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Private School

Inspection Report

Elite (Al Nukhba) Private School

Academic Year 2015 2016

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Elite (Al Nukhba) Private School

Inspection Date April 24, 2016 to April 27, 2016


Date of previous inspection N/A to N/A
General Information Students

Total number of
School ID 271 736
students

Opening year of Number of children


October 2015 62
school in KG
Primary: 270
Number of students
Principal Lee Dabagia Middle: 200
in other phases
High: 204

School telephone +971 (0)2 447 5800 Age range 4 to 19 years

P0. 41231, Mohammad Bin Grades or Year


School Address KG1 Grade 12
Zayed City, Abu Dhabi Groups

Official email (ADEC) elite.pvt@adec.ac.ae Gender Mixed

% of Emirati
School website www.eliteprivateschool.ae 67%
Students
1. Jordanian: 10%
Fee ranges (per Medium High: Largest nationality
2. Egyptian: 7%
annum) AED 17,000 AED 31,000 groups (%)
3. Syrian: 3%
Licensed Curriculum Staff

Main Curriculum American Number of teachers 61

Number of teaching
Other Curriculum ---------- 4
assistants (TAs)
External Exams/ Teacher-student KG/ FS 1:15
SAT, IELTs
Standardised tests ratio Other phases 1:22

Accreditation ----------- Teacher turnover 30%

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Introduction
Inspection activities
Number of inspectors 4
deployed

Number of inspection days 4

Number of lessons observed 100

Number of joint lesson 4


observations
Number of parents
N/A
questionnaires
Inspectors held meetings with board, members of the
leadership team, parents, and groups of staff and
Details of other inspection students. They observed assemblies, arrival and
activities departure procedures. They reviewed a wide range of
school documentation and students coursework.

School
To offer the best education and customer service in the
School Aims UAE, and beyond

To prepare a generation of educated, innovative,


School vision and mission globally minded future leaders

Admissions to the school from Grade 1 and above is


Admission Policy determined by a placement test and meeting with
parents.

Leadership structure
Owner, Board of Directors, Principal, two Vice
(ownership, governance and
Principals
management)

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SEN Details (Refer to ADEC SEN Policy and Procedures)
Number of students
Number of other students
SEN Category identified through external
identified by the school
assessments

Intellectual disability 0 0

Specific Learning Disability 0 0

Emotional and Behaviour


0 0
Disorders (ED/ BD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
0 5
(ASD)
Speech and Language
0 5
Disorders
Physical and health related
0 5
disabilities

Visually impaired 0 10

Hearing impaired 0 1

Multiple disabilities 0 0

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


Number of students
G&T Category
identified

Intellectual ability 0

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


0
languages)

Social maturity and leadership 0

Mechanical/ technical/ technological ingenuity 0

Visual and performing arts (e.g. art, theatre, recitation) 0

Psychomotor ability (e.g. dance or sport) 0

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The overall performance of the school
Inspectors considered the school in relation to 3 performance categories

Band A High performing (Outstanding, Very Good or Good)

Band B Satisfactory (Acceptable)

Band C In need of significant improvement (Weak or Very Weak)

School was judged to be: BAND (C) Weak

Band C
Band A Band B
In need of significant
High Performing Satisfactory
improvement
Outstanding

