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Private School

Inspection Report

The National Torches

Academic Year 2016 2017

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The National Torches

Inspection Date May 1, 2017 To May 4, 2017


Date of previous inspection April 27, 2015 To April 30, 2015

General Information Students

Total number of
School ID 257 1295
students

Opening year of %of students per Main Curriculum 100%


1992
school curriculum Other Curriculum ----
KG 172
Number of students Primary: 460
Principal Maher Momani
in other phases Middle: 383
High: 280

School telephone +971 (0)2 448 2414 Age range 3 to 19 years

Zayed the First Street, Grades or Year


School Address KG to Grade 12
Abu Dhabi Groups

Nationaltorches.pvt@adec.
Official email (ADEC) Gender Boys and girls
ac.ae

www.almashaelnps.com % of Emirati
School website 2%
Students
Very low to low 1. Egyptian: 29%
Fee ranges (per Largest nationality
(AED4,000 to AED20,000) 2. Syrian: 21%
annum) groups (%)
3. Jordanian: 16%
Licensed Curriculum Staff
Ministry of Education
Main Curriculum Number of teachers 79
(MoE)
Number of teaching
Other Curriculum ---- 8
assistants (TAs)
External Exams/ Teacher-student KG/ FS 1:19
MoE examinations
Standardised tests ratio Other phases 1:16

Accreditation ---- Teacher turnover 15%

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Introduction
Inspection activities
Number of inspectors 5
deployed

Number of inspection days 4

Number of lessons observed 120

Number of joint lesson 6


observations
Number of parents
167; response rate: 12%
questionnaires
Inspectors held discussions with the owners
representative and governing body, principal, vice
principal, other senior managers, teachers and other
Details of other inspection
members of staff, students and parents. They
activities
reviewed a wide range of school documentation and
students coursework. They observed assemblies,
school activities, arrivals, departures and intervals.

School
To bring up a conscious, leading and creative
generation with values, able to meet the challenges of
School Aims the 21st century.

To present a high quality educational service that goes


along with modern development in all fields and this is
achieved through social parternships. This enhances
School vision and mission the national identity and supports all learners in
reaching their full potential by providing a high quality
educational environment that motivates all learners to
meet the challenges of the 21st century.

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The school has a selective admissions policy. The
students are selected by test results in Arabic, English
Admission Policy
and mathematics, and following an interview with the
students and with parents.

Leadership comprises the principal, two vice principals,


Leadership structure and eight heads of department. Governance comprises
(ownership, governance and the owners representative and a board of trustees.
management) The board comprises parents, staff and community
representatives.

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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 internally

Intellectual disability 2 0

Specific Learning Disability 5 10

Emotional and Behaviour


1 0
Disorders (ED/ BD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
0 0
(ASD)
Speech and Language
0 3
Disorders
Physical and health related
5 0
disabilities

Visually impaired 0 0

Hearing impaired 3 0

Multiple disabilities 0 3

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


Number of students
G&T Category
identified

Intellectual ability 52

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


9
languages)

Social maturity and leadership 24

Mechanical/ technical/ technological ingenuity 12

Visual and performing arts (e.g. art, theatre, recitation) 46

Psychomotor ability (e.g. dance or sport) 10

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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)

The school was judged to be: Band B Acceptable

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 overall performance of the school is acceptable. Steady improvement has
taken place because of the determination of leaders, staff and parents
representatives to make this a better school for students. The commitment of
leaders and staff to improve teaching and the curriculum has resulted in positive
attitudes of students to learning, and achievement across all subjects and phases
is now broadly acceptable. Students demonstrate a secure understanding of
Islamic values and UAE culture, tradition and heritage. Arrangements for ensuring
students care, safety and wellbeing are now effective and helpful. Governors
know the school well and share the commitment of school leaders to improving
provision. Parents are positive about the information they receive from the school
and the improvements that have occurred. However, while improvements have
been made, the school has yet to meet fully the needs of students with different
abilities, or develop the full range of learning skills consistently.

