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Repton School Abu Dhabi, Shams Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island
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Review

Repton School Abu Dhabi, Shams Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island

by April 5, 2016
Details to consider
2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features

2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Satisfactory B5 (Launch inspection)

Rating FS

Very Good

Rating Primary / Elementary

Very Good

Rating Secondary / Middle

Phased launch

Rating Post 16 / High

Phased launch

Type of school

Private, for-profit

WSA Good School

Subject to review in 2020-21

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 55,000
FS2: 55,000
YEAR 1: 61,000
YEAR 2: 61,000
YEAR 3: 65,000
YEAR 4: 65,000
YEAR 5: 65,000
YEAR 6: 65,000
YEAR 7: 65,000
YEAR 8: 65,000
YEAR 9: 70,000
YEAR 10: 70,000
YEAR 11: 70,000
YEAR 12: 74,000
YEAR 13: 74,000

Curriculum

Foundation School:
National Curriculum for England
EYFS
Upper through School:
National Curriculum for England: (I)GCSE
International Baccalaureate Diploma [IB DP]

External Exam Boards

Cambridge International Examinations [CIE]
Pearson EDEXCEL
International Baccalaureate Organisation [IBO]

IB DipM Pass Rate

Phased Launch to 2020

IB DipM Average Grade

Phased Launch to 2020

Number of A Levels offered

NA

A Levels offered

NA

A Level A* to A

NA

A Level A* to C

Phased Launch to 2020

IGCSE A* to C

Phased Launch to 2020

IGCSE A* to A

Phased Launch to 2020

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

21+

I/GCSEs offered

English Language (Core)
English Literature (Core)
Mathematics (Core)
Physics (Core)
Biology (Core)
Chemistry (Core)
Geography (Option)
History (Option)
Business Studies (Option)
Economics (Option)
Art (Option)
Music (Option)
Drama (Option)
Information Communication Technology ICT (Option)
Design and Technology (Option)
Physical Education (Option)
Spanish (Option)
French (Option)
German (Option)
Mandarin (Option)
Arabic (Option)

Selective

Inclusive
Notes:
(1) Admission requires age-appropriate assessment.
(2) The assessment evaluates a child’s entry-level ability in English, Mathematics and additional learning needs.
(3) Admission visit assesses child’s social competence, behaviour, independence and readiness for school.
(4) Parents must disclose any factor which may affect a child’s ability to cope independently within the normal school situation.
(5) Identified earning difficulties with or without an IEP must be disclosed.
(6) Failure to disclose learning difficulties or medical difficulties at the time of application "may result subsequently in a place being withdrawn."
(7) Any offer made by the school is subject to being able to meet the individual needs of the child.
(8) "The admission policy is non-selective and fully inclusive;
on entry baseline assessments are used to provide
information on students’ starting points." (2016)

Waiting list

No

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

Capacity of Junior School: 528
Current role: 503+

Teacher to Student Ratio

FS: 1:15
Primary: 1:15

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

10% (2018)

Year opened

September 2013

Location

Shams Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi

Student composition

Emirati: 18%
British: 17%
Indian: 8%
Special Educational Needs (SEN): 53 students
Gifted & Talented [G&T]: 19 students
English as a second language [EAL]: 69%
Nationalities: 52
English as an Additional Language (EAL): 60%+

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Evolvence Knowledge Investments Limited
Evolvence Capital Limited
Repton School, Derbyshire, UK
Repton International Schools Ltd (RISL)

