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Al Basma British School, Old Al Bahya
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Review

Al Basma British School, Old Al Bahya

by January 13, 2016

Background

Whilst Al Basma British School can theoretically trace its roots to 1980 (the school had also been known as Giggles English School as well as variants of its current name), to all intents and purposes parents should view Al Basma as a new school. Comprehensive changes to leadership in September 2014, aligned with new buildings and location, a new academic ethic and the move to provision of education to GCE O’ (2016) and A’ Level (2018) has resulted in a school which faces all the challenges of a school in its developmental phase. The complete Senior Leadership Team of the school has been in place since 2015.

The school is located in Old Al Bahya (sometimes spelled Al Bahia) in Abu Dhabi:

Map showing the location of, and directions to, Al Basma School in Old Al Bahya Abu Dhabi.

On this basis ADEC, in its April 2015 inspection, treated the school as a new school on a first inspection basis.

 

Leadership and Student Role

The school starts with a tangible core strength in management that has produced significant successes quickly. Academic progress has been swift and visible with students starting from a low baseline; new buildings were designed ground up to foster an efficient and supportive academic and extra-curricular environment to produce the best from children;  and provision for professional development is strong.

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GEMS_INARTICLE

At the time of our first review, Al Basma British School educated 1059 mixed gender, mixed-ability students to Grade 8 from KG1 with continuity of education being established to Year 13 as children joined the school in a phased launch to Sixth Form. Gender balance then was 55% boys, 45% girls, a benchmark and effective UK public school standard to balance the tendency for girls to dominate the classroom. The largest percentage of students were drawn from Emirati families and 59% were of Arabic heritage.

Today, as of February 2020, Al Basma British School educated some 1450 students from FS1 to Year 13. The school has been at capacity for three years should note that, whsilt it is possible to register for a place at the school when it becomes available, currently there are long waiting lists.  The nationality break down of the school role is:

  • 49% Emirati
  • 79% Arab
  • 92% Muslim

The student role extends over 50 nationalities and students speak 27 languages.

 

Facilities

FS1 students have their own purpose built nursery. The school delivers a pure British curriculum to its students through to GCSE, AS and A’ Level. Beadth of subject offer we rate very good  with outlier options in Psychology, Economics, Music, French, Drama, Resistant Materials and Graphic Design providing reach beyond traditional core subject focus in English Language and Literature, Computer Science, ICT, Business, Geography, History, ESL, Mathematics and, rarely in this school, Statistics.

 

Fees

Fees range from AED 20,000 at FS1 to AED 41,560 for Y13. Additional costs include AED 5000 for transport. Second and subsequent siblings are entitled to a 15% discount on tuition fees.

 

Planned Expansion 2020

In September 2020, the school announced that it will be opening a new Primary Block to house Year 3 to Year 6 children. This will improve space and facilities in turn for the school’s growing Secondary School provision within the existing building.

The extension will house a further pool, sports hall, dining room, AI Lab, STEM Lab, Art studio, Performance Arts Room, inclusion and intervention suites and 33 classrooms.

This will give capacity for another 1000 students and a new total school capacity of 2450 children.

A small school is set to becomes one of the larger schools in the capital.

 

ADEK rating

Al Basma British School received an ADEK rating of B4 (“Satisfactory and Improving”) at the time of its first inspection. This rose swiftly to a Good rating in 2017 and Very Good rating in 2019. The school is rated by BSO as a Good School with Outstanding features.

Details to consider
Type of school

Private

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 22,040 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 500 Uniform)
FS2: 24,320 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 500 Uniform)
YEAR 1: 25,450 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 500 Uniform)
YEAR 2: 28,350 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 500 Uniform)
YEAR 3: 30,110 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 500 Uniform)
YEAR 4: 30,110 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 500 Uniform)
YEAR 5: 31,250 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 600 Uniform)
YEAR 6: 32,490 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 600 Uniform)
YEAR 7: 33,630 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 600 Uniform)
YEAR 8: 34,770 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 600 Uniform)
YEAR 9: 35,900 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 700 Uniform)
YEAR 10: 38,280 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 700 Uniform)
YEAR 11: 39,420 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 700 Uniform)
YEAR 12: 40,560 (+AED 500 Buses, AED 700 Uniform)

Curriculum

National curriculum of England

External Exam Boards

Cambridge
Edexcel

Number of A Levels offered

TBA 2016

A Levels offered

TBA 2018

Selective

No

Waiting list

No

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

1509

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:15

Year opened

2014 (original school 1980)

Location

Al Dhafrah, Old Al Bahya, Abu Dhabi

Student composition

Student population: 1059
55% boys, 45% girls
59% Arabic heritage
87% Muslim
30% Emirati
15% Pakistani
10% Indian
8% Egyptian
3% British
2% American.
FS1: 86 children
KG1-2: 364 children
Grades 1‐5: 534 students
Grades 6 and 7: 75 students

Gender

Mixed

Admissions Telephone

02 562 3454

Web Address
Leadership

75%

Community

75%

Facilities

75%

Strengths

• Rapid and successful development of a new school from ground zero
• Strong academic and personal development of students from a low baseline
• New buildings and facilities designed to foster student achievement and a happy, safe, inspirational and nurturing learning environment
• Excellent management, effective teacher self-evaluation, a strong emphasis on professional development and an ambitious school mission statement (to be the best school in Abu Dhabi for a British education)

Weaknesses

• The planned near doubling of the school's size will not suit all children.

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

• Al Basma, under the extremely effective leadership off it new Head, has exceeded the attainment levels expected of a new school in almost all areas
• Rapid academic progress, particularly within children of low to average baseline abilities competes with the best schools in Dubai
• Al Basma British School offers, even at this stage of its development, an inspiring, effective and rewarding education for its children with all the potential and building blocks to develop into one of the top British schools in the capital. The announced (2020) increase in school role and capacity, however, will need to be managed sensitively with existing families.

B+
Our Rating
C+
User Rating
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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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