Acceptable

Very Weak
Very Good

Weak
Good

Performance Standards

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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The Performance of the School
Evaluation of the schools overall performance
The school is in its first year of operation. Overall provision is weak, although the
performance in both the kindergarten (KG) and primary phases is acceptable.
Variations in the quality of teaching and learning in the middle and high school,
where the proportion of students is in large majority, result in standards being
weak overall. Attainment compared with the curriculum, Common Core standards
is in line with expectations at KG and primary grades but below expectations in the
middle and high school. Progress also follows a similar pattern of variability.
Student attainment in Arabic and those subjects taught in English in meeting
curriculum expectations is more secure in the KG and primary phases than in the
middle and high school grades. Progress is better in the younger classes. From a
relatively low starting point in English, children make acceptable progress in KG and
primary but this is not sustained as they enter the middle school. The overall quality
of teaching is weak. The ongoing assessment process provides an inadequate
picture of the students skills development. The curriculum has not been
appropriately adapted to meet the varying needs of students who learn at a slower,
or possibly faster, rate than their peers. The school promotes a caring environment;
relationships are courteous and supportive. Overall, the provision of resources for
learning is good. The quality of leadership and management of the school is
acceptable
Progress made since last inspection and capacity to improve
This is the schools first inspection since its opening in October 2015. The school
evolved from the combination of a smaller former villa school, a significant number
of students from a closed establishment and a cohort of entirely new students. The
school is comprised of approximately two thirds of new students and staff. A
former administration was unable to cope with the challenges this situation
presented. Consequently, the school was in crisis at the beginning of the year
(January 2016). Day-to-day management was ineffective, behaviour was
unacceptable in a number of classes and teachers were unclear about expectations.
The school lacked cohesiveness, consistency in practice and a sense of direction. In
the short period since then the school has made acceptable progress in tackling
these challenges. The new principal has provided an appropriate focus on
fundamental priorities. These are: the challenge of creating a unique culture;
building a team ethos; and promoting engagement for both staff and students by
giving stakeholders a voice. A good beginning has been made. An emerging team
ethos is evident in the KG and primary phases. The overall provision in this area of
the school is now acceptable. In the senior section of the school, there is a greater
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resistance to change. Students attitudes to learning have improved and their
comments indicate that they are identifying with their new school; they feel that
their voice is heard. Day-to-day management procedures are in place though
consistency in practice continues to be a challenge as does improving the quality of
teaching. The incremental changes evident in the short period of the school's
existence indicate that with the continued support of the Board, the school has an
acceptable capacity to improve.
Development and promotion of innovation skills
In this early stage of the schools life, a culture of innovation has not yet been
established. In the majority of lessons, there is too much teacher control and
domination of lessons to allow students opportunities for original thought or
creativity. Independence is not consistently encouraged. Students are given little
opportunity to exercise responsibility for their own learning. Teachers are
beginning to understand what innovation is and how to routinely implement
strategies and activities that promote innovation and entrepreneurship. There are
some encouraging developments. The emphasis on collaborative learning in KG
classes promotes the development of social skills for them and helps make
connections between the different views. In Grade 11, the development of a
robotics program facilitates connections between science and technology. The
innovation room and media centre have only recently been introduced so have yet
to make an impact on student learning.

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The inspection identified the following as key areas of strength:
the clear vision and purposeful direction of the principal allied to significant
support from the Board
students improved attitudes to learning and the promotion of positive
relationships through the school
detailed procedures and systems to ensure the safety and security of
students
the enhancement of students learning and personal development in the KG
and primary phases.
an open door communication policy for students, staff and parents, which
encourages a sense of community and involvement.

The inspection identified the following as key areas for improvement:


attainment and progress in core subjects at middle and high phase levels
inconsistencies in the quality of teaching particularly in middle and high
school classes
the processes of school self-evaluation and school improvement planning
and the links between them
assessment practice and the monitoring of progress particularly in learning
skills
strategies for addressing the learning needs of different groups of students,
particularly those students with special educational needs
coherence and continuity in the curriculum and over-reliance on worksheets
behaviour management strategies and inconsistency in their application.

