United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Mussafah / Good Will Children Private School

Good Will Children Private School Review

Good Will Children Private School, since 2010 based in purpose built accommodation, was originally founded as a Primary school, but has since expanded the provision for its 551 pupils from KG to Grade 9 (4 to 16 years of age). The school is located in Mussafah Sha’bai, Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi.
Parents' Rating
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3.0 out of 5 based on 56 reviews
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
AED 27,500
Annual fees
AED 23,900 - 30,800
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1992
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
30%
Principal
Ms Charmaine Margaret R
Community
Main student nationality
Pakistan
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Good Will Children Private School
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Acceptable
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
AED 27,500
Annual fees
AED 23,900 - 30,800
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1992
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
30%
Principal
Ms Charmaine Margaret R
Community
Main student nationality
Pakistan
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Good Will Children Private School, since 2010 based in purpose built accommodation, was originally founded as a Primary school, but has since expanded the provision for its 551 pupils from KG to Grade 9 (4 to 16 years of age). The school is located in Mussafah Sha’bai, Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi.

The Story so far...

Founded in 1992 as  a Primary School, Good Will Children Private School has expanded its provision to children to Grade 7 in 2017-18 and is now open to Grade 9.  The vast majority of the school's close to 600 students (75%) are in the KG/Primary School with the balance having made the transition to the Lower Secondary school section.  The school's students are mainly Pakistani (43%) followed by Sudanese (10%) and Egyptians (9%), although the school supports a total of 19 nationalities including a small but growing number (7%) of Emirati children.

One clear sign of development at, and investment in the school is a new website which was launched in 2019.  This contains a broad range of information designed to provide a much fuller picture of the school.

Among the information available is the school's Vision which is "Enable all".

Further the school states that:

  • Our goal is to empower our next generation to be global citizens.
  • We aim to develop global citizens who are enabled to take their place as moral, sensitive, educated world citizen with motivation to learn.
  • We aim to develop their understanding of Islamic values and the culture of UAE.
  • We aim to deliver a balanced and broad curriculum that fosters creativity and critical thinking skills.
  • We are learning school and encourage all members of the school community to develop to their full potential.

At the time of the last ADEK inspection in 2018-19 (no inspections took place in 2020-21 as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic), students were supported by 58 teachers and 20 teaching assistants, offering a very good teacher to student ratio of 1:11 in KG/FS and 1:10 through the remainder of the grades. 

The school appointed a new Principal in 2018, Ms. Charmaine Margaret R. In her introduction to GWCPS, Ms. Raghuraman says "As your Principal, my vision is simple. Connection, irrespective of whether its in-person or virtual, is crucial to a student’s development, and it is my goal to see that happening with every student in terms of knowledge and experience within the school."

Unfortunately, staff turnover at 30% in 2018 was very much on the high side for a largely Asian staffed school and at odds with the school's statements on the importance of their teachers "Qualified and trained teachers are fundamental to the success of an educational structure. At Good Will School, we value our teachers and recognise the importance of empowering them with new learning and teaching strategies because a well-informed, motivated and trained teacher makes all the difference in a classroom". 

Despite the staff turnover, it seems that those who remain are indeed providing a reasonable quality of education.  Feedback from parents is that "Each member of the staff is very easily approachable and already ready to hear/help. Teachers are very hardworking."

What about the curriculum?

Good Will Children Private School follows a UK, Cambridge-based Primary and Secondary curriculum, but was downgraded from Good to Acceptable in its last ADEK inspection which took place in 2018-19. Unique to Cambridge curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi, the school offers Urdu as a second language in addition to Arabic as part of the Ministry of Education requirements.  

The school explains "This internationally respected curriculum is now taught in 150 countries across the world and culminates in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, AS and A level certification recognized by universities worldwide". 

With an emphasis on English, Mathematics, Science and Arabic subjects, including Islamic Studies, and Quran as well as providing an environment that respects traditional moral values, GWCPS says that it makes sure that children are well-prepared for the outside world and remain aware of their culture.

The Cambridge Curriculum has a clearly defined series of academic and other objectives at every level offering the Early Years Foundation Stage (for children aged 3.8 to 5.8 years), Primary Education (ages 6 to 11) and Lower Secondary (ages 11 to 14) leading to the Cambridge Check Point Exam.  

