Sunrise English Private School is a long-established, low budget CBSE curriculum located in the Mussafah area of Abu Dhabi.
The story so far...
Despite its somewhat English sounding name, Sunrise English Private School (SEPS) is an Indian curriculum, English-medium all-through school which was established in a villa in Abu Dhabi in 1988, prior to moving to a purpose-built building in the Mussafah district in 2006. Such was its popularity that by 2008, the school had expanded its buildings to include the Secondary section.
The school was set up expressly to provide a quality education to expatriate Indian children. SEPS offers an education to children from KG to Grade 12 following the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi (CBSE) curriculum.
SEPS says that its primary aim is to "keep alive the spirit of learning, through moulding the total personality of the students in perfect discipline." Classroom activities are described as lively, as students "get ample opportunity to interact with their teachers."
The school motto is 'Lighted to Lighten.'
The vision of Sunrise English Private School (SEPS) is "to foster excellence in educating young people through collaboration, informed decision-making and continuous improvement. Our learners will be well-prepared and responsible citizens to meet the further global challenges."
Its Mission, which is formed by a detailed list of aspirations includes:
Given the three spelling mistakes that appear in the Mission statement, we would have to question how far the commitment to Excellence really goes in the context, at least, of the written word!
SEPS has also defined its Core Values as:
SEPS is a school that has certainly improved considerably since its first ADEK inspection in 2012-13, when it was rated Unsatisfactory (Band C6; in need of significant improvement). A year later, despite improvements having been made, the overall rating remained the same. In the inspection held in 2015-16, the school had made significant strides, being rated Good in five of the six key performance standards (the exception being in relation to the curriculum, which was rated Acceptable).
In the latest inspection, in 2017-18, SEPS had made still further strides on the road to improvement, achieving a Good rating overall, but with Very Good ratings for two of the six key performance measures. This achievement should not be underestimated.
At the time of the last inspection, the school had over 2,800 students, the vast majority (98%) from India. A further two percent of students come equally from Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Students are divided reasonably equally between the Primary and Secondary sections with 15% attending the KG: 30% in the Primary section; 37% in the Middle school section and 18% in the High school section. Approximately 10% of students had been identified with some form of additional learning need.
Students are supported by 158 teachers and 4 teaching assistants, predominantly from India. The teacher:student ratio at 1:25 in the KG and 1:30 in the remainder of the school is very much on the high side, but not uncommon for a low-priced Indian curriculum school. Staff turnover, at 10%, is much lower than the average in international schools in the UAE of between 20-22%, but around average for Indian curriculum schools. This suggests a satisfied teaching team, ensuring stability, a factor attributed by ADEK's inspection team to the school's ability to retain the Good rating.
What about the Curriculum?
SEPS follows the CBSE curriculum but provides little details beyond the subjects taught. From Grades 1 to 5, these include Arabic, Islamic Studies, English, Hindi, Maths, Environmental Science, Moral Science, Computer Science, PE, Art, Music, Dance, Library, Moral Education, and UAE Social Studies, (from Grade 4).
From Grades 6 to 10, subjects options are similar and again include Arabic, Islamic Education, UAE Social Studies (replaced by Life Sciences in Grade 10), Moral Education (from Grades 6 to 9), English, Hindi, French (from Grade 9), Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Social Science, Computer Science, Moral Science, Physical Education, Art and Library.
In the High School section, students have the option of following either a Science or Commerce stream. Students in the Grades 11 and 12 Science stream study Arabic, Islamic Studies, Life Sciences, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Maths, Psychology, Moral Science, General Studies, Library, PE, and complete a Work Experience period. Commerce students follow Arabic, Islamic Studies, Life Sciences, English, Maths, Accountancy, Business Studies, Economics, Psychology, Moral Science, General Studies, Library, PE, and complete a Work Experience period.
Unfortunately, the school provides little information about Sports or Extra Curricular Activities other than to show that students participate in a range of sports including Football and Volleyball. However, the ADEK inspection report indicates that students participate in a broad range of activities that enable them to develop their innovation and entrepreneurial skills, including a significant involvement in supporting the local community.
