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. In September 2021, the group will open a school in Dubai.
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 Abu Dhabi 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 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 ENS-Al Nahyan campus currently has just over 1,050 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). The majority of students are Emirati (some 83%) with the largest other nationality groups being Jordanian (4%) and Egypt (3%) and Palestinian children (2% ). Interestingly, the Al Manaseer Primary School has a smaller proportion of Emirati children (55%) 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 79 teachers and 6 teaching assistants are responsible for the education of the students with a teacher:student ratio of 1:13 (a low level by comparison with many schools). This should ensure relatively small class sizes and personal attention. At 21%, 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. 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 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 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 2019. Inspectors found that the overall performance of the school had remained Acceptable, following its improvement from Weak to Acceptable in 2017 - 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.
The inspection team, in the summary of its report, noted that "The leadership team is relatively new, with the principal in post for six months and other leaders joining the school over the past year. Four head of subject posts were vacant at the time of the inspection". Clearly, whilst an investment in staff has been taking place, there had been some significant changes which would potentially have impacted on the overall improvement process.
The inspectors found that "The overall performance of the school is acceptable. Students' achievement is acceptable overall. Improvements to the quality of teaching have been made in some subjects but the quality of teaching remains inconsistent. The self-evaluation process and the school development plan (SDP) are adequate, but leaders have yet to secure significant and sustained improvements to provision".
Whilst two of the six key performance indicators were rated Good, including Students’ personal and social development, and their innovation skills; and The protection, care, guidance and support of students, Leadership and Management had regressed to Acceptable. Perhaps most telling were the three heavily co-dependent ratings of Student Achievement, Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum - all rated Acceptable again. There will be no overall uprating to Good so long as these criteria are not seen to have substantially improved.
The inspection team identified the strengths of the school as:
Key areas for improvement were identified as:
There is no doubt that there is much to be done at ENS Al Nayhan if the school wishes to improve its overall ADEK rating to join that of the Primary campus and other schools in the group.
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
The inspection report noted that "The school’s partnerships with parents and the community are good. Good communication systems ensure that parents receive regular information about their children’s learning,behaviour and welfare".
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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 - though this target has already been missed by the Al Nayhan branch. Parents should not under-estimate the level of challenge and commitment required to achieve this level of change, but if they succeed, this will no doubt significantly improve the opportunities for students attending the schools.
Fees are from AED 33,700 in Grade 5 to AED 57,900 in Grade 12 - towards the high end for Abu Dhabi schools.
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