Emirates Private School Abu Dhabi is one of several schools of the same name. This original school is located in Zaafarana on Abu Dhabi island and opened in 1982. It attracts a largely Emirati and native-Arabic speaking student population.
The story so far...
Emirates Private School (EPS) Abu Dhabi is a private KG to Grade 12 school located on Abu Dhabi Island. The school was first established in 1982 by Mr. Mohamed Abdullah Al Otaiba, a well-placed Emirati, as an English Medium School and aims to offer a high level of education through a mix of UK, US and UAE Ministry of Education curricula. Students are generally accepted into the UK curriculum FS1 (pre-KG) as a starting point on their education journey. The school aims to develop "analysis, skills and thinking facilities of a child rather than rote memorization. Organised and systemic instructions aim at expanding the excellence of learning. Individual attention is given to every student and extra care is taken for children who need special attention".
The Vision of EPS states that "knowledge and learning eliminates the darkness of ignorance. The culture of education at EPS is to pass on the light of knowledge and skills to the future generation so that the students expand their physical and intellectual horizons".
The Mission of EPS is "to plan, implement, monitor and supervise education programs that lead to a successful educational system bringing together all stakeholders including students, schools and parents to create a harmonious system in consistence with the highest levels of an educational performance".
EPS educates approximately 2,300 students, the largest nationality group of which are Egyptian passport holders (some 38%), followed by Emiratis (19%), Jordanian (9%) and Sudanese (5%). Some 6% of students have been identified with Special Educational Needs. Students are taught by 162 teachers, supported by 24 teaching assistants, with a teacher:student ratio of a respectable 1:14. Teachers turnover is a very low 5% - suggesting a settled and happy staff - compared with the UAE average of 20-22%. Some 16% of children are in KG, a further 37% are in Grades 1 to 5, and a fairly equal balance between Middle school and High school section make up the remainder.
What about the curriculum?
The school prepares students for the UK-based Cambridge curriculum IGCSE, together with Edexcel AS and A-Level, whilst the US Curriculum is accredited by AdvancEd, and the UAE curriculum is approved by the Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi. Students following the UK and US curriculum classes are taught in English, whilst Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies are taught in Arabic as set by the Ministry of Education guidelines. Students also have access to lessons in Art, Design Technology, ICT (including coding and robotics) and French, in addition to Physical Education.
Music and Arts classes are taught to students between KG and grade 10. EPS acknowledges that evidence shows that arts education provides students with the skills to think creatively, to innovate, and to become tenacious learners ready to solve complex problems—all skills that employers are increasingly looking for in the 21st century. At EPS, a philosophy of encouraging creativity and self-expression is in place – allowing all students to explore and share their individual talents. Musical and drama performances take place within all age groups, from plays in the Foundation Stage through to major musicals, plays, dance shows and concerts further up the school.
The Kindergarten programme is largely play-based and includes six learning areas: language, Maths, Science and Technology, personal and social development, health and physical activity and the arts. Children explore learning through reading, writing, drama, visual arts, science and physical activity. Skills aimed at developing independence such as making choices, developing resilience and engaging in social interactions are also supported in the Kindergarten programme. Students work with materials such as sand, water, blocks and construction materials
In addition to the academic programme, EPS believes that "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." The school offers various activities for the development of a well-rounded student including debating, dramatics, creative writing, singing, musicals, sports, karate, Scouting, horse riding and swimming among other co-curricular activities.
What about academic achievement?
EPS does not publicises its academic results, which we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com feel is a great shame. We strongly encourage schools to celebrate the achievements of their staff and students by publishing the results. Whilst results are not the be-all and end-all of education, they are inevitably an important factor in school choice, and one to which we believe parents and prospective students should have access.
Some clues to performance are provided in the latest ADEK report which notes that 2017 International General Certificate in Education (iGCSE) data showed that students’ attainment was Very Good in Maths, Good in Chemistry and Physics and Acceptable in English and Biology. Students’ attainment in Advanced subsidiary (AS) levels showed Very Good attainment in Physics, Good attainment in Maths but Weak attainment in Biology and Chemistry. Advanced (A) level data indicates that students attained Outstanding levels in Chemistry, Very Good attainment in Maths and Physics, but Weak in Biology.
