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Al Basma British School, Al Dhafrah, Old Al Bahya
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Review

Al Basma British School, Al Dhafrah, Old Al Bahya

by January 13, 2016
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

• Al Basma is currently most successful in developing children with low to average ability; the most-able students are not sufficiently challenged
• Attendance (92%) and punctuality levels do not yet meet the standards of the highest achieving schools in Abu Dhabi
• Provision, number and management of teaching assistants and support is inadequate for class sizes and this does impact on learning
• Some design weaknesses in the flow between the inside and outside teaching spaces limit the opportunity for independent learning, although this is being addressed
• Special educational Needs [SEN] provision is in its infancy
• External checks and balances, particularly in defining the role of, and empowering, school governors, are insufficient for a mature school
• Teaching styles can be excessively directive and traditional. A more holistic, whole child, independent learning approach, particularly in Science, one that recognises, empowers and responds to individual skills and need, would result in better child self-ownership and improved, more dynamic child attainment, interest and understanding.

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

• Notwithstanding a significant weakness in the school resourcing and management of teaching assistants, 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
• A measure of the success of the school aligns with its consideration for whichschooladvisor good school status for 2017-18
• 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

B
Our Rating
D
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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.

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

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.

The school currently educates 1059 mixed gender, mixed-ability students to Grade 8 from KG1 with continuity of education now established to 18 as children and new entrance join the school. Gender balance is 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 are drawn from the Emirati and 59% are of Arabic heritage. FS1 students have their own purpose built nursery. The staff student ratio is currently 15:1, an adequate ration although one currently limited by a weakness in the number of teaching support staff.

The school received an ADEC rating of B4 (“Satisfactory and Improving”). Parents should recognize this as a new school and one bedding in its new facilities, ethos, management and teaching staff. WhichSchoolAdvisor.com have placed the school under consideration for their highest award of good school status for 2017-18 and Al Basma should certainly be considered by parents seeking a traditional, academically focused, but balanced, British education for their children.

Details to consider
Type of school

Private

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 23,500 (includes transport)
FS2: 25,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 1: 26,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 2: 29,000 (includes transport)
YEAR 3: 30,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 4: 30,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 5: 31,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 6: 32,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 7: 33,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 8: 34,500 (includes transport)
YEAR 9: TBA (From September 2016)
YEAR 10: TBA (From September 2016)
YEAR 11: TBA (From September 2018)
YEAR 12 :TBA (From September 2018)

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%

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