ADNOC Schools – Ruwais Campus (Formerly Glenelg School)
Updated December 2016
Established as the Glenelg School by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in 2010, in 2016-17 the school is undergoing significant, and positive change.
Originally visited by our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com in early 2013, inspectors found a single school educationally and strategically divided by two competing heads, each separately driving the two Elementary and Middle/High sections of the school under their control.
The rationale for the dual Head/Principal approach was driven in part by the physical design of the school (the Middle/High School section opened one year later in 2011 and, unhelpfully, was built separately, metres apart and divided by a wall). A single school divided in its leadership significantly impacted on the school’s ability to define common goals.
As a result, in late 2013-14, the two-head approach was abandoned with the recruitment of a completely new management team led by Dr. Amy Hansen Bhutta, a highly respected academic expert in educational administration and curriculum, with significant primary and secondary school teaching under her belt. In 2016, as the new approach has bedded in, both sections are properly integrated, albeit still physically separated.
In 2016-17 the second phase of re-structuring is underway in changes that mirror the strategy adopted by ADNOC in Ruwais, but across all its (previously branded Glenelg) Schools. ADNOC has now abandoned the Glenelg name altogether; all schools now operate under the “ADNOC Schools” brand, each identified as campuses of a single entity.
The aim is both to create something that better resembled the campus approach of a university, albeit one that has a large degree of physical separation that limits its practical reality and feel on the ground. More profoundly, the change underpins very significant curriculum changes as the school moves away from the Glenelg Maryland Curriculum to a Common Core Massachusetts framework and STEAM based curricula. The STEAM approach adds a strong focus on Art and Design within an older approach based exclusively on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM].
Whilst the latest ADEC Inspection, completed in May 2015, recognises significant improvements to the school, ADNOC Schools retain their Satisfactory B5 rating. This places the school in the lower Satisfactory band. WhichSchoolAdvisor, however, argues that existing and prospective parents should recognise that the report was completed before new curriculum and STEAM changes were introduced. In Ruwais, the many changes effected under Dr. Amy Hansen Bhutta, whichschooladvisor believes, have established the foundations required to pull the school into the higher B category, maybe further, as the new (more rigorous) Massachusetts framework and STEAM focus embeds itself in the newly re-orientated leadership goals, teaching framework and curriculum structure.
The Ruwais campus today is part of an ADNOC Schools offering encompassing over 6000 students in grades KG1 through 12th Grade, education spread across 4 campuses, Ruwais itself, and three further campuses in Abu Dhabi, Madinat and Ghayathi. Of these 6000 plus students around 1400 are educated in Ruwais between the ages of 3 and 18 years old. The school is growing, up around 400 pupils since the last whichschooladvisor inspection. ADNOC invests significantly in teaching staff; around 160 teachers and a high number of) 64 support staff provide high an excellent supported teacher:staff ratio of 1:9 across the school as a whole. Class sizes are small post-16. Key faculty in the school are recruited from Western countries, with a significant number from the U.S
Currently the school has strongest attainment in English, Mathematics and Science, all areas meeting international benchmarks. This is some achievement given that for the majority of pupils English is an Additional Language [EAL]. Added value scores are unpublished but high. Children enter Kindergarten (KG) from well below average starting points. There is weaker provision in the Arabic curriculum area, and more serious weaknesses in provision for Special Educational Needs. The latter is drawing a significantly enhanced focus for 2016-17 with the appointment of a dedicated new SEN coordinator for the school.
Facilities are good with an excellent pool, good sized classrooms, 2 libraries, Music Rooms, tennis and volleyball courts, astro‐turfed area for ball games and impressive ICT Suites. Notwithstanding some weaknesses, including a lack of shade for outside activities and a relative lack of equipment for outside KG play, this is an area in which the school performs in the High Performing Schools category. Personal development is a school strength and tellingly attendance levels hit 93%; children want to come to school.
Fees are mid-tier and the school is run as a not-for-profit.
Taken together, whichschooladvisor’s verdict from its earlier inspection leaves existing and potential parents with a sense of history repeating itself:
“The school has worthy and enlightened goals, but still very much goals.”
Under the new Head, there has been significant, impressive change – but much, much more is required for the school to meet its own aspirations, or come close to the Tier 1 offerings elsewhere in the educational sector. The school’s foundations, particularly in facilities, staffing and the personal development of its children take it into the high performing category. The new shift to STEAM and more rigorous and expansive Massachusetts curriculum offers the promise to shift the whole school, including those areas in which it is weak, up a gear – or two. On historical evidence, change will reap dividends, but will take (a long) time to bed-in and prospective parents should not expect plain, or swift, sailing.Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
FS1: 19,000 (excluding books) 20,200 (including books)
FS2: 20,000 (excluding books) 21,200 (including books)
YEAR 1: 21,000 (excluding books) 22,800 (including books)
YEAR 2: 22,000 (excluding books) 23,800 (including books)
YEAR 3: 23,500 (excluding books) 25,300 (including books)
YEAR 4: 25,000 (excluding books) 26,900 (including books)
YEAR 5: 26,500 (excluding books) 28,400 (including books)
YEAR 6: 28,500 (excluding books) 31,000 (including books)
YEAR 7: 29,000 (excluding books) 31,500 (including books)
YEAR 8: 29,500 (excluding books) 32,000 (including books)
YEAR 9: 30,000 (excluding books) 32,600 (including books)
YEAR 10: 32,000 (excluding books) 34,600 (including books)
YEAR 11: 34,000 (excluding books) 36,600 (including books)
YEAR 12: 36,000 (excluding books) 38,700 (including books)
YEAR 13: NA
American (Massachusetts / STEAM)
Not published (High)
1:9 (Non apportioned)
Not published (High)
'Elementary School' (ES) building: 278 Kindergarten (KG), 713 Grades 1‐5
Middle/High School Building: 324 Grades 6‐9, 90 Grades 10‐12
9 students with Special Educational Needs [SEN]
41 students with barriers to learning, particularly in English and mathematics
0 Gifted and Talented [G&T]
Mixed intake, separate schooling
MS/HS: 02-4964004 to 4005
Elementary: 02-4964001 to 4002
• Improving school with significant new strengths in the personal development of its students
• Happy, inspiring school environment that children want to attend
• Consistent and driven leadership driving through change
• Good facilities
• ADNOC backing
• Wide-ranging and significant (positive) changes to curriculum and school structure introduced
• Change is incremental and slow; new curriculum will need time to bed in
• Potential impacts during transition
• Special Educational Needs [SEN] provision weaknesses
• Physical design/separation of Elementary and Middle/High School
• Mixed whichschooladvisor parental feedback evidence ongoing impacts of change