“Wherever they move on to, these children will have been fortunate to have attended a school that has such a warm, friendly and clearly inclusive environment. This is a really happy place.”
In 2016 Al Muna Primary School became the very first school in Abu Dhabi to receive the ADEC inspectorate’s Outstanding, Six Stars, A1 award in its “Highest Performing Schools” category – a benchmark achievement that places it today in an elite group of schools that has followed. This was the first time any school has been awarded an “Outstanding” rating since ADEC began inspections in 2009. That reputation for delivering an Outstanding education for young children has been awarded consistently since then, securing Al Muna Academy the top A1 grading in a clean sweep of Outstanding educational provision across all ADEC’s six core performance standards – Student’s Achievement; Student’s Personal and Social Development; Teaching and Assessment, Curriculum; Protection, Care, Guidance and Support; and Leadership and Management.
Al Muna Academy itself is a British, English National Curriculum, Primary School, offering an education to children between the ages of 3 years and 11 years from FS1 to Year 6. Resolutely committed to providing an inclusive education for younger children, the curriculum travels from the EYFS Early Years Foundation Stages of FS1 and FS2 (EYFS) for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years; Nursery and Reception stages of Year 1 and Year 2 based on Key Stage 1 for children between the ages of 5 and 7 years; and, Key Stage 2 stages between Year 3 and Year 6 for children between the ages of 7 and 11 years.
The school is richly international with significant intake from the British (10%), UAE national (20%) and Indian (12%) communities represented significantly within the more than 50 nationalities making up its role. The school is resolutely inclusive with around 10% of children identified with SEND including those Gifted and Talented. Class sizes are capped at 25 children with teacher:student ratios of 1:13 in FS phases and 1:14 between Year 1 and Year 6. Teachers are overwhelmingly British.
The school is based in the heart of the city in Al Danah, this in the Al Markaziyah area of the capital, with easy commutes from the mainland and islands.
Location map follows:
The school’s principal, Mrs Sarah Griffiths, is known for her “extraordinary” capacity to inspire children and teaching staff – and a radical, principled approach to teaching that places children at the centre of the educational experience above all else.
“Everything that we do here at Al Muna Academy, is based on the solid foundations of our values: Excellence, Creativity, Passion, Respect and Collaboration.
The unique combination of these values ensures that our children receive the very best grounding for their future lives – and ambitions.
Al Muna Academy is a vibrant, busy school where children are highly valued, well cared for and encouraged to reach their potential.
The children are at the heart of every decision we make to ensure that they are happy, confident – and that the opportunities that are provided for them are relevant to their needs both now, and in the future.
We offer a substantial extra-curricular programme for our pupils, providing them with opportunities to develop skills that they didn’t know they had!
Our school offers a friendly welcome to all…”
Sarah Griffiths. Al Muna Academy. Abu Dhabi.
Adored by children, she has a reputation for an extraordinary collection of shoes, one which delights the children. The following video, recorded as an introduction and welcome to children joining her school, captures well, we think, her caring and empathic approach as an educator.
Mrs Griffiths joined Al Muna Academy from her role as Head of Primary at the ADEK ranked Six Star Outstanding Al Yasmina Academy, reviewed here.
- Deeply embedded culture of kindness.
- Outstanding personal, whole child development of children.
- Outstanding teachers, deeply committed to child learning and welfare – and their role as a vocation. Morale and focus is stand-out.
- Imaginative, inspirational curriculum with extensive cross curricular links (a key element of what makes a school outstanding and difficult to achieve).
- Outstanding governance by Aldar Education with proved commitment to ongoing investment and placing children centre stage of all decision making.
- Phenomenal, hugely charismatic and experienced school leadership in Mrs Griffiths (both qualities that you cannot learn in books), with proven experience drawn from Aldar’s Al Yasmina flagship – and resulting direct expertise in the critical transition period in Year 6 (rare in dedicated primary schools). ADEK define leadership as “dynamic” and inspirational” – rare accolades from a regulator known for its conservatism and understatement.
- Dedicated primary culture – something deeply important to parents choosing this over all-through alternatives
- Outstanding child academic achievement in all core subjects. Arabic subjects provision secures a very good standard – a creditable achievement given this area is one in which all British curriculum schools struggle.
- Outstanding achievement of all children – including those identified with SEND / Gifted and Talented children.
- Child innovation and enterprise are stand-out features of the school – another differentiator of Outstanding schools.
- Outstanding investment in facilities – including in technology.
Al Muna Academy Facilities
Facilities are Tier 1 at the school including extensive music, drama and art facilities; specialist teaching rooms; a research laboratory; graphic design area; music recording studio; recital hall; multi-purpose sports hall; dance studio; 25m outdoor swimming pool; very large library; OASIS seminar rooms for specialist SEN provision; a full-sized football pitch; and basketball courts. Outdoor play areas and (hugely warm) common areas are stand-out.
The whole schools brims with inspiration, bustle, vibrancy, child purpose and happiness.
