Emirates National School, Abu Dhabi City Campus, Al Nahyan
The school has the capacity, in its resources, to transform itself into an Outstanding school
• Children are achieving between two and three grades behind their US peers
• The school has a very high teacher turnover
• Middle school provision does not provide the curricular foundations to support Diploma provision
• Systemic school failure across teaching, student attainment and progress
• Fees out of step with the offer
• Lack of transparency in providing information leaves prospective parents no way of benchmarking the school
Established by Presidential Decree, and owned by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MOPA), so much is expected of Emirates National School (ENS). Given the brand, cache, stamp of the President, and significant investment, one would expect the school, or what is actually a cluster of schools operating under a single brand, to be setting benchmarks for the sector and shining a light for best practice as beacon schools in the emirate. We would have expected glowing ADEC reports, happy, positive feedback from teachers and glowing reports from students.
In contrast, the schools as a whole have fared badly since the first school, established in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, opened its doors in 2002. A cursory search on-line will throw up pages, and pages, of stories of woe from upset teachers and professionals. Some understanding of the failures is brought into focus by the Abu Dhabi Inspection Authority, in its latest report on the ENS Abu Dhabi City (ENSADC) school/campus. Focusing on Middle and High School provision for students between the ages of 10 and 18, the school received a damning C5 “Weak” rating, describing schools “in need of significant improvement”.
The significant structural problems in the schools can be seen in the scale of staff turnover, currently running at 40%+. This does not seem to be caused by the terms on which the school is able to recruit – the quality of staff the school is able to attract is generally excellent. It is just that the school is unable to keep them for a significant length of time.
ADEC describes teaching – and its knock on impact on the quality of education received by children, as unacceptable. In every single category of inspection relating to the progress and attainment of children – and in every phase and subject area, the school is graded weak or, just, acceptable.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that this is a dual stream American/International Baccalaureate school. Because the school is not transparent in publishing the examination results of its students, it is impossible to gauge the balance of IB to US provision – or for prospective parents to benchmark the school in any meaningful way for the education of their child(ren).
In fact, the school has the lowest level of information provision for parents, or prospective parents, we have benchmarked. There are no newsletters celebrating the achievements of children; is no publication of examination results; no meaningful information about course curricular; no information to suggest that the American Diplomas are even underwritten (and thereby have any meaning at all); no information on how many children, if any, sit for either the IB Diploma, or Advanced Placement; no information on individual departments; no information about teaching staff or publication of their bios…
The single, throw-away corporate brochure is wholly inadequate and inappropriate.
For us, in a catalogue of worrying information from ADEC, the most telling is that the school knows it has some Gifted and Talented children – but does not know how many.
ADEC also tells us that children are two grade levels behind their peers in the US – and they don’t catch up.
There are also discrepancies between what the school claims to offer and what ADEC informs us is reality on the ground. Abu Dhabi’s inspection regulator describes a “restricted” US curriculum, rather than the IB Middle Years Programme, being provided in the Middle school. There are no language or music programmes on offer – how an IB Diploma curriculum can even function without this is a large question mark. Graduation seems largely based on an internal diploma – and the American High School Diploma in itself is worth very little, if anything at all, without Advanced Placement programmes for entrance to credible international universities. For information on this see here.
As you would expect from a school operating under these constraints, there is little, if any enrichment at all:
“The overall level of choice is more restricted than the IB programme envisages. At the girls’ section of the school, the Tuesday timetable is dedicated to IB Units of Inquiry and student clubs. The boys’ section uses Tuesdays to reinforce studies in the core curriculum. Very little provision is made for activities or clubs outside the hours set aside for lessons.” ADEC, 2016
The boys, in particular, are held back, in a loop of endless catching up rather than being free to develop a love of learning and explore their potential as the IB envisages. In a plethora of worrying descriptions, and in careful, but damning, understatement ADEC write:
“An identical lesson was provided for Grade 9 boys and Grade 6 girls.” ADEC, 2016
In another telling comment on leadership and management ADEC writes:
“The targets in the School Development Plan are subject to regular review, but no reviews have yet been completed.” ADEC 2016
Prospective parents should also note a very significant disparity in fees identified by our sister site whichschooladvisor:
“Of the Weak and Very Weak schools almost all are priced consistently under 33,000, with many significantly lower than this price. An exception worth noting in this bracket however, is the Emirates National Al Nayhan School, which while rated Weak, has fees that are ranked the 8th most expensive in this overall 2015/16 batch, costing parents between AED 22,000 and AED 56,000 per year.” WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. Price Versus Rating. 2016
This puts Emirates National School-Al Nahyan competing with some of the best schools in the Emirate including Aldar Academies Al Yasmina School – a school that is operating at A2 level – and delivering a very good, in places exceptional, education, for its children.
The frustration of reviewing the Emirates National School is that this is a school that has the resources to be driving up standards in schooling – shining a light for what can be achieved for children. It has the backing, at the very highest level, to deliver. So far, and in spite of the resources it has to deploy, it has just failed to do so.Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to FEE DISPARITIES on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to 2016 – 17 Fees on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
YEAR 5: 32,850
YEAR 6: 32,850
YEAR 7: 35,470
YEAR 8: 35,470
YEAR 9: 39,640
YEAR 10: 46,260
YEAR 11: 51,200
YEAR 12: 55,920
YEAR 13: NA
High School Diploma
College Board Advanced Placemement [CB AP]
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme [IB MYP]
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme [IB DP]
(1) Applicants will undergo an assessment of their suitability to be successful in Emirates National School programs
(2) Assessment may include interviews with the student conducted by the Campus Director or his/her delegate
(3) Students will undergo formal written assessments of each applicant's ability in Arabic, English and Mathematics
Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi
South African: 1%
Special educational Needs (SEN): 8 students
Gifted and Talented: School has not identified the number except that "it has some"
Mixed, segregated boys and girls schooling
Ministry of Presidential Affairs [MOPA] - Office of His Royal Highness the President and the Presidential Court
+971 (0)2 642 5993 – 4993700 (Boys)
+971 (0) 2 642 9811 – 4993799 (Girls)
40% (Middle School)
46.6% (High School)
33.3% (Middle School)
46.6% (High School)
40% (Middle School)
40% (Middle School)
20% (Middle School)
20% (High School)