Located at the heart of Abu Dhabi Island, International Community School Khalidiya was the fourth school to open under the ICS brand and the second to offer the UK curriculum.
International Community School (ICS) Khalidiya is the fourth member of the Abu Dhabi-based International Community Schools group, joining the already operational ICS Mushrif, ICS City Centre (Al Najda), and ICS Al Falah, and the soon to be launched ICS Khalifa City which will open in September 2021.
According to the Group, "The International Community Schools (ICS), Abu Dhabi, has a long and enviable reputation in the region for providing high-quality private education for students from KG to Grade 12, in both the British and American curriculums. Since its foundation as Ibrahimya School in 1990, ICS has developed from a relatively humble “villa school” of 200 students to the prestigious and highly resourced facilities of today, catering for over 3500+ students".
ICS Khalidiya opened in September 2019, joining the ICS City Centre branch in offering the UK National Curriculum. The remaining branches offer the US curriculum. Whilst the Al Najda branch is open through Primary and Secondary, the Khalidiya branch is currently open to Primary only, but will grow to include the Middle school year groups (Years 6 to 9) over the coming years.
The school's Motto, Vision and Mission are shared across the ICS schools.
The schools' Motto is 'Inspire Challenge Succeed'.
Its Vision is to be 'The "School of Choice" - inspiring, challenging and empowering a 21st century learning community through an ethical and innovative education system', whilst its Mission is 'to encourage the best from its students, staff, parents and community, and to nurture a passion for learning and a culture of achievement'.
Principal, Ms. Lamia Hajjar, introducing the school and her focus, comments that:
I believe that the most powerful force in human relationships is expectations. We can influence a person’s behavior by changing our expectations of that person. It is also my belief that encouragement and positive reinforcement is the key to success. The lack of faith in one’s ability leads to anticipation of failure.
When you give your children praise and encouragement, you help them develop their self esteem. This is why, at ICS, we focus on the children's strengths so that we can nurture their feeling of self worth. We show them that to build their self confidence, they must set goals and achieve them. They learn to do that with focus and determination. We endeavor to produce life-long learners ready to accept difficult challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks.
The individual schools provide little information about the student and staff make up, but overall, the group's student body is currently made up of over 55+ nationalities taught by teachers recruited from 17+ countries. The Khalidiya branch does say that it has "pupils from a wide range of countries including the UAE, Arabia, Europe and the Americas".
Its 'English Curriculum' teachers are all "fluent English speakers and come from a range of countries including England, Ireland, America, Lebanon, and South Africa".
ICS Khalidiya offers the UK National Curriculum, incorporating the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum for students in FS1 (the equivalent of pre-KG) , and FS2. The ICS schools are accredited with Cambridge International and with Pearson Edexcel and - in line with the City Centre branch - Khalidiya is expected to go on to offer IGCSE and International AS and A Level qualifications for students in Years 10-13.
The school states that it aims to "provide a safe, friendly learning environment where lifelong learners follow an international curriculum which promotes academic excellence and nurtures key values and competences in our global minded, future leaders".
Foundation Stage (FS1 and FS 2) is open to students aged between four and five years of age, who then progress to Key Stage 1 (for children aged 5 to 7 years of age and then to Key Stage 2 for those aged 7 to 11 years. The school says that as part of its short term plan, the year groups will increase yearly with the required permission from ADEK.
Once children move from the Foundation Stage into Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2), the core curriculum includes English (including Bug Club and Read, Write Inc), History, Geography, Art & Design, Maths, Science, Arabic (for native and non-native speakers), Islamic and Social Studies and Physical Education.
The school also encourages and promotes social, artistic and sporting activities outside of normal school hours through a range of after school activities. Each term a list of clubs is announced and students sign up for their choices. The clubs vary each term and by school, but a typical selection might include: football, drama, dancing, basketball, ICT, art, lego, book club and choir. ICS Khalidiya specifically includes Art, Music & Media, Sports, Fitness & Health, Book Club and ICT.
ICS Khalidiya has a full-time Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) on the team who works with parents, students and teachers to ensure that students' individual needs are recognised and supported.
The school says that it "is committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals within our school community and aims to ensure that each student realises their full potential in a caring, supportive environment".
In line with ADEK requirements, the school aims to support students with a wide range of additional learning needs including Intellectual Disability, Specific Learning Disability (includes Dyslexia), Emotional and Behavioral Disorder (includes ADD and ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech and Language Disorder, Physical and Health-Related Disabilities, Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment and Multiple Disabilities.
In addition to students with a diverse range of additional learning needs, the SEN team also works with Gifted and Talented Students.
The school uses a range of assessment processes to monitor student performance and ability. The NGRT tests serve to test not just the ability of students to decode what they read, but also to comprehend and apply meaning. It can be used to measure phonemic awareness in less able readers. NGRT’s adaptive testing means that these tests can be used for students of all abilities to introduce extra challenge or interventions to address problems before they impact performance.
The school does not mention standardized tests for Maths or Science, but we would anticipate that as part of ADEK's assessment requirements, these will also form part of the school's routine.
Unfortunately, the school does not provide any detailed information about the facilities of the campus. The building itself is a relatively elderly one, and is therefore unlikely to have the 'bells and whistles' of a newer, purpose-built one.
However, according to ICS, facilities throughout the different Campuses are "of highest international standards, and whilst each varies, they often include, state–of-the–art interactive teaching technology in every classroom, science labs, computer laboratories and a technology lab, auditoriums, examination halls, gymnasiums, various multi-purpose activity rooms, junior and senior libraries where appropriate, and indoor swimming pools". We are rather doubtful that some of the more spacious facilities - notably for sport - are likely to be a feature of the ICS Khalidiya campus.
There is little in the way of external feedback about ICS Khalidiya - in part driven by its newness and also the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic which meant that the school was not subject to any form of ADEK inspection in its first year. Both the Al Mushrif and City Centre branches are rated Good by the regulator, and we have no doubt that ICS Khalidiya will be aiming to achieve at least this rating when the inspectors do finally make it through the doors.
The school does operate a Parent Teacher Association. "The ICS PTA believes that participation in the PTA is an important and integral part of the total school program. It is our belief that the core ingredients of character should be displayed when interacting with faculty and students via these core ethical values: trust, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, teamwork, and hard work".
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Fees at ICS Khalidiya range from AED 20,900 for FS2 and Year 1 (no fee for FS1 is provided), rising to AED 22,990 for Years 2 to 6. Uniforms cost a further AED 346.50, whilst two way bus fares are AED 4,630. There is a non-refundable registration fee of AED 750, after which students are administered with an entrance test.
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