United Arab Emirates / Ajman / Al Bustan / The Bloomington Academy Ajman

The Bloomington Academy Ajman Review

The Bloomington Academy Ajman was founded in 2014, and according to its owners, was the first UK curriculum school in the Emirate. It educates children from 4 to 18 years of age.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Status
Open
Opening year
2014
School year
Aug to Jul
Principal
Ms Hussaina Begum Noor Sherieff
Owner
The Lazar Group
Community
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The Bloomington Academy Ajman
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Availability 2021/22
No data
Availability 2022/23
No data
Status
Open
Opening year
2014
School year
Aug to Jul
Principal
Ms Hussaina Begum Noor Sherieff
Owner
The Lazar Group
Community
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The Bloomington Academy Ajman was founded in 2014, and according to its owners, was the first UK curriculum school in the Emirate. It educates children from 4 to 18 years of age.

The story so far...

Established in 2014 as the first British curriculum school in the Emirate of Ajman, The Bloomington Academy Ajman (TBAC) educates students from KG1 to Grade 12. It offers a curriculum based on the English National Curriculum but adapted for international schools, leading to International GCSE and A Level examinations.

The school does not provide details of the number of students that attend the academy, but with some 80 teachers, we would assume that the register contains some 1,500+ students in total from over 55 nationalities who speak 20 different languages.  The staff of the school is also clearly international in background, led by Ms.Hussaina Begum Noor Sherieff  as Principal, who joined the school in January 2021. 

Ms Sherieff has nineteen years experience including 14 years in educational leadership in UK curriculum schools in the UAE. In addition to two Bachelors' degrees, she also holds a Masters' degree, and is currently working towards a Ph.D and is a qualified schools inspector.

Introducing herself to the community of TBAC, Ms. Sherieff says;  "I do believe that a student's academic achievement will lead to a better future with multiple opportunities to excel in the competitive world. TBAC takes the responsibility to build strong morale and exhibit their skills learnt at school to apply in real world. TBAC strives its best to support its students to acquire the best knowledge which will help them to Learn, Share and Grow with wider opportunities to fulfill their future ambitions."

The school shares its Vision as:
Creating an Inclusive Learning Community of Open Minds, Happy Hearts, Sharp Intellect and Sound Character.

Whilst is Mission

statement proposes that TBAC will:
- Lead children on a journey of independent learning by providing an environment that supports inquiry and research;
- Equip students with the skills and abilities required to thrive in a technology driven, globalized world; 
- Accept differently abled children in order that the school community is an inclusive, cohesive unit;
- Reinforce ethics, values and morals at school so children assume their part early in life in the universal responsibility of caringfor the less fortunate or privileged; 
- Nurture happiness in minds in an environment that promotes diversity and tolerance, in keeping with the rich cultural values and traditions of the U.A.E.

What about the curriculum?

TBAC states that it provides "best quality education with International standard for students across all phases from KG to A Level."  

It seeks to achieve this by offering the Early Years Foundation Stage to students in KG1 and 2, followed by the Cambridge International Primary curriculum in Grades 1 to 5, the Cambridge International Secondary curriculum from Grades 6 to 8 and IGCSE for Grades 9 and 10, followed by International AS and A Levels in Grades 11 and 12.

The prime areas of learning in the play-based curriculum that is fundamental to the EYFS curriculum focus on the seven key areas of Communication and Language, Physical Development, Personal, social and emotional development, Literacy, Numeracy, Understanding the world and Expressive arts and design. Throughout the year, teachers and practitioners observe the development of children and track their progress in the age/stage bands, in order to understand the needs of individual children.

The Cambridge Primary curriculum consists of a number of components that fit together to provide schools with tools they can use to help their students acquire knowledge and skills.  The Curriculum Framework focuses on the core areas of teaching young children English, Mathematics and Science.  In addition, students follow a broad range of Humanities and Arts subjects, together with the UAE Ministry of Education requirements for Arabic as a first and second language, UAE Social Studies, and Islamic Studies for Muslim students.

Students' progress is monitored through the Cambridge Primary Progression Tests which are available for the last four years of primary education and designed to allow teachers and parents to follow the progress of students over time and analyse performance within their classes and against an international external benchmark.  At the end of the final year of the programme, students take the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint Exams, moderated by the Cambridge International Examination Board, which issues students with Certificates of Achievement.