Progress made since last inspection and capacity to improve


The school has made acceptable progress since its last inspection. Progress has
been made towards achieving all the recommendations of the last inspection
report. Attainment has improved so that students meet at least age-related
expectations in all subjects and exceed them in Islamic education, Arabic and
social studies. Curriculum planning has improved with more emphasis on relating
learning to students everyday lives. Students behaviour is now nearly always
good because they enjoy their learning and pastoral care and support are much
improved. Teaching and assessment are now acceptable. The school continues to
develop resources to support students learning. Overall, school leaders capacity
to improve the school is acceptable.

Development and promotion of innovation skills


The school does not yet promote innovation skills effectively enough. For
example, in information and communication technology (ICT) lessons, teachers do
not provide sufficient opportunities for students to research independently when
working on projects. The library computers are not used sufficiently for enquiry
and research. Students have better opportunities to develop innovation skills
when they attend Innovation Club where, for example, they learn to construct
and operate robots and model cars, using re-cycled computer parts. Overall,

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across the curriculum, the school has yet to develop or teach the skills that
underpin innovation sufficiently.

The inspection identified the following as key areas of strength:

students achievement and the quality of teaching in Islamic education,


Arabic and social studies

students understanding of Islamic values and their positive attitudes,


relationships and behaviour in class and around the school

the arrangements for caring for students and ensuring their safety and
wellbeing

the effective partnerships which the leadership team has created with
parents and the community.

The inspection identified the following as key areas for


improvement:

students attainment and progress in English, mathematics and science

teachers planning to provide better challenge for gifted and talented and
high-achieving students, and support for lower achieving students in every
lesson

school leaders monitoring of the quality of teaching to ensure that


students develop high-level learning skills in lessons

the development of resources so that students have the best chance of


improving critical-thinking skills, personal research and enquiry in lessons.

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Performance Standard 1: Students Achievement

Students achievement Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Attainment Good Good Acceptable Good


Islamic
Education
Progress Good Good Acceptable Good

Attainment Good Good Acceptable Good


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

Arabic Attainment N/A N/A N/A N/A


(as a Second
Language) Progress N/A N/A N/A N/A

Attainment Good Good Acceptable Good


Social Studies
Progress Good Good Acceptable Good

Attainment Acceptable Weak Acceptable Acceptable


English
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable


Mathematics
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable


Science
Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Language of
instruction (if other Attainment N/A N/A N/A N/A
than English and
Arabic as First Progress N/A N/A N/A N/A
Language)

Other subjects Attainment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

(Art, Music, PE)


Progress Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

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

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The overall quality of students achievement is acceptable. Grade 12 MoE
examinations in 2016 indicated that students attainment in both advanced and
general sections was outstanding in Arabic, English, mathematics and in sciences,
other than in chemistry where it was very good. In mid-year 2017 tests, attainment
was very good in English and biology, acceptable in Arabic and weak in mathematics
and science. Internal mid-year assessments show outstanding attainment in all
phases apart from kindergarten (KG), where attainment is in line with age-related
expectations. These high attainment levels are not seen in lessons or students
coursework, however. Students present achievement in class and in coursework is
good in Islamic education, Arabic and social studies in all phases other than in
middle, where it is acceptable. Achievement is acceptable overall in other subjects,
although variable in English. There are no significant differences in the progress of
different groups of students, including those who have special educational needs
(SEN).

