Muna British Academy (formerly Al Muna Academy) has every right to feel happy. It was the first school in Abu Dhabi to have been awarded, for the 2015-16 academic year, an A1 rating (Outstanding) by the emirate's inspection team and is still the only stand-alone primary school to receive such a grading. In 2022-23, it was again rated Outstanding.
Muna British Academy is located in Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi in a traditional school building located around interior quadrangles, and was established in September of 2009. There is certainly nothing "flashy" about the school or its facilities, but it continues to succeed in offering an excellent standard of education. It provides schooling for pupils from Foundation Stage 1 (FS1) or pre-KG up to Year 6 and acts as a feeder school to Bateen World Academy, Mamoura British Academy and Yasmina British Academy sister schools.
The 2015 ADEK rating meant the primary school had moved up one inspection rating every time it had been reviewed, and thereafter has retained the top rating, including in the latest (2022-23) inspection round.
The school says it prides itself on:
"being a happy, well organised school offering children a range of activities in and out of the classroom".
"Academically we know that children make outstanding progress in their time here."
The school is led by Ms. Sarah Griffiths who joined the Academy in 2020. Introducing parents to the school, Ms. Griffiths says:
"Having been in education for the last 25 years I have witnessed many changes, however the one constant factor remains: An education is one of the most valuable things we can possess. It influences how we see the world and contribute to it. I have been fortunate to be a part of Aldar Academies for the last nine years, and fully endorse the vision that it is our purpose to empower the next generation to shape our future. We achieve this effectively by recognising the importance of a holistic approach to education, being fully inclusive and allowing children to develop their skills in which they can realise their dreams for their future."
The school's just over 740 pupils are supported by almost 53 teachers and a further 8 teaching assistants, a reduction on previous years when staff numbers had reached 100. As a result, the Teacher to Student ratio has increased from 1:12 to 1:13 in FS and 1:14 in the rest of the school. Teachers are recruited mainly from the UK and Ireland, with Syrian nationals supporting the Arabic and Islamic curricula.
Approximately 16% of children are UAE nationals, with Indian and Pakistani passport holders making up the top three nationalities. Some 50+ nationalities are represented in total. Average class size in terms of students numbers 25, which is also currently the largest class size at the school.
The school follows the National Curriculum of England with lessons in Arabic being taught along with Islamic studies and UAE social studies to meet the requirements of the UAE's Ministry of Education.
In addition to offering UK based Key Stage 1 to 2, Muna British Academy offers Foundation classes based on the EYFS framework for 3 to 5 year olds. Many children are non-English speakers on entry to the school, and this has been carefully addressed through the recruitment of native-Arabic speakers as teaching assistants. Their role is not only to support non-English speakers as they join the school, but also to provide Arabic support to non-Arabic speakers. This arrangement seems to work extremely effectively.
Lessons are also carefully differentiated to cater for mixed abilities according to the school's web site, a claim that is backed up in the school's inspection report. Teaching on the whole is said to be outstanding, well planned, structured and with an emphasis on independent research and critical reasoning.
Muna British Academy offers a number of extra curricular activities and after school clubs including sports, art, and culture. These include such diverse activities as Art, Animation, Lego Inventors Club, Origami, Drama, Dance, Computers and Technology, Sailing and Water Sports, Gymnastics Yoga and Aerobics. Children are expected to participate in at least one Extra curricular activity per term.
Although the buildings themselves are traditional, facilities at the school have been updated to include a large astro-turf field, outdoor swimming pool, well stocked library, a large multi-purpose hall and gym, a number of computer suites and outdoor play areas. Large common spaces between classrooms in the corners of the quadrangular buildings are used effectively for free-flow and shared activity spaces.
ADEK inspectors have been fulsome in their praise of standards at Muna British Academy in previous inspection reports. Unfortunately, the 2022-23 inspection, which took place in May 2023, was based on a modified and shortened inspection process - we assume to enable the inspection teams to visit all Abu Dhabi schools in 2021-22 and 2022-23 following the cancellation of inspections as a result of the pandemic from March 2020 to September 2021. The current report therefore provides only a snap shot of the school without recommendations and without rating two of the performance standards.
What is clear, however, is that the school has retained its Outstanding inspection rating across all six key performance standards.
If there are obvious areas for improvement, these relate to the teaching of Arabic and Islamic studies, which are rated Good for both progress and attainment in the Primary section (they are not inspected in FS). By contrast, students' progress in both FS and Primary for English, Maths and Science are rated Outstanding, whilst attainment in FS for English and Maths is rated Very Good and Outstanding for Science.
If you would like to read the ADEK inspection report - and we strongly advise that you do in order to find why this school performs so well, and to check back on previous detailed reports, should you wish - you will find them here.
Feedback WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received from parents and teachers has so far has been very limited, but positive with an overall rating of 4/5 or a positivity rating of 80%. Nine out of ten parents would recommend the school to others.
If you are a parent or teacher at Muna British Academy, please share your opinions and experiences with potential members of your school community by completing our Survey here.
One of the most successful primary-only schools in Abu Dhabi, alongside Very Good-rated Pearl British Academy, it is evident that demand for Muna British Academy is likely to remain high.
If there is a drawback to this more traditional, relatively small Primary-only school, it is the need for students to move on at the end of Year 6. However, the school is owned and managed by Aldar Academies which runs some of the most highly regarded schools in the emirate, including Yasmina British Academy. Students from MBA are given priority admission to Bateen World Academy and Mamoura British Academy (which is Girls only from Year 7) secondary schools, which opened in 2011 and 2016 respectively.
Fees for Muna British Academy are AED 45,210 for FS1 and AED 47,040 per year, for all other year groups. MBA gives priority in admission to siblings of current students, followed by children of Aldar or Mubadala employees and then all other applicants.
Fees are paid three times a year for each term.
Muna British Academy is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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