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Safa Community School, WSA Q&A

Safa Community School, WSA Q&A

What is the official name of your School?
Safa Community School

What is your school’s Web site address?
http://www.safacommunityschool.com

What qualities and characteristics would you say define your school?
Safa Community School is a new school that opened its doors to its first cohort of students in Sept 2014. Building on the success of its sister school, the new school is built with a vision to be a model for the future of education – representing a forward thinking, integrated response to the educational challenges of tomorrow. This is reflected in every facet of the school – the child friendly architecture of the school campus, the design of classrooms and learning spaces as well as comprehensive outdoor sports facilities. The school aims to be a truly ‘community’ school – with strong links between students, parents, teachers and other members of its immediate community.

Safa community school serves its community by working in partnership to provide an education of the highest quality within the context of the UAE. As a school we celebrate the diversity of the wider community and are committed to the principles of inclusion and equality of opportunity.

Through our aims and values we aim for every child to have the support they need to:

• Be Healthy
• Make a Positive Contribution
• Stay Safe
• Enjoy and Achieve
• Achieve Economic Well-Being

Our Values: Values are fundamental expressions of what we think and believe. As a school we encourage children to think about personal and social values, to become aware, and involved in the life and concerns of their community and society and so develop their capacity to be active and effective future citizens.

Our Core Values Are:

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Friendship: We value friendship as fundamental to the development and fulfilment of ourselves and others, and the good of the community.

Respect: Develop self-respect and respect for others. Promote inclusion and appreciate and value the diversity of people’s circumstances and backgrounds.

Responsibility: Take responsibility for the way we lead our lives; how we use our talents, rights and opportunities.

Perseverance: Maintain a ‘can do’ attitude.

Kindness: Show care and concern and exercise goodwill towards others.

How many nationalities are represented in your school?
30

Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?
Yes there is – British.

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?
FS1 – 20 per class – Teacher + Teaching Assistant, FS2 – 22 per class – Teacher + Teaching Assistant, Year 1&2 – 24 per class – Teacher + Teaching Assistant, Year 3 to 9 – 24 per class – Teacher and Shared Teaching Assistant

Does your school have a waiting list?
No it does not

If a secondary school, what percentage of your students achieve entry to higher educational institutions and, in general terms, which countries?
N/A

How does the school promote healthy lifestyles?
To educate, equip and empower all pupils to live a healthy lifestyle through the curriculum we teach, the relationships we foster, the environment we provide and the opportunities we create. We aim to create a culture where healthy lifestyles are promoted that impact the whole child in terms of their:
• Physical health including diet, nutrition, exercise and health and safety, sexually smart, drug aware and healthy habits.
• Emotional health including relationships, well being, positive peers, safe & secure environment fostering compassionate and courage.
• Mental health including a strong work ethic, a positive can do mentality, wisdom regarding choices and consequences.
• Relational health including positive significant peer groups in their class, whole school, families and a positive participation in the community.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?
Fore more information, please visit:
1. Curriculum Sports
2. After School Sports
3. Sports Partner Programme

How do you promote healthy eating?
Safa Community School is dedicated to providing an environment that promotes healthy eating and enabling students to make informed choices about the food they eat. This is achieved by the whole school approach to food and nutrition. The nutritional principles are based on current evidence based findings; and the ’eatwell plate’ is the agreed model for ensuring a healthy balanced diet (www.eatwell.gov.uk)

Safa Community School aims:
• To enable students to make healthy food choices through the provision of information and development of appropriate skills and attitudes
• To provide healthy food/drink choices throughout the school day and ensure food brought into school is healthy too
• To ensure that all aspects of food and drink in school promote the health and well being of students, staff and visitors to our school

Break time Snacks: The school understands that snacks can be an important part of the diet of young people and can contribute positively towards a balanced diet. The school discourages the consumption of snacks high in fat and sugar at break-time. We encourage a fruit only policy for break time snacks as this positively enhances the idea of a balanced diet.

Packed Lunches: The school encourages parents to provide students with packed lunches that compliment the nutritional standards. This is achieved by promoting healthy packed lunch options using the principles of the ‘eatwell plate’. This will ensure students having packed lunches have a healthy balanced meal.

The Eating Environment: The school provides a clean, sociable environment for students to eat their lunch and will develop the healthy/welcoming aspects of the dining room environment. Staff supervise the children at lunchtime to help ensure a safe, enjoyable experience at lunchtime and to encourage healthy eating.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?
No, it does not

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?
For more information, go here. http://safacommunityschool.com/about/school-day-timings/

Is there a school uniform?
Yes there is. Location, Sumeru, J3 Mall, Opposite Choitrams on Al Wasl Raod
Shop number 3, Level 1. Opening Hours: from 10:00 till 20:00 seven days a week

Please advise on your discipline policy and/or provide a link to your website.
At SCS we work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. It follows that acceptable standards of behavior are those that reflect these principles.

