abu Dhabi Island, and in the Emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah. The Al Nahyan Abu Dhabi school consists of two gender-separated Boys and Girls schools on separate, but geographically-close, campuses for students from Grades 5-12.

Emirates National Schools (ENS) opened its first branch in 2002 at Mohammed Bin Zayed City. The schools currently consist of five campuses. Three of the campuses are in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Al Ain City and on Abu Dhabi Island, and in the Emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.  Each campus consists of a KG/Primary school and gender separated Boys and Girls schools.

ENS was established by Presidential Decree and is owned by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. The Board of Trustees is made up of a number of prominent Emiratis including H.E Ahmed Mohamed Al Hemeiri, who is Chairman.

The Vision of the schools is defined as:

"Preparing future leaders through innovation in education and treasuring of cultural heritage".

The Mission of the schools states that:

"Emirates National Schools aims to provide students with educational programmes that develop character, use technology to improve learning, and prepare students to be leaders and community members".

The curriculum is based upon American Common Core Standards in English, Maths, and Science and the United Arab Emirates – Ministry of Education programme for Arabic, Islamic and UAE Social Studies. The schools are accredited by AdvancED, one of the leading US accreditation boards for international schools.

Since late 2015, the Abu Dhabi Emirate ENS campus schools (Al Ain City, Abu Dhabi City and Mohammed Bin Zayed City) are also authorized International Baccalaureate World Schools. These three Campuses offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP).  As a part of new graduation requirements, students have a choice in grades eleven and twelve of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma courses, Advanced Placement (AP) US College Board courses, and/or the ENS college preparatory classes leading to a High School Diploma.

The decision to offer both IB and AP options is aimed at offering students the ability to choose from the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP), recognised in colleges and universities in more than 128 countries, or a narrower range of options from the College Board Advanced Placement programme (AP) which are recognised around the world, but notably for entry to College in the USA.

The mission of the ENS Abu Dhabi city campus is “the development of inquiring, critical thinking, globally responsible citizens who are challenged to realize their full potential authentic learning experiences”. The school is organised between the Primary School (from Grades 1-4) and separate Boys and Girls campuses from Grades 5-12. Children are in mixed gender classes through to grade 5 and then separated through Middle and High School.

The ENS-Al Nahyan campus currently has just over 800 students. Slightly over half are of Middle School age - from Grades 6-8, a further 30% are in High School and the smallest proportion (around 130 children) are in Grade 5 (which officially falls under Primary School).  A much larger sister KG and Primary school to Grade 4 is located at Al Manaseer.  The majority of students are Emirati (some 82%) with the largest other nationality groups being Jordanian (5%) and Syrian and Palestinian children (2% each).  Interestingly, the Al Manaseer Primary School has a smaller proportion of Emirati children (54%) and this is likely to impact the overall balance of nationalities as children from outside the UAE move on to the Al Nahyan school.

A total of 65 teachers and 5 teaching assistants are responsible for the education of the students with a teacher:student ratio of 1:11 (a low level by comparison with many schools - including the Al Manaseer Primary where the ratio is 1:15).  This should ensure relatively small class sizes and personal attention.  At 23%, staff turnover is around average for an international school in the UAE.  A new senior leadership team was appointed at the start of this academic year, which includes the Principal, Heads of the Boys’ and Girls’ schools and two Assistant Heads.  There is a clear focus on improving the quality of staff and teaching to support the implementation of the IB curriculum and staff turnover may be a reflection of this situation.

The ENS Al Nahyan school appears to have good facilities spread it across the campuses. Certainly, there is evidence of libraries, Auditoria, cafeteria, IT suites, Science labs, swimming facilities and outdoor sports space.  Classrooms appear large and well-equipped.

The school was inspected by the ADEK inspection team in November 2017.  Inspectors found that the overall performance of the school had improved from Weak to Acceptable - an important step forward in ensuring that the school is clearly on a track to improvement overall and at least now meeting the minimum requirement set by Abu Dhabi's Department of Education and Knowledge.

Three of the six key indicators were rated as Good.  These included Students’ personal and social development, and their innovation skills; The protection, care, guidance and support of students, and Leadership and Management.  This latter rating is significant since it is clear evidence of the faith the inspectors have in the new Leadership team after a very short period in situ.   Students' achievement,  Teaching and Assessment and Curriculum were all rated Acceptable.

