Considered Good with Outstanding features by a UK inspection team in 2017, this little Not for Profit school has a lot going for it, from the great results to the experienced British teachers- and all for fees between 23,850 AED and 42,000 AED.
Fujairah Private Academy (FPA) is a Not-For-Profit, British curriculum, all-through school, operating under the patronage of HH Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah and Member of the Supreme Council.
The school was originally founded by HH The Ruler of Fujairah as one of the first British system schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). FPA was established to provide a British style education for members of the expatriate and UAE communities. The Crown prince of Fujairah is the Chair of the Board and is an ex-student of the school.
The senior section moved to a new campus in September 2003, followed by the primary section in 2004. The school role has increased from 663 in 2013 to is present number of 751. Classes from entry to Year 4 are currently oversubscribed.
The increasing numbers of students in Early Years Foundation Stage are offset by a decrease of 11% in the senior section. The senior section has a greater ethnic mix with decreased numbers of foreign students due to changing economics circumstances. In the senior section, the majority of United Arab Emirates (UAE) students have attended the school from the start. Over 73% of students are UAE nationals, 11% passport holders of Arab countries and the remainder represent 35 different nationalities. 90% of students are Muslims. The Board of the school has continued to support from inception the co-educational nature of the school.
The FPA BSO Report 2017
Overall inspectors found Fujairah Private School to be a good school with outstanding features. Students make good progress as they move through the school. IGCSE results exceed UK national expectations. Personal development is of a high order. Students feel secure and valued. They well supported by excellent pastoral care and robust welfare, health and safety policies and procedures. Students, parents and staff are highly committed to the school and feel valued and appreciated. The curriculum is broad and balanced, enriched by a range of extracurricular activities.
Throughout the school, all the class teachers and subject specialist teachers are British trained or have British recognised qualifications. Of the current staff, 20 were appointed in August 2017. Over 80% of teachers delivering the curriculum of England and Wales are United Kingdom (UK) trained British nationals with UK teaching experience. It is a policy decision by the Board where possible to employ staff with UK qualifications. A further 18% hold foreign teaching qualifications recognised in the UK. A number of teachers from New Zealand have specifically been appointed for their expertise in bilingual education. All teachers, including Arabic staff are familiar with the UK curriculum.
The school does not employ supply staff. Staffing levels are more than adequate for the successful delivery of the curriculum. All teaching staff have qualifications appropriate to their role; some staff have further academic or teaching qualifications that enhance school development. Teaching Assistants are currently employed in all Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Year 3 classes.
The Government of Fujairah must approve the qualifications and status of teachers employed by the school before the issuing of work visas. There is a list maintained of all staff and volunteers who currently work in the school.
Inspectors said of the FPA curriculum, “the school has a written curriculum policy, supported by schemes of work which enable studentsto acquire skills in speaking, listening, literacy and numeracy. The subject matter is appropriate for the ages and aptitudes of students, including those with learning difficulties. The principal language of instruction is English.”
“All students from Year 1 to Year 6 have ICT lessons. The curriculum is enhanced with specialist art, music and physical education lessons. All students from Year 4, study French. The school is proactive in its approach to curriculum monitoring and reviewing of provision. This is particularly evident in relation to the development and improvement of Literacy standards in the primary school. The leadership team has introduced ‘Read Write Inc.’ (RWI) into the primary curriculum in response to concerns over phonics and reading levels.”
Overall, the quality of teaching and learning are good or better. Most teaching encourages students to apply intellectual, physical and creative efforts, to show interest in their work and learn and think for themselves. Nearly all teachers showed a good understanding of the aptitudes, cultural background, the needs of EAL learners, and the prior attainments of the students.
Nearly all teachers in the EYFS and primary section are passionate in their teaching and as such, enthuse and motivate their students.
Classroom management is of a consistently high standard and the level of student engagement with their learning is excellent. Relationships between teachers and students are very strong and mutual respect is clearly evident.
Attainment data for Key Stage 4 indicates that the school outperforms UK national expectations. For example, in 2017 89% of students gained 5 or more A* to C grades with 68% gaining 5 or more A* to C grades, including English and mathematics.
Cohorts for GCE AS and A2 levels are small, however, students who do follow this pathway achieve very good scores. E.g. previous head girl Nuray achieved an A* and three As and left to study medicine in Europe.
Students enter universities in the UAE and overseas including the UK, USA and Australia at the end of Year 12. Institutions include; Higher Colleges of Technology, U.A.E., American University of Sharjah, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi Campus, the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, McGill University, Canada, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia, Australian National University, Canberra, University of British Columbia, Canada, and Heriott Watt University, Dubai.
“The suitability of the proprietor and staff is of a high order,” states the BSO report. “Fujairah Private Academy is wholly owned by the government of Fujairah and under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohamad Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah. The Chairperson of the Board is His Highness Shaikh Mohamad Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince.”
The school occupies a vast landscaped campus of 66,500 square metres divided into 4 sections. The BSO reort notes, “whilst the premises and accommodation are of a high standard, the school has identified funding constraints as a major constraint in the development of the facilities to their full potential.”
The school does have a very large library and sporting facilities, however, these have been identified as in need of improvement in the light of increasing student numbers.
Specialist teaching areas provided for subjects such as science, art and information and computer technology (ICT) in both the primary and senior sections of the school. In primary, students have access to class sets of iPads. In the senior section students have access to a suite of Apple computers. Laptops and data projectors are widely used to support teaching and learning. Improvements to the school’s wireless network support the use of ICT across the curriculum.
FPA offers numerous teacher led activities both at lunchtime and after-school. Activities include sports, arts and crafts, games and language learning. Provision is reviewed each term by the students themselves and changes made based on feedback.
Considering the calibre of the school, fees are extremely affordable and start at 23,000 AED for KG1 through to 42,000 AED for Grade 12.
However, the school does have a waiting list and requires an assessment for admissions.
All children for entry to Kindergarten to Year 2 will meet with the Heads of Section for assessment. All applicants for Year 3 - Year 10 will take entrance tests in English, Mathematics and Arabic (first language speakers only). The school does not admit students into Year 11 because of the restrictions of examination courses. Students wishing to enter in Year 12 will need to take an aptitude test for the subjects they wish to study to GCE AS or A2 level, in addition to the general requirements.
There are three dates for entrance tests: March, May and June. Places will be allocated on completion of test and interview. The tests are diagnostic and not a test of memory. Aptitude tests for Year 12 take place in August after the issue of the GCSE results. The costs of these tests are AED 200 per student payable before the test date.
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