What about Academic Achievement?
Unfortunately, SEPS provides no information about student achievement on their website. However, the most recent ADEK inspection report indicates that in Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations, "students’attainment is very good in English, mathematics and sciences. Recent PISA examinations show that students attain above the standards in English, mathematics and science. End of term results for Grades 12 show that students’ performance was very good in Islamic education and Arabic."
It is a great pity that the school itself does not do more to promote its students' achievements.
What about the Facilities?
The school occupies a large modern building with sizeable astroturf outdoor space and a covered sports area. Teaching facilities include Science laboratories, a relatively new Robotics lab, Art rooms, music rooms, a drama room and library. Facilities are said to be well maintained and resourced.
What the inspectors say
Having started off somewhat slowly in terms of inspection performance - with two early ratings of Unsatisfactory - Sunrise English Private School has succeeded in raising its performance to Good for the past two inspections.
In the most recent inspection report from 2017-18, the inspection team identified the following strengths of the school:
There is also no question that in terms of Students' achievement, the inspection team found clear evidence to support the school's Good ranking, with every subject in each section of the school being rated Good in terms of both attainment and progress, with the sole exception of Arabic as a second language, which was rated Acceptable across the school.
The ADEK inspection team was clearly also impressed by the standards of Students' personal and social development and their innovation skills, which were rated Very Good across the board. The inspectors commented that "The overall quality of students’ personal and social development is very good. Students have very positive attitudes to learning and benefit from respectful relationships with their teachers and friends. They behave very well and, as a result, learning proceeds without significant disruption."
In terms of the two key performance standards that are directly linked to Student Achievement - those of Teaching and Assessment, and the Curriculum - SEPS again achieves Good ratings. Teaching and assessment were found to be good overall, with most teachers having good subject knowledge, which they apply well to plan interesting activities that motivate students to learn. Teaching and assessment are also good overall. Most teachers were found to have good subject knowledge, which they apply well to plan interesting activities that motivate students to learn.
The curriculum was deemed to be broad and relevant. It provides good opportunities for students to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in the subjects taught. Teachers modify the curriculum to meet the learning needs of the majority of students. In a small minority of lessons, however, teachers do not consistently take sufficient account of the needs of the more-able and the Gifted and Talented students.
The protection, care, guidance and support for students was rated Very Good overall. This includes good systems to identify students with SEN and Gifts and Talents. Students receive very good support in their personal and social development and older students receive personalised advice in relation to future career choices.
Finally. in the key performance standard for Leadership and Management, the inspectors rated all aspects Good. The day-to-day management of the school was found to be very effective; procedures and routines have a positive impact on improving students’ outcomes. Premises and resources are used effectively to promote students’ achievement; however, this has yet to result in higher achievement for all students.
In terms of the key areas for improvement, Sunrise English Private School should:
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to better understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
There is no doubt that SEPS provides a solid, good quality education for very reasonable fees. It seems doubtful, based on the last two inspection reports, that the school will make the step up to Very Good, given the class sizes and the practical aspects of investment in both staff and resources that would be required in a school with a limited budget.
However, there is no doubt that SEPS students are successful learners without the bells and whistles of more costly schools. Staff and students are clearly dedicated and are achieving good outcomes as a result.
The inspection report contains little information about the relationships between staff, students and parents, other than to note that "Partnerships with parents are good. Parents contribute well to activities that support the school’s work. Staff keep parents well informed about their children’s academic progress and well-being."
The Governors of the school also consult with staff and parents and were found to be effective as a result. Students participate willingly in a range of activities to support the local community and beyond. School councillors represent the views of students in their meetings with the leadership team and initiate activities. Student class monitors and prefects support other students’ social and emotional skills very effectively.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at Sunrise English Private School and would like to share your experiences with other potential members of your community, please do so by completing our survey here.
What about the fees?
Fees at SEPS are in the Very Low range based on ADEK's scale. They range from AED 7,410 in KG, are reduced to AED 7,000 from Grade 1 to Grade 6, rise to AED 7,820 from Grades 7 to 10, reaching AED 11,010 in Grades 11 and 12.
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