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0)2 507 4888

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

80%

Attainment Pri SEM

80%

Attainment Sec SEM

Phased launch

Attainment Post-16 SEM

Phased launch

Progress Nur SEM

80%

Progress Pri SEM

80%

Progress Sec SEM

Phased launch

Progress Post-16 SEM

Phased launch

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

70%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

Phased launch September

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

Phased launch

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

80%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

Phased launch

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

Phased launch

Islamic St. Primary Results

70%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

Phased launch

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

Phased launch

Leadership

80%

Community

80%

Facilities

80%

Quality of teaching

80%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

80%

School Governance

80%

SEN Provision

80%

Strengths

• Aims to be the benchmark for technology based Tier 1 education in the Emirates
• One of the elite ADEC A2 schools awarded its exclusive "Very Good" school status
• Dedicated Foundation School
• Outstanding English language provision with exceptionally gifted teaching for students for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL)
• “Very Good” breadth and “Outstanding” quality of facilities
• Significant investment in teaching staff
• Outstanding Headmaster with highly supportive, empowered teaching staff
• The phased opening of the Upper School means that parents are now able to look at the bigger, very impressive, picture
• Outstanding scholarship programme now in place.

Weaknesses

• We would like to see all schools establish and build capital funds for bursaries with a stated commitment that in the case that parents face financial difficulties children will always be protected.

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Academic
A
A-
Value
A-
B+
ExtraCurricula
A-
A-
Languages
A-
B+
Sports
A-
B+
Arts & Drama
A-
B+
Teaching
A-
A-
Communications
A-
A-
Warmth
A+
A-
Differentiation
A-
A-
SEND Provision
A-
B+
Scl Community
A+
B+
Scl Facilities
A
A-
Opportunities

• A very good school in the UAE with the promise and capacity to set new benchmarks in education as it continues to bring its technology ambitions to life. An outstanding school clearly in the making ...

A
Our Rating
A-
User Rating
You have rated this
Is this school on your shortlist?
Top of shortlist
56%
In my Top 5
15%
Shortlisted
4%
A possibility
15%
Pass
0%
No way
11%

Updated February 2019 – ADEC 2018 and SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2019

Repton School Abu Dhabi [RSAD] is located within Sorouh Real Estate’s residential and business community development, Shams Abu Dhabi, and was the first school to be built on Reem Island.

Opened in 2013, Repton comprises The Repton Foundation School, Rose Campus, offers a 7000 square metre, FS-Primary (to Year 2) slipstream provision to the larger Year 3 – Year 13, Fry Campus through-school, which opened in 2017. Fry Campus offers a 25,000 sq. meter plot on Al Reem Island catering to pupils from Years 3 to 13. Capacity is around 1800 children at the Fry Campus and 700 children at the Rose Campus.

Kevin Hannah is the Principal of Repton Foundation School, Rose Campus. Gillian Hammond is the Principal of Repton School Abu Dhabi Fry Campus. 

Both campuses together will eventually serve up to 2,300 pupils. The school is currently rated Very Good by ADEK.

Repton Foundation School is rated Very Good with Outstanding features by the Abu Dhabi Inspectorate of Schools (ADEC). The role currently stands at around 500 children. 18% are drawn from the local Emirati community, 12% British and around 9% each from the US and India.

Whilst the site for the Upper School of Repton Abu Dhabi is fabulously located adjacent to Sun and Sky Tower, the trade-off is available space. The plot is restricted to around 20,000sqm and as result the architectural brief has been to drive the design vertically to four storeys (plus the Ground Floor).  The design has been nominated for an architectural award and it will be interesting to see the degree to which the through “Upper” school is able to deliver on parent’s expectations from a Tier 1, particularly in outdoor sporting provision. 

Fry Campus at Repton School Abu Dhabi

Prospective parents should note that the Upper School is physically independent of the Foundation school, with around a mile between them. There are mixed views on the benefits of separating Foundation and through schools and there is no definitive verdict on which model works best. On the one hand there are clear benefits to a school being uniquely focused on Early Years provision without the distraction of older students. On the other lie the inevitable logistics issues faced by parents with children at both schools and the risk that the two schools gain divergent identities which unsettle children when they eventually slipstream to Year 3 provision.

