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Repton School Abu Dhabi, Shams Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island
Good for Sport
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Review

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

by April 5, 2016
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

Weaknesses

• Technology focus needs bringing to life for prospective and existing parents – and children
• The phased opening of the Upper School means that parents are looking at half the story
• School lacks the wow factor of Repton School in Dubai (but has its own identity)
• Repton as a brand divides parents and creates “heat” that the school could do much more to address
• Lack of bursary and scholarship provision lets the school down, limiting the ability of the school to attract outstanding students who would add to the culture of whole school life but who are disqualified on the basis of affordability

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

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

A-
Our Rating
A
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Is this school on your shortlist?
Top of shortlist
33%
In my Top 5
11%
Shortlisted
11%
A possibility
44%
Pass
0%
No way
0%

Updated June 2017

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

This review reflects only the Foundation Campus of Repton School Abu Dhabi, a 7000 square metre FS-Primary which will eventually offer only FS to Year 2 slipstream provision to the larger Year 3 – Year 13 Repton Abu Dhabi through school.

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. Inevitably we expect significant rooftop use for tennis courts and the like.

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 Foundation school is currently offering phased launch of FS – Year 4 schooling only in preparation for the opening of the through school in 2016-17.

Repton Foundation School has been awarded “High Performing. Band A2. Very Good” school status by the Abu Dhabi school’s inspectorate (ADEC), 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 only three schools in Abu Dhabi rated more highly with the elite “Band A1. Outstanding” award (Aldar Academies’ UK curriculum based Al Muna Primary and Al Bateen Secondary/Al Mushrif Private Schools, and Taaleem’s IB curriculum Al Raha International School. 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.

In the coming years, this very specific, technology-driven, frame of reference, will provide prospective parents with a very clear reference to benchmark provision.

Notwithstanding our assessment of facilities as “Very Good”, we would have expected this technology focus to be given a much higher profile in school facilities than it does currently. The Foundation School, for example, has no advertised facility/labs provision for robotics or early Years programming within the curriculum.

Setting a technology lens for the school’s identity requires it to be made real in facilities, curriculum and play. This is something we hope is addressed as the phased launch beds in more typical eventual Foundation provision.

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. To this end, children identified with SEN at Repton Foundation now make up more than 10% of its role. 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.

Facilities are not obviously “Outstanding”, somewhat of a surprise given the Tier 1 fees. The issue is expectation, and the obvious comparisons that will be made with Repton’s Dubai campus. Repton School Abu Dhabi is a very different school with a much smaller, narrow plot. As whichschooladvisor noted too in its inspection, “the building itself is somewhat lacking in character compared with other schools within the same group.”

Part of the issue, however, will be resolved with the opening of the Upper school campus and the general sense of warmth that comes from greater 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, at least, with the new campus will multiply and notwithstanding the separation of the schools, will be shared.

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 will much better bring 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, however, 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 and we expect that the school is ratcheting up technology provision rapidly to meet its ambitions.

The above probably gives what we believe are probably as much a steer on Repton School Abu Dhabi as is possible given its phased launch. 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.

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 has the capacity to substantively set the school apart. It is not clear yet how the school is going to deliver on this – but in the interim, 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. On that note, we do wish, however, that Repton would balance its perceived elitism with bursary and scholarship provision – a regrettable lacunae in its offer that sets it apart from its parent Repton UK’s excellent bursary and scholarship programmes. After all, this is the school whose brand and values it seeks to otherwise leverage…

Letter grading is based on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com feedback from teachers, parents and school management, and comparative data based on sector provision as whole and is weighted to reflect a conservative view of the school’s eventual expected performance.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for-profit

WSA Good School

Subject to review in 2017-18

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 55,000
FS2: 55,000
YEAR 1: 61,000
YEAR 2: 61,000
YEAR 3: 67,000
YEAR 4: 67,000
YEAR 5: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 6: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 7: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 8: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 9: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 10: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 11: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 12: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020
YEAR 13: Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

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: 1:22
Primary: 1:20

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

11%

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

86.6%

Attainment Sec SEM

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Attainment Post-16 SEM

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Progress Nur SEM

86.6%

Progress Pri SEM

80%

Progress Sec SEM

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Progress Post-16 SEM

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

60%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

40%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Islamic St. Primary Results

60%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

Phased launch September 2016 - 2020

Leadership

80%

Community

80%

Facilities

80%

Quality of teaching

80%

Student personal responsibility

80%

Quality of curriculum

80%

School Governance

80%

SEN Provision

80%

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

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Academic
Value
ExtraCurricula
Languages
Sports
Arts & Drama
Teaching
Communications
Warmth
Differentiation
SEND Provision
Scl Community
Scl Facilities