United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Saadiyat Island / Lyçée Français Théodore Monod Saadiyat

Lyçée Français Théodore Monod Saadiyat Review

The second Lyçée Théodore Monod campus will open on Saadiyat Island in September 2020. The new school will offer an all-through French National curriculum from Nursery to Grade 12 equivalent.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
not_interested No
Availability 2020/21
fiber_manual_record All grades
Annual fee average
AED 35,500
Annual fees
AED 27,500 - 47,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Planned
Opening year
2020
School year
Sep to Jul
Main teacher nationality
French
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities

Nearby nurseries

0.2km • Montessori curriculum
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Lyçée Français Théodore Monod Saadiyat

Lyçée Français Théodore Monod Saadiyat Review

School type
International
School phase
All through
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
not_interested No
Availability 2020/21
fiber_manual_record All grades
Annual fee average
AED 35,500
Annual fees
AED 27,500 - 47,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Planned
Opening year
2020
School year
Sep to Jul
Main teacher nationality
French
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
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First Published:
Monday 23 March, 2020

Updated:
Tuesday 24 March, 2020

The second Lyçée Théodore Monod campus will open on Saadiyat Island in September 2020. The new school will offer an all-through French National curriculum from Nursery to Grade 12 equivalent.

The story so far...

Lyçée Théodore Monod (LTM) is an established French curriculum school established in 2006 on Abu Dhabi Island (in the Al Bateen area) as a Primary only school.  However, due to demand for students moving into Secondary school (currently hosted by the Paris-Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi), LTM will open its second campus catering to students from pre-KG (PS) to Grade 12 (Terminale) on Saadiyat Island in September 2020.

Work on the Saadiyat campus is advancing rapidly. The "high-end campus" will accommodate more than 2,000 students and will become the main campus of Lycée Théodore Monod.  It is expected to provide a high quality infrastructure with additional facilities to support Science, Arts, Cultural and Sports education.

All new registrations for LTM for 2020 will be for the Saadiyat campus only. Existing LTM families will have the opportunity to choose for PS to CE2 levels between the Al Bateen campus and the Saadiyat campus.

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'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…"

The following information relates to the existing school in Al Bateen.  It is provided as background to the new school for parents wishing to learn more about the curriculum and performance of the current school.  Please note that all new students will be admitted only to the new school for the 2020-21 academic year.

Although offering the French National Curriculum, LTM does not only attract French families, but its current 1,350 students also include a significant proportion of Lebanese and Tunisian students, together with a further 40 nationalities.

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 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 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.

In middle school, 6th grade students follow 4 hours of English per week. From the 5ème to the 2nd, the students have 3 hours of English. In 1st grade, pupils benefit from 2.5 hours of English per week.

After written and oral examinations in CM2, it is possible to follow the American International Section from the 6ème. The International Section aims to prepare students for the National Diploma of the International Certificate.

Core subjects for the Secondary (5ème, 4ème et 3ème) curriculum include French, Mathematics, Art, Music, Physical and Sports Education, UAE Islamic/Social Studies and Moral Education, Modern Languages (Arabic plus either Spanish, German or Mandarin), History and Geography, Information Technology, Life and Earth Sciences, Physics, Chemistry, and Information and Media Studies.

In the 5ème, students prepare for the Cambridge PET exam (Preliminary English Test), level B1 of the CEFR, and in 3ème, students study for FCE exam (First Certificate in English), level B2 of the CEFR. In Seconde, students undertake the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. Finally in Terminale, students may register for the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) exams.

The current school also offers an International (US curriculum-based) section to which admission is possible in all Secondary school classes. 

This option includes 4 hours of History and Geography and 6 hours of English language and literature, or 4 hours of additional weekly lessons. For History and Geography, the entire French programme is taught, with 70% in French (2 hours) and 30% in English (one hour). An additional hour is devoted to elements of the American programme, 100% in English. English Literature is taught 100% in English and emphasis emphasis is placed on the study of language and literature. 

A solid general knowledge of, and a varied vocabulary in, both French and English are essential.  The school advises that the volume of personal work remains higher than the traditional curriculum and requires personal commitment and sustained efforts throughout the year.  Academic results are taken into account, and where subjects averages are insufficient, students may be transferred back to the French curriculum.