Students are taught to learn by questioning, problem-solving and creative thinking rather than by the mere retention of facts, hence giving them analytical and creative thinking skills that they will need in the working world. A variety of teaching and assessment methods are used which are designed to develop independent thought as well as a mastery of the subject matter. The curriculum also provides a wide range of extra-curricular activities that students enjoy.

GWCPS says that it places "great emphasis to meet the needs of all students, stretching brighter children and supporting those who need it through differentiated teaching and learning activities. The curriculum extends and excites all students, whatever their interests or ability. Through it, teachers are able to identify, celebrate and nurture the talents and intelligences of students".

The school also appears to place emphasis on the use of technology, noting that the ICT curriculum covers a range of theory and practical topics which teach the children the increasing importance of technology. Children are taught these skills in a well-resourced ICT laboratory applying these skills in their everyday learning on computers and interactive smart boards in each classroom. In addition, the use of tablet devices, and software technology is included into the curriculum to help students better understand abstract ideas.

In addition, the school offers a range of Extra-curricular activities including 

  • Sport Clubs: Football, Karate, Basket Ball, Volley Ball, Badminton, Table Tennis.
  • STEAM clubs: Lego Robotics, Coding, 3D Printing, Create a Short Movie, Science, Eco-Environment, Construction
  • Character & Confidence building clubs: English Drama, English Debate
  • Language Clubs: Quran Recitation, English Spelling Bee, Arabic Reading, Spanish language, French Language, Urdu Language and Phonic Reading Games
  • Crafts, Thinking Skills & Cultural Awareness: Board Games, Chess,
  • Cold Cooking, Bracelet Making, Debate, Painting, UAE Heritage.

What about academic achievement?

Since GWCPS is not yet open to Grade 10 (Year 11), students leave the school to continue with the final four years of their education and no examination results for ex-students are published.

However, the school does provide some information about the achievements of its students in regard to the Cambridge Checkpoint Examination which is held at the end of Grade 8.

  • 27 students in Grade 6 & 8 were awarded with a Gold Certificate in the Primary and Lower Secondary Cambridge Checkpoint International Assessments.
  • 19 students attained perfect score of 6.0 in Primary Cambridge Checkpoint International Assessment in one or more subjects in English, Math and Science.
  • 4 students attained perfect score of 6.0 in Primary Cambridge Checkpoint Assessment in all Cambridge Examination Subjects.
  • A Grade 6 student was awarded a Gold Certificate for achieving distinction in IBT Arabic International assessment..

No dates are provided for these achievements, but since the school website was completely re-built in 2019, we assume that these results relate to 2018.

What the inspectors say

Rated Good in 2016-17, unfortunately GWCPS was downgraded to Acceptable in its most recent ADEK inspection in 2018-19.

As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, the inspection scheduled for 2020-21 did not take place.  Instead, in common with all UAE private and public schools, GWCPS undertook a Distance Learning Evaluation and in May 2021, announced that it had achieved the highest Developed rating.

Summarising the overall performance of the school in the 2018-19 full inspection, the inspectors noted that a new principal was appointed in January 2018. Since the previous inspection teacher turnover had increased to 30%.  At the time of this inspection, over 200 new students had either joined or were in the process of joining the school, most with low levels of English. New teachers were arriving during the inspection week.

The overall performance of the school was acceptable because most students’ achievement was in line with curriculum standards in all key subjects. "Progress overall, and students’ learning skills, have declined to acceptable from good at the last inspection, linked to high staff turnover and student mobility".

The strengths of the school were found to be:

  • Students’ understanding of UAE culture and appreciation of Islamic values.
  • Teachers’ positive relationships with students that establish a positive learning environment.
  • The range of clubs and extra-curricular activities.
  • Improved health and safety and care and protection of students. 
  • Positive partnerships with parents.
  • Attainment has been maintained as acceptable in Islamic education, Arabic, English, mathematics and science since the last inspection.

The report noted that significant changes in assessment and staff development introduced by the principal had yet to raise the quality of the curriculum, teaching and assessment above acceptable. Students benefited from very good protection, care, guidance and support which underpin their continued good personal and social development. However different groups of students did not receive sufficient support and challenge in their learning.

In fact, four of the six key performance standards measured by the inspection team had regressed from Good to Acceptable, including the three inter-linked measures of Student Achievement, Teaching and Assessment and the Curriculum. 

