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Amity International School, Abu Dhabi, Q&A

Amity International School, Abu Dhabi, Q&A

What is the official name of your School?
Amity International School

What qualities and characteristics would you say will define the school?
Amity International School is a British curriculum school that will offer:

Outstanding Education: We will encourage high academic standards, developing both creative and critical thinking skills as we unlock our students’ talents.

Community Strength: Our school will become an active community; a place where teachers, students and parents build strong partnerships, celebrate successes and have fun.

Inspiring Teachers: We believe that teachers matter more to student achievement than any other aspect of schooling. We aim to attract the best and enable them to excel.

In A Unique Location: Around 70% of the earth’s surface is water. Our waterfront and Boat House facilities will inspire a greater understanding and respect, protecting this natural resource for generations to come.

How mixed will the school be in terms of nationality?
We anticipate there being 50+ nationalities in the school when we open in September and are aiming to build a truly international community.

What do you expect the teacher: student ratio of the school to be?
1:20 with the addition of English speaking Teaching Assistants in each class for FS1 to Year 2, plus specialists in PE, Music and Art. There will be a maximum of 300 children when the school opens.

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How will Amity promote healthy lifestyles?
Staff will be role models for students. Assemblies will address healthy lifestyles which will also be promoted through a focus on healthy eating and sports activities such as sailing and swimming. There will be a school nurse on-site who will also cover personal health issues.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How will Amity ensure children engage in physical activity? 
PE is part of the National curriculum and a requirement for all students. There will be a focus on personal body confidence and teamwork. Swimming and the Sailing Club will have a particular focus with parents involved and able to use the facilities at weekends with their children.

How will you promote healthy eating?
As a school we will be promoting healthy food options, encouraging ‘fruit snack’ mornings and praising children for their healthy lunch boxes. In assemblies and during Circle Times we will be discussing healthy eating, healthy minds and healthy bodies.

Will the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?
The cafeteria will be used as a dining space for Years 1 to 3 during our first year and will serve hot food from September 2016. Until then, all students will bring in healthy packed lunches from home.

What will the starting and finishing time of your school day be?
Registration takes place from 7.45 to 8am daily. FS1 finishes at 12.30pm, FS2 at 1.30pm and Years 1-3 at 2.50pm.

Is there a school uniform?
Yes, the uniform is as follows: FS1-2 – Polo shirt and shorts/skorts; Yr 1 and above – Blue shirt and tie with trousers/skorts

The uniform will be available at the school from mid August with an on-site shop remaining open throughout the school year

Please advise on what kind of discipline policy Amity will have?
Discipline will managed through a process of positive reinforcement and embedded in the school as part of the Values curriculum, where there will be a different monthly theme that will be the focus of assemblies and circle time.

Will you have a policy on mobile devices such as mobile (cell) phones in school?
No mobile phones will be permitted in school.

How do you plan to differentiate learning?
Each child’s abilities will be assessed and each will be challenged at an appropriate level. There will be specific programmes of differentiated learning for children who require English as an Additional Language (EAL) or Arabic as an Additional Language support (AAL). There will be a specialist SEN teacher working with children requiring additional learning support and those who are gifted and talented requiring further challenge in their learning.

Will you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?
We believe that homework is a valuable tool to enable consolidation of work undertaken in school, but within clear limits. There will be no homework set at weekends as we believe that this should be devoted to family time, especially since in many cases, parents are travelling during the week. We will encourage parents to be involved in the homework through joint projects with their children. In addition, FS2 will be set reading for 10-15 minutes per day and from Year 1, children will be asked to spend 15-20 minutes per day on a mix of Maths, Spelling and Reading over the course of the week.

How will you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?
Verbal feedback will be given on a daily basis to students. Work will be marked and will allow students to edit and refine their efforts. Feedback will always aim to be positive using the 2 Stars and a wish approach – 2 positive comments and a what to do next to improve.

At the start of each term, we will let parents know what their child will be studying to encourage engagement with the learning process. A class Facebook page will be developed to facilitate regular updates and enable parents to see what their child has been doing at school. In addition, parents are encouraged to communicate with their child’s class teacher either at school drop off or via email if they have any concerns.

How often will more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings be undertaken/delivered?
Parent-teacher meetings will take place twice yearly and reports will be issued 3 times per year.

Will Arabic be taught as both a first language and second language?
Yes, both.

Which other languages will be taught?
French and Spanish will be offered as the school expands.

Will you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?
Yes

Will Islamic Education/Studies for Arab Muslim students be delivered in Arabic?
Yes

Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for Muslim students?
Yes

If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones will you offer?
We will offer UK curriculum SATs and later GCSE/IGCSE in Secondary school leading to the IB Diploma.
Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?
There will be a full-time SEN teacher at the school. She will support children who are able to access the curriculum, but have additional learning requirements.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?
We will provide a more challenging curriculum to those students who are gifted or talented in the classroom as well as in music, sport or the arts. More able students will be asked to become student Ambassadors of Expertise particularly in areas such as IT.

Does Amity have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Asperger’s syndrome and so forth?
Not at opening, but as the school grows this area will be assessed.

Kindly provide details on the support for specific learning needs your school will provide?
Once additional learning needs are identified we will work closely with specialists and parents, providing an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for the child and coordinated in partnership with the parents.

Will Amity have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?
Yes

Will the school offer activities to students from other schools after school hours?
Not in general, but the sailing club will be open to other organisations and groups at weekends.
Not as yet.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?
Yes we will.

Will there be opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?*
Yes, parental involvement will be encouraged and this community feel will be very much at the forefront of building strong home-school partnerships.
Kindly add details of such parent group activities you deem will be of interest.*
Stay and Play for younger classes, Mums and Toddlers group, English and Arabic for parents, family sporting competitions and family sailing.
Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?*
Please advise
Kindly provide details on the opportunities for representation on the Board of Governors?
Please advise
Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?*
We will have a coffee shop where parents can meet and exchange information.

What is your school’s Web site address?
www.amityabudhabi.com

Can you also supply a link and/or contact person where a prospective parent could find out more information and/or admissions?
Registrar – registrar@amityabudhabi.com; telephone 055 110 1062

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