Maple Wood International School is one of three Canadian curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi. It is located in Mohammed bin Zayed City.
The story so far...
Maple Wood International School (MWIS) is one of three Canadian curriculum schools located in Abu Dhabi. Interestingly, there are no Canadian curriculum schools in Dubai, following the closure in June 2019 of both schools that had been operating.
Maple Wood is in fact the rebirth of a school that originally bore the same name as Abu Dhabi Grammar School, causing inevitable confusion as a result, and was re-established under its new name in 2014.
The school states that its Mission is "Students graduating as engaged thinkers and creative innovators with ethical, global perspectives, well prepared for the opportunities and challenges of our changing world." Its Vision is to be "a high-performing private school with student academic, social, emotional and physical development as its core focus."
MWIS also emphasis its core values, which include:
At the time of the most recent ADEK inspection in early 2019, MWIS had just over 660 students studying from KG1 to Grade 12. The largest nationality group was Emirati (30%), followed by Canadian nationals (10%), Jordanians (9%) and Egyptians (8%). The split of students across the school was relatively even between the Primary and Secondary sections, with 11% in the KG section, 39% in Primary, 28% in the Middle section and 22% in the final three grades of High School.
Approximately 5% of students had been identified with additional learning requirements. The school offers specific support for students of Determination and includes details (along with the full range of school policies) in the very detailed Parent Handbook which can be found here. Support for students with additional learning needs was found to be "generally well supported" in the most recent ADEK inspection, although more challenge is needed for students with gifts and talents.
Students were supported by 51 teachers and 22 teaching assistants providing a teacher:student ratio of 1:13 - a low ratio which should ensure that students are provided with individual support. It is evident that there has been substantial turnover of staff at the school (40%) in 2018, including the original Principal who was replaced by the current incumbent in the same year. Given that the average staff turnover in UAE schools in between 20-22%, the level at MWIS suggests some considerable degree of dissatisfaction. No school wants to have to replace 2 in every 5 staff members, and it is to be hoped that under the new leadership, this aspect of school life will stabilise.
What about the curriculum?
MWIS offers its curriculum to students from age 4 to 19 and is fully accredited by Alberta Education, the highest performing province in Canada.
Canada consistently ranks in the top two or three countries in the world in international standardised testing programmes such as PIRLS, and TIMMS. The Alberta curriculum is rated the top English speaking curriculum by PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) globally.
Students receive an Alberta High School Diploma on graduation. This diploma is rated highly desirable in terms of accessing post secondary institutions around the world.
The school is very proud of its accreditation which is only attained through high performance in terms of programme delivery and requires the school to maintain teaching staff with an Alberta certification. As a result, the majority of teachers are Canadian trained with others coming from countries meeting Canadian teacher standards.
The school aims to graduate students who are "engaged thinkers with ethical and global perspectives." The delivery of the curriculum is not dissimilar to the International Baccalaureate programme with a focus on an inquiry based approach required for both academic and personal success.
MWIS regards itself as a leader in curriculum delivery, offering a tri-lingual programme encompassing English and Arabic at all grades, as well as a French programme which has been introduced in KG and Grade 1. In future years, students will be able to study the Alberta (Canada) curriculum at all grades in either English or French. Arabic is a significant language programme for students of either language programme.
The core subjects taught from KG to Grade 9 include English Language Arts, French Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Civics, Art and Music, Health and Life Skills. and Physical Education. In addition, other subjects include Drama, Arabic, and Islamic Education. Informational and Communication Technology (ICT) learning outcomes are integrated into the core curriculum subjects of language arts, mathematics, science and social studies at all grade levels.
The High school programme follows the graduation requirements of Alberta Education with students receiving 1,000 hours of instruction throughout the year. The system is not dissimilar to the US one, with students earning credits for the courses they study. Students choose three credit courses each with 75 hours of instruction and a further five credit courses, each have 125 hours instruction. Further information about the requirements can be found here.
In addition to a strong academic focus, the school offers opportunities for students to participate in a range of extracurricular activity including sports, art, drama and popular technology programmes such as AI and robotics. This focus on technology means that students from Grade 3 to Grade 12 are each required to have a laptop, whilst younger students use technology within the classroom as part of their lessons on a daily basis. Mastering internet usage is a requirement for all students and teachers. Problem solving through research and project based learning are common learning activities in the school.
What about the facilities?
The school is located together with a number of others in the Mussafah School District. Its facilities are deceptive, with the overall plot of the school considerably larger than it would appear from the street view.
Academic facilities include a learning centre with over 10,000 titles in print and/or digital format; reading is emphasised in all classes and subjects. Science labs are available for student science activity. The school is fully equipped with interactive whiteboards or flat screens and full coverage of high speed WiFi.
Sports facilities include a full size pool, large gymnasium and sports field. The addition of covered play and social areas on the roof of the school increase the areas available for outdoor student activity. KG and Primary students have dedicated playgrounds.
Additional facilities include a cafeteria, art room, music room, auditorium and drama room,
What the inspectors say
Following its most recent inspection in early 2019, Maple Wood International School was again rated Acceptable - the same rating as it had received two years earlier. Although inspectors acknowledged that progress had been made against the key actions identified in the earlier inspection report, this was not sufficient to improve the ratings in the six key performance standards or that of the overall rating.
Inspectors noted that "the recommendations in the last inspection report identified the need for improvement in students’ overall attainment, learning skills, the standard of teaching, and aspects of leadership. Achievement has improved and attainment in English, mathematics and science is now acceptable. In primary phases, achievement in Arabic as a first language is now good. While attainment in Islamic Education in high school remains weak, progress is now acceptable."
The inspection team found the strengths of Maple Wood International School to be:
In terms of areas of improvement, the inspectors identified the need for the school to:
Whilst this may well appear to be a very long list of actions on which the school and its staff will need to focus before the next inspection in 2020-21, inspectors believe that the school's leaders are capable of leading these improvements.
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to gain a clear understanding of the school's strengths as well as those areas for development - you will find it here.
Unfortunately, ADEK's inspection teams do not provide formal feedback on the relationships between the school, its students and parents - all of whom are vital active members of the school community. One aspect on which parents and teachers clearly need to cooperate is that of student attendance - at 91%, this is a weak level, and together with the school, each will need to find a way to persuade students of the necessity for improvement. The report also notes that staff have "positive relationships with students and usually manage their behaviour well."
The report notes that the school keeps parents well informed. "As a result, parents work in close cooperation with staff... However, there is currently no representation of parents on the board."
If you are a student, teacher or parent at Maple Wood International School, please share your experiences with other potential members of your community by completing our survey here.
What about the fees?
Fees at Maple Wood International School fall in the high category according to ADEK. They range from AED 30,000 in KG1 to AED 46,000 in Grade 12, rising by increments of AED 1,000 per grade with two exceptions. Additional fees include books, which vary from a low of AED 500 to a high of AED 1,500 depending on grade. All students are required to purchase a Chrome Notebook from Grade 3 at a cost of AED 1,500.
Full details of fees can be found here.
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