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AJYAL International School, Mohammed Bin Zayed City
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Review

AJYAL International School, Mohammed Bin Zayed City

by January 20, 2016
Strengths

• Impressive building
• Excellent internal resources and facilities
• Incrementally improving school with committed ownership and school leadership
• Students passionate about the UAE, committed to its ideals and proud off their heritage
• Some positive whichschooladvisor feedback from parents in 2016
• Outstanding mooted scholarship provision
• Early days in phased launch - with lots of potential to shine as the school beds in

Weaknesses

• Recorded historic instances of unmanaged behavioral issues
• Inevitable challenges in establishing a new school from ground zero
• Pace of improvement slow; strong case for significantly ratcheting up support for the school in early stages before the school becomes established to better support existing students
• Undeveloped, uninspiring setting
• Limited sector experience of the owners, although moderated by onsite external specialists

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

• A school with real potential, but not one yet meeting the needs of children to meet their fullest abilities
• A sense of a school missing the many opportunities its strong foundations, particularly in the very significant investment by owners in building and infrastructure, afford
• An acceptable school operating in a highly competitive sector that needs to significantly and quickly up its game for its students

C
Our Rating
B-
User Rating
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11%
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Ajyal International School is the first school established by the newly established Bin Omeir Education Foundation. The Foundation was established by the influential and respected Mohamed Omeir Bin Yousef Al-Mehairi, owner of the Bin Omeir Holding Group, as a means for the Group to significantly invest in the development of human capital in the UAE. The group has no existing experience in the educational sector to draw on and the school is being managed in association with SSAT Education, an educational consultancy.

The school was inspected by ADEC in April 2015 and scored in the lowest band of satisfactory. Whilst the buildings themselves are (genuinely) impressive, easily meeting the requirements of an ADEC “High Performing School,” these remain at odds with currently weak performance levels, particularly for a school targeting High Performing Tier 1 status. Whilst progress and provision is weak relative to other new schools developed by groups with a history of educational provision, prospective and existing parents should have confidence that the school’s parent has the resources to effect change over time. Given the level of investment in the school’s buildings, and the profile of the school’s founders, it is unlikely the school will be allowed to fail.

Inspectors specifically made clear in their report that the satisfactory rating should be understood in the context of “a new school at the start of its journey.” They made clear that:

“The leadership team, with the support of the whole staff, has laid solid foundations. They are aware of what needs to be done and are adept at taking effective actions, albeit one step at a time, due to the limited capacity of the small team. The owners’ representative is supportive and understands the school is at the start of its journey. Leaders at all levels are well qualified and experienced and demonstrate good capacity to make the necessary improvements.” [ADEC 2015]

Prospective parents should weigh this in the balance when making their decision.

Originally advertised fees of AED 26,000 to AED 55,000 were ranged AED 25,500 to AED 44,500 at the time of inspection and the fee structure has been withdrawn from the web site (January 2016)

Issues identified by ADEC include:

  • Below age related expectation attainment in English and Science
  • Weakness in Arabic attainment including the inability of older children toreadtheHolyQur’anaccurately (byemployingthe‘Tajweed’rules)
  • Below internationally expected standards of English
  • Weakness in writing skills, limited range of sentence construction, poor vocabulary and some inaccuracy in both spelling and grammar
  • Limited opportunity and scope to apply education outside text books
  • Unsystematic use of teachers’ own teaching methodologies
  • Weaknesses in the supervision of students at break times result in students not being protected from bullying, including a small minority of older boys making younger children feel unsafe with fighting. Some students had “no confidence” in the school’s ability to protect them and felt unsafe
  • Only a small minority of teaching meeting a “good” standard, the large majority is “satisfactory.”
  • Not effectively recognising EAL needs of students and ineffectively deployed support staff
  • Inexperienced KG level teachers still developing an understanding of how young children learn through play and initiating their own activities
  • Ineffective promotion of higher order, critical and creative thinking
  • Variable quality of marking resulting in students being unaware of the targets they should be reaching
  • Limited opportunities for extra-curricular activities,trips and visits to enrich students
  • Staff undermining the school’s behaviour policy by not following it themselves undermining its credibility with students
  • A limited number of library books
  • Parents largely supportive of the school
  • An owners’ representative at the heart of the school and supportive of the school’s needs to meet required improvements

