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Private School

Inspection Report

Al Ain International School

Academic Year 2015 2016

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Al Ain International School


Inspection Date

19 22 October, 2015

Date of previous inspection

20 23 January, 2014

General Information

Students

School ID

214

Total number of
students

713

Opening year of
school

September 2011

Number of children
in KG

163

Principal

Chris Nourse

Number of students
in other phases

Primary 439
Secondary 111

School
telephone

+971 (0)3 715 1000

Age range

4 15 years

School Address

Al Salam Street, Nyadat, Al Ain

Grades or Year
Groups

FS Year 10

Official email
(ADEC)

aainternational.pvt@adec.ac.ae

Gender

Mixed

School Website

www.alaininternational.sch.ae

Percentage of
Emirati Students

43%

AED 39,600 AED 51,975

Largest nationality
groups (%)

1. UAE 43%
2. UK 16%
3. USA 9%

Fee ranges (per


annum)

Licensed Curriculum
Main Curriculum

English National Curriculum

Other Curriculum

Staff
Number of teachers

63

Number of TAs

46

External Exams/
Standardised
tests

NC SATs KS1, KS2 tests; KS3


(Internal)
Edexcel IGCSE/GCSE

Teacher-student
ratio

1:20 KG/ FS
1:22 Other phases

Accreditation

Edexcel; International Award

Teacher turnover

25%

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Introduction
Inspection activities
4

Number of inspectors deployed

Number of inspection days

73

Number of lessons observed


Number of joint lesson
observations

Number of parents
questionnaires
Details of other inspection
activities

73; (response rate: 14.6%)


Lesson observations; meetings; work scrutiny;
review of documents; surveys; discussions with
parents and students

School
School Aims

N/A

School vision and mission

Al Ain International School strives to be an


outstanding international school and aims to maximise
the learning potential of all. It aims to encourage and
develop the intellectual, physical and emotional needs
of pupils. Through a range of creative, imaginative and
challenging learning experiences, children will be
encouraged to develop their knowledge of the world.
Through very good attendance attainment and
progress in all subjects will be outstanding.

Admission Policy

Admission to the school from Year 2 to Year 10 is


determined by interview; CAT test (Y3 10);
discussions with student and family; and background
information from the previous school.

Leadership structure

The leadership team comprises of the Principal;


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(ownership, governance and


management)

Deputy Principal (DP) with secondary responsibility;


Assistant Principal (AP) primary; Assistant Principal
(AP) secondary. The middle leadership group
comprises of EYFS, KS1, Y3/4, Y5/6 group leaders, lead
teachers for specialist subjects and pastoral manager.
The school is owned by Aldar Academies. The
stakeholder governance group is made up of parents,
university representative, senior leaders and Aldar
representative.

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SEN Details (Refer to ADEC SEN Policy and Procedures)


Number of students identified
through external assessments

SEN Category
Intellectual disability

61

Specific Learning
Disability

Emotional and Behaviour


Disorders (ED/ BD)

Autism Spectrum
Disorder (ASD)

Speech and Language


Disorders

Physical and health


related disabilities

Visually impaired

Hearing impaired

Multiple disabilities

10

Number of other students


identified by the school

G&T Details (Refer to ADEC SEN Policy and Procedures)


G&T Category

Number of students identified

Intellectual ability

16

Subject-specific aptitude (e.g. in science, mathematics,


languages)

Social maturity and leadership

Mechanical/ technical/ technological ingenuity

Visual and performing arts (e.g. art, theatre, recitation)

Psychomotor ability (e.g. dance or sport)

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The overall performance of the school


Inspectors considered the school in relation to 3 performance categories

Band B

Satisfactory (Acceptable)

Band C

In need of significant improvement (Weak or Very Weak)

(A)

High Performing

Satisfactory

Acceptable

Band B

Good

Band A

Very Good

Performance Standards

BAND

Outstanding

School was judged to be:

Very Good
Band C
In need of significant
improvement

Performance Standard 1:
Students achievement
Performance Standard 2:
Students personal and
social development, and
their innovation skills
Performance Standard 3:
Teaching and assessment
Performance Standard 4:
Curriculum
Performance Standard 5:
The protection, care,
guidance and support of
students
Performance Standard 6:
Leadership and
management

Summary Evaluation:
The schools overall
performance

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Very Weak

High performing (Outstanding, Very Good or Good)

