Private schools have improved on each of Abu Dhabi Education Council’s (ADEC’s) internationally benchmarked performance standards since the first cycle of inspections according to the End-of-Cycle report published by the Inspection and Monitoring Division in ADEC’s private schools sector.
Private schools are inspected every two years. This report is based on inspection of the second cycle of inspections of private schools, which ended in June 2013. This followed the first inspection of private schools from 2009 to 2011. Inspectors judged the overall effectiveness of schools based on how well schools were doing, based on eight performance criteria’s and on their capacity to sustain improvement.
The report summarises inspection findings and describes recurring issues that have emerged during the first two inspection cycles. Its findings represent clear messages for improvement for teachers, school leaders and policy makers. It also provides important indicators for parents about what makes schools more effective.
“These results are all part of Abu Dhabi government’s vision to offer first-class education to students, which requires continuous follow up and hard work from all parties concerned. We are very proud of our schools for adhering to a development plan, and taking our inspection visits and self evaluation and improvement plans seriously. Improving an educational system is a continuous journey that requires transparency, self initiative and commitment, with the aim of maintaining strengths and tackling weaknesses across schools,” said Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, ADEC’s Private Schools Executive Director.
“In ADEC’s efforts to reach out to parents and the community in general, inspection reports are made available on our ADEC website,” explained Engineer Al Dhaheri, emphasizing that parent’s views are very important to ADEC.
Cycle 2 inspection reports show a significant improvement in school performance from Cycle 1. Schools are graded for overall effectiveness in three bands: Band A – high performing, Band B – satisfactory and Band C – in need of significant improvement. The proportion of high performing schools (Band A) increased from 11 to 15% since the previous inspection, with a decline from 72% to 66% of schools in need of significant improvement (Band C).
It is important to note that despite being in Band C, 37% of all schools achieved Grade 6 for their overall effectiveness which means they are on the cusp of being satisfactory schools (Band B) and are on the right track of their improvement journey.
Although not affecting the band in which they were placed, around two-thirds of the schools improved on their grade for overall effectiveness in Cycle 2. Of the 146 private schools inspected in Cycle 2, 127 had been previously inspected in Cycle 1. Positive change in the grade for overall effectiveness was noted for 93 schools.
In most schools where improvement was marked, leadership teams began to make a more accurate evaluation of the quality of the teaching and formulated coherent strategic plans based on these assessments.
Schools are inspected based on eight performance standards: students attainment and progress; students personal development; the quality of teaching and learning; the meeting of students needs through the curriculum; the protection, care, guidance and support of students; the quality of the school’s buildings and premises; the school’s resources to support its aims and finally, the effectiveness of leadership and management.
Following inspection visits, schools are given a written report that describes their most significant strengths and areas for improvement across the standards and identifies what schools need to do to improve further. Schools are then asked to develop a School Development Plan.
“Recent statistics indicate that the number of people who viewed the inspection reports between August 2013 to Feb. 2014 is a very impressive 304,999. It also shows that 5,662 people viewed the parent’s guide on inspection reports which is a great achievement since a student’s educational journey is far more successful when parents are involved and well informed on things. Schools are also required to encourage parents to fill out a questionnaire for the inspection. This not only makes parents feel involved, but helps them trust the educational system more, as well as taking part in offering suggestions for improvement while airing some of their concerns,” said Engineer Al Dhaheri.
According to the End-of-Cycle report, an overall improvement has been found in students’ personal development; the protection, care, guidance and support of students; the quality of the school’s buildings and premises; and the availability of ICT resources which is now adequate to meet the needs of the curriculum in most private schools.
The End-of-Cycle reports present case studies of four schools located in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain that achieved significant improvement in their performance from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2.
In one of the schools, improvement was evident in terms of introducing a rigorous system of lesson observations, where school leaders observed lessons frequently offering teachers constructive advice, relevant training and mentoring.
The curriculum has also been modified in a range of subjects to include more emphasis on developing students’ understanding of the diversity of cultures and traditions represented in the UAE; students now have a better understanding of how well they are doing and what they need to do to improve the quality of their work.
Another former villa school has shown remarkable progress in teaching. Students in all grades experience briskly paced, challenging, well differentiated lessons, with significant opportunities for active participation.
All health, safety and care issues have also been resolved. Teachers are all familiar with the new child protection policy and children know who to speak to if they have any concerns.
A third school has started to show significant improvement in their teaching skills among KG grades. The KG Curriculum at the school now encourages learning through play and teachers are well supported by assistants in planning, preparation and assessment. The children’s progress in reading, writing and mathematics is checked regularly and teachers use that information to plan activities closely matched to the needs of the individual child.
Senior leaders at a fourth school took immediate action to address some of their issues. The school adopted a frank and open approach, actively seeking professional opinions and support, drawing on the expertise of external consultants and ADEC support staff.
“Schools now have a clear agenda to raise their overall standards and improve quality of education from all perspectives. We are delighted to be where we are today in such a short period of time. Reform takes time, and if things continue to improve at the current pace, we are optimistic about the future of private education across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” concluded Engineer Al Dhaheri.
ADEC media contact:
Dina El Shammaa
Senior Media Specialist
Strategic Comm & Media
Tel: +971 2 6150 000
Dir: +971 2 6150 948
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