United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Baniyas East / Philippine Emirates Private School

Philippine Emirates Private School Review

Philippine Emirates Private School opened on its current site in Baniyas East in September 2013. The school currently has the distinction of being the only school to be downgraded from Acceptable to Weak in its most recent (2018-19) ADEK inspection - though the rating does not tell the full story.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Weak
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
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Availability 2021/22
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 10,000
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
2013
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Rosemarie T Natividad
Community
Main teacher nationality
Filipino
Main student nationality
Filipino
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Philippine Emirates Private School
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Weak
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2021/22
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 10,000
Price band help
Value
Status
Open
Opening year
2013
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Rosemarie T Natividad
Community
Main teacher nationality
Filipino
Main student nationality
Filipino
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Philippine Emirates Private School opened on its current site in Baniyas East in September 2013. The school currently has the distinction of being the only school to be downgraded from Acceptable to Weak in its most recent (2018-19) ADEK inspection - though the rating does not tell the full story.

The Story so far...

Philippine Emirates Private School (PEPS) was originally established in April 1995 on Abu Dhabi Island as PISCO until its forced relocation from a villa, initially arranging for its High school students to be accommodated in temporary accommodation in Mohammed bin Zayed City for two years. The entire school was relocated together to a new purpose-built building in Baniyas East for the start of the 2013-14 academic year.

The vision of the Philippine-Emirates Private School is to prepare learners to become successful learners who are able to develop the skills and qualities necessary for learning, life, and work in the 21st Century.

The school's detailed (and lengthy) Mission statement reads as follows:

  • To provide a safe, supporting and motivational environment that encourages learners to fulfill their potential across the school curriculum.
  • To provide the highest possible quality education using a motivating curriculum whereby learners are encouraged to fulfill their academic, creative, social, and physical potential.
  • To nurture responsible, resilient and resourceful learners who can confidently contribute to the school community in a variety of ways.
  • To embody a culture of cooperation, collaboration and respect which are fostered among all members of the school community.
  • Promote the cultural heritage and national identity.
  • To uphold the vision, mission, and values of the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision.
  • To equip the learners of the Philippine-Emirates Private School with the skills, attitudes and knowledge needed to become dynamic learners of the 21st century.
  • To provide contextualized learning that brings topics/learning domains to life so that learners are motivated to learn and able to understand the need for developing identified essential skills.
  • Develop an enlightened commitment to national ideals by discerning, preserving, and developing desirable traditions and values of the Filipino heritage.
  • To ensure the local community is represented and participates in the development of the school and its place within the Abu Dhabi landscape.
  • To prepare learners to be creative, effective; communicators, problem-solvers and critical thinkers.
  • To provide a clear focus on core and employability skills, and the ability to transfer them to different contexts, in particular the world of work.
  • To provide opportunities for work-related experiences, both inside and beyond the classroom.
  • To educate learners so they understand, respect and promote the local culture, religion And heritage of the United Arab Emirates.
  • To instill the confidence and knowledge needed for learners to become independent, lifelong learners.

The school follows the Philippines curriculum (taught in English)

and offers places for students from KG1 to Grade 12.  As is often the case with newer schools, the majority of students are in the KG (16%) and Elementary (47%) sections, whilst 23% attend the Secondary school, and only 14% the High School section.  The school opened its Grade 12 in 2017-18.

Today the school accommodates close to 1,000 students, although this is a significant drop from previous years.  As would be expected for a Philippine curriculum school, 97% of students come from the Philippines, although approximately 0.5% are Pakistani citizens, and an even smaller 0.3% are said to be UK passport holders.

Students are taught by some 52 teachers assisted by 11 teaching assistants.  The teacher:student ratio is 1:26 in KG (though teaching assistants would reduce the real number to 1:13) and 1:15 in the remainder of the school.  In theory, such ratios should ensure personalised attention and adaptation of the curriculum for students, but sadly, it would seem from the most recent ADEK inspection which took place in 2018-19, that this is not necessarily the case.  More details can be found here.  A teacher turnover of 39% - so almost 4 in 10 teachers - also tells its own story.

What about the curriculum?

The school follows the Philippine curriculum, taught mainly in English, together with the requirements of the UAE Ministry of Education for Arabic, Islamic Studies and Moral Education.

The curriculum is said to be broad and balanced and follows the requirements of the Philippine curriculum.