Students achievement in Islamic education is good in KG, primary and high, and
acceptable in middle phase. In KG, primary and high, the majority of students are
attaining above age-appropriate curriculum expectations and their progress is good
in lessons. In middle, most students attainment is in line with age-related
expectations. For example, the majority of children in KG recite short Surah from
the Quran confidently, demonstrating secure understanding. In Grade 4, the
majority display good understanding of Islamic values such as charity Sadaqa. In
Grade 7, students progress slows because they have insufficient opportunities to
use their learning skills. Most answer questions about Islamic history accurately.
Progress accelerates when students reach the high school and by Grade 12 the
majority can discuss Islamic rules demonstrating knowledge and understanding
above curriculum standards.
Students achievement in Arabic is good in KG, primary and high, and acceptable in
middle phase. In KG, primary and high, the majority are achieving above age-
appropriate curriculum expectations in reading, writing, listening and
understanding. In middle, most students are achieving in line with age-appropriate
curriculum expectations. For example, the majority of children in KG show well-
developed listening and understanding skills and use good, classical Arabic language
when answering questions. In primary, the majority read fluently with expression,
and answer questions accurately. Progress slows through middle phase because
students are not challenged enough in lessons. Their reading and writing skills are in
line with curriculum expectations. Progress accelerates so that by Grade 12 the
majority can read unfamiliar stories and write high-quality summaries above
curriculum expectations. Speaking skills are not as developed as other skills.
Students achievement in social studies is good in KG, primary and high phases. The
majority are achieving above age-appropriate curriculum expectations. In middle
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phase, achievement is acceptable. Most are achieving age-appropriate curriculum
expectations and make acceptable progress in lessons. The majority of children in
KG recognise the UAE flag colours, name UAE rulers, and identify the capital and the
climate of UAE. The majority in primary can explain the history of the union,
demonstrating knowledge and understanding above curriculum standards. In Grade
8, most show acceptable understanding of important historical events in the Middle
East. Grade 12, the majority have a deep understanding of the role of the ruler of
Sharjah in promoting culture and literacy in the region.
Students achievement in English is broadly acceptable overall. Most students are
achieving age-appropriate curriculum expectations and their progress is acceptable
in lessons. In KG, children make an acceptable start by completing work which is well
matched to their starting levels. Attainment is weak in primary phase where only the
minority are achieving age-appropriate curriculum expectations. For example, in
Grade 1 only the minority recognise the sh sound in words and sentences. However,
they make better progress as they move through primary and by Grade 7 most can
read and analyse short stories and act out improvised scenes. In Grade 12, most
students speak, read and write confidently and fluently, for example, when
preparing a report and discussing the effects of pollution.
Students achievement in mathematics is acceptable. Most are achieving age-
appropriate curriculum expectations. For example, most children in KG count
confidently to twenty in Arabic and English. Most Grade 1 students use their
understanding of number to tell the time. As they progress through primary and
middle phases, they use their understanding of number to solve real-life problems
including, for example in Grade 5, when measuring everyday items. By Grade 12,
most can use algebra to replace or find numbers and describe how they have arrived
at their answers.
Students achievement in science is acceptable. Most are achieving age-related
curriculum expectations. For example, children in KG know the names of the five
senses. Across the primary and middle phases, most students make adequate use of
opportunities to develop investigative skills, for example to predict and discover
objects which are magnetic in Grade 1. By Grade 11, most students can apply their
knowledge accurately to the real world, for example through demonstrating
understanding of how the heart works during practical work and identifying
component parts, and through practising how to resuscitate someone if they suffer
cardiac arrest.
Students achievement in other subjects is acceptable. Most are achieving age-
appropriate curriculum expectations. For example, the youngest children in KG
demonstrate acceptable exercise skills as they use outdoor apparatus to climb and
jump. Most Grade 3 students perform competent gymnastic routines including
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controlled forward rolls. In art and technology, most students use their own
patterns to create montages or dress designs.
The overall quality of students learning skills is acceptable. They take increasing
responsibility for their own learning as they become older. Students can talk about
their learning. They make a few connections between this and their understanding
of the world around them. They work together productively to solve problems set
by teachers. Students have too few opportunities to carry out personal research and
enquiry, and further develop responsibility for their own learning, especially in
English, mathematics, science and middle school.

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 Good Good

Understanding of Islamic values and


Good Good Good Good
awareness of Emirati and world cultures

Social responsibility and innovation skills Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

The overall quality of students personal development is good. Students are self-
reliant and show positive attitudes to learning. Most respond well to teachers
critical feedback. Students behaviour is good and bullying rarely occurs. Students
relate well to each other and to teachers in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They
show good understanding of the additional needs of SEN students when they
supervise in corridors and on transport. Students are enthusiastic advocates for
healthy eating. They encourage everyone, including staff, to make healthy choices.
Attendance is good at 95%. Students usually arrive promptly to assembly. Everyone
arrives on time for lessons.
The quality of students understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati
and world cultures is good. Their appreciation of Islamic values is demonstrated in

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their reading of Holy Quran in assemblies and in the polite way they greet peers and
staff. Students good knowledge and appreciation of UAE culture and heritage are
demonstrated in lessons, projects displayed around school, and well-organised
national celebrations. They show understanding and appreciation as they share with
one another the traditions of different world cultures.
The quality of students social responsibility and innovation skills is acceptable.
Students act as responsible citizens, for example, through voluntary work for the
Red Crescent, managing daily deliveries of cold water around the school and
assuming leadership roles on the student council and other committees.
Opportunities for developing innovation and entrepreneurial skills are limited, partly
due to lack of suitable resources. Students show their awareness of, and
commitment to improve, their environment by participating in waste recycling
schemes.

