International Jubilee Private School, Abu Dhabi is a private Elementary and Middle school for students between grades KG - 9, located in the Madinat Zayed area of Abu Dhabi.
The story so far...
International Jubilee Private School (IJS) is, unusually, a Elementary and Middle school only, offering a US curriculum from KG1 to Grade 9. The school has a particular focus on supporting children with Autism through a tie-up with the Autism Centre, Abu Dhabi.
It is a steadily improving Elementary and Middle school, moving up to a Good rating in its 2017-18 ADEK Inspection following an Acceptable rating in its 2016 report, and a C6, "Weak" grade in 2014.
IJS' Mission statement says:
"Our School seeks an outstanding level of education, through a strong and a comprehensive curriculum, that includes wide range of activities, project-based learning dealing with the social, Emotional side, through caring and happy environment. Provide a comprehensive professional training program to the senior and middle staff,teachers, and teacher’s assistants. Focuses on parent’s involvement in school planning, decision making and the extra-curricular activities".
The School Vision is to provide "An Outstanding Education that enables each student to be ready to [sic] the real life challenges".
The total number of students is currently 809 with 2% being Emirati students, the largest nationality group (at 18%) being Jordanian, followed by students from the Philippines (12%) and Pakistan at 11%. This is an increase of approximately 10% over 2 years. The vast majority of students (86%) attend the KG or Elementary school sections (some 695), with the remaining 114 students spread across grades 6 to 9.
Students from some 30 countries attend the school. IJS takes girls and boys from 3 years 8 months to 14 years. Students are supported by 55 teachers and 16 teaching assistants, providing a very good teacher:student ratio of 1:15. Staff are evidently happy with their positions, with a low staff turnover level of 7%, providing stability.
What about the curriculum?
International Jubilee Private School follows an American, English speaking curriculum based fully on the California State Common Core Curriculum, with Arabic being taught as a second language in line with UAE Ministry of Education requirements.
The school submits its students to external Cognitive Ability Tests (CAT4) and examination results from the Common Core Curriculum State Standards (CCCSS) indicate that students’ achievement is Outstanding. Students achieve above grade-related expectations in English, Mathematics and Science. IJS aims to provide 21st century skills through integrating robotics education for students in grades 3-9, and provides a STEM programme for the grades 4-9.The majority of students make good progress, particularly in core subjects from their below average starting points in the KG 1. The school’s continuous assessment for Grades 1 to 9 indicates outstanding achievement in all core subjects.
International Jubilee Private School aims to provide an outstanding education for each student and to prepare them for the real life challenges and this is applied equally to children who are mainstream, Gifted and Talented or with additional learning needs. The school has a particular strong and inclusive approach to the latter group of students stating:
"All children and young people with SEN are valued and respected. They are equal members of the school. As such provision for pupils with SEN is a matter for the school as a whole; all teachers are teachers of pupils with SEN".
IJS provides the opportunity for Autistic student’s inclusion by preparing a suitable environment for communication and carefully prepared IEP plans. The school appears to be particularly strong at supporting students with SEN, but not quite as expert in working with students who have Gifts and Talents - this is a focus for improvement.
In addition to the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Arabic, Islamic Education and Social Studies, the school also offers subjects including French, Music, Drama and Art. The school also offers a limited range of extra-curricular activities including a robotics club and a photo-journalism club.
The school runs an innovative ‘Careers Guidance’ programme from KG to Grade 9. This develops skills in enterprise and entrepreneurship. The youngest students learn the simple differences between producers and consumers. Older students learn financial management and marketing skills. The course culminates in a whole school ‘Market Day’. This includes the students from the Autism Centre. They have taken the activity back to their Centre to share with fellow students.
What about the facilities?
The school's website is remarkably uninformative about key questions - from curriculum to facilities. It does however state that "Our beautiful campus includes state-of-the-art technology in all classrooms, age-appropriate play areas for children from kindergarten through the upper grades". The latest ADEK inspection report also notes that "Facilities are good, and classrooms are spacious and well decorated, and outside spaces are clean, litter free and brightly painted with culturally appropriate murals. However, space is insufficient to permit expansion to High School on the current premises".
What the inspectors say
The overall performance of the school was Good across all six key indicators. There is a newly appointed Principal for the school who has made a positive impact. Of particular note is that Governors have established a strong partnership with the local Autistic Centre and students from the Centre are fully integrated into lessons. Students with special educational needs (SEN) and those who are gifted and talented (G&T) make similar progress from their individual starting points.
Identification procedures are in place for externally assessed SEN students. Support for these students is a strength of the school. The school provides a welcoming and nurturing environment for the 22 students from the Autism Centre. The ADEK policy for special educational needs is effectively implemented and protocols are established for the identification of these students.
Students’ achievement is good in Islamic education, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and other subjects. It is acceptable overall in Arabic as a first and second language and PE. It is weak in Art and in the Elementary phase in Arabic as a Second Language. The majority of students show well-developed learning skills, and are attentive and keen to learn. In common with many UAE schools, Arabic as both a first and a second language is not as strong as the regulator would like to see.
Students’ personal and social development is good overall. They show very good attitudes to learning, establish positive relationships with their peers and with adults in the school. Good relationships between students and teachers create positive conditions for learning. Students adopt a range of values including empathy, consideration and tolerance. They enjoy coming to school, which is reflected in their outstanding attendance of 99% and very good punctuality.
As previously noted, students with SEN and students with autism are well supported and integrated into the school community. Most students with autism participate effectively alongside their peers in lessons. Students are respectful and considerate towards each other and enjoy learning. They have a good understanding of Islamic values, culture and heritage of the UAE.
Students’ innovation and enterprise are good. They develop independence, collaboration and problem-solving. They are enabled to design homes showing the use of solar energy. Students do projects based on robotics and use computer control software. However, opportunities for related extra-curricular activities are somewhat limited.
Teaching and assessment are good overall. Lesson plans ensure that the learning activities meet the needs of students with different abilities. Teachers promote students’ critical thinking and problem solving and good questioning and teachers’ rigorous classroom assessments help to identify the gaps in students' learning.
The implementation of the curriculum is good overall. It is broad and balanced, and age appropriate to develop students’ knowledge, skills and understanding. It is structured so that students learn systematically to provide continuity and progression. The school adapts the curriculum effectively to meet the needs of the students. Cross-curricular links are well established for example, the Emirati culture, values and UAE society across all subjects. Links between subjects help to support the development of students’ knowledge and learning skills.
The school’s provision for the protection, care, guidance and support of students is good. The school provides a safe, secure environment. All students in the Elementary and Middle phases have career lessons where they learn about various occupations. Leadership of the school is good overall. Leaders ensure effective day-to-day management, and have raised standards in most core subjects. There is a good relationship between the school's management and parents.
Inspectors identified the school's strengths as:
Areas for improvement were noted as the requirement to:
With the improvements made over the past two years, International Jubilee School is now showing that it can genuinely offer good value through improved attainment and progress, across subjects and across all three phases. It is a pity that the school does not appear to have the physical capacity to expand beyond it current grades into Junior and Senior High school.
Fees range from AED 12,200 – AED 26,600 - very much at the value end of the spectrum.
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