The award of “High Performing. Band A2. Very Good” school status by the Abu Dhabi school’s inspectorate (ADEC) is a considerable achievement for any school, and particularly for a school in phased launch. The rating is up a significant two grades from its first inspection in which Repton Foundation was awarded the “Satisfactory Band B5. Acceptable” grading. Prospective parents should note that there are few schools in Abu Dhabi rated more highly with the elite “Band A1. Outstanding” award. These include Aldar Academies’ UK curriculum based Al Muna Primary and Al Bateen Secondary/Al Mushrif Private Schools, Taaleem’s IB curriculum Al Raha International School and Brighton College Abu Dhabi.  The “Very Good” schools rating now places Repton Foundation in the top 13 schools in the Emirate.

Repton School, Abu Dhabi, across both campuses follows the English National Curriculum, but modified to align with the much less rigid framework adopted standard in UK Independent Schools. There are very clear differences in the UK in the approach of state and private schools, the former characterised by greater rigidity, limited enrichment, and an arguably unhealthy obsession with OFSTED inspections and examinations at the expense of the whole child.

Repton Abu Dhabi differs significantly from its sister school in Dubai, however, in its focus: its aim is to be “the premier technology school in the UAE” with a curriculum designed to target children’s abilities across the technology spectrum.

This very specific, technology-driven, frame of reference, provides prospective parents with a very clear reference to benchmark provision.

Setting a technology lens for the school’s identity has reaped dividends with ADEC highlighting technology as a core strength of the school in 2018.  Repton is the first Apple Distinguished School in the Middle East, with children from age 3 onwards provided with their own iPad.  Coding is a timetabled subject, and resources abound from interactive Spheros and Beebots to drones.

iPads are also used to collate, assess, and comment on homework to help students meet their individualised targets. Technology is designed to blend with, and enhance, traditional and contemporary subjects and methodologies.  However, the school’s screen time policy is aimed at ensuring that the use of technology is focused and strategic.  

It should also be noted that Repton School Abu Dhabi also distinguishes itself from its sister school in Dubai in its lack of boarding provision. Parents seeking weekly or full time boarding can seamlessly transfer from Repton Abu Dhabi at the end of Year 6.

Whilst Repton is historically known for being academically selective, the new Foundation School at least reflects a much more inclusive mixed ability intake than we would have expected. To some degree this reflects the inevitably less strict entrance of all schools at FS stages where it is much more difficult to assess academic potential, but also Repton’s recognition that its fees afford it the scope to invest heavily in Special Educational Needs (SEN), English as an Additional Language (EAL) and broader mixed ability teaching provision at a scale to ensure it can deliver a powerful education for all children. Children identified with SEN at Repton Foundation now make up around 2% of its role – low, however, by school standards. The Foundation School also now clarifies that the “Repton admission policy is non-selective and fully inclusive; on- entry baseline assessments are used [only] to provide information on students’ starting points.”  As ADEC now reports:

“Throughout the school the curriculum has been modified to provide significant focus on the developing language skills of the majority of EAL students, as well as on meeting the learning needs of all students. Documentation indicates that there is significant modification of the curriculum to make it appropriate for all groups of students.”

Prospective parents should note, however, that once children move beyond the Foundation School they are likely to face an academic curriculum that may not benefit all children. Repton “Upper” school will not provide parallel stream GCE A’ Level/IB provision – all children will be expected to sit for the stretching International Baccalaureate Diploma [IB DP]. Given this, the school will need to work hard on raising English language skills, given that the large majority of students have English as an Additional Language [EAL] at the foundation stage. On this note, ADEC record that the attainment of children in English is “outstanding” – its highest accolade.

Academic breadth is significant for EYFS with expansive subject provision across English, Mathematics, broader Arts and Sciences, Mathematics, Music, ICT, PE and languages, including Arabic, French and Spanish.

Facilities are “Very Good” in quality/breadth and focused on Early Years learning.

The school  benefits from an indoor 8M x 15M swimming pool; Poolside “Tricycle City” with road markings, zebra crossings and directional arrows to aid structured play; library; two multi-purpose theatre/auditoriums for productions, sport and assemblies; 2 dedicated Music Rooms; independent study centres for Arabic and Islamic Studies; French language labs; Art room; Science labs; EYFS Outdoor Play Centre; multiple shaded play areas; Rooftop Play Centre. Space is in abundance, the classrooms are bright and inviting and the whole school, despite being a new school, feels warm and inviting. The whole atmosphere is certainly conducive to Early Years learning.