Weak

Band A

The Performance of the School


Evaluation of the schools overall performance
Al Ain International School provides a very good education and has some areas of
outstanding provision. Senior leaders and staff are united in their drive and
determination to continually improve the educational opportunities available to
students. The parent community is very supportive of, and praises the caring
culture generated by staff.
A high percentage of students start school with little or no English. They make
very good progress in developing their social and communication skills. Although
attainment is below curriculum expectations in the early years, the gap closes
significantly as students move through the school. Students make very good
progress in many areas of learning. By the time they reach secondary age, many
are above expected levels in most subjects.
Progress made since last inspection and capacity to improve
The school has improved in various aspects since the last inspection. A head of
Arabic has been appointed and targeted professional development has improved
the quality of teaching and learning in these subjects. The teachers work closely
with other departments to share best practices. As a result, attainment and
progress in Arabic have improved to an acceptable level. Through well targeted
actions and student incentives, punctuality has improved. In the early years
foundation stage (EYFS), students are developing many learning and
organisational skills. This was seen clearly in the Child Initiated Learning sessions
which were introduced in response to the last inspection report. During these
sessions, most of the children can select areas in which they want to work and
gather appropriate materials to undertake the task of their own choosing. The
school has very good capacity to continue to improve the quality of educational
provision.
Development and promotion of innovation skills
The school promotes business and innovation skills effectively throughout the
curriculum. Year 9 students are given opportunities to form a business around a
product, the proceeds of which are then donated to charitable causes. Key Stage
3 (KS3) Tutor Groups organise Bake Sales as part of their food technology
curriculum; Year 8 create art based products to sell at a Winter Souk and Tea Party
as part of the art curriculum; KS2 and KS3 students create bookmarks, coasters
and mouse mats with poems and images of the UAE as part of their English
lessons. Year 4 students participate in a form of Dragons Den, where they
design, produce and market a new product. KS3 students arranged and devised
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Film Nights for EYFS children. The school was recently awarded Third Place in an
Abu Dhabi wide competition to design a sustainable home. ADEC has given
permission for Year 10 students to run a business selling healthy food and fruit.
They are presently working on business plans, advertising strategies and logistics.

The inspection identified the following as key areas of strength:

staff at all levels demonstrate determination, enthusiasm and commitment


to continually improve students learning
the strong school ethos creates a nurturing environment where
relationships are very positive and students are enthusiastic, selfdisciplined and happy learners
from very low starting points, students make good, and often better,
progress as they transition through the key stages
support for English as an additional language (EAL) and special educational
needs (SEN) students is very well structured and highly effective
the school is very successful in providing highly effective personal
development, guidance and support for students
the school has established strong relations and effective communications
with parents.

The inspection identified the following as key areas for


improvement:

further development of the capacity of middle leaders


short term lesson planning

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Performance Standard 1: Students Achievement


Students achievement Indicators

Islamic
Education

Arabic
(as a First Language)

KG

Primary

Middle

High

Attainment

N/A

Acceptable

Acceptable

N/A

Progress

N/A

Acceptable

Acceptable

N/A

Attainment

Acceptable

Acceptable

Acceptable

N/A

Progress

Acceptable

Acceptable

Acceptable

N/A

Attainment

Acceptable

Acceptable

Acceptable

N/A

Arabic
(as a Second
Language)

Progress

Acceptable

Acceptable

Acceptable

N/A

Attainment

N/A

Good

Good

N/A

Progress

N/A

Good

Good

N/A

Attainment

Acceptable

Acceptable

Good

N/A

Progress

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

N/A

Attainment

Acceptable

Good

Very Good

N/A

Progress

Good

Very Good

Very Good

N/A

Attainment

Acceptable

Good

Good

N/A

Progress

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

N/A

Attainment

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Progress

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Attainment

N/A

Very Good

Very Good

N/A

Progress

N/A

Very Good

Very Good

N/A

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

N/A

Social Studies

English

Mathematics

Science
Language of
instruction (if other
than English and
Arabic as First
Language)
Other subjects
(Art, Music, PE)
Learning Skills
(including innovation, creativity, critical
thinking, communication, problemsolving and collaboration)