For the Secondary school and new from 2019-2020, in line with changes to the Baccalaureat in 2020-21, further curriculum changes have been made by the French Ministry of Education.  These include lessons common to all students on a weekly basis: French (Première only), 4 hours; Philosophy (Terminale only) 4 hours; Geography and History, 3 hours; Modern languages A and B, 4.5 hours; Sciences, 2 hours; Physical and sports education, 2 hours; Moral Education and Social Studies; 18 hours per year.

At the end of Seconde, students following general pathway will choose a combination of three specialty lessons which they will take in Première of 4 hours weekly per specialty. At the end of this year, they will choose from these three courses, the two specialty courses which they will pursue in Terminale (6 hours per week per specialty).

The school will offer combinations of specialties from different disciplines: Mathematics, Numerics and Computer Science, Physics and Chemistry, Life and Earth Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Economic and Social Sciences, History and Geography, Geopolitics and Political Sciences, Humanities, Literature and Philosophy, Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Ancient Literature, Languages ​​and Cultures, and Art.

In Terminale, students can also choose additional options including Law and major issues of the contemporary world, and Further Mathematics (for students who have chosen Mathematics), or Complementary Mathematics for students who have not chosen the Mathematics in the final year.

What about academic performance (at the original school)?

According to LTM Al Bateen's website, although numbers of students are not mentioned, 95% successfully completed the Brevet, and 96% achieved their pass with Mention.  No students have yet completed the Bacc.

What the inspectors say (at the original school).

This information is provided as a reference point for parents considering sending their children to the new school.  Please note that this refers to the 2017-18 academic year, when LTM was rated Acceptable for a further year. The next inspection is due to take place during the current 2019-20 year; however, in light of school closures as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, it is not yet known whether inspections will all take place or be published. The 2017-18 inspection only covered the KG and Elementary sections of the school.

Acceptable 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:

  • Achievement in French, Arabic as a second language, and science.
  • Students’ positive attitudes to learning, and their friendly and respectful relationships with staff and one other.
  • Parents’ positive engagement with the school.

In terms of areas of improvement, the inspection team determined that LTM should

  • 1. Raise achievement across core subjects by:
    • using assessment data to identify student learning needs and plan lessons that offer suitable support to different groups, especially the more-able
    • modelling how to teach writing in Arabic and English so that students understand what is expected of them
    • providing sufficient opportunities for students to develop enquiry, independent learning and critical-thinking skills
    • accurately benchmarking school data against national and international standards to understand how well students are achieving.
  • 2. Enhance students’ learning skills by:
    • asking open-ended questions, which deepen thinking and understanding, regularly
    • making provision in teachers’ planning for the development of a wider range of learning skills, such as independent and collaborative group learning
    • providing opportunities for students to apply the full range of higher-order thinking skills that underpin innovation and creativity
    • including additional levels of challenge for more-able students within medium- and long-term planning.
  • 3. Improve teaching strategies to meet the different needs of all groups of students by:
    • providing training for teachers on planning for differentiation
    • enabling highly-effective teachers to share successful strategies with colleagues regularly
    • monitoring the quality of questioning and dialogue between students and teachers in lessons
    • facilitating joint planning between Arabic and English teachers to better align students’ language
    • development in these two subjects.
  • 4. Use the UAE inspection framework to promote further school improvement by:
    • ensuring that all teachers receive accurate feedback about strengths and areas for development. 

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.

The Buzz

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." 

There is no doubt - given the current temporary provision for Secondary students at the Paris-Sorbonne University - the Lyçée Théodore Monod should be off to a flying start at the new campus in September.  However, if the school is to continue to grow and to compete with the Lyçée Louis Massignon (which is rated a Very Good school by ADEK), it will also need to prove that it is a better than Acceptable school in terms of its delivery of its curriculum, and its students' achievement.  First Bacc results will also be a key component of its evaluation in the future.

What about the fees?

Fees will range from AED 27,500 to AED 47,000 at the new school. Elementary school fees are considerably above those of the current (Al Bateen) school which has closed admission for new applicants.

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