United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Mohammed Bin Zayed City / Emirates National Schools Mohammed Bin Zayed City

Emirates National Schools Mohammed Bin Zayed City Review

The ENS campus in Mohammed Bin Zayed City (ENS MBZ) was established in 2002 and is the oldest branch of the Emirates National Schools which are also located on Abu Dhabi Island, Al Ain, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah. In September 2021, ENS will open a branch of the school in Dubai.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Very good
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
AED 35,000
Annual fees
AED 22,190 - 53,570
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2002
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
19%
Principal
Mr Riyad Yaghi
Owner
ENS - Emirates National Schools
Main student nationality
United Arab Emirates
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Emirates National Schools Mohammed Bin Zayed City
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Very good
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
AED 35,000
Annual fees
AED 22,190 - 53,570
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2002
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
19%
Principal
Mr Riyad Yaghi
Owner
ENS - Emirates National Schools
Main student nationality
United Arab Emirates
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The ENS campus in Mohammed Bin Zayed City (ENS MBZ) was established in 2002 and is the oldest branch of the Emirates National Schools which are also located on Abu Dhabi Island, Al Ain, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah. In September 2021, ENS will open a branch of the school in Dubai.

The story so far...

The first of now a group of soon to be six schools, Emirates National Schools MBZ was the first of the group to be established, opening in Abu Dhabi in 2002.

The Vision of the schools is defined as: "Preparing future leaders through innovation in education and treasuring of cultural heritage" whilst their Mission statement proclaims 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 ENS group's Chairman of the Board of Directors is His Excellency Ahmed Muhammad Al Humairi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs. The Group was established by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The School's aim is ‘To inspire students to take a leading, creative and caring role in an internationally-minded learning community that empowers them to be independent thinkers, open minded and global contributors, so that they actively achieve their full potential in a changing world, while preserving their national identity.’

ENS MBZ is located on a large campus split across five buildings to accommodate the Primary School (whose separate building opened in 2015), and the Girls and Boys separated Middle and High Schools. The school has been extremely successful at attracting local families with a current number of students of 3,319.  KG alone had close to 700 students, followed by the Primary School with over 1,600, the Middle School with over 900 students and the High School with approximately 450 students.

Although set up essentially with the aim of educating Emirati students, who make up over 90% of students at the Abu Dhabi campuses, the schools are also open to, and attract, students of other nationalities. As would be expected in this location, the largest nationality group (96%) is Emirati, with Omani, Jordanian and Western students each making up a further 1%. Students are taught by a team of 240 teachers and a further 11 teaching assistants, with a staff:student ratio of 1:25 across each phase of the school.

In the four years prior to the last ADEK inspection in 2018, staff turnover was 27%. In 2017-18 (when the last inspection took place as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic resulting in cancellations of inspections in 2020), the number was a lower 16%.  

What about the curriculum?

The main curriculum at ENS MBZ is the Colorado State Common Core (American) curriculum, but the school is also authorised and is implementing the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme across all sections of the school.  This will impact the way in which subjects are taught as a result of the IB's integrated and enquiry approach, but will cover the same content as the US curriculum. 

The ENS MBZ City Campus is the largest school in the world holding the International Baccalaureate Organization’s Primary Years Programme Authorization. Students in grades 9 to 12 have the option of studying for an American Diploma or the IB Diploma programme.

The school carries out a range of standardised tests including AP, SAT, MAP, EMSA, IELTS, and PSAT. It is accredited by AdvancED, the International Baccalaureate Organisation and the US College Board. Teaching Staff are all certified, experienced, and capable of teaching the American Common Core curriculum, and use the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) program to assess student progress in learning in the areas of Language, Arts and Mathematics.

What about the facilities?

Facilities at the large campus are specific to each section but include an indoor swimming pool, outside sports areas, large classrooms fitted with interactive white boards, computer and science laboratories and specialist classrooms/facilities for Art, Music and PE.

What the inspectors say:

Having achieved a Good rating in 2015-16 - the minimum rating which the regulators across the UAE expect schools to aspire to - ENS MBZ went one better in the 2017-18 inspection round, achieving the Very Good rating that the Board of the group has targeted for all branches.

Commenting on progress made since the previous inspection, the inspectors noted that "School leaders and staff have successfully improved students’ attainment in all subjects. Attainment for mathematics, science and English has improved overall and now is very good. Attainment for Islamic education, Arabic, social studies and other subjects, has improved in all phases and now is good. It is very good in KG for Arabic. Students in year 12 in 2017 obtained high grades in the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP), the International English Language tests(IELTS) and gained university placements".

In addition, the inspection team noted that "most teachers are now using assessment information to plan appropriate lessons to address students’ different needs. There is high quality marking of students’ work supported by the whole school adoption of a computerised system of assessment".

Additionally, "The school leadership and the governing board have a shared vision to provide an outstanding school for the ‘Future Leaders’ of the UAE and have been successful in improving students’ achievement. They have very good capacity to improve the school further and achieve their vision"

These are indeed very positive comments from the inspection team, and it can only be hoped that such positive improvement has continued over the past two years.  It is to be hoped that the postponed scheduled inspection for 2019-20 will reaffirm the strength of the school when it does finally take place.

In terms of the strengths of ENS MBZ, inspectors found these to be:

  • The improved attainment in all subjects, particularly in English, mathematics and science.
  • The effective integration of the American and IB curriculum which offers students a rigorous and challenging programme of choices.
  • The visionary leadership of the principal and his leadership team and their commitment to developing ‘Future Leaders’.
  • The promotion and teaching of reading in Arabic and English, in all phases of the school.
  • The academic achievement of grade 12 students and their success in gaining university places.

In terms of areas for improvement, the inspection team recommended:

  • Ensuring consistent students’ achievement in all subjects and the engagement of all boys in middle school by: i. identifying and sharing effective practice among teachers ii. planning a programme of professional development specifically for teachers of middle boys to share good practice iii. adapting the curriculum to include topics that motivate and engage all students, particularly boys iv. ensuring that in Islamic education, social studies and other subjects teachers use differentiated strategies that meet the needs of all groups of students.
  • Increasing the participation of parents to continue to improve students’ punctuality at the start of the school day, by: i. regularly notifying them if their child arrives after the national anthem ii. drawing attention to punctuality in parental newsletters iii. publicly rewarding students who are punctual to school in the morning.
  • Ensuring all teachers provide activities and resources that meet the needs of gifted and talented (G&T) students by: i. ensuring teachers are aware of all G&T students in their lessons ii. planning challenging and appropriate activities in lessons that meet their individual needs. iii. tracking and monitoring the progress of G& T students in all lessons.

If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly advise you to do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.

The Buzz

The inspection report notes that partnerships and communications with parents and the community are very good. Parents are well informed about their children’s learning and development. The ‘Parents’ Advisory Committee’ are highly involved and supportive of the school.

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has not received any responses to our School Survey.  If you are a parent, teacher or student at ENS Mohammed bin Zayed City, please share your experience with other potential members of your community by completing our Survey here.

Our View

It seems that ENS MBZ is making consistently very good progress across all key areas of the school. It will be interesting to see what further progress has been made following the next inspection postponed from 2019-20 - could this be the first ENS school to obtain the highest Outstanding rating? 

It is also interesting to note that the inspectors have been so positive in relation to the changes to the curriculum with the implementation of the IB programme, which has not been widely offered (or in fact recognised by the regulator!) in Abu Dhabi, but is becoming very well regarded, particularly for university entry in many parts of the world.

What about the fees?

Fees are at the high end with KG at AED 22,190 to AED 53,750 for Grade 12.

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