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Most children join Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) speaking little or no English
and with poorly developed personal and social skills. In the safe and supportive
environment, they make very good progress in these and other areas of learning. In
lessons, a large majority of children make better than expected progress; this
includes SEN and EAL children. By the end of the EYFS, most children attain levels in
line with curriculum standards except that their skills in reading and writing remain
below expected levels.
The number of students has grown significantly each year, with many new students
joining across all year groups. This, together with the high percentage of students
whose first language is not English, has a significant impact on attainment levels.
Attainment is below United Kingdom (UK) standards in reading, writing and
mathematics in standard assessments tests (SATs) at the end of Key Stage 1 (KS1).
The gap closes in KS2 in writing and mathematics, with a large minority achieving
above expected levels. Significant progress is made in reading, with a large majority
of students achieving above expected levels. Students in many subjects make good
to very good progress over time.
Progress is very good in primary and secondary phases in English, mathematics and
science. It is good in social studies and acceptable in Arabic and Islamic education.
By age 7, girls achievement in English is close to national and curriculum expected
levels in reading and writing, but that of boys and EAL students is below. At the end
of KS2, most students attainment in reading is above the expected levels. In
writing, girls are above expectations and boys are at age-expected levels. In the
upper part of the school, students develop increased fluency in spoken language
and their written language continues to improve. Increased use of technology to
support research, synthesis and recording supports students developing skills in
English. In mathematics, students make very good progress in the development of
basic numeracy skills. For example, Year 3 students confidently discuss
multiplication facts; Year 9 students can explain compound interest problems. In
science, students have a good level of understanding and apply their knowledge
well. For example, a Year 8 lesson on identifying proteins, used everyday items such
as bread, chocolate biscuits and yoghurt. This allowed students to make the link to
the healthy lifestyle work of the school.
The attainment and progress in Arabic has improved to an acceptable level since the
last inspection. Students reading, listening and writing skills are in line with
curriculum expectations. Year 4 students have acceptable grammar skills. They are
able to provide examples about nominal and verbal sentences and show reasonable
understanding of grammar rules. In Grade 2, reading, listening and speaking skills
are above curriculum standards because of motivating teaching methods. Support
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for English as Additional Language (EAL) and SEN students is well structured and
highly effective, resulting in their very good progress.
Students in most lessons across the school are eager to learn and show interest in
their activities. When given the opportunity, they take responsibility for their
learning. They work very well together. They communicate well and many are
confident when explaining their learning. Students are able to make connections to
real life examples. Students confidently use technology to extend their knowledge.
They are able to solve problems and apply their own ideas to come up with
solutions.

Performance Standard 2: Students personal and social development,


and their innovation skills
Students personal and social development,
and their innovation skills Indicators

Personal development
Understanding of Islamic values and
awareness of Emirati and world cultures
Social responsibility and innovation skills

KG

Primary

Middle

Outstanding

Outstanding

Outstanding

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

Outstanding

Outstanding

Outstanding

High

Students personal and social development is outstanding.


Children begin EYFS with relatively low-level social skills but develop very positive
attitudes towards school, their teachers and learning. Once they get used to the
routines of the school, they behave very well, gradually learning to work with others.
They establish positive relationships with the teachers, other adults and children.
Students behave in a mature manner, taking responsibility for the school
environment and for the welfare and education of others. Through the active
student council and student senate, the students have a voice to promote their
ideas. For example, suggesting ideas for charitable fund raising and changes to
school catering. It is clear that students are proud of their school, its international
character and are delighted to be a part of it. They have a very positive attitude to
learning and enthusiastically participate in their activities. They engage particularly
well when they are given the opportunity to find their own solutions and direct their
learning.
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Behaviour is exemplary; there is virtually no discord or bullying. Students are


consistently very considerate of others. A very high degree of social harmony exists
between and across the many nationalities present. Students indicate that a most
positive feature of the school is that they feel respected by teachers. The school
focuses on healthy lifestyles and safety. Students practice healthy choices when
eating. They have good knowledge of how to be cyber-safe and have a very good
understanding of why this is a critical issue. Attendance is very good at 96%. Almost
all students arrive at school on time and they are punctual to lessons.
Students have a very good understanding of Islamic values and how these affect
their lives in the UAE. Emirati culture is appreciated by students of all nationalities
and they participate with enthusiasm in National events. They are constantly learning
about and experiencing other cultures.
Students readily take on initiatives. Some are involved in student council or senate
and they liaise with the other students on a regular basis. They care for the school
and seek ways to improve the environment. For example, the school council has set
up a temporary group to address an emerging issue with litter. Students have very
good knowledge of the need to protect the environment and conserve energy and
resources.