Key positives include

  • State-of-the-art building, facilities and resources
  • Good progress in UAE social studies
  • Progress made given the challenges of establishing a new school
  • Involvement of teachers and their empowerment in development of the school
  • Ethos and shared commitment to improvement
  • Leadership whilst satisfactory, not “Good”, is improving
  • Students clearly understanding what they are learning
  • Harmonious relationships evidenced in almost all lessons
  • Age related expectations for EAL speakers at KG level being met
  • Attainment meeting age related expectations in mathematics
  • Students respectful of the values of the UAE, proud of their heritage with an understanding of the different cultures represented in the UAE
  • Majority of teaching, although not “good,” is mostly more than satisfactory
  • Better teaching in English, Mathematics and Science
  • Broad, balanced, motivational and relevant curriculum planned to promote personal progression and personal development of students
  • Students knowing who to go to if they feel unsafe and a clear child protection policy being in place
  • Injuries being dealt with swiftly
  • At KG level, behaviour being generally positive with “no apparent instances of disruption or anxiety”
  • A sufficient number of qualified and competent teachers
  • Ratio of students to teachers being good in almost all classes
  • Very good science and IT resources

The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com inspection undertaken in 2014-15 noted inadequate development of the school externally, with grounds painfully at odds with the quality of the building. They were concerned that the school had opened without proper playing fields or a setting able to inspire the children. The outside spaces had instead been used as a car park for buses. The school also appeared empty and uninspiring, this the inevitable consequence of a new school operating under capacity.

There was some concern that children’s work was not being celebrated and used to create greater intimacy, recognition of student’s achievement and “warmth.” Significant parts of the school were desolate and unused. This said, Inspectors recognised that the original visit took place early in the school’s development – at this stage even the two swimming pools had yet to be commissioned. Inspectors also recently noted that 14 months after opening the schools’ online presence was under-leveraged.

The school’s use of Facebook, for example, a common tool for schools across the range of provision as a means to engage children and provide greater transparency for parents, prospective and existing, was not engaged. The schools web site too, a key tool for parental engagement, was found to be generally under-developed. The general sense from Inspectors at this time is of a school with very significant potential opened too early and one which would have been better advised to delay its opening by one year.

A further inspection is planned for 2016-17, but already considerable investment by school leadership is seeing step-changes in the quality of provision.  The potential for improvement is evident. We particularly applaud the launch of new scholarship programmes, something we, and our sister site whichschooladvisor, have long campaigned for.

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

Private, for-profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 26,500
FS2: Under review
YEAR 1: Under review
YEAR 2: Under review
YEAR 3: Under review
YEAR 4: Under review
YEAR 5: Under review
YEAR 6: Under review
YEAR 7: Under review
YEAR 8: 44,500
YEAR 9: Not yet open
YEAR 10: Not yet open
YEAR 11: Not yet open
YEAR 12: Not yet open
YEAR 13: Not yet open

Curriculum

National Curriculum of England

Number of A Levels offered

In planning

A Levels offered

In plannning

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

In planning

I/GCSEs offered

In planning

Selective

No

Waiting list

Yes for KG1

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

577+ (Capacity 2000+)

Teacher to Student Ratio

KG 20:1 (school data)
Primary: 13:1 (school data)
Secondary 7:1 (school data)

Largest nationality teachers

British

Teacher turnover

Not published

Year opened

2014

Location

Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi

Student composition

Student number 577 (Capacity 2000+)
60% boys
40% girls
95%+ Muslim & Arabic
77% Emirati nationals
3.5% Egyptian
2.8% Jordanian
1.8% Nigerian
1.6% Saudi Arabian
1.6% Yemeni
226 students in Kindergarten (KG)
249 students in grades 1‐5
102 students in grades 6‐8
Grade1: 3 classes
Grades 2-8: 2 classes
Grade 6 onwards separate classes for boys and girls
Grade 9 opened 2016
Continuing year‐on‐year extra year openings until 2018/19 to Grade 12.
7 students with special educational needs (SEN)
1 student with moderate learning difficulties
9 students with behavioural difficulties
2 students with speech and language needs
1 students with spina bifida
26 students English Additional Language [EAL]
0 students Gifted and Talented (G&T)

Gender

Single sex schooling from Grade 6 (both sexes)
Mixed co-educational Grades 1-5

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Bin Omeir Educational Foundation
(Bin Omeir Holding Group)

Admissions Telephone

00971 255 22668

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

50%

Attainment Pri SEM

50%

Attainment Sec SEM

NA

Attainment Post-16 SEM

NA

Progress Nur SEM

50%

Progress Pri SEM

50%

Progress Sec SEM

NA

Progress Post-16 SEM

NA

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

50%

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

NA

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA

Islamic St. Primary Results

50%

Islamic St. Secondary Results

NA

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

NA

Leadership

50%

Community

50%

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