Lycée Français Théodore Monod is one of two French curriculum schools located in Abu Dhabi. The original school is based in the traditional Al Bateen area. Its growing Secondary section is currently temporarily housed at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, but will relocate to a new all-through campus on Saadiyat Island at the start of the 2020-21 academic year.
The story so far...
Lycée Français Théodore Monod (LTM) was established in 2006 in response to the growing demand from the French-speaking community in Abu Dhabi. This included not only French nationals, but also Lebanese (who are the highest nationality group in the school), Tunisian and other francophone nationals. The school, located on Abu Dhabi Island in the Al Bateen area, was only intended to accommodate elementary classes.
However, as demand has grown, LTM was forced to seek additional space for its growing cohort of Secondary school students, (currently from 6ème to 2ème) who have been housed temporarily at the Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi.
The school has now been able to move forward to develop its second campus on Saadiyat Island. With state-of-the-art infrastructure and located at the heart of Abu Dhabi's cultural hub (including the Louvre Abu Dhabi), the Saadiyat campus will open its doors in September 2020 to both Elementary and Secondary students, whilst the Al Bateen campus will continue to operate as an Elementary school.
The school is named after Théodore Monod, a French scientist, naturalist biologist, explorer, scholar and humanitarian. He was the French specialist on deserts, one of the greatest specialists of the Sahara in the 20th century and many of his 1,200 publications are considered to be reference works. He was a close friend of Louis Massignon (a French academic and Islamologist) after whom the other French curriculum school in Abu Dhabi is named.
LTM is managed by the Franco-Lebanese Association for Education and Culture (AFLEC), and is a partner establishment of the French Secular Mission (Mlf) and member of the network of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE).
The school's core values, which reflect those of AFLEC, encompass Humanitarianism and Respect. They are based on respect for the individual as a human being, regardless of background, culture, religion, philosophy.
This is summed up in French by the word 'Laïcité' which means that the education provided must not favour, propagate or privilege any ethnic group, culture, religion or philosophy. Only the values that defend humanitarianism and respect for human rights for boys and girls are advocated. Sectarianism of all kinds has no place in it.
The school currently has some 1,350 students of whom approximately 850 are located on the Elementary campus. Approximately 30% of students are Lebanese passport holders, 27% French and 7% Tunisian, but overall some 43 nationalities attend the school (including a small Emirati contingent).
The school's motto reflects its multicultural ethos - "There is no (…) greater joy, in the realm of the spirit, than being able to grasp part of the mystery of the world…"
At the time of the last ADEK inspection in 2017-18, some 60 teachers and 13 teaching assistants were involved in the education of the students, with a teacher:student ratio of 1:14 - a relatively low figure which should provide adequate individual support. Staff turnover, at 18%, was below the average in international schools in the UAE of 20-22% per year. 4% of students (approximately 35 at the Elementary campus) had additional learning needs.
What about the curriculum?
Lycée Théodore Monod is approved by the French Ministry of National Education and Youth. This approval attests and recognises that the LTM provides education in accordance with the principles, programmes and pedagogy of the French education system. Approval also allows any student who may transfer to another French school, either within France or overseas, to join without the need for entrance assessments or examinations.
Reflecting the motto of AFLEC "Three Cultures - Three Languages", the school offers all students an education in French culture and language, a focus on the culture of the host country, and the intensive teaching of English and Arabic from the Kindergarten.
The language policy of the Lycée Français Théodore Monod aims to develop openness to international cultures and to prepare students to continue their post-baccalaureate studies at a university in an English-speaking country. For this, various international language exams are offered to students throughout their schooling at LTM.
The KG (Maternelle) curriculum is approved by the French Ministry of National Education. The main areas of focus for the programme in KG section is to:
Develop language in all its dimensions;
Enable children to express themselves and to gain understanding through physical activity;
Enable children to express themselves and gain understanding through artistic activities;
Develop tools to structure their thinking;
Discover numbers and their uses, through exploring shapes, sizes, and organised sequences;
Explore the world, finding their bearings in time and space, exploring the world of living things and objects and matter.