Performance Standard 3: Teaching and Assessment


Teaching and Assessment Indicators

Teaching for effective learning


Assessment

KG

Primary

Middle

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

Outstanding

Outstanding

Outstanding

High

Teaching is very good across the school. Teachers have very good subject
knowledge and apply it well in lessons. In EYFS, teaching strategies are effectively
focused on the needs of individual children and in particular to support their
emerging English language development. Most are keen to learn and join in readily.
They develop many learning and organisation skills.
Units of work are planned well to provide progression in learning. Lesson plans are
reasonably well structured. They do not always specify how activities are targeted
to match the identified learning needs of individual and groups of students. In a few
lessons, this leads to students having insufficient challenge and a slower pace of
learning. In most lessons, students are well motivated, enthusiastic and happy
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learners. Specialist teaching from Year 5 in science and Year 6 in mathematics and
English is accelerating progress. High quality learning resources and library facilities
are used effectively to stimulate interest. Technology is used imaginatively to
provide variety in learning. For example, in Year 5 mathematics students used iPads
to photograph examples of different angles they found around the school.
Teachers have very good relationships with students. In the best lessons, teachers
pose questions that elicit a positive and enthusiastic response. Peer assessment of
clay modelling work at the end of an art lesson led to some very interesting student
discussion and reflection on what was good or what could be improved. In a Year 8
mathematics lesson on circle properties, good questioning promoted higher order
thinking in relation to the use of Pi in formulae. The inclusion department ensures
that students needs are clearly identified, with effective strategies to provide
withdrawal and in-class support.
The school has developed high-quality and effective assessment procedures for
tracking the progress and achievements of students. Outcomes of assessments are
carefully collated, analysed and plans developed to address identified areas of need.
Assessment outcomes are benchmarked against UK key stage averages. Baseline
assessments at the start of the year are used effectively to set student targets and
plan interventions for individuals. They are used extremely well to identify the
impact on attainment levels of the large number of new students across all year
groups. Further baseline tests at the end of each term are reviewed by senior and
middle leaders. These are used well to identify areas of concern and formulate
appropriate plans. All teaching staff regularly use assessment to monitor students
progress. In a few lessons, assessment for learning is not used effectively to plan
activities for students with differentiated learning needs. Book scrutiny provides a
good check on the accuracy of assessment in all subject areas. Further moderation is
provided by Aldar Academies Group, which checks the consistency of assessments
across all its schools.

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Performance Standard 4: Curriculum


Curriculum Indicators

KG

Primary

Middle

Curriculum design and implementation

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

Curriculum adaptation

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

High

The curriculum is comprehensive, broad and balanced. It provides a rich, enjoyable


learning experience. It encompasses the academic, personal and social needs of all
students. Needs of SEN, gifted and talented (G&T) and EAL students are well
planned for and successfully delivered. The curriculum planning effectively ensures
continuity and progression from EYFS to Grade 10. Good quality curriculum maps for
all subjects and across all year groups help teachers with their joint planning. The
curriculum is not always modified in lessons to target the differentiated needs of few
individuals and groups of students. Parents are well informed about the curriculum
activities taking place. Weekly newsletters inform them of what has already been
undertaken in lessons, together with future topics.
The school delivers the EYFS curriculum in full; it is well balanced and teachers
modify it to address the students particular needs and develop their English
language proficiency. There is a strong focus on personal and social development
and emotional well-being in the early stages as the children get used to the routines.
Thematic work presents children with learning in meaningful ways; all of the themes
ensure a close focus on language learning.
Individual meetings with parents and students in KS4 provide very good support and
guidance when making subject option choices. Adaptations are made to ensure that
all students are able to access the options they require. For example, a student who
wanted to take Spanish IGCSE has been accommodated even though this is not part
of the overall school offer. The curriculum is rigorously reviewed each year by
subject leaders in secondary and subject committees in primary. Valuable reviews are
held for primary students to give their views at the end of units of work. The formal
school curriculum is expanded by an excellent range of approved extra-curricular
activities. Students are well prepared for their roles as future citizens through
opportunities in the planned curriculum, coupled with the school mantra of
RESPECT. This includes charity work both locally and internationally, together with
inputs from business and higher education. The strong foundation of the curriculum
experience ensures that when students leave the school they have a secure basis for
their future stages of education and life.
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Performance Standard 5: The protection, care, guidance and support


