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West Yas Academy, Yas West, Yas Island
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Review

West Yas Academy, Yas West, Yas Island

by August 17, 2017
Strengths

• Massachusetts State curriculum – backed by development links with Harvard and MIT
• Innovative US College Board Advanced Placement [AP] university-school hybrid academic dynamics
• Aldar Academies’ ADEC A1 heritage
• Saturated extra/co-curricular whole child focus
• Phased launch offering security of quality to prospective parents from ‘Day One’
• Architectural design maximizing light and ‘warmth’ of school
• High ROI fee-structure relative to Tier 1 ultra-premiums
• Inclusive entrance with implied high added value
• Perfectly sited as an educational, Tier 1 hub for the Emirati communities of Yas West

Weaknesses

• Maybe too off-pitch for many prospective parents outside Yas Island
• Currently the only American curriculum school for parents set on an Aldar Academies’ education

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

• Could be a new benchmark for American education based whole phase education in the capital, offering an outstanding mix of whole child cultural dynamics with an academically rigorous and inspiring university/school hybrid AP based curriculum

B+
Our Rating
B+
User Rating
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Top of shortlist
21%
In my Top 5
5%
Shortlisted
42%
A possibility
11%
Pass
5%
No way
16%

Updated August 2017 – West Yas Academy first year update including ADEC First Inspection

Launched in September 2016, West Yas Academy, situated, perhaps unsurprisingly, in Yas West, is the first school to have adopted the American curriculum in the Aldar Academies network.  West Yas Academy was the second major school to open on the island after SABIS International School situated in Yas East. West Yas Academy currently educates around 270 children of its eventual 1800 capacity through FS to Year 6. Years 7 and 8 open this September with completion of all-through provision across Grades 9 – 12 following on in 2018. Prospective parents should note that West Yas School is mixed co-educational until Grade 5 at which point boys and girls are segregated and taught separately.

As of April 2017, West Yas Academy was graded a High Performing, Good School with Very Good features by ADEC, the Abu Dhabi inspectorate of schools.

The kindergarten to Grade 12 co-ed school will offer the Massachusetts State curriculum, another first for the Emirate, and a curriculum widely mooted in the US for both its academic rigor and whole child focus, in part drawn from sharing developmental links with both Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT]. The programme was established by a coalition of three major schools and universities in 1952: Lawrenceville School, Phillips Academy and Phillips Exeter Academy with Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

The West Yas Academy prospectus can be found below:

west_yas-English

The West Yas Academy curriculum is further (significantly) strengthened by US College Board Advanced Placement [AP] which provides University level study in up to 37 subject areas with accreditation awarded against these courses when students enter university in Canada or the US. The critical importance of Advanced Placement provision in US schools is discussed here.

West Yas Academy will seek to provide a broad spectrum of student choice drawn from the current 37 courses and exams available through the AP Program. Subjects include art history; biology; calculus AB; chemistry; Chinese language and culture; Computer Science A; English language and composition; English literature and composition; environmental science; European history; French language; German language; government and politics (comparative); government and politics (US); human geography; Italian language and culture; Japanese language and culture; Latin (Vergil); macroeconomics; microeconomics; music theory; physics 1; physics 2; physics (electricity and magnetism); psychology; seminar AP Capstone 1); research (AP Capstone 2); statistics; Spanish language; Spanish literature; studio art (2D design); studio art (3D design); studio art (drawing); United States history and world history.

Because US university selectors places such significant weight on whole child education, Aldar is focused on further “saturating” West Yas Academy students with extra-curricular and co-curricular opportunities to balance academics with broader sport and culture provision, something that Adar’s strength in the Arabic core curriculum will also feed into.

Launch provision includes societies and clubs in art; graphic design; photography; jewelry making; Mandarin Chinese; Spanish; Arabic calligraphy; reading; the Qu’ran; music; choir; drama; dance; theatre and performance; cookery; football; cricket; basketball; netball; swimming; rugby; badminton; sailing and water sports; expeditions; and international award schemes

West Yas Academy facilities are Tier 1 and include digital classrooms; science laboratories; interactive robotics labs; dedicated libraries by phase; design technology centres across textiles, food and graphics; art studios; 3D design labs; pottery studio; recording studio; recital hall; research labs; separate Senior School centre; drama studio; video conferencing suites; shaded play areas by phase; dance studio; cafeterias by phase; and landmark auditoriums including an 850-seat theatre.

