Number of failing schools in the UAE continues to fall
No private school in Abu Dhabi earned a ranking of “outstanding” in the past academic year, but the number of failing schools continues to shrink.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge said yesterday that private schools had shown “tremendous progress” in the latest round of inspections.
“Results from the inspection round four are promising and just go to show the tremendous effort exerted by most of the schools, who have partnered with the Department of Education and Knowledge to achieve overall improvement in education,” said Hamad Al Dhaheri, executive director for the regulator’s private schools division.
Under the school inspection framework, which was standardised for the country in 2015 by the Ministry of Education, private schools are judged on six performance standards.
They are pupils’ achievement; their personal and social development and innovation skills; teaching and assessment; curriculum; the protection, care, guidance and support of pupils; and leadership and management.
Schools in Dubai are assessed annually but in Abu Dhabi the inspections are held about once every two years.
Schools are ranked on a sixpoint scale from outstanding to very weak. Outstanding, very good and good schools are grouped as “high performing,” also known as Band A schools.
Schools rated as “acceptable” are grouped in Band B, or satisfactory. Failing schools fall into Band C, meaning “weak” or “very weak” and in need of significant improvement.
Of the 86 private schools the Government inspected in the capital region during the 2016-2017 academic year, none was “outstanding”, but 31 were judged to be “high performing”.
The highest-rated schools last year included: the American Community School of Abu Dhabi; Brighton College, Abu Dhabi; the British School Al Khubairat; Lycee Louis Massignon School; and Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi, which all earned a very good ranking.
Another 26 schools were assessed as good.
Seventeen private schools were in need of significant improvement, and only one of these – the ministry-curriculum Al Tharawat National
Private School – scored the lowest ranking of very weak.
The regulator has said that it had inspected 110 private schools in the 2015-2016 academic year. Five of these – Brighton School Al Ain, Al Muna Primary School, Al Bateen Secondary, Al Mushrif Primary School and Raha International School – were deemed outstanding, 12 were very good, 27 were good, 38 were acceptable, 23 were weak and six were very weak.
But when the regulator first started inspecting private schools in the 2009-2011 academic years, it said 72 per cent of schools were “in need of significant improvement”.
It dropped to 66 per cent of all private schools operating in the emirate in 2011-2013; 46 per cent in 2013-2015, and about 22 per cent in 2015-2017, the fourth and latest round.
Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, chairman of the regulator, commended private schools for their efforts.
“But this is not the end of the road,” he said. “Our responsibility will continue to be directed towards our children and youth to provide them with education and learning that will enable them to acquire the knowledge and life skills necessary to embark on their successful working lives, while benefiting the nation.”
Usually, the higher a school is ranked, the more it can increase its tuition fees. But poor performing schools also run the risk of facing sanctions.
Last year, 26 private schools ranked as weak or very weak in Abu Dhabi were barred by the regulator from registering new pupils until they improved.
Yesterday, the authority announced a new incentive for schools to do well.
Outstanding and very good schools that manage to maintain their high quality over a period of three inspection cycles will be exempt from inspections for four years.
* Al Marfa’a International School report was not available on Adek website