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Performance Standard 1: Students Achievement

Students achievement Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Acceptable


Islamic
Education
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Acceptable

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak


Arabic
(as a First Language)
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Arabic Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak


(as a Second
Language) Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak


Social Studies
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak


English
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak


Mathematics
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak


Science
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Language of
instruction (if other Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak
than English and
Arabic as First Progress Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak
Language)

Other subjects Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

(Art, Music, PE)


Progress Acceptable Weak Weak Weak

Learning Skills
(including innovation, creativity, critical
Acceptable Weak Weak Weak
thinking, communication, problem-
solving and collaboration)

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The school does not have external standardised attainment data by which it can
benchmark itself against Common Core standards. Attainment and progress are
therefore evaluated from the standards seen in lessons and the progress seen in
students work. Attainment compared with the curriculum is in line with expectations
at KG and primary phases but below expectations in the middle and high school.
Progress also follows a similar pattern of variability.
In Arabic, attainment in the KG and primary school is acceptable. In KG2, most children
can identify a letter, name objects that begin with it and indicate where the letter
appears in the word. By Grade 4 students show increasing confidence when using
common grammatical structures. They are able to identify prepositions, differentiate
between them and use them in basic sentences. Most students correctly use adverbs
relating to time and place. Overall progress is acceptable. Attainment in the middle
and high school is weak. Comprehension skills are inadequately developed, for
example, Grade 7 and Grade 9 boys are unable to read and understand text at an age-
appropriate level. Students do not consistently speak standard Arabic to express
views or reflect on text passages they have been reading. Overall, progress in Grades
6 to 12 is unsatisfactory.
In Islamic education, the majority of students in the primary grades, attain levels that
are in line with MoE curriculum standards. Most students can memorise, read and
recite the short sura (verses) of the Holy Quran. Students in Grade 2 are able to read
aloud Sura El Zalzala verses with respect and appropriate intonation. Older students
in the middle and high school find it difficult to explain the text they have been
studying. Most boys in Grade 7 were unable to discuss why Islam encourages taking
care of orphans. Grade 12 students are unable to read the Holy Quran adequately
using Tajweed rules. Overall boys progress is not as strong as that of girls. In social
studies, attainment is acceptable in KG and primary but weak in older classes.
Students in Grade 4 can accurately identify different regions of the UAE and the
relevant culture. Students in the middle school show noticeable gaps in their
knowledge so they are unable to make relevant comparisons in successive stages of
development in the UAE.
In English, given KG childrens low starting point in the subject, attainment is
acceptable. Childrens development of speaking and listening skills is good. The
structured lessons in phonics are promoting attainment gains in reading and writing.
At the primary stage, students skills in speaking, listening and reading continue to
develop. Writing is a weaker area due to the overreliance on undemanding and
unstimulating learning tasks. Students have limited opportunities for writing. This lack
of extended and creative writing practice hinders student progress. The absence of
creative writing is a similar weakness in the middle and high school. Overall

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attainment in the middle and high school is weak. There are however some signs of
improvement. For example, in Grade 8, students responded enthusiastically to a
writing task, which had a real life application, namely the lives of famous footballers.
In mathematics attainment and progress in KG is acceptable. Students enter school
with limited mathematical understanding. Throughout KG, children acquire skills in
number recognition, can count correctly from 1 to 20 and name basic shapes. For
example, in KG2, children could collate tally mark data using the five times table. As
students move out of the primary phase attainment and progress slow. Students use
correct mathematical notation and graphical skills to interpret problems. For
example, in Grade 10 students correctly plotted polynomial graphs and used them to
identify maximum and minimum points. Low confidence and limited mathematical
understanding results in standards being below grade level expectations. In a large
minority of lessons, progress is weak because teachers expectations are not high
enough.
In science, attainment in the KG and primary grades is in line with expected curriculum
levels. For example, in Grade 3, students talked confidently about the shape of the
Earth and gave examples of similar spherical objects. In Grade 5, students conducted
experiments about measuring of mass by displacement of water. They correctly used
scientific language to explain the process. Progress slows in the older grades. For
example in a Grade 10 biology lesson on photosynthesis students were unable to
explain the role of starch in our daily lives and what it meant if we ate too much.
Students weak English skills inhibit the acquisition of relevant scientific vocabulary.
Attainment and progress in the middle and high school is weak.
Attainment and progress in ICT skills meets curriculum expectations. Most students
have an appropriate incremental awareness of software applications and computer
vocabulary. Progress in physical education (PE) skills is constrained by the reluctance
of some students, particularly girls to engage in the planned activities. In art, students
lack experience of a variety of different mediums. In French, students take an active
interest and make acceptable rates of progress.
The development of innovative learning skills is variable. In KG, children make an
effective beginning. They concentrate well and are actively involved in their work.
They persevere until the task is completed. Children are keen to show what they
know, understand and can do. The majority of older students interact and cooperate
acceptably in group activities. In better lessons, teachers are encouraging and readily
provide corrective feedback to their students. Generally, there is too much teacher
control and domination of lessons to allow for students to develop skills as
independent learners and creative thinkers.

