The International School of Choueifat in Abu Dhabi opened its doors in November 1978 in a temporary site before moving to its current site in Khalifa Bin Muhammad Street, Al-Mushref, in November 1979. ISC-Abu Dhabi is built on a large area of 35,000 m2 and caters for over 3,600 students from the age of 4 to 18.
Choueifat School Khalifa City is one of several schools operated by the SABIS group in the UAE. These include The International School of Choueifat Khalifa City, The International School of Choueifat Al Ain, The International School of Choueifat DIP, The International School of Choueifat Dubai, The International School of Choueifat RAK, The International School of Choueifat Sharjah and The International School of Choueifat Umm Al Quwain. More recent openings have dropped the Choueifat brand in favour of SABIS - SABIS International School Yas Island, SABIS International School Sharjah and the recently rebranded SABIS International School, Ruwais.
The school has as its aim to "qualify every student for entrance to university, provide a well‐rounded education based on mastery of English and mathematics, enable acquisition of a second language, train students for logical reasoning and critical thinking, prepare students for sustained intellectual effort, and generate excitement for life‐long learning."
Choueifat in general is known very much for the first part of its stated goal - getting students to be exam ready. It is less well known for its broader development of the child and his/her critical reasoning skills. More on this here.
The largest nationality group of students at the original Abu Dhabi school comes from Jordan (14%) who have overtaken students from Lebanon (13%), the home of the Choueifat group, SABIS, followed by Egyptians (10%). UAE Nationals also make up a sizable part of the school's population, also with 11% of the total. The origin of students is important - most pupils entering the school have little or no English.
The International School of Choueifat in Abu Dhabi currently employs 148 teachers, and 38 assistants. The number of teachers has actually reduced by 3 since the last ADEK inspection report, although student numbers have grown by around 200. For a school with mid-range fees its teacher:student ratios are fairly high at KG/ FS 1:13,and in other phases, 1:24. Teacher turnover is currently running at 27%, on the high side for the UAE.
The school's curriculum is "SABIS International", its home grown system, but to ensure the hard work is recognized students sit more globally recognized exams - GCSE, IGCSE, A’levels for entry into UK /European universities, and AP and SAT for US universities. The school also offers TOEFL, the teaching of English as a foreign language to non native speakers - which would be the majority at the school.
The school does not publish its examination results, something we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com have been calling for since our launch ten years ago.
Whilst exam results are not the be-all and end-all of an education, they are an important aspect that both parents and students consider when selecting a school.
The school consistently ranks highly in PISA and TIMSS examinations. According to ADEK inspectors, across subjects, most students reach, and a large majority exceed, curriculum standards in both MOE and SABIS examinations. Those students who sit international examinations including IGCSE, A-level, SATS and AP qualifications consistently perform above curriculum standards.
All students passed the TOEFL exam enabling 98% to access university courses. However, the inspectors note that these standards are not borne out in lessons, particularly in the Primary phase. Students’ achievement in the Senior School is generally better than at other phases in the school, though there is no significant difference between the achievement of boys and girls.
Having previously achieved a Good rating in 2015-16 the school saw a reduction in rating to Acceptable in 2017-18. It was one of the few schools inspected, due to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, in the 2019-20 academic year when it was again awarded a Good rating.
In the 2021-22 post-Covid ADEK inspection round, The International School of Choueifat Abu Dhabi again achieved the Good rating.
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so, in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
Parents generally have strong feelings about the SABIS/Choueifat system of education. Many who have been through the schools themselves are highly in favour. However, there are often concerns raised about the amount of pressure placed on students through an ongoing process of testing from an early age, which takes place on a weekly basis.
If you are a parent who likes to be involved in your child's education, note "the SABIS system does not involve parents in decision making". Parents and students can access information about the school and their child’s performance from the ‘Web school’. The lack of parental involvement and direct access to teachers may be seen as a benefit for busy parents, but the majority of educators see education as a three-way partnership between the school, the student and the parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has received limited feedback to our Parent Survey, but those few who have participated have rated the school 2.3/5 - a positivity rating of only 46%. You can read their responses here.
If you are a parent, teacher or senior student at the school, please share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey.
Fees at The International School of Choueifat in Abu Dhabi are not listed on its web site, but range from AED 19,600 – AED 34,600 - mid range for an Abu Dhabi school, but perhaps on the value side given the examinations offered (and its relative success) and the school's central location.
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