2017 External Measure of Achievement (EMSA) data for Arabic reading was Outstanding when benchmarked against national expectations for Grade 11. It was Very Good in Grade 5, Good for Grade 9 and Weak in Grade 7. Students’ Arabic writing results were evaluated as Good in Grade 5 and Weak in Grades 7, 9, and 11.
2017 measure of academic progress (MAP) data indicates that students’ attainment was weak in English, Mathematics and Science.
What about the facilities?
School facilities, aside from up to date classrooms, include sports and outdoors areas, used for Kids Sport, Football, Basketball and Tennis, an auditorium, cafeteria, and prayer rooms, as well as music and art rooms. In recent years, the school has invested in a state-of-the-art Computer Lab, and Science Labs and upgraded the Library. A Home Economics kitchen and garden have also been added. There have been a series of construction projects designed to both renovate existing infrastructure and to create new learning spaces that are coherent with the needs of 21st century education.
What the inspectors say
In the 2017-18 ADEK inspection, which took place in February 2018, Emirates Private School was again rated Good, the level which ADEK wishes all Abu Dhabi schools to achieve as a minimum. In fact, EPS did very well, being rated Good for the key performance standards of Students' Achievement, Teaching and Assessment, and Leadership and Management. The school did even better for the standards of Students' Personal and Social Development and Innovation Skills, Curriculum and the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students, which were each rated Very Good.
Inspectors found the key strengths of the school to be:
Students' achievement is almost uniformly Good across the school, with the exception of English in the KG section (which is rated Acceptable) and Science in the High school section which is rated Very Good. In particular, the inspection report notes that students’ learning skills have improved to Good since lessons promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills more effectively. Students are also given greater opportunities to work independently of adult support, and to collaborate. The school has introduced ‘problem for the day’ initiative to deepen students’ critical-thinking skills and leaders focus on the development of these skills when observing lessons.
In addition, the school’s curriculum was found to be very good, as it makes meaningful cross-curricular links with other subjects, Emirati culture and UAE society. Students with SEN and those who are Gifted and Talented (G&T) are identified promptly. Students with SEN are given effective support in lessons and after school which enables them to make good progress in both their learning and personal development.
EPS has successfully incorporated three curricula which offer a very good range of choice, according to the inspectors. They found the curriculum to be very well-planned and effective in promoting innovation and challenge for most students. The content of each is relevant and comprehensive and, at each phase, learning is well structured and builds on prior learning. Between the three curricula, the school offer a wide range of subject choices. This is further enriched by extra-curricular provision which is very well attended by students across all phases.
In terms of those areas for improvement, the inspection team identified that EPS should:
Raise children’s achievement in English in the KG by: introducing a letters and sounds programme; providing work that is always challenging; reducing the use of worksheets in lessons; [and] providing greater opportunities for children to learn more independently of adult direction.
Improve teaching by ensuring teachers: plan for and ask skillful questions to challenge and deepen learning; set work that is better matched to the needs of all higher achieving students; [and] raise the profile of reading in English.
Strengthen leadership by: sharply analysing and accurately comparing data with reliable benchmarks; ensuring leaders reflect on students’ learning when monitoring lessons; ensuring all staff mark students’ work in accordance with the school’s assessment policy [and] revising school policy to better promote students’ punctuality to school.
Emirates Private School is clearly providing a very solid level of Good education to its students. Evidently, investment is being made in the school's facilities and resources, including staff development. It seems that steady progress is being achieved in all key areas - it will be interesting to see how the school's performance has further improved when it is next inspected in 2019-20.
This is a school with very moderate fee levels that is delivering a Good level of education. Fees start at AED 9,100 in KG1 for MoE curriculum (AED 11,400 for UK/US curricula), rising to AED 17,300 in Grade 12 (AED 21,600 for UK/US curricula). Additional fees for books range from AED 220 to AED 1,000 depending on grade and curriculum.
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