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Performance Standard 2: Students personal and social development,
and their innovation skills

Students personal and social


development, and their innovation skills KG Primary Middle High
Indicators

Personal development Good Good Acceptable acceptable

Understanding of Islamic values and


Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
awareness of Emirati and world cultures

Social responsibility and innovation skills Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Most students are compliant and show an improved willingness to learn. The
increasing confidence of the majority of students is reflected in their contributions to
lessons. This response to work in lessons is more positive in the KG and primary
phases. Senior students take an active leadership role in the work of the Student
Council. Behaviour is acceptable in most classes and good in KG. The behaviour of a
minority of boys in the middle school is unacceptable. Their mildly disruptive
behaviour is having and negative impact upon the quality of learning in those classes.
A majority of students fail to take personal responsibility for their actions. Most
students can exercise self-control when moving around the school and in
consequence the environment is safe and orderly.
Relationships are positive. Students are courteous to adults and usually show respect
for the views of other students. The majority of students are aware of the needs and
differences of others. Students realize the importance of healthy eating and follow
the schools advice on the selection of healthy choices for snacks and meals. The
canteen food supports this advice by providing appropriate healthy choices.
Attendance levels and punctuality for younger students are acceptable. Attendance
levels in the high school are significantly more variable. Attendance rates noted during
the inspection week were acceptable overall at 92%. The resultant lack of continuity
in their work is having a negative impact upon standards for older students. Where
weak attendance has been identified, follow-up procedures are insufficiently robust.
Students appreciation of the role and values of Islam in UAE society and their respect
for the heritage and culture of the UAE were evident across the school. Assemblies
appropriately acknowledge the national flag and anthem. Students actively
participate through readings from the Holy Quran. Hallways have meaningful displays
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promoting an understanding of Islamic values and an awareness of Emirati and other
cultures. Community involvement, volunteering and social contribution are at an
early stage given the newness of the school. Students were proactive in introducing
an Eco-club in the school. The provision in lessons for innovation, enterprise and
entrepreneurship skills is limited.

Performance Standard 3: Teaching and Assessment

Teaching and Assessment Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Teaching for effective learning Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Assessment Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

The overall quality of teaching is weak. There are inconsistencies in teaching quality
in all phases. It is better in KG and the primary phases. Almost all teachers have secure
subject knowledge; a large majority at middle and high school phases do not have a
sufficiently good pedagogic knowledge to ensure that the learning needs of all
students are met. Planning for different abilities is not always implemented. For
example, asking all students to complete the same task which means that activities
are too easy for some groups or too hard for others. Most teachers have relevant
lesson plans but these are not followed in a consistent manner. In the middle and high
school grades there is a focus upon knowledge acquisition rather than providing for
skills progression. The over-emphasis given to worksheets is a limiting factor in
developing students learning skills.
In KG, the positive relationships produce good interactions so that children
confidently ask questions. They respond well to the teachers questioning. In lessons,
most teachers use a range of questions to gauge student understanding. Often these
questions focus upon knowledge rather than opening up opportunities for
discussion. Questioning does not sufficiently probe or extend student understanding
or foster critical thinking. Where questioning skills were good, students were noted
as being confident enough to talk about their understanding and give an opinion as
part of a presentation. In better lessons, teachers make timely interventions to review
progress or to recap on the learning objectives. Teaching strategies do not
consistently meet the needs of students. Low expectations by a minority of teachers
results in insufficient challenge for the more-able students.

