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Cranleigh Abu Dhabi – WSA Q&A

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi – WSA Q&A

What is the official name of your School?
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

What is Cranleigh Abu Dhabi’s Web site address for anyone wanting more information?

What qualities and characteristics would you say define Cranleigh Abu Dhabi? ‘Why your school?’
A child’s future success isn’t dictated by academic grades.

When the ultimate goal is to produce a confident, well-rounded adult, there is much more to learn than just the core subjects.

With GCSEs, A-levels and IB diplomas in such high demand, many schools focus predominantly on achieving the highest academic grades for their pupils. This however is not the case at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi. We are vehemently opposed to what can be referred to as “teaching to the test.” Instead, we strive to ensure that all our pupils are offered a comprehensive curriculum designed to prepare them for life beyond their school days.

“Not all children are Ivy League or Oxbridge material,” says Headmaster, Brendan Law, “and the world doesn’t need them to be. What it needs is a generation of assured, well rounded, emotionally intelligent young adults. Academic results remain a primary driver for us, but not the only one.

We are determined that a Cranleigh education will maximise our pupils’ academic capabilities, but our ambition is to give them more than that. We want to develop their sense of enquiry, their interpersonal skills, their diversity and their capacity to manage time in this demanding digital age. We want our children to leave us as tolerant, confident individuals capable of managing the pace of change that adult life will throw at them.”

How many nationalities are represented at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi?
More than 60


Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?*
Yes, our student body is 32% British, 14% Emirati, 13% American and 7% Australian.

What is the teacher: student ratio at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi?
Our classes are a maximum of 18 children.

In Pre-Prep there is one teacher and one teaching assistant per class.

In Years 3 and 4, teaching assistants are shared.

From Year 5, children are taught by specialist teachers and class sizes vary depending on the particular subject and stream a child is in.

Does the school have a waiting list?
We run wait pools for Pre-Prep years as well as Years 3 and 4. Siblings are prioritised. We have some availability for Years 5 and above. Please email admissions@cranleigh.ae for the most up to date information.

How does Cranleigh Abu Dhabi promote healthy lifestyles?
All pupils at Cranleigh are fully engaged in a busy academic and extra-curricular lifestyle. Staying active is at the heart of our timetable with all pupils partaking in regular PE, games and swimming as well as having the option of staying after school for additional activities or sports on a daily basis.

We have a food nutritionist who oversees all our menus to ensure pupils benefit from healthy and balanced meals. All our food is cooked and prepared onsite in our two purpose-built kitchens. In our Senior School we also have a Healthy Eating Café, available for Year 9 + pupils as well as parents, staff and visitors. For a sample menu refer to the question below.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does Cranleigh Abu Dhabi ensure children engage in physical activity?


Sport is synonymous with life at Cranleigh. All children are expected to be actively involved in the extensive programme of sport on offer – there is something for everyone. The PE (Physical Education) curriculum follows the British National Curriculum guidelines, ensuring that every child participates in a broad range of sport. Within the games programme, children are involved in sports more specific to their interests and talents.

We are fortunate to enjoy fantastic facilities at Cranleigh including an Indoor Sports Complex comprising a large, multi-purpose sports hall, separate gymnasium, dance studio, First Aid Centre and extensive changing facilities. We also have two shaded swimming pools (25m competition and 10m beginner), two grass pitches for rugby, football and cricket and a tennis court/netball court/outdoor basketball court area. These facilities will be augmented with the addition of a full size Astroturf pitch and four additional tennis courts (as part of Phase 2, 2017).

How do you/do you promote healthy eating?
Yes! We have a food nutritionist who oversees all our menus to ensure pupils benefit from healthy and balanced meals. All our food is cooked and prepared onsite in our two purpose-built kitchens. In our Senior School we also have a Healthy Eating Café, available for Year 9+ pupils as well as parents, staff and visitors. Click here for a sample menu. Note, we have two dining halls, one for our Pre-Prep students and one for our Prep and Senior School students.

Do the school dining halls serve hot food?
Yes, lunch costs approximately 24AED

What is the starting and finishing time of a Cranleigh Abu Dhabi day?
The Cranleigh Day starts for everyone at 07:45. For our youngest learners in Pre-Prep, the day finishes at 14:30 and for pupils in Year 3 and above, at 16.30 with the option to stay on until 18:00 for additional sport and after school activities.

Is there a school uniform?
Yes, there is. We have a dedicated Uniform Shop on campus located in the Senior School.

What is your policy on mobile devices such as mobile (cell) phones in school?
Mobile phones are not permitted at Cranleigh for any students. Students do not require phones as our reception team are always on hand should parents and students need to talk to one another.

How does Cranleigh Abu Dhabi differentiate learning?
At Cranleigh we operate small class sizes – with a maximum of 18 students per class. This encourages differentiated learning at all times, as our teachers are able to give each child personal attention. Differentiated learning is reinforced by streaming classes by ability for numeracy, literacy and sciences. Continuous formative and summative assessment allows for pupils to move between sets when necessary.

Our teachers pride themselves for truly knowing their students and their needs, both inside and outside of the classroom. This is encouraged through our Tutor and House pastoral systems, as well as through our extended day and teacher led co-curricular programmes.

Our teachers are well qualified, experienced and receive regular Professional Development Training to ensure that they are fully aware of the latest teaching practices.

Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?
Homework, or Prep as it is called at Cranleigh, is highly valued as a medium of work which is used to reinforce learning, develop skills such as time management, focus and discipline and encourage independent learning. In addition Prep provides a consistent measure of progress for the teachers.

At Cranleigh, students from Year 3 upwards complete a large proportion of their Prep at school, in designated daily Prep sessions which run from 15:30 – 16:00. We believe that students benefit from completing their homework in a classroom setting, with teachers on hand to assist, rather than at home, when they are tired. This then allows students to stay after school for clubs and activities free from the pressure of pending work.