Leadership and management had also regressed to Acceptable. However, on  a positive note, the inspectors commented that "The new principal and newly constituted senior leadership team (SLT) have introduced many well-judged changes, but their full impact has yet to be seen". 

In terms of areas of improvement, the inspection team stated that GWCPS must:

  • Raise achievement in all subjects by:
    - raising teachers’ expectations of students’ achievement
    - further improving students’ language skills in Arabic and English through the whole-school literacy strategy
    - improving provision and support for SEN and G&T students within classes.
  • Improve students’ learning and subject skills by:
    - providing further opportunities in lessons to develop skills of creativity, innovation and enterprise
    - encouraging them to take greater responsibility for their own learning
    - extending their use of technology to support learning - further developing investigative skills in science
    - further developing number, shape, measures and problem-solving skills in mathematics
    - providing more opportunities to link learning in social studies with their own experiences and apply this to a local context
    - providing additional opportunities to develop skills of social responsibility through involvement in the wider community.
  • Improve teaching and assessment by:
    - developing teachers’ use of questioning skills to extend students’ higher order thinking
    - improving teachers’ use of assessment to adapt lessons to more effectively support and challenge all students, including G&T and more able students
    - improving the quality of teachers’ planning, feedback, and target setting for all students, especially those who are more able - rigorous monitoring to ensure teachers use strategies and resources effectively and consistently to promote learning.  Improve the curriculum by: - planning additional activities which develop students’ skills of creativity, innovation, enterprise and social contribution, including the use of cross-curricular links - reviewing the curriculum to systematically address gaps in prior learning and weaknesses in learning skills - modifying the curriculum to better meet the needs of more able students - planning further opportunities for students to develop their appreciation of other world cultures.
  • Improve leadership and management by:
    - further developing the CPD programme to cater more fully for the needs of new teachers, including familiarising them with the school’s curriculum and assessment systems
    - strengthening self-evaluation and improvement planning through increasingly rigorous use of data and evaluation of the impact of actions
    - ensuring governors gain further detailed knowledge of the school to more actively hold senior leaders accountable for its performance, including achievement.

It would seem that the new school leadership is taking action that should support improvement in the key performance standards across the school, but these had not yet had time to achieve results at the time of inspection. It is to be hoped that when the school is inspected fully by ADEK once full inspections resume (unlikely to be before 2021-22) that tangible results will be visible.

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 - find it here.

The Buzz

There is clear evidence that GWCPS is keen to communicate with and support its parent community in involving them in their children's education and life of the school.  According to the most recent full inspection, partnerships with parents remain good.

"The school successfully engages parents in school life through effective communications and access to staff, and regular reporting on their child’s development. The Board of Governors is representative of most stakeholders and seeks views from Parents’ Council". 

Feedback to the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com school survey has been surprisingly strong, with over 55 parents participating.  Overall, parents who responded to the survey gave the school a rating of 3/5 (or 60% positivity). 

Satisfaction levels across a range of areas can best be described as moderate.  Just under half of respondents felt that their children felt quite a bit or a tremendous amount of belonging and enjoyment in going to school, these ratings are a little below the UAE average. In addition, a surprising 47% had considered moving their child to another school, though the vast majority of parents were satisfied (56%) or partially satisfied (27%) with the academic performance of the school. Again, these ratings are below the UAE average.  And despite these satisfaction levels, 100% of respondents felt that they needed to arrange for additional tuition outside the school.

 Parents were largely satisfied with communication and discipline at GWCPS, but fees were evidently an area of contention with only 36% believing that they represented value for money, though a further 47% partially agreed with this statement. But, despite their apparent reservations, however, 69% of parents would recommend the school to others, whilst 21% were not sure and 10% definitely would not.

If you are a parent, teacher or student at Good Will Children Private School, please share your experience with other potential members of your community by completing our Survey.

What about the fees?

Despite their new website, GWCPS has not managed to include fee details on it! The following details are taken from ADEK's approve fee information on the TAMM website.

Current fees range from AED 23,900 for KG1 to AED 30,800 for Grade 7-9. There are additional charges for books which range from AED 1,600 to AED 2,800 dependent on grade - this applies from KG1 to Grade 6.

Students are required to take an entrance examination prior to acceptance by the school.

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