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Assessment data based on teacher assessments is used to measure students
progress against the curriculum standards. It does not provide a sufficiently secure
base to identify gaps in their competencies. Consequently, assessment is not
effectively used in planning work for different ability levels. There are examples of
teachers using assessment to inform planning in this way but it is not a consistent
practice. In KG, the promising use of individual learning portfolios is in an early stage
of development. This development is beginning to provide teachers and parents with
a more comprehensive picture of childrens strengths and weaknesses.

Performance Standard 4: Curriculum

Curriculum Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Curriculum design and implementation Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

Curriculum adaptation Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

The school has appropriately aligned its curriculum to the Common Core School
Standards (CCSS). It is yet not accredited by a US state curriculum and uses textbooks
to support planning and delivery. Curriculum planning at each grade and between
grades is not robust enough to ensure that students proceed smoothly between
grades; the continuity and progression of their learning is therefore insecure. The KG
curriculum has a more integrated approach and this provision supports the
development of skills in a variety of contexts. Most activities in KG are still
predominately teacher led so independent work is in its infancy. In the remainder of
the school, curriculum provision is predominantly dominated by textbooks and
worksheets. The textbook content outlines opportunities for links between subjects
so that students can reinforce learning in one subject through work in another: these
links are rarely referenced. The high school curriculum is narrow; it does not provide
any options for subject choice. The introduction of a robotics program in Grade 11 is
an innovative step.
The over-rigid adherence to textbooks limits the opportunity for innovation. A high
dependence on the use of worksheets is a feature of the majority of lessons
particularly in the middle and high school. Adaptations of the curriculum to meet the
needs of different groups of students are not made. Although there are references
to these different groups in lesson plans, these intentions are not always reflected in

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practice. Whole class teaching inhibits the introduction of appropriate differentiated
activities. Students with special educational needs have not been formally identified
so the curriculum provision for them is inadequate. Innovative activities such as the
ECO club take place outside of the normal curriculum provision. The school has
arranged a few extra-curricular activities such as visits to parks and places of heritage
and cultural interest. The school has yet to foster relevant links to the local
community.

Performance Standard 5: The protection, care, guidance and support


of students

The protection, care, guidance and


KG Primary Middle High
support of students Indicators

Health and safety, including


arrangements for child protection/ Good Good Good Good
safeguarding

Care and support Acceptable Acceptable Weak Weak

The school has good procedures to ensure safety and security for students, staff and
visitors. The extensive safety procedures are well documented. Security measures are
enhanced by CCTV cameras at strategic locations both within and outside the schools
premises. Maintenance and transport procedures and records are appropriately
maintained and relevant certificates are in place. The school clinic is effectively run
and medical records are systematically maintained. Healthy lifestyles are regularly
promoted through appropriate canteen offerings, and supplemented by relevant
support materials provided by the School Nurse. The school premises are clean and
well maintained. A lift provides appropriate access to the second floor for students
with physical disabilities. An outline Child Protection Policy is in place and relevant
training has been given to supervisors. Most teachers have yet to receive professional
development training on child protection issues.
Staff are considerate of students and show a genuine level of concern for their safety
and well-being. The KG has created a positive, caring environment. The management
of student behaviour is variable in effectiveness. The lack of consistent practice
results from the absence a positive behaviour management strategy. Attendance
levels are acceptable at 92% but can often fall below this level in the middle and high
schools. The monitoring of attendance is insufficiently robust to identify internal

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truancy or punctuality. The importance of good attendance is a message being
actively promoted to the new community of parents. The school has only very
recently appointed a special educational needs coordinator. In consequence, there
has been no formal identification of students with additional needs and so individual
education plans (IEP's) do not currently exist. There are no adaptions to the
curriculum to meet the needs of special education students.

