Sharjah Public School (SPS) is a Cambridge curriculum school for students in KG1 to Grade 12. Although SPS offers a British curriculum education, the school works closely with the Ministry of Education (MOE) in its offering of ICGSEs and AS-/A-Levels.
Established in 1975 in the Al Riqa suburb, Sharjah Public School (SPS) blends British and UAE-based teaching “to offer the highest possible standards of education following the International Curriculum”. SPS seeks to provide high quality education in a friendly, dynamic, and enriching environment, by creating strong links between students, parents, teachers, and the wider community – at its core, SPS believes that “education is a team effort”.
SPS identifies itself as a primarily ‘National’ school, which focuses strongly on its UAE roots even while following an international curriculum. To achieve this, SPS values the instruction of strong written and spoken English alongside the teaching of Ministry of Education (MOE) required subjects (Islamic Studies, Arabic, and Social Studies). SPS notably offers students the option of taking Social Studies in either Arabic or English from Grade 1 through to Grade 9; only from Grade 10 onwards does it become compulsory to take the subject in English.
The other defining aspect of SPS is the value and expectation it places on its teaching staff. The teaching faculty at the school “is comprised of highly qualified and experienced men and women who are totally committed to the cause of education and who believe that pedagogy is more than a profession”. To ensure the best possibly quality of teaching, SPS employs highly-qualified, fully UAE government-registered teachers who have undergone a rigorous selection process; SPS also ensures this same level of quality is present in the leadership team, who must have extensive education experience in a variety of settings.
“The teaching staff brings diverse skills and knowledge to support your child in achieving excellent outcomes. The teachers form professional learning teams within their sub-schools to develop and implement classroom programs and constantly review and analyze content, resources and teaching techniques.”
All teachers, assistant teachers, supervisors, and Head of Departments are responsible for the pastoral care of each student, to ensure closely-monitored holistic development. While SPS may not have the extensive specialised teams that other Sharjah schools might, it does mean that every teacher has a close relationship with their students and is involved in every step of their education journey.
“All teachers at the school are expected to view learning as a lifelong pursuit and [are] strongly encouraged to enhance their skills by active involvement in personal and school wide professional development programs.”
The academic year at SPS begins on the first or second week of September and ends on the first week of June. The main school day runs from 7.45am until 1.30pm; in the KG sections, however, the school day ends at 12.30pm.
SPS is a Cambridge curriculum school, offering both the Cambridge Primary programme and the Cambridge Secondary programme, culminating in the IGCSEs and AS-/A-Levels. Students are also required to take Arabic and Islamic Studies through to Grade 12; the exams for these subjects are set by the MOE. Students who successfully finish their studies in Grade 12 are granted the High School Diploma (on the condition that they have completed a minimum of five subjects in Grade 11, achieving grades between A and D, and have taken both Arabic and Religion in Grade 12).
While the SPS website does not offer a detailed overview of subjects through the school years, it does provide a general list of subjects available to students: English; Mathematics; Physics; Chemistry; Biology; Business; Economics; Accounting; Environmental Management; Computer Studies; and French. SPS students complete an exam at the end of each term, and the MOE-required subjects are treated as the core subjects; this is unlike most schools, which place emphasis on English, Mathematics, and Science, as international curriculums require.
In addition to academic offerings, SPS also provides co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, to ensure students have every chance to develop themselves in a well-rounded manner. There is an emphasis on physical training, and SPS offers football, basketball, volleyball, and cricket; students can also take part in activities during the summer, where they can use the indoor sporting facilities for games like table tennis, badminton, chess, and carom.
Students at SPS are divided into two Houses: Zeyed House and Falcon House. Every year the school holds the Sports Meet in the last week of January, where students from both Houses are selected and trained to complete in various athletic events. Outside of school, students have the chance to go out on picnics, and visit places of education value (although no further details are given).
There is no mention of Special Educational Needs (SEN) provisions on the SPS website.
As is common with Sharjah-based schools, SPS has not made any of its student exam results available to the public. As a result, it is difficult to tell what kind of academic achievement prospective parents can expect.
Unlike schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah schools have not participated in regulatory inspections on a regular basis; while there were a few instances of inspections being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, schools did not generally publish the outcomes. With the initiation of SPEA (Sharjah Private Education Authority), the intention is that schools will be inspected using the common framework already in place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
However, SPEA has decided to seek a collaborative approach with the schools for this process, and although we understand that initial inspections did take place prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, results of these inspections have not been published.
As a result of the pandemic, Sharjah schools have participated in Distance Learning Evaluations (DLE), implemented by the Ministry of Education throughout the UAE (these results have been published). In its most recent Distance Learning Review Report (2020), SPS’s implementation of distance learning was rated as Developed.
Inspectors were very complimentary of students’ distance learning attendance and participation, describing it as “enthusiastic and respectful”. Inspectors were satisfied that students had suitable opportunities to interact during online lessons and activity sessions and that they were being “provided with a variety of learning opportunities and this enables them to maintain their learning momentum”.
The report was similarly positive about SPS’ teachers, noting that the “school's distance learning programme provides the essential content in key subjects and lessons have clear and shared learning expectations which meet the needs of most groups of students”. Inspectors commended how assignments were coordinated to provide flexibility for students, and how teachers ensured their own availability so they could assist students in managing their work. The report applauded how teachers used “a variety of assessment processes and students receive helpful feedback”.
Finally, the evaluation concluded that the school leaders “regularly review provision and modify planning and training to meet the changing needs of teachers”. In addition, inspectors were confident that school plans took account of future scenarios, and that the school’s resources were being deployed and managed well.
However, the report also offered a number of areas for development, primarily in the area of learning safely and effectively online. Firstly, inspectors suggested that the school work further with students to develop their IT skills and abilities, to ensure that every student could equally access the distance learning materials. Their second suggestion noted that the school should develop students’ “awareness of online safety issues and knowledge of who to contact”.
Other proposed areas for improvement included student wellbeing, primarily through a more considered balance of classwork and other activities. Inspectors also suggested that the school look to the wellbeing of parents as well, engaging with them further “to facilitate the development of parent support groups and ensure parental concerns are addressed effectively”.
If you would like to read the full inspection report – which we strongly advise you to do in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings – you will find it here.
SPS is definitely not one of the most impressive or advanced schools in Sharjah – at a glance, facilities at the school are more functional than anything else. However, SPS does provide all of the basic facilities that its students may need: a Library; Science Laboratories; an Art Room; a Computer Lab; Indoor and Outdoor spaces for sports; a School Store; and a fully serviced and resource on-site Medical Centre, operated by a doctor and a nurse.
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Unfortunately, the most recent fees available on the SPS website are from 2011/12. However, they may still give an idea of what kind of prices parents can expect to pay, and they will certainly come in cheaper than many of the other larger, flashier Sharjah schools.
Tuition fees for the KG years come in at AED 6,300, while the most expensive fees are for Grade 12, at AED 12,100. These fees do not include the cost of transport, uniforms, or books; transportation and uniform fees are not mentioned on the school website, while book fees are cited at AED 400 for KG1 and, at their most expensive, AED 1,500 for Grades 5, 9, and 10.
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