Repton School Abu Dhabi Fry Campus buildings

Fry campus adds outstanding facilities including a five lane, 25-meter indoor swimming pool; three indoor sports halls; four shaded rooftop tennis courts; a “sky-court”/dining area with capacity for 400+ pupils; central library; Art Centre; Design & Technology rooms; music halls; science laboratories by specailsim; and, a fabulous multipurpose hall. 

An aerial photograph and render of the Fry Campus of Repton School Abu Dhabi

Swimming facilities at Repton School Abu Dhabi Fry Campus

On first glance, perhaps facillities and “feel” is not as obviously “Outstanding” as the Repton brand suggests. The issue is expectation, and the obvious comparisons that will be made with Repton’s extraordinary Dubai campus. 

Repton School Abu Dhabi, however, is a very different school, with different equally as powerful drivers. It is just one with a much smaller, narrow plot. As WhichSchoolAdvisor noted: “the building itself is somewhat lacking in character compared with other schools within the same group.” But the substance is here – and the technology driver, at this age, unparalleled. 

Part of the issue too, however, has now resolved with the opening of the Upper school campus and the general sense of warmth that springs from decoration of corridors and walls with children’s work and the general hubbub of a school that has bedded in its provision, culture and identity Facilities with the new campus on stream have multiplied and, notwithstanding the separation of the schools, are shared. Taken together the picture is impressive. 

The Extra Curricular Activities Programme extends to 60 individual programmes. This includes two specific technology “Clubs”. Mini Techies, targets FS development with “children learning to use the core applications of the iPad to enhance their learning and skills.” In Years 1-2 “Beginners Programming” introduces children to “the concept of “Coding which is how programmers command Apps and programmes to carry out functions. In this club we will use Beebots to learn how to command machines and then move onto Programming Apps to begin to input lists of simple instructions.”

Increasing direct curriculum provision in technology, beyond the provision of iPads, in conjunction with these ECAs brings to life the ambitious technology aspirations of the school.

“We believe that children have an incredible, almost innate, ability to use and be comfortable with, technology.” Repton School Abu Dhabi, Handbook for Parents

We are impressed that Information Technology “is taught daily within all curricular areas” and that “all pupils are given their own iPad which will remain with them throughout their time at the school.” This is an area that was not explored by ADEC or Repton QA Inspectors in depth but should be celebrated. Few schools, if any, embed technology so successfully at such a young age.  

The above probably gives what we believe are probably as much a steer on Repton School Abu Dhabi as is possible given its ongoing phased launch across both campuses. We would like to see the school fulfilling its technology ambitions imaginatively and powerfully with a series of “firsts” for the UAE. That will need very significant thought and investment – and these are early days.

 

Repton School Abu Dhabi bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2019

Bottom line? Whilst it is the prestige of the brand, and the premium plus fees, that will probably first attract (or distract) prospective parents to (from) Repton Abu Dhabi, we think the major opportunity here is the concentrated focus on technology that the school seeks to embrace. This already, substantively, sets the school apart.

The quality of education on offer – and Repton’s particular strengths in developing the language skills of children for whom English is an Additional Language and in broader mixed ability provision, make Repton a solidly recommendable school, at least for parents who can afford the fees.

Since our last review, Repton has now introduced an exttensive and well-thought through Scholarship programme. This is highly creditable and fits well with its parent Repton UK’s excellent bursary and scholarship programmes. This is the school whose brand and values it seeks to otherwise leverage so this initiative is welcomed. 

Overall, taken together, Repton School Abu Dhabi has the makings of an outstanding plus school – and one leading in technology. The gentle, thoughtful phased launch continues impressively with significant meaningful investment – all with the care of children at its core. 

Highly recommended.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at] schoolscompared.com

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