Performance Standard 6: Leadership and management

Leadership and management Indicators

The effectiveness of leadership Acceptable

Self-evaluation and improvement planning Weak

Partnerships with parents and the community Acceptable

Governance Acceptable

Management, staffing, facilities and resources Acceptable

The principal provides a clear vision for the schools development. He has an informed
awareness of the issues facing the school. This has been a vital component in the
challenge of creating a new and more challenging culture. In the few months the
school has been in operation, there are clear signs that the school has become more
cohesive. Students, staff and parents are beginning to relate to the new identity of
the school. Staff who have been assigned management responsibilities are
accountable for their delegated authority. Some of the early outcomes are shown in
the initiatives taken in KG and the increasing use of digital technologies in the school.
Given the engaged support of the board and evolving commitment of the staff, the
school has shown that it has the capacity to sustain further steady improvement.
A team approach to decision-making is in its early stage of development. The self-
evaluation process is weak. An appropriate committee structure has been created for
the evaluation of performance standards but judgments are not substantiated with
sufficient rigour and relevant evidence. Currently there are no external benchmarking
procedures in place. The analysis of internal data is not robust enough to inform
planning. The link between self-evaluation and the school development plan (SDP) is
not firmly established. In consequence the stated priorities are related to routine
functional activities rather than providing a strategic direction

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Communication with parents has become more open and there are purposeful efforts
to encourage them to have a more direct involvement in their children's learning. A
Parent Council has been formed and parents report that they are encouraged by the
open door policy, which has been adopted by the new senior management team. They
are aware of the challenges of the new school and are appreciative of the care and
consideration given to their children. Initial reports contain appropriate information
about attainment but there is insufficient emphasis given to the reporting of learning
skills and the subsequent progress. At this early stage, the school has not yet been
focusing upon the development of external networks.
The Board of Directors effectively supports the development of the school. Significant
funding has been made available to create a secure and safe learning environment for
students. Communication with the school is regular and has an appropriate focus on
educational goals. Decision-making is swift when a suitable case for funding has been
made, for example in the development of the media centre. The Directors understand
the challenge of creating a new culture and increasing the pace of change within their
school.
Daily routines and procedures are becoming embedded. This is reflected in the orderly
transition of students around the school. The management of behaviour in lessons is
inconsistent. The subject expertise of most staff is appropriate but a minority lack
expertise in applying that knowledge to how students learn. The provision for
students with special educational needs is inadequate. Recent staffing appointments
have been made to address this issue.

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What the school should do to improve further:
1. Improve attainment levels in core subjects at secondary level by:
i. introducing external benchmarking so that staff and students can
understand and measure achievement in terms of curriculum
expectations
ii. ensuring that curriculum levels are clearly understood by both staff
and students
iii. more consistently using student assessment information to plan
challenging lessons
iv. evaluating whether students meet their targets on a regular basis.

2. Ensure self- evaluation evidence informs the school development plan by:
i. requiring performance standard committees to record and summarize
evidence in relation to judgments about school performance
ii. a review of this evidence by the SLT to identify main priorities for
improvement
iii. creating a school development plan which addresses the identified
priorities through timelines, accountabilities and interim review to
identify progress towards completion.

3. Improve assessment processes by:


i. identifying skills and competences to track progress and set targets
for students
ii. using assessment data to plan for meeting the needs of different
groups of students particularly those with special educational needs
iii. analysing assessment data to identify the proportion students who are
meeting grade level expectations at the end of successive phases.
iv. comparing school performance data with external benchmarks to
identify themes for curriculum adaptation.

4. Improve quality of teaching by:


i. adopting teaching strategies which encourage more investigative,
independent learning by students and reduce the over-reliance on
worksheets
ii. sharing good practice
iii. providing professional development on questioning techniques and
the promotion of innovation skills.

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