Photograph of children at play at West Yas Academy in Abu Dhabi

Sports facilities at West Yas academy include a 25m swimming pool; extensive playing fields providing for up to 20 individual sports, full-sized football pitch, basketball and netball courts

A key feature of West Yas Academy architecture is provided by 9 beautiful palm filled lightwells plunged into the main school building to provide flow between classes, enhanced light to classroom areas; intimate performance space; social and cafeteria areas and outdoor class facilities.

According to our sister team at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, Aldar’s promise of the Emirate’s first Massachusetts curriculum, set in combination with the academically stretching, high cache university-grade dynamics of the Advanced Placement [AP] programme – and saturated whole-child cultural extra/co-curricular programmes, “could set a new benchmark for American education in the capital”.

That this comes with a genuinely inclusive, open intake, with all its implied added value, a fee structure that undercuts the top-end ultra-premium sector by more than 25%, and Aldar’s proven history, means that prospective parents of Yas West Academy have something genuinely unique in the sector to date.

As with all new schools, however, there have been inevitable teething problems. In the case of West Yas Academy, these have fallen in the area of senior leadership, with the school losing two Principals in quick succession over the first sixth months of the Academy opening. Aldar has stepped in quickly and we think the now phased opening to all-through provision until 2018 is a welcome recognition of the time it inevitably takes to bed in a new school successfully.

Positives identified by ADEC at the time of the first inspection of West Yas academy include:

  • “Very strong” partnerships between the school, parents and wider community
  • Good levels of added value attainment with children swiftly achieving above average levels of attainment across most subjects from low baseline scoring on entering the school
  • A very exciting school environment for leaning with Very Good quality of faculty provision and broader resources

Yas West Academy is currently open for student registration in Grades KG1 to Year 8. Eventual fees are on a spectrum from 51,458 AED in KG to 68,301 AED in Grade 12.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers from our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.
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Prospective parents should note that as a school in phased launch our scoring is predictive based on independent whichschooladvisor data, ADEC scoring, published school information, a calculation of performance based on the founding school organisation, historic delivery and management, launch inspections and the assumption that actual facility and curriculum delivery will meet or exceed published planning.

 

Details to consider
2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good Features

2016/17 Rating Primary / Elementary

Good

2016/17 Rating Secondary / Middle

Good

2016/17 Post 16 / High

NA - school in phased launch

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

NA

Type of school

Private, not-for-profit
[Aldar Academies’ profits are re-invested into the developments of its schools and facilities]

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 51,458
FS2: 51,458
YEAR 1: 53,00
YEAR 2: 53,000
YEAR 3: 53,000
YEAR 4: 53,000
YEAR 5: 53,000
YEAR 6: 57,000
YEAR 7: 57,000 (From September 2017)
YEAR 8: 57,000 (From September 2017)
YEAR 9: 68,301-TBC (Phased launch from 2018)
YEAR 10: 68,301-TBC (Phased launch from 2018)
YEAR 11: 68,301-TBC (Phased launch from 2018)
YEAR 12: 68,301-TBC (Phased launch from 2018)
YEAR 13: NA
[Fees range from 51,458 AED at FS/KG to 68,301 AED in Year 12). Note Years 7-8 opening September 2017. Years 9 - 12 opening September 2018.

Curriculum

American High School Diploma
Advanced Placement [AP]

External Exam Boards

Massachusetts State Curriculum
College Board

Selective

No (fully inclusive)

Waiting list

No

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

1800 capacity
270 students (April 2017)

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:13 (KG/FS)
1:8 (Year 1+)

Largest nationality teachers

American

Teacher turnover

8%

Year opened

2016-17

Location

Yas West, Yas Island

Student composition

Arabic (largest nationality)
Emirati: 57%
US and European minority intake
American: 11%

Gender

Mixed, co-educational until Grade 5 when students are separate by gender

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Aldar Academies

Admissions Telephone

Contact by application form:
Go

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

60%

Attainment Pri SEM

46.6%

Attainment Sec SEM

46.6%

Attainment Post-16 SEM

NA - school in phased launch

Progress Nur SEM

60%

Progress Pri SEM

60%

Progress Sec SEM

60%

Progress Post-16 SEM

NA - school in phased launch

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

40%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

30%

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA - school in phased launch

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

60%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

NA - school in phased launch

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA - school in phased launch

Islamic St. Primary Results

60%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

60%

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

NA - school in phased launch

Leadership

60%

Community

80%

Facilities

80%

Quality of teaching

60%

Student personal responsibility

60%

Quality of curriculum

60%

School Governance

40%

SEN Provision

60%

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