Aspen Heights British School in Abu Dhabi opened its doors to 93 children on 10th September 2017. Based in the UAE, schools in Abu Dhabi are highly regulated by local governance, with a regular inspection process every other year. The process of school self-evaluation against a rubric that promotes the development of children’s learner skills, independence and rapid progress is embedded in our school practice. As a new school the ‘Irtiquaa’ inspection framework gave us a goal to work towards in the 6 areas of evaluation; Student achievement, Student personal and social development and their innovation skills, Teaching and Assessment, Curriculum, Care guidance and support, and Leadership and Management. We were visited in our third term by 2 inspectors who conducted a ‘health check’ monitoring visit, and our first full inspection was carried out after 4 terms.
We were delighted that the inspection team confirmed our self-evaluation that the quality of our provision is Good overall with Very Good judgments for Student’s personal and social development and their innovation skills, together with the Protection, care, guidance and support of students.
The team highlighted the following strengths:
- Student’s attainment in Arabic subjects.
- Children’s respectful relationships with others.
- Teacher’s skills in planning interesting and engaging lessons that support children’s progress.
- Arrangements to keep students safe and the well-resourced premises.
- School leaders’ establishment of an inclusive school and their commitment to National and Emirate priorities
Attaining this grading in only four terms is a significant achievement and one we could not have done without the hard work, dedication and tireless focus of our entire staff team. Whilst this is a team effort, the identification of Arabic as a strength is significant. Often the constraints of the curriculum, together with differences in pedagogy between Arabic colleagues and English curriculum colleagues can cause the quality of children’s learning, and their attitudes to learning in Arabic to be less positive. This is not the case at Aspen due to our work to align the Arabic and English curricula, pedagogy and integrate colleagues, and it has had a significantly positive impact.
Growing to 500 children in our third year, we are never complacent and always looking to learn, improve and develop. We are opening our secondary school, embedding Talk for Writing across all key stages, and have plans to open an inclusion unit and nursery during 2019/20. As a school, our aims are always to provide the very best environment and provision for children to make remarkable progress, have fun learning in a meaningful context, and be part of a supportive and welcoming community. We hope to continue to make this a reality in the coming months and years.