of students
The protection, care, guidance and
support of students Indicators

KG

Primary

Middle

High

Health
and
safety,
including
arrangements for child protection/
safeguarding

Outstanding

Outstanding

Outstanding

Care and support

Outstanding

Outstanding

Outstanding

The protection, care, guidance and support procedures are outstanding. This
creates a nurturing environment where students feel very safe and well cared for.
There is a calm atmosphere throughout the school. Despite having relatively lowlevel social skills at the start of the year, EYFS children develop very positive
attitudes towards school, their teachers and learning. Once they get used to the
routines, they behave very well, gradually learning to work with others. They
establish positive relationships with teachers, other adults and children. Class
teachers in Years 1 to 6 and form tutors in middle provide excellent support for
students. They regularly monitor students personal and academic progress. Tutor
time promotes positive relations and citizenship. The very effective communications
between teachers and parents provides consistency in supporting students
development. The inclusion department diligently provides excellent care regarding
implementation of the policies and in planning for the needs of SEN and EAL
students. Constant and effective monitoring ensures that interventions are being
delivered and adapted quickly.
The implementation of the behaviour policy, alongside well established classroom
routines, creates a calm classroom culture. Students demonstrate strong selfdiscipline and positive attitudes to adults and fellow students. Staff are trained in
the application of the child protection policy and fully understand their
responsibilities. The school is extremely secure. There is 24-hour security, closedcircuit tv cameras (CCTV) and identity checks on all visitors. The effective health and
safety committee and the on-site maintenance team oversee and manage hazards
and risks. The school is well maintained, equipment checked and evacuation
procedures practised regularly. The school clinic is well equipped and has a full-time
nurse. e and support

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Performance Standard 6: Leadership and management


Leadership and management Indicators
The effectiveness of leadership

Very Good

Self-evaluation and improvement planning

Very Good

Partnerships with parents and the community

Outstanding

Governance

Outstanding

Management, staffing, facilities and resources

Outstanding

Leadership and management are very good, with some outstanding features. Since
the last inspection, the school has established very well structured senior and middle
leadership teams. The addition of assistant principals (AP) for primary and secondary
has significantly enhanced the capacity of the leadership team as the school
continues to grow, particulary in KS4. The middle leadership group is now
established in the school and is beginning to have a positive impact in monitoring
and accountability of some aspects of the work of their teams. A few do not yet
have total accountability for all aspects of the quality of provision in their specified
areas of responsibility.
There is a clear vision and the school has very good procedures in place through the
self-evaluation (SEF) and school development plan (SDP) to ensure that the vision is
met. The principal and senior team provide the drive and focus for continually
improving provision. The strong school ethos creates a nurturing environment
where relationships are very positive and students are enthusiastic learners. The
well-constructed SEF and SDP was a team effort involving the SLT and MLT. The SEF
is very detailed, well structured and outlines reasonably well the reasons for giving
their grades in each of the performance standards. It makes clear links in respect of
improvement areas in the SDP. The SDP is effectively detailed, has challenging
targets and fully addresses the areas identified in the previous inspection.
Accountability procedures are well structured. The effective Aldar performance
management processes hold staff to account for continually improving students
outcomes. Staff are well supported in developing their skills and knowledge through
the effective continuous professional development (CPD) programme. Senior
leaders undertake regular lesson observations and provide well-structured feedback
to teachers. Middle leaders do walkthroughs and pop in visits to lessons, but only a
few are involved in the formal observation process. Performance management
structures and procedures are very effective in holding staff to account for achieving
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their goals and in supporting their development needs.


The school has established effective communications and very strong links with
parents, some serve on the governing body. Others volunteer to give their time by
joining the Friends of Al Ain parent body and the Helping Hands groups. They
provide excellent support in school activities, events and voluntary work in the
school. Both the parent questionnaire and those interviewed during this inspection
were extremely positive about all aspects of the work of the school. Parents praised
the very caring family ethos. Communication with parents is outstanding. Weekly
and monthly newsletters provide them with details of the curriculum, events and
celebrate the success of students. They receive a full report twice a year, with
parent-teacher meetings each term. Parents praised the schools open-door policy
that allows access at any time to informally discuss any concerns with teachers.
Governance is outstanding. The Strategic Governance Group (SGG) is highly effective
in fulfilling its role in holding the SLT accountable for the quality of educational
provision. The SSG membership includes parents, local industry, staff, Aldar
representative, principal and SLT. The principal is assigned aspirational goals in
respect of the improvement of students attainment and progress, together with
other challenging goals aligned to his defined leadership responsibilities. External
visits by Aldar Academies Group are used very effectively to check on targeted
aspects of educational provision.
The school is very well organised and runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. There is a
calm atmosphere and students are well cared for. All teachers are approved and
well-qualified. The premises are spacious, well-maintained and organised effectively
to maximise learning opportunities.

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What the school should do to improve further:


1. Further develop middle leadership capacity to include total accountability
for all aspects of the quality of provision in their specified areas of
responsibility
2. Ensure the specific learning needs of individuals and groups of students
are clearly identified in short term planning

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