What the inspectors say:

Achievement was rated acceptable overall. Students make at least acceptable progress in all subjects and phases. This is indicated by inspection evidence and supported by internal assessment data.  Attainment is weak in Arabic as a first language and in Islamic education in the Middle and High School phases. In all other subjects, progress is at least acceptable. Importantly, progress across subjects and grades has improved since the last inspection.

External Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments indicate that, overall, students have attained consistently below the norms for the last three years in Mathematics, reading and language. External Measure of Student Achievement (EMSA) data for Grades 5 to 11 in 2017 indicates that students’ attainment overall is weak in Arabic reading and writing. However, in recent Grade 12 MoE examinations, students’ performance was outstanding in Arabic and Islamic education. 

At the time of the inspection the school was planning for entry to international assessments such as Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to assess attainment for students in Grades 4 and 8. (This is a key requirement of the UAE National Agenda in relation to Education 2020 whereby all schools are expected to submit their grade-appropriate students for international bench-marking tests to obtain an independent assessment of the status of educational achievement in the UAE). Students’ overall attainment in the IB Diploma Program was found to be acceptable.  Students with SEN (Special Educational Needs) and those with Gifts and Talents (G&T), and boys and girls, make similar progress to others from their starting points, suggesting that standards between the Boys and Girls campuses are consistent.

Students’ personal development was found to be good. Respect for the heritage and culture of the UAE and Islamic values contributes to their good behaviour, relationships, and attendance. Students are generally confident learners with a positive work ethic and are well behaved, showing positive and responsible attitudes; however, their innovation skills are not yet well developed. Relationships with staff are respectful and harmonious.

Teaching and assessment were rated acceptable overall. Teachers deliver purposeful lessons which ensure continuity in learning, because they are linked well to overall curriculum plans. Their subject knowledge is good, with understanding of how students learn. Teachers provide a variety of different activities to adequately engage and motivate most students, but these are not yet sufficiently personalised to meet the needs of all groups or provide sufficient opportunities for students to learn independently and improve their work. Opportunities for critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and independent learning are not yet well developed.

The curriculum was rated acceptable overall. It is planned well to ensure continuity and progression in learning and is broad and balanced. Good planning ensures IB requirements for different curriculum styles are implemented well.  Curricular options provide older students with an acceptable range of choices.

The overall quality of protection, care, guidance and support of students is good. The school environment is inclusive, very safe, and hygienic. Relationships between staff and students are very positive and purposeful and systems to promote good behaviour and attendance are successful. Guidance and support for students is appropriate and senior students receive effective advice over their future careers.  

Leadership and management overall is good. The new senior leadership team (SLT) and the Governing Board have placed an effective focus to promote a clear vision and direction, and have a clear understanding of what is needed to improve the school. They have quickly and effectively addressed barriers to improvement. The school successfully engages parents as partners in school life and community partnerships are effective. Strong communications ensure that parents are well informed about their child’s learning and development.

The Inspectors summarised the school's strengths as the personal development of students through improved behaviour management; the impact of effective curriculum and lesson planning that has improved the expectations of students and teachers; students more consistent progress through each subject and grade since the last inspection, and the effective focus placed by the Board and leadership team on rapidly improving the school.

Areas of improvement identified by the inspection team were the need to raise the attainment of students across all subjects, and especially in Arabic as a first language and Islamic education; to improve students’ use of extended writing in Arabic and English across all subjects; to develop the role of middle leaders in monitoring and improving teaching quality; and to improve teachers’ support for students’ learning.

In common with the other ENS schools, there is very clear evidence that the Board of Governors has taken a strategic decision to invest in the schools, particularly in relation to Senior Leadership, Staff training and development and curriculum design to ensure rapid improvement.  The Board has stated its ambition that all schools should be Very Good within two years. Parents should not under-estimate the level of challenge and commitment required to achieve this level of change, but if they succeed (and this latest inspection report suggests that changes are already taking place) this will no doubt significantly improve the opportunities for students attending the schools.

Fees are from AED 34,150 in Grade 5 to AED 55,920 in Grade 12 - towards the high end for Abu Dhabi schools.

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