PEPS is registered with the Philippines Ministry of Education, enabling students to be exempt from taking validation exams when transferring to other Philippine curriculum schools. Graduating students are administered with the National Elementary Achievement Test and the National Secondary Achievement Test.

From KG to Grade 10, core subjects include English, Maths, Science, Arabic, Islamic and UAE Social Studies/Moral Education, ICT, Philippine Social Studies, Art, Music and PE.

The school offers two options for Grades 11 and 12, one focused on Accountancy, Business and Management (ABM), and the other on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Students follow a core of subjects which include English (including 21st Century Literature from the Philippines and the World), General Mathematics, Statistics and Probability, Media and Information Literacy, Contemporary Philippine Arts from the Regions,  Understanding Culture, Society and Politics. Earth and Life Science, Physical Science, Personal Development/Pansariling Kaunlaran, and Health and Physical Education. 

Students taking both the ABM and STEM options study from among the following contextualised subjects over the two year period including English for Academic and Professional Purposes, Empowerment Technologies (ETech): ICT for Professional Tracks, Entrepreneurship, Research in Daily Life, Pagsulat sa Filipino sa Piling Larangan (Akademik), and complete a Research Project. 

ABM students also choose options from among Business Maths, Fundamentals of Accounting, Business and Management, Applied Economics, Organization and Management, Business Finance, Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, Business Marketing, or carry out a Business Enterprise Simulation.

Students following the STEM option study Pre-Calculus, Basic Calculus, General Physics, General Chemistry, General Biology, and undertake a Research/Capstone Project. 

Aside from the academic focus, students at the school also participate in international competitions such as the MaRRS Spelling Bee and the World Scholars’ Cup. Students also participate in IBT (International Benchmark Test of Australia) tests for English, Math, and Science as well as the TIMMS and PISA tests mandated by ADEK. 

What about the facilities?

Little information is provided by the school on its less than informative website about facilities.  Based on the TAMM website, the school is said to have an outdoor sports pitch, school gymnasium and swimming pool. 

Specialist teaching facilities include Science laboratories, an Art room, music room, auditorium, drama room, and library.

According to the most recent ADEK inspection report, the outdoor environment does not facilitate the learning of young children and there is limited availability for the teaching of some aspects of PE. Recreational facilities are limited.

What the inspectors say

Inspections of Philippine Emirates School have had a chequered history.  The school did achieve an Acceptable rating in the 2016-17 inspection round, although concerns were expressed at that time about curriculum failings in regard to the provision of Arabic and the licensing of teaching staff. 

The 2018-19 inspection rated the school as Weak, driven fundamentally by the lack of improvement in these two specific areas.  In fact, a notice of concern has been issued by ADEK because statutory requirements are not being met. The school is not compliant with the MoE curriculum for Arabic, so that students do not learn the subject at an age-appropriate level  And these are not the only areas of concern.

In a very blunt assessment of the issues, the inspection report notes that:

"Overall, the school is weak. Governors and school leaders have not ensured that the school is compliant with regulations about the licensing of staff and the curriculum standards for Arabic. School improvement documents do not identify quantifiable measures to enable leaders to monitor school performance. There has been no improvement in the quality of teaching nor in the rate of progress students make, since the previous inspection. New middle leaders have been appointed but as yet are unclear about their responsibilities. Arabic has declined to very weak and Islamic education to weak."

As always, we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com recommend that parents and prospective parents and students read the entire Inspection report.  Often, the overall rating is not a full reflection of how a school and its students are performing.  That is most certainly the case with Philippine Emirates Private School, though there are clearly significant and mandatory statutory issues that need to be addressed.  However, these may not be as important to parents as they are to the Regulator.

In fact, if we examine the six key performances measures that form the basis of the inspection, the school was rated Acceptable for Students' Achievement, Teaching and Assessment, and the Curriculum.  It was rated Good for Students’ personal and social development, and their innovation skills. 

However, the Protection, Care, Guidance and Support of students was rated Weak, with the report stating that "policies and procedures for the welfare and safeguarding of students are in place and understood, but a fifth of the staff are unlicensed and this poses a safeguarding concern. As a result, this standard has declined since the last inspection." 

In addition, inspectors rated Leadership and Management Weak, stating that "The school remains non-compliant with key regulations, as it was at the last inspection. Governors have insufficient knowledge of the school’s performance. School improvement documents are not sufficiently precise nor do leaders review their progress against targets." 