The core curriculum in the Elementary section includes French, Mathematics, Art, Music, Physical and Sports Education, Moral Education and Social Studies, and World Knowledge. From CM1 to 6ème, students also study Modern Languages, History and Geography, and Science and Technology. Students are required from CM1 to have an iPad available for use in school.
The Elementary curriculum from Petite Section (pre-KG) to CM2 includes three hours of English per week, organised in groups based on language skills. A further hour of EMILE (Teaching of subjects by integration of a foreign language) is taught from Grande Section to CM2. Part of the French programme (from Mathematics to the Arts) is included in the English language in order to develop a specific vocabulary. In CM2, students benefit from preparation for the Cambridge KET exam (Key English Test), level A2 of the CEFR.
LTM offers a range of extra-curricular activities including Cookery, Watercolour Painting, English Storybook reading/writing, Drama, Music, School newspaper, Scrapbooking, Scolafoot, Sport for all, Roller-skating or Rollerblading, African dance, Sports games for younger students, and Table tennis.
Details of the curriculum and academic achievement for LTM Al Bateen Secondary students can be found under the review for the new LTM Saadiyat, to which all Secondary students from Al Bateen will transfer in September 2020.
What about the facilities?
Little information is provided by the school about its facilities. However, according to ADEK, the school is well-resourced. In addition to its modern classrooms with internet technology, the school also offers specialist classrooms including an Art room, music room, auditorium, drama room, Science laboratory, and two libraries.
What the inspectors say
In the 2017-18 academic year, LTM was again rated Acceptable. The inspection only covered the KG and Elementary sections of the school. This is the minimum rating expected for any international curriculum school in Abu Dhabi by the Abu Dhabi Department of Knowledge (ADEK).
It is evident from the inspection report that there had been some significant changes made at the school since the previous inspection in 2015-16, including the appointment of a new Principal, and other school leaders. Unfortunately, the 2015-16 report is no longer available, but it is clear that there were substantial issues around the provision of mother-tongue Arabic, UAE Social Studies and Islamic Education, and the bench-marking of subjects (particularly French and Maths) against international tests. This is particularly relevant to the assessment of individual students and modification of the curriculum and teaching to meet their needs. LTM is certainly not alone in these particular areas of concern.
The latest report indicates that improvements have been made in the majority of these areas, but not as yet sufficiently to enable to school to reach a Good overall standard. Of the six key performance areas, Students' Personal and Social Development and their Innovation Skills, and The Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students, were rated Good. However, the key performance standards for Student Achievement, the Curriculum, Teaching and Assessment, and Leadership and Management were rated Acceptable.
Attainment and progress in Science, Arabic as first language, French and other subjects (including Art, Music and PE), were found to be Good across the KG and Elementary school sections. The ratings for Arabic as a Second language, Islamic Education and Social Studies and for Maths were rated Acceptable. Students learning skills were also rated Acceptable.
The Inspection team from ADEK found the strengths of LTM to be:
In terms of areas of improvement, the inspection team determined that LTM should
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 - you will find it here.
Unfortunately, ADEK does not include information about parent, teacher or student feedback. We do know from the report, that the relationship with parents and their engagement in their children's education was found to be a strength of the school. In addition, the report notes that "Partnerships with parents and the community are very good. School leaders seek parents’ views regularly and consider these when planning. Communication with parents is regular and they are kept informed of students’ progress, behaviour, attendance and school life."
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Lyçeé Théodore Monod, please share your feedback with other potential members of your community by completing our survey here.
What about the fees?
Fees at LTM range from AED 19.850 in the Maternelle, rising to AED 23,630 in the Elementary section. Secondary fees are from AED 23,630 to AED 29,770.
Lycée Théodore Monod aims to welcome French, Francophones and Francophiles living in Abu Dhabi. Admission is without prior academic selection in kindergarten classes.
For students entering the curriculum, priority will be given to students leaving the French system, in France, or from an approved school abroad. A language, knowledge and skills assessment may be required before admission.
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