Consistently rated good by the KHDA for the last 9 years, in 2017-18, the Oud Metha located Lycée Français International made the step up to Very Good. Otherwise known as AFLEC, Lycée Français International is a French curriculum school currently attended by over 2,200 students aged from three to 18 years of age. The largest single group of students is made up of French nationals, followed by Lebanese and Egyptians.
AFLEC has been rated Very Good for the second year in a row in the 2018-19 KHDA inspection process. An abbreviated version of the inspection report can be found under the Inspection tab. An update of this review will be completed once the full report has been issued.
The story so far...
Located in the centre of Bur Dubai, close to the Creek and the more traditional areas of the city, Lycée Français International (otherwise referred to as AFLEC - Association Franco-Libanaise pour l'Education et la Culture, an organisation of which the school is a member), is located on a large site at the centre of Al Nasr Leisureland. This was the first outdoor sports facility in Dubai, with tennis courts, an ice-skating rink and range of other sporting opportunities. The buildings appear modern in a fairly traditional form, with appropriate facilities and outdoor space. They have recently been extended, and now include sufficient specialist rooms and well-stocked libraries. The most recent KHDA inspection report notes that "The school accommodation is well suited to the needs of the curriculum".
At Lycée Français International, students follow the French National Curriculum, together with Arabic language, and Islamic and Social Studies, as prescribed by the UAE Ministry of Education. In addition, the school offers a bi-lingual French/English curriculum, starting in the Nursery section, which continues through Primary and Secondary schools. Teaching is split 60:40 between the two languages, with lessons for each taught by native speakers. This is an aspect of the school which was noted by the KHDA to be particularly well organised. Arabic language instruction for both native and non-native speakers commences in Primary school.
There are, in total, over 40 nationality groups represented within the student body. Not all students are French-speakers on entry to the school, and this is an area which is well-regarded by the KHDA's inspection team. "Almost all" of the 149 teachers are said to have first degrees and/or teaching qualifications, with the largest proportion of them being French. There are a further 31 teaching assistants, and with a staff:student ratio of 1:15, class sizes are on the low side - a positive for students in terms of the individual attention available. Staff appear to be satisfied with their employment at the school - with a turnover of 10%, this is decidedly below the average of 20-22% in international schools in the UAE.
Like many schools in the UAE, the majority of students can be found in the early years of the school, with student numbers in the higher grades relatively low (although growing). In 2016-17, some 100 students took the Diplôme National du Brevet at the end of their Troisième year (equivalent to Grade 10/Year 11). There were 31 candidates in the Lycée who took the Baccalauréat in their final year (Terminale).
The school publishes results for students taking the Bac and Brevet on their website (something WhichSchoolAdvisor.com encourages), and the KHDA's latest report gives the school a consistent thumbs up for both academic performance and progress across subjects.
What the inspectors say
After 9 years of being rated Good - the minimum level targeted by the Dubai Schools Regulator, the KHDA - the move up to Very Good in the latest inspection round brings AFLEC closer to the accomplishment of the other well-established French school, the Lycée Français Georges Pompidou, at both its Nursery section in Oud Metha and the main campus at Dubai Academic City.
The improvement in rating is due primarily to some evident progress in relation to Students' achievement - notably in Mathematics in both the Secondary (College) and Sixth Form (Lycée) sections, together with Teaching and Assessment, the Curriculum and Health and Safety.
Key strengths of the school as defined by the inspection team are:
Inspectors noted that "Senior leaders are providing clear direction on the school's journey of continued improvement. They have an accurate picture of where improvement is needed." They are supported by Governors who are providing the school with a high level of professional expertise.
Students' achievement across all areas of the core curriculum is a real strength of the school. In French, English, Mathematics and Science, all sections of the school are rated either Very Good or Outstanding in attainment and progress, with English rated Outstanding in all measures across the school. Islamic Education and Arabic as a first language are also rated Good in almost all aspects (the exception being Arabic attainment in the Lycée which is rated Acceptable due to adjustments in the curriculum). Arabic as an Additional Language does not rate quite as highly (and is taught only in Primaire and College), being deemed Acceptable for the most part.
Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills were also considered a key feature of the school with Personal development being rated Outstanding across all sections. Inspectors commented that "Students’ behaviour is exemplary. They have very positive attitudes and take pride in their achievements. Most students have a strong work ethic and participate in a range of environmental initiatives and charity events, drawing on their developing innovative and entrepreneurial skills."
In terms of Teaching and Assessment as a further key indicator of the school's progress, Teaching for Effective Learning is an evident strength - rated Very Good across the three lower stages of the school and Outstanding in the Lycée. Both Maternelle and College were upgraded to Very Good from Good in the last inspection. Previous reports had noted some concern among students and parents in relation to the range of additional subjects available to students and also to the range of Extracurricular activities on offer. The inspection report notes that the range of options available to older students has increased. "Science, business, humanities and language options are providing an appropriate range of pathways to higher education and future careers." In addition, "the extracurricular activities offered in the performing arts, together with a wide variety of educational visits, enhance students’ learning." However, a significant minority of parents appear still to feel that both the academic and co-curricular activities should be expanded.
Health and safety, including arrangements for child protection /safeguarding were also found to have improved to Very Good across the board during the most recent inspection. The report notes that "systems for safeguarding students have improved. They are extensive and very effective. All staff are provided with appropriate training. Child protection and safeguarding policies are clear and understood by all. Provision and support for students with special educational needs/ disabilities (SEND) has improved." This is an area of focus for the KHDA, following the implementation of its Inclusive Education policy in 2017, and one that AFLEC will need to embrace fully.
For the final key indicator of Leadership and Management, almost every aspect was found to be Very Good. The sole exception was in regard to the relationship with Parents and the Community (rated Good). The inspectors found that "Parents are very supportive and keen to work in partnership with the school. Their views are valued and through the various committees, parents are able contribute to school planning. Regular reports, keep parents well informed about their children's achievements. While parents speak positively of the approachability of senior staff, a significant minority does not feel that this applies to all staff."
The main recommendations from the inspectors to the school focused on two areas:
Overall, AFLEC seems to be on the path to making significant strides in its provision. The risk, after so many years of limited progression in respect of the inspection process, is stagnation. Clearly that is not the case here.
Feedback to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is positive. Some 75% of parents would recommend the school to another parent. Students are said to have a strong sense of belonging, parents believe the school is very good value for money and that expectations are high for students. 88% of parents agree that the school offers a standard of education that is higher than or equal to that offered in their home country. If you are a parent of children at the school, take the survey for the school found here.
Fees for Lycée Français International are relatively affordable, ranging from AED 26,376 at Pre-K to AED 55,781 in Terminale. This puts the fees in the middle bracket for a school in Dubai. There is the obligatory 500 AED (non-refundable) for applications.
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