Al Muna Academy ProspectusAl-Muna-Academy-Brochure-1
Aldar Academies ProspectusAldar-Academies-Prospectus-08-2021 (1)
Whole Child Curriculum
Al Muna is a school with an exceptionally inclusive learning approach for children with Special Educational Needs [SEN], generous staffing levels; an immersive approach to the teaching of Arabic and carefully differentiated teaching. The stage is set for children entering the school each day by the space set-aside at its entrance for “ducks, chickens, tortoises and rabbits” these designed to link the school with the natural world and inspire in the children empathy and nurturing. After-school activities are all painstakingly focused around Creativity, Action and Service [CAS], these ranging from creating fabulous “inventions” with Lego to sailing and wider community engagement. Opportunities are richly distributed across Sport, the Arts, and culture, for example including activities ranging from animation, Origami and Drama to Dance, Gymnastics Yoga and Aerobics.
The school’s fee structure, whilst at the premium end of the sector, offers value – more on this below. Interesting, however, and we think creditable, is Aldar’s transparency, honesty and sensitivity in the fee structure with uniformity in fees which are kept at the same AED 45,260 level between FS2 and Year 6. More common elsewhere is to see a ratcheting upwards of fees as children graduate through the years, this inevitably complicating budgeting for parents with unfairly weighted stretch in fees in later years pressurising parents who are already “captured” within a school. FS1 opening fees at Al Muna Academy are only dropped marginally at AED 43,500.
|Year Group||School Fees Per Annum (in AED)*||Term 1||Term 2||Term 3|
|FS2 – Year 6||45,260||18,104||13,578||13,578|
Now value. Al Muna is a school which, whilst not statistically calculating its added value, offers pupils, many of which arrive at the school without any knowledge of the English language or in need of support at either end of the attainment spectrum (SEN/G&T), child development at the very highest levels.
It is in smaller details like this that a truly Outstanding school proves its metal. It is worth noting too that Aldar Academies, the school’s owner, although a private for-profit company, actually re-invests all its property into its schools and their development.
ADEK Six Stars Outstanding ProvisionADEK Inspection report Al Muna Academy
Bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com Verdict 2022
Al Muna Academy is a school which, quite exceptionally, does not put a foot wrong. That it does so by creating an environment in which all its children feel able to make mistakes as they learn without worry, innovate, create and laugh – learning in the fullest sense of the word – are highlights of a school operating at the very top of its game. Its list of firsts include being the first ADEK outstanding school (above), the first (and currently) only school in the UAE to have secured Investors in People and the only school in the Middle East to hold the UK Equalities Award. Al Muna Academy has consistently achieved WhichSchoolAdvisor Good School status since 2013-14, its most recent award in 2022 – and is a SchoolsCompared Top School. EDSTATICATM ranks the school as having the highest feedback from parents of any Primary school in the capital – and by some margin.
If there are challenges, it is securing a place. Demand is strong. Graduating school curricular options are extensive (and outstanding) within Aldar, including Al Bateen Academy and Al Mamoura Academy both within a 10 minute commute – and both Al Yasmina Academy and West Yas Academy within a 25 minute commute.
Bottom line? Terrific, hugely inspirational school – in our top five primary schools anywhere in the UAE – and in many areas absolutely top of the tree. This is a school brimming with outstanding teachers who care about their children – and, in turn, are supported by a powerhouse education Group, in Aldar Education, resolutely focused on setting the benchmark for what outstanding school provision really means across all of its schools. From outstanding school leadership to truly happy schools dynamics, from outstanding levels of child achievement to a whole child curriculum that lives and breathes the ethical development of children – Al Muna Academy is one of our nation’s very best schools – ones deserving all of its many accolades – and more. A school that the UAE can be very proud of…
Very Highly recommended.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 SchoolsCompared.com in association with our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor and EDSTATICATM
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Private, for-profit*. Profits are re-invested into schools and their development
YEAR 1: 45,260
YEAR 2: 45,260
YEAR 3: 45,260
YEAR 4: 45,260
YEAR 5: 45,260
YEAR 6: 45,260
YEAR 7: NA
YEAR 8: NA
YEAR 9: NA
YEAR 10: NA
YEAR 11: NA
YEAR 12: NA
YEAR 13: NA
National Curriculum of England
Not Published (Very High)
1:13 - 1:14
Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi
Mixed, co-educational full inclusive:
157 Foundation Stage (67 boys and 90 girls)
153 in Years 1 and 2 (79 boys and 74 girls)
273 in Years 3 ‐ 6 (159 boys and 124 girls)
10% SEND including 44 Gifted and Talented (G&T)
00971 2 501 4777
• A1, 6 Stars, "Outstanding Plus" ADEK School
• “Pivotal” Principal/Headteacher - charismatic, inspirational, caring and dedicated
• Exceptionally happy school environment
• Highest levels of academic attainment
• Extremely high value-added with excellent SEN and G&T provision
• Transparent fee structure
• Outstanding facilities
• High numbers off staff to every child
• 95% plus attendance
• Investors-in-People accredited
• Outstanding capacity for planning and implementing improvement
• Waiting list