In terms of Teaching and Assessment, most teachers, other than in Arabic and Islamic Education, were found to have sound subject knowledge and pedagogy, though the effectiveness of classroom management and the pace of learning are inconsistent. "Few teachers use assessment in lessons to make adaptations to meet the needs of students. Assessment is not sufficiently systematic or thorough, across the school, for teachers to check the progress students make."

However, despite the negative comments, inspectors found the strengths of the school to be:

  • The positive and professional relationships that exist between all members of the school community [that] help to support students’ good attitudes to learning.
  • The way in which students across the school relate their learning in English to their understanding of other curriculum areas, including UAE culture and heritage.
  • The school’s effective promotion of students’ understanding of how to lead healthy lifestyles.
  • Students’ exposure to a range of activities which help them to develop a good understanding of moral values.

The list of improvements required of the school were lengthy and details.  The school must focus on:

  • Improving teaching and learning, to raise standards of achievement in all subjects but especially in Arabic and Islamic Education, by:
    - providing more opportunities for students to read and write in Arabic;
    - using appropriate materials to teach Arabic and Islamic education; 
    - developing students’ skills, especially the most able, in innovation, critical thinking, enterprise, research, scientific methodology and entrepreneurial skills, to make links with the wider world;
    - using assessment information to plan lessons;
    - providing targeted professional development for all teachers and other adults working with students, in the use of 21st century teaching strategies;
    - making use of the existing expertise within the school to support classroom management and organisation;
    - ensuring that the curriculum is compliant with standards for Arabic.
  • Improving assessment by:
    - robustly analysing data to track the progress of students through the year;
    - using the information generated within lessons, to plan and meet the needs of all learners;
    - using ongoing assessment within lessons to adapt the lesson, to the emerging needs of the students;
    - ensuring that students know how to improve their work through the use of marking and critical feedback.
  • Ensuring that statutory requirements are met by:
    - ensuring that the school has a valid license;
    - ensuring that those responsible for the hiring of teachers are familiar with the qualifications required to teach specific subjects;
    - ensuring that all teachers have the correct visas and licences.
  • Ensuring that leaders effectively monitor school performance by:
    - understanding the school’s strengths and areas for development;
    - reviewing targets at regular intervals throughout the year;
    - improving the effectiveness of governors in checking on the school’s performance and holding senior leaders to account for student achievement;
    - holding discussions with students about their learning and progress;
    - discussing students’ work with phase and/or subject leaders;
    - providing appropriate training for new leaders in the monitoring of teaching and learning with a focus on student achievement;
    - providing training for all leaders in the use of assessment to monitor the progress of students from their starting points.
  • Ensuring that school improvement documents are used effectively to raise standards by:
    - using the most recent internal and external assessment data to set quantifiable targets for each subject and phase of the school;
    - reviewing student achievement in relation to these targets at regular intervals,throughout the year, and adjusting where necessary.
  • Providing appropriate resources and facilities to address key weaknesses by:
    - improving the physical environment to support outdoor learning in KG and primary phases and the teaching of some aspects of PE;
    - ensuring that older students have adequate space for recreational activities at break times and lunch-times;
    - identifying key resources to use in lessons to support students’ learning and progress in all subjects;
    - ensuring that the library book stock is updated to adequately reflect all three languages taught in the school.

If you would like to read the full inspection report for PEPS, and we strongly recommend that you do in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings (the positives as well as the negatives), you will find it here.

The Buzz

Unfortunately, ADEK does not have any formal process for providing parent, student or teacher feedback.  Clearly the latter is a concern, given the very high staff turnover which, at 39%, is double the UAE average in international schools of 20-22% per year.

The inspection report states that "Parents are involved in the life of the school and support various events. Communication is effective and parents receive regular reports about their child’s learning and progress." 

If you are a parent, student or teacher at PEPS and would like to share your experience with other potential members of your community, please complete our survey here.

What about the Fees?

As would be expected, fees at PEPS are on the low end of the scale, starting at AED 6,000 per year in KG and rising to AED 15,000 in Grade 11.  Fees for Grade 12, which is open according to the 2018-19 inspection report, are not available on the school's website.

However, having said that fees are relatively low, it should be noted that they are the highest among the three Philippine curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi, with the other two schools, The Philippine School and Philippine Global School, both rated more highly by ADEK.

If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information

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