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Performance Standard 3: Teaching and Assessment

Teaching and Assessment Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Teaching for effective learning Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Assessment Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

The quality of teaching and assessment is acceptable. Most teachers use their
secure subject knowledge to plan lessons which help students to meet their learning
objectives. Questioning, based on strong respect between staff and students,
engages students well in discussion, but does not consistently promote the
development of higher order thinking skills through probing students
understanding. In Islamic education, Arabic and social studies, where teaching is
strongest, teachers skilfully build on students prior understanding to help them
make good progress. For example, they weave together themes from relevant
topics, including UAE geography, leadership and religion to improve students
understanding of pilgrimage. Teachers do not routinely plan effective challenge for
higher achieving students, nor do they always provide enough support for lower
achievers. There are too few opportunities in lessons for students to find things out
for themselves, or use new technologies.
Teachers regularly assess students progress. The school compares its performance
with other schools nationally. Senior and middle leaders analyse assessment data to
identify broad trends and share their findings with staff. Most teachers make
adequate use of this information when they plan lessons, although they do not fully
challenge high-achieving and G&T students. Teachers provide feedback in class and
mark students workbooks regularly. They do not always provide students with clear
advice about their next steps in learning. Teachers only infrequently expect students
themselves to participate in meaningful ways to assess their own and each others
learning and coursework. This constrains students deeper understanding of how to
improve their learning through self-reflection and analysis.

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Performance Standard 4: Curriculum

Curriculum Indicators KG Primary Middle High

Curriculum design and implementation Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

Curriculum adaptation Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

The overall quality of the curriculum is acceptable. It is generally broad and balanced
and follows MoE requirements. Sufficient time is provided for all subjects. There is a
growing emphasis on developing investigative skills, for example in science.
Curriculum design promotes adequate progression in most subjects. In activity
clubs, students are provided with opportunities to make choices of topics for
further study. Cross-curricular links are improving and learning is increasingly related
to students everyday lives including, for example, in technology where they link
their learning in robotics to their own experiences. When reviewing the curriculum,
middle leaders recognised that there is further scope for development of choice,
and for the use of skills developed in one subject to support learning in another. This
approach is already seen in KG, where planning in English, Arabic, mathematics and
science is well integrated. The curriculum committee is exploring ways of spreading
this good practice.
Middle leaders and teachers make appropriate modifications to the curriculum to
meet the needs of different groups. They do not yet ensure sufficient challenge for
higher achieving students in lessons. Higher level work is offered in curriculum clubs
which also provide opportunities for students to develop enterprise, creativity and
innovation skills, for example during marketing day. These opportunities are not
yet available for students in all year groups in lessons. The curriculum effectively
helps students to develop a clear understanding of UAE values, culture and society,
through appropriate experiences in most subjects, through the schools attractive
and well-resourced heritage centres, and through visits to locations such as Masdar
City.

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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 Good Good Good Good

The quality of health and safety, including safeguarding, is good. Effective


procedures ensure students safety. Staff, students and parents are aware of the
child protection policy and procedures. The school effectively protects students
from abuse, including the dangers of the internet and social media. Rigorous risk
assessments are in place for trips and all school-based activities. Safety and security
checks are regular, and supervision is very effective. Buildings and equipment are fit
for purpose, clean, and well-maintained. Accurate records are kept of any incidents.
The school actively promotes healthy lifestyles through, for example, healthy lunch
boxes and regular, well-attended healthy-living seminars for staff, students and
parents organised by the school nurse.
The quality of care and support is good. Systems for managing behaviour are
effective. Rare incidents of bullying are resolved quickly. The school is effective in
promoting attendance and punctuality. Thorough systems identify SEN and G&T
students. School leaders ensure effective support for SEN students in lessons and
when they attend specialist withdrawal rooms. Support and challenge for G&T
students is not as well developed. Effective personal and academic guidance is
provided for most students based on regular monitoring. Good-quality guidance is
offered to older students as they prepare for university or other types of education
and training.