Students in Grades 6 to 8 (Key Stage 3) follow the Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme is a framework for increasing educational success. This programme builds on the primary stage and develops students' knowledge and skills in Mathematics, English and Science. The Lower Secondary Programme also provides teachers with a means of tracking student progress through the lower secondary phase, with an integrated package of teaching, learning and assessment materials.

At the end of Grade 6 and 7 students take the Progression Tests in Mathematics, English and Science. These Progression Tests follow on from the Cambridge Progress tests for Grades 3 to 5.  At the end of Lower Secondary (Grade 8), students take the Cambridge Checkpoint tests, which provide detailed feedback on students’ strengths and weaknesses before they move into the Key Stage 4, IGCSE. It also provides a fair assessment of how well an individual student perform in the IGCSE examinations for these subjects.

Once students join Grade 9, they follow a range of subjects (with Maths, English, Science and a modern foreign language as compulsory subjects) leading to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), an external examination programme designed for 14 to 16-year-olds (Grades 9 and 10) and based upon the Cambridge International Curriculum.

The IGCSE at TBAC provides a broad programme of study in areas such as languages, social studies, science, mathematics and vocational subjects. In each subject, there is a balance between practical and theoretical knowledge, but the emphasis in almost all subjects is the development of skills related to that subject. The curriculum is designed so that students can use examples related to their own experiences. The nature of the programme is such that students of different abilities can follow it.  In addition, it is designed for students whose first language may not be English.  Students appear for examinations at the end of the IGCSE course, usually in Grade 10. These examinations are marked by experienced external examiners appointed by CIE. IGCSE is recognised internationally. 

The programme prepares students for further academic courses which are followed in Grade 11 and 12 at school. CIE is a division of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, which, in turn, is part of the University of Cambridge. 

In the final two years at TBAC, students prepare for the Cambridge International A Level examination which are the world’s most popular international examination for 17 & 18 year olds. As one of the most recognised qualifications around the world, it is accepted as proof of academic ability for entry to universities worldwide. Cambridge International A Levels typically takes two years to complete and offer a flexible course of study that gives students the freedom to select subjects that are right for them. There are six passing grades (A*–E).

Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level represents the first half of a full A level course and gives students the opportunity of studying a broader range of subjects without committing to doing a full A Level. Depending on the country concerned, as with A Levels these enable students to apply successfully to universities, though in the majority of English-speaking countries, two or three full A Level qualifications are the norm.

For entry to universities, the minimum requirements are at least two pass grades. Good A Level grades can be a key to admission for the entire world’s major Anglophone universities. University course credit and advanced standing is often available in countries such as the USA and Canada, and good grades in carefully chosen A Level subjects can result in up to one full year of credit.

What about the facilities?

Unfortunately, TBAC provides very little information about the facilities of the school. It is located in a modern building in the heart of Ajman.

What about Academic achievement?

The school provides no information about the academic successes of its students.  We strongly encourage schools to share their academic results with parents, so that they can see the strength of student performance.  Although this is not the be-all and end-all of education, examination results are clearly an important measure of the effectiveness of a school and its staff.

In 2017, The Bloomington Academy was one of 47 schools in Sharjah and the Northern Emirates that were banned by the Ministry of Education from admitting Emirati students due to their weak performance in the Ministry's inspections at that time - details can be found here.  For this reason alone, we think it would be helpful if TBAC were more forthcoming in providing information about its academic successes.

The Buzz

Whilst WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received no direct feedback about The Bloomington Academy Ajman, comments published on various search engines suggest that although the majority of parents are happy with their choice (and notably the fees), staff are less so, with some distinctly negative comments around salary payments.

If you are a parent, teacher or student at The Bloomington Academy, Ajman, please share your thoughts and experience with other potential members of your community by completing our Survey.

What about the fees?

In common with many schools in the Northern Emirates, TBAC does not publish its fees on its website, but we understand these to be between AED 10,000-16,000 dependent on grade.  This is clearly a highly affordable school which will be heavily reliant on larger class sizes and potentially less well qualified (and paid) staff. 

 

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