United Arab Emirates / Dubai / The Villa / The Aquila School

The Aquila School Q & A

The Aquila School opened in September 2018.  Located in the new neighbourhood of Wadi Al Safa, an  area of Dubailand that runs between the Al Ain road and The Centro/Villa communities, the school is surrounded by numerous high rise, apartment complexes. Once construction is complete Aquila will be a school right in the heart of a densely populated community. 
Parents' Rating
4.3 out of 5 based on 20 reviews
At a glance
School type
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
Availability 2021/22
Annual fee average
AED 39,500
Annual fees
AED 33,750 - 45,000
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Sep to Jul
Mr Wayne Howsen
International Schools Partnership (ISP)
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
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Welcome to the The Aquila School official Q and A page. Here we ask the questions, and the school answers directly. It is its chance to have its say on specific areas you have told us you want to know about. If you think there are additional questions we should be asking you may contact us here.

Does your school have a waiting list? In which years?

We offer a waiting list in some year groups when seats are not available immediately.

What are qualities and characteristics that define your school and its students?

The Aquila School is specifically designed to meet the needs of our global community through maximising the use of the National Curriculum for England tailor made to meet the needs of our global community. The school recognises the value of independent enquiry based learning and activities which are engaging and relevant to the children helping them make as much progress as possible. Aquila is already being noticed for its breadth of curriculum choice and its commitment to be the right fit for all students rather than a few- we aim to be as inclusive as we can be.

At Aquila, our core belief is in real learning for a real future, with teachers empowered to teach the children what they need to learn right now.
We promise that:
*Your children will learn at levels that will amaze both them and you and we guarantee they will make as much progress as possible in all areas
*Your child will love coming to our school
*We will communicate with you about your child’s learning and all aspects of life in our busy school in ways you haven’t experienced before
*Our curriculum will inspire your children to be creative, independent and resilient design thinkers, with lessons that have a real sense of purpose - underpinned by academic rigour
*Our school will be the heart of the community, with a shared sense of purpose that helps your child develop as broadly as possible.
Our vision for the school-
The Aquila School, aims to be a leading example, globally, of a design thinking school.
Our curriculum will enable children to understand and develop future solutions for everyday challenges with an emphasis on technology though the arts.
Our children will be independent, creative, caring and resilient, able to make decisions and solve problems through a design thinking mindset
Our staff will work tirelessly to ensure that every child makes as much progress as possible and that lessons are engaging, memorable, fun and relevant, underpinned by academic rigour
As a community school we work closely together, valuing happiness and school connectedness, guiding families on how to help their children at home, to provide the very best education possible and ensuring that children love coming to school.
This is what matters in our school
1 - Our children are safe, supervised and well cared for at all times- children know that the first priority of every adult in school is their well being
2 - Amazing learning is key, lessons are enjoyable and relevant
3 - Every child makes as much progress as possible and teachers are held to account
4- Teachers are empowered to teach the children what they need to know
5 - We celebrate and respect the culture, traditions and heritage of the host nation
6- We are a community school- courteous and respectful relationships are key to our success

Why Aquila?
*Brand new facilities have been carefully designed to offer children calming classrooms and spacious outdoor environments.
*An intellectually vibrant curriculum focuses on the education of each child and the social relationships which support their development as critical and creative thinkers
*Unique Cultural Exchanges with our sister schools through the International Schools Partnership group will help every child master a third language.
*Tuneful Tuesdays will encourage all of our community to develop a love of singing and music
*The Aquila Principal and Head of Primary come from the only school in Abu Dhabi to be outstanding twice and the first school ever to be outstanding.
*Aquila is a fully inclusive school focused on a genuine care for each individual to help create a diverse and happy community of parents and children
*All of the Aquila class teachers have UK qualifications and experience and our MOE teachers come from high achieving schools in Dubai

How many nationalities are represented in your school? How international would you say your school is?

The Aquila School is a fully inclusive school representing children from all over the world.

Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?


What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?

Class sizes will be no greater than 24.
There are a number of learning assistants across the school.

Does your school measure Value Added data? Please provide details of how you measure, and current Value Added benchmark scores.

As a new school this is not applicable yet

If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?

For older children we will offer IGCSE, IB and BTEC.

Please provide details of how well your school did in its previous external exams for students at 16 and at 18 years of age? Please provide sufficient detail to allow parents to have a view on how academic your school is?

Not applicable as we are a new school.

What percentage of your sixth form that take exams at 18 go to university, and where, in general, do they go?

The school is currently open for children in FS1 to Year 7 and will grow each year to eventually become an all through school offering BTEC and the IB curriculum by 2021.

Describe your school's approach to education and teaching?