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Performance Standard 6: Leadership and management

Leadership and management Indicators

The effectiveness of leadership Acceptable

Self-evaluation and improvement planning Acceptable

Partnerships with parents and the community Good

Governance Acceptable

Management, staffing, facilities and resources Acceptable

The overall quality of leadership and management is acceptable. The vision of the
principal and school leaders demonstrates their commitment to national priorities.
They promote a culture where everyone is aware of their responsibilities and
relationships and communications are professional. Middle leaders are increasingly
effective in holding teachers accountable for students achievement. Leaders
actions have produced improvements in all areas of school life. The school has made
steady progress in addressing the recommendations of the previous inspection and
this is helping the school to improve. Leaders recognise that the pace of
improvement can now be enhanced.
The quality of self-evaluation and improvement planning is acceptable. The self-
evaluation form (SEF) is accurately based on the inspection standards and provides
clear priorities for the strategic school development plan (SDP). Leaders monitoring
of teaching has contributed to improved student achievement. This process has yet
to focus sufficiently on evaluating the quality of students progress in learning,
including on how lessons enable students to develop the full range of learning skills
and higher-order thinking skills they will need for their future success.
The quality of partnerships with parents and the community is good. Leaders take
careful note of parents views when planning developments. Comprehensive
information is provided for them on homework, students achievement and school
events. Leaders encourage students to take the initiative to promote positive
relationships within the school community and beyond. For example, students bring
music, food and art work into school with their families and friends to celebrate
international links on themed days. Girls have developed their own initiative to
promote positive social relations. International partnerships, for example with other
schools, have not yet been developed.
The quality of governance is acceptable. Governors are closely involved in driving
improvement, for example, by matching the SEF to improvement issues highlighted
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in the last inspection. They engage strongly with parents but do not yet fully hold
school leaders to account for the schools performance.
The quality of management, staffing, facilities and resources is acceptable. Day-to-
day management is effective. Staff are appropriately qualified for their roles and
receive relevant professional development. The premises generally provide a
positive learning environment. Resources are sufficient to support learning in most
subjects, but are limited in music and PE.

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What the school should do to improve further:
1. Raise students attainment and improve progress in all subjects, especially
English, mathematics and science by:
i. identifying the lowest attaining elements in every subject and
planning specific interventions to bring about improvement
ii. providing students with more consistent and accurate oral and
written feedback on their progress, including regularly checking
and marking their work
iii. providing students with high-quality advice on the next steps they
need to take to improve their work
iv. having school leaders set performance targets for all subjects to
increase the schools overall pace of improvement.
2. Improve teaching by:
i. setting out detailed expectations for the learning and progress of
gifted and talented, higher achieving, and lower achieving students
in lesson plans
ii. ensuring all teachers use challenging and probing questioning which
requires deeper thinking and more expansive answers from students
iii. ensuring activities in lessons provide suitable support and challenge
for all ability groups, including for students who require greater
support and for those who are gifted and talented
iv. ensuring lower achieving students understand the tasks they have
been given, and have appropriate resources to complete their work
v. sharing the good teaching practice that currently exists in the school
by providing opportunities for teachers to visit each others lessons
vi. ensuring an appropriate balance of group work and individual work
in planning.
3. Consistently develop students learning skills in lessons by:
i. ensuring teachers plan for a suitable range of opportunities to
develop the skills which underpin innovation, for example critical
thinking, investigation, problem solving, creativity and use of new
technologies
ii. developing resources in ICT, the library, art, and especially PE and
music, so that they are better matched to curriculum requirements
and promote high-level skills
iii. using resources imaginatively in all lessons to encourage students to
take further responsibility for their own learning

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iv. developing school leaders monitoring of teaching and learning to
include a focus on students progress in learning and development of
skills.

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