Lycée Francais International Georges Pompidou Nursery School, Oud Metha
• Best value school fees in the Emirates
• KHDA Outstanding school status – richly deserved
• A beacon language infant school that sets benchmarks across all sectors/curricular
• Outstanding, driven, visionary school Principal – with very close links to parents and as far from being a remote Head of School as it is possible to be
• Outstanding Governance
• Outstanding SEND provision, with extraordinary levels of curriculum adaptation – backed by a school ethic that genuinely nurtures and embraces inclusivity
• Outstanding whole child development
• Outstanding attainment and progress for children in Science, Mathematics, French and (stand-out) English – well beyond French National Curriculum expectations for these phases
• Lowest teacher turnover in the Emirates
• Like all schools, more investment would not go amiss
• Parents expecting a Tier 1 in appearance and facilities may be disappointed (but this would miss the point)
• Technology and IT does not get the same focus as in British and IB schools (but it comes later)
The story of the Lycée Français International Georges Pompidou Ecole Maternelle [LFIGP-EM] is almost completely aligned with the appointment of the school’s current Principal (La Directrice) Saadia Hachid. Appointed in September 2013, in just one year she oversaw the transformation from KHDA “Good” to “Outstanding” school status, the creation of a dedicated Maternelle school focused exclusively on educating young children between 3 and 6 years of age (Petite Section de maternelle (PS), Moyenne Section (MS) de maternelle, Grande Section (GS) de maternelle) and the redevelopment and renewal of the old school to create a genuinely, child-focused, inspirational school, that has reaped dividends:
“The well-being of the children is at the heart of the school and central to its vision. Children [themselves] show commendable sensitivity towards others; they love to collaborate and help their peers.” KHDA. 2014-16.
Previously the school had educated children in the French system to the age of 11 years, combining the Nursery/Infants maternelle phase with the later Junior élémentaire phases (CP, CE1, CE2, CM1, CM2) under the leadership of Jacques Corgini. The new school is very different, and in its development under Ms Hachid, there has been a recognition from ‘Day One’ that the needs of children at this young age are better served by a separate, highly focused Maternelle educational environment and culture which she, and her team, have nurtured and created with great success. Feedback to ourselves, and our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, has been very positive.
It is worth noting that the evolution of the LFIGP-EM demonstrates powerfully the central importance of a school Principal in the evolution of any school. The best school leaders, properly, as here, empowered and resourced, can achieve great things very quickly for a school.
Prospective parents should note too that the school has the lowest teacher turnover rate of any school in the UAE over the last two years, running at an average 0.5% per annum. We have written widely on the importance and critical role of continuity in teaching and broader leadership faculty to the successful, happy education of children, and this is, we believe, just as relevant for children at this young age facing their first formative years away from home.
The result today is that the Lycée Français International Georges Pompidou Ecole Maternelle stands with just 15 other schools to have secured the KHDA “Outstanding rating” in Dubai, this defining schools that are significantly over achieving against the expectations of the Dubai Education Authority and which are operating at a globally competitive level of achievement in key respects of their education of the children under their care. Our Guide to KHDA Outstanding Schools can be found here.
It also stands as the slipstream feeder to the KHDA “Outstanding”Lycée Français International Georges Pompidou in Dubai Academic City, for which all students receive automatic entry at age 6. Our review of the all-through school can be found here.
The KHDA view of the school is one of the most positive we have read of any school in the Emirates – and is without a single major critique. The school drops a single point across all its scoring categories, this in the area of nurturing an understanding of the impact of broader global and Islamic values and context – and even here the school scores at a “Very Good” level. This is an area where non-Arabic schools struggle more often than not to get even an “Acceptable” rating – quite some achievement.
Standout features from the last two years of Outstanding school status include:
- Very effective, dynamic and innovative school Principal with “Outstanding school leadership;”
- Exceptionally clear school vision;
- Fully, genuinely inclusive, welcoming school environment with the resources to deliver for all children;
- Outstanding child progress in Mathematics, French and Science to reach levels of attainment above the French national curriculum standards;
- Outstanding personal and emotional support from the Principal and staff for the children and their families;
- In English, stand-out outstanding attainment against French curriculum standards;
- Hugely rich and varied curriculum accommodating the needs and interests of all children;
- Ongoing investment and improvement to the school’s premises and learning environment – and responsiveness to, and success in, meeting all KHDA recommendations.
Facilities include bright and welcoming classrooms (with whiteboards); Special Educational Needs provision; dedicated sensory soft-play room; gymnasium; flow-through courtyards; library; clinic; colourful painted exterior play equipment and environs; and driving track. This is not a new “bells and whistles” school, but it does not need to be.
If there are points of criticism, and we have seen this in many schools outside the British and IB sector, it is that much more could be done, even at this early age, to improve digital learning resources, including investment in LEGO, robotics and basic programming. This said, the French system is inherently and deliberately different – and for many parents its more progressive approach will be very welcome.
There are too, many outdoor areas that could be leveraged further – but school development is clearly a priority and investment is ongoing and incremental.
ECAs include Fun Ball, Mini Football, Mini Gym, yoga, Zumba Kids, Peinture/Dessin, Atelier Modelage, Jeux de construction, Atelier Art Moderne, basketball, Jeux de societies; Atelier “Princesse”, Eveil Musical; and Loisirs creatifs. There are many other whole child activities within the school timetable – and concentration on ECAs is at the older phases to leave children some chance to actually play and discover their own identity and interests outside formalised learning.
As we noted with its slipstream school, fee levels, in this case fixed at 27,735 AED for both KG years, offer the best value of any school in the Emirates.
Bottom line? It is rare to be able to write a review so complimentary and without serious qualification.
Yes, we can find things to fault. The school would, as any school, benefit from greater investment in infrastructure and resources. In appearance, this is certainly this is not an ultra-premium Tier 1. Certainly technology could have more focus and outside areas further developed.
However the balance to this is that the French education system should not be compared so easily to its British and IB counterparts: reading, for example, takes place, in emphasis, later. Instead the focus is much broader, with a rich investment in the whole child across every aspect of education. This is particularly striking in the new French curriculum at these phases.
In technology, the children catch up later in its slipstream all-through. In fact, the two schools, really, should not arguably be seen in isolation, except and in so far, as to highlight the benefits of children at this age being educated in their own school with all the capacity to maintain childhood and the richness of play centred learning that this intimacy brings.
If there are limited, very limited critiques possible in appearance, in delivery, however, schools do not come any better. There is a real opportunity here for parents of all nationalities to gain a world class, bi-lingual education for children. Starting at this age gives all children the strongest possible start in language development. English progress and attainment is a stand-out feature. Thought provoking stuff.
At this fee level, with this quality of school leadership, curriculum, teaching faculty and care for children on offer, we think that the French educational system really deserves more than a fleeting consideration by parents.
A VERY special school.COMING SOON on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Coming soon: Go
YEAR 1: Slipstream to Lycée Francais International Georges Pompidou
YEAR 2: Slipstream to Lycée Francais International Georges Pompidou
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YEAR 13: NA
(1) Moyenne Section (MS) de Maternelle
(2) Grande Section (GS) de Maternelle
(1) French Ministry of National Education
(1) Fully inclusive
(1) Emirati: 8
(2) SEND: 15
(3) Pre-K: 125
(1) 2015: 0%
2013 (as a dedicated KG/Maternelle)
(1) Originally founded 2006
Oud Metha, Dubai
French (largest nationality)
Foundation/Agency for French Education Abroad / Agence pour l'enseignement français à l'étranger (AEFE)
+971 (0) 4 337 41 61