We have appointed excellent class teachers with UK qualifications and experience. When selecting teachers we look for the ability to make learning relevant and engaging so that children love coming to school and make as much progress as possible. We empower our teachers to choose the best methods to motivate the children while encouraging them to be creative and resilient learners.
Learning at The Aquila School is never be dull and there is not be a worksheet in sight. Our teachers get the children actively learning and not passively listening - from the very start of the lesson.
The children have access to a range of technologies to support their learning in all age groups. By combining technology and the arts, underpinned by a focus on academic rigour, The Aquila School is truly unique.
Our core belief is in “real learning for a real future” with meaningful enquiry-based learning at the fore with our innovative curriculum which will provide vocational, professional and technological opportunities. Designing, constructing and even deconstructing happens on a regular basis, we want children to find out for themselves how things work, how to fix them and how to rise to challenges. Through all of this, we do everything we can to make sure children love coming to our school and not wanting to leave at the end of the day.
We offer a range of innovative initiatives and approaches that support this:
*Our curriculum focuses on technology through the arts, integrating design, art and performance. Children love making things, taking things apart and discovering how things work!
*Every child learns through a design thinking mindset - a structured approach to learning, collaboration, and problem solving which guides a child from inquiry through discovery to understanding and application.
*At the Aquila School learning is authentic. There are no textbooks or worksheets in primary to ensure maximum engagement in practical learning.
*Natural learning spaces provide inspiring classroom and outdoor environments.

Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?

We recognise that many children have busy lives. They work very hard while at school so we do not set formal homework. We expect all children to read at home regularly to develop a love of reading. There will be a range of projects each term that children will be able to do at home if they choose.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?

As well as PE and swimming being an integral part of the curriculum we ensure that learning how to keep healthy, both physically and mentally, are a key part of our curriculum. We also have a number of events such as community football and family cricket events. The principal even leads a weekly whole school aerobics session every Thursday!

How do you promote healthy eating?

We actively promote healthy eating at school as we know that when children eat nutritionally-rich food they have more energy and approach their studies with more enthusiasm. We enjoy our own in-house canteen providing a daily choice of healthy nutritious meals as well as a cafeteria.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students? How does it promote a balanced diet?

A catering company serve hot and cold meals to children on site. There is also a cafe in the reception area for families to use.

What is the approximate average cost of a lunchtime meal?

Our school meals are affordably priced, the actual price varies on the age of the child and what they choose.

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?

School starts at 7.40am for all children in FS and Primary, 7.20am for secondary children. FS will finish at 1.45pm and other children (both primary and secondary) at 2.45pm, with CAS activities immediately after. On a Thursday FS children finish at 1.15pm and children in years 1 to 7 at 1.20pm.

Is there a school uniform?

Yes our uniform is contemporary and European in style. We have made it practical for children’s learning.

Please advise on your discipline policy?

Positive relationships permeate all aspects of The Aquila school. We use a positive approach to behavior management based on Jenny Mosely’s approach, with rewards for exceeding our golden rules and sanctions for not meeting them. Every member of our community embraces the Four Cs- Courtesy, Consideration, Common sense and Co-operation.

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?

We ensure that families are fully informed of what their child is learning in school and how families can help at home, through weekly newsletters and meetings for families. We also have regular family workshops in all areas of the curriculum.
We recognise that many children have busy lives. They will work very hard while at school so we do not set formal homework. We expect all children to read at home regularly to develop a love of reading. There are a range of projects each term that children will be able to do at home if they choose to.

How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?

Our teachers are available for a quick word at the start and end of each day and families can make an appointment if a longer discussion is needed. Formal family conferencing sessions will happen 3 times a year.

Which languages are taught at your school - please detail any as a first as well as second language?

To enable cultural connections with other schools in the family of schools (Internationals Schools Partnership) we teach Spanish to children in year 3 up.

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?

We support all of our children through quality first teaching and by immersing children in a language rich curriculum.

Do you offer a dedicated prayer room/s for students? For which faiths?

Yes, we have two prayer rooms.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

We are a fully inclusive school and will ensure that all children are challenged to make as much progress as possible in all areas

Do you have a learning support team in your school?


Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?

If a child’s needs can be met in a mainstream school with support from the class teacher and the inclusion team we would be happy to accommodate them.

Does your school have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?

Our Inclusion head will be able to signpost families to a range of services

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?

At The Aquila School we have an active parents group called the Friends of Aquila School (FOAQs) who work with the school to organise events and involve families in our community school.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?

The Aquila School believe family is the heart of learning and we wish to create a diverse and happy community of parents and children. We encourage families to be involved in everyday learning, activities and events the school. Training will be given to families who wish to get involved.

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?

Yes we have a governing board and there will be representatives of families on it.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?

Families are welcome to come and visit our Principal and Admissions Team at our school anytime Sunday to Thursday, or during our Saturday open days.

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

The Aquila School 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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