How do you feed back progress and attainment to students and parents?
Feedback is a consistent dialog between teachers, students and parents at Cranleigh and we have an open door policy, encouraging productive communication to ensure maximum progress. Written reports are produced twice termly and parents have the opportunity to meet their child’s teachers at designated parent’s evenings once per year. In addition to this parents have access to all their child’s teachers email addresses should they have particular concerns.

Under the whole school academic umbrella progress is continuously monitored, with departments running both formative and summative assessment, from classwork, prep and projects to end of unit assessments, exams and online baseline tests.

How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?
Report grades for attainment and effort are available half termly with more detailed reports produced at the end of the autumn and summer terms. Each year group has one parent/ teacher meeting per year.

Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi? Which other languages are taught?
Yes, Arabic is taught as both a first and a second language. We also offer French from Year 3 and Spanish and Latin from Year 7.

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?*
Yes, we do have support available for children for whom English is an additional language. This said, upon entry we evaluate all pupils to ensure that they have sufficient proficiency in English to be able to access the curriculum.

Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for Muslim students?
Yes, we have both male and female prayer rooms in the Prep and Senior Schools

If external examinations and assessments are part of the Cranleigh Abu Dhabi curriculum, which ones are offered?
Common Entrance, iGSCE and A Level

What is your medium of instruction?

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?
At Cranleigh we pride ourselves on dealing with families on a personal level, on a case by case basis, but a child that requires extensive 1:1 support is not likely to cope with the rigors of life on our campus. We have the staffing to be able to handle mild to moderate learning difficulties that necessitate 1:1 tuition for up to 60 minutes per week and some in-class support for core subjects; anything more than that is likely to be beyond our scope. For further information regarding this, please talk to a member of our Admissions team.

Do you have a learning support team in your school?
Yes, we do

How does Cranleigh Abu Dhabi support gifted, able and talented students?
Our goal is to always ensure that all pupils’ academic needs are met, whether they require additional support or extension work. In the Prep and Senior School most subject areas are streamed by ability, resulting in levelled teaching within each year group. In addition to this, with a maximum of 18 pupils per class, our teachers are able to give each pupil individual attention to ensure their needs are fully met.

Outside timetabled lessons we run an enrichment programme for pupils we feel need additional stretching. Furthermore, we run a wide selection of extra- curricular activities geared towards the more academically minded. These range from Shakespeare Club to World Scholar’s Cup and Model United Nations.

Does Cranleigh Abu Dhabi have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Asperger’s syndrome and so forth?
Cranleigh recognises that among even the most able pupils, there are those who may struggle with specific learning needs. Similarly, some children with specific education needs may have other talents and strengths to contribute to school life. In order to support those pupils who have such specific needs with literacy, numeracy and/or social and emotional development, there is a small Special Educational Needs department that operates within the school’s Mild Inclusion policy. Teachers within that department are specifically trained and experienced to provide Individual educational support to ensure that every Cranleighan meets his or her full potential within mainstream education

Kindly provide details on the support for specific learning needs Cranleigh Abu Dhabi provides?
Cranleigh offers support at three different levels:
Wave 1: the subject teacher, in collaboration with the Head of Department, designs a curriculum that offers differentiated learning tailored to each pupil.
Wave 2: The SEN department can provide in-class support in the form of a trained Teaching Assistant to support learning within the classroom environment.
Wave 3: 1:1 or small group lessons are offered to those pupils for whom individualised learning will boost their knowledge and understanding and allow them to access the whole curriculum more successfully. In these cases, the pupil is likely to miss one of the many additional lessons offered beyond the Core subjects e.g. Life Skills or one of their two Extended Curriculum Activities (ECAs) to attend a 30 or 60 minute lesson each week

Does Cranleigh Abu Dhabi have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?
Cranleigh has links with several reputable experts both in the UAE and the UK who are available when deemed necessary. We take the emotional wellbeing of our children very seriously and run regular workshops and sessions for both students and parents to ensure that our children are emotionally secure and have the knowledge and tools to be able to handle the challenges they face. The pastoral systems at Cranleigh ensure that our students’ wellbeing is closely monitored. Their happiness is at the centre of what we aim to achieve. In addition, we have a highly qualified support team covering SEN, EAL and our own trained counsellor.

Does Cranleigh Abu Dhabi offer activities to students from other schools after school hours?
From September 2016, Cranleigh will offer Royal Academy of Dance ballet lessons as well as LAMDA speech and drama for its own pupils as well as those from other schools. These programmes are subject to ADEC approval.

Can you provide details and/or direct us to the latest programmes on your Web site?
Yes, you may find them here.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?
Yes, we have an active parent body at Cranleigh. Each year group has at least two representatives who meet with the Heads of School twice per term. Furthermore, the school forms parent committees for specific tasks and events.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?
Yes, there are opportunities for parents to support with events and activities.

Kindly add details of such parent group activities you deem will be of interest.
Parents work closely with the school in support of our National Day celebrations as well as an annual International Day which is, in fact, largely run by our parent body who work together with fellow compatriots to showcase their home country’s culture, cuisine and heritage. In addition, we benefit from a number of parents’ technical and artistic skills in support of drama productions – specifically in the areas of costume design and scenery.

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?
Not at this stage.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?
Before joining the Cranleigh community, prospective parents are encouraged to join us for campus tours and are able to meet with members of the Admissions team as well as the relevant Head of School. New parents are invited to an induction session on the first day of term and are also introduced to the parent representatives in their child/ren’s year groups who organize social events and welcome newcomers.

Reference materials: “Cranleigh Abu Dhabi – The Journey”

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