What is your policy on mobile devices such as mobile (cell) phones in school?
Students in Y7 and up are allowed to bring in mobile devices that are used at the teachers discretion.

How does your school differentiate learning?
A variety of organisational strategies and teaching techniques will operate within each classroom. On occasions it will be appropriate for whole class teaching and on others mixed ability or friendship groups will operate. We group children by ability and also set programmes to cater for the learning needs of individual children.

We will operate a ‘fitness for purpose’ policy on grouping children as we believe that flexibility of organisation is essential to meet children’s needs and the demands of the National Curriculum together with the wider school curriculum.

Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?
Homework should never be too onerous nor should it ever create stress within the child’s family. If parents have any concerns they should not hesitate to contact the school – initially by speaking to their child’s class teacher and if they are not resolved to the Headteacher.

At Safa Community School we follow the Government recommendations for time allocations for homework activities:

Years 1 and 2 → 1 hour per week
Years 3 and 4 → 1.5 hours per week
Years 5 and 6 → 2.5 hours per week (30 minutes per day)
Years 7,8 and 9 → 5 hours per week

In response to pupil feedback homework is set weekly. Normally, homework will be set on a Thursday with the expectation that it is completed and handed-in by the following Wednesday (this allows teachers time to mark the homework). This may differ in Key Stage One where daily practice is to be encouraged, for example reading, spellings and times tables.

Children’s marked homework is returned on a Thursday, when the next week’s homework is set. Time is given for children to read teacher’s feedback and talk through any points arising. Teachers will go through the next week’s homework tasks, working through examples if appropriate, for example in numeracy to check understanding.

Homework Activities
The main focus of homework activities for all children will be on literacy and numeracy to reinforce and consolidate skills learnt in the classroom. Further subjects, including preparation for oral presentations and research tasks, will be added to the programme of homework as children move up the school. This is an opportunity for children to think creatively and produce their own form of response. It could be a model, a project, a diagram, a chart, an IT presentation – whatever idea they think best explores the task. Many children told us that they enjoy art/making type homework so on occasions whole school ‘design and make’ projects will be given.

Homework does not just mean formal exercises carried out by children without help from adults. Particularly in the case of younger children, it is the involvement of parents in joint activities, which can be very brief, which is most valuable in promoting children’s learning.

In Reception teachers send home a weekly activity to encourage and enable parents to be involved in their child’s learning. The activities are designed to help parents and children work together on a small task that is based on the focus of the week. The tasks cover aspects of literacy, numeracy or topic work. There is room on each homework activity for parents to give feedback on how their child engaged with the task.

Challenge Activities
Children who are identified as being Academically More Able receive a differentiated activity each week from their class teacher. This task builds on learning covered within the class but asks children to apply higher order thinking skills. These activities are due in with any other homework tasks given – they are marked by class teachers, and feedback is given in the usual way.

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?
At Safa Community School we will report to parents three times a year on their child’s progress. The purpose of this assessment, recording and reporting system is to provide regular information throughout the year to both students and parents on how students are progressing in relation to their academic ability and potential, based on prior data. More importantly reports will offer advice on how students can improve. Each progress report will contain the following information:

• Target Levels for each individual subject (based on ‘prior data’, performance in their most recent NC tests and teacher assessed levels)
• Current level of attainment in each individual subject
• Current progress (indicated by the difference between the student‘s current level of attainment and their Target Level);
• Attitude to learning, acknowledged by a number of indicators including:
o Attendance and punctuality
o Effort
o Completion of homework
o Number of reward marks gained

In addition to this, each individual class teacher, subject teacher, the student, form tutor and the Senior Management Team provide comments and advice to help guide each student‘s progress.

Reporting dates
Progress report 1 : After Autumn Half Term, ready for Learning Review Day
Progress report 2 : According to year group, one week before the Parent Teacher Consultation
Progress report 3 : End of Summer Term

Learning Review day
Learning Review Day at Safa Community School will provide an opportunity for parents to discuss with class teachers, subject teachers and form tutors their child‘s progress across all subjects during a 15 minute session. Students should also attend these interviews. Parents will be provided, in advance, with current information on their child‘s academic progress. At the interview, targets for improvement are negotiated which are then monitored by the child’s class teacher or form tutor.

Parent teacher consultations
Parent teacher consultation evenings will be held once a year for each year group and provide an opportunity for parents and students to meet with their class teachers to discuss progress.

Curriculum evenings
In addition parents will be invited to special Curriculum Evenings: Year 8 into 9, Year 9 into 10 and Year 11 into 12. There will also be Information Evenings for Year 12 parents to introduce them to their child‘s curriculum and Year 11 parents will be invited to a discussion evening to assist with final GCSE preparation.

Ad hoc consultation
Parents would be welcome to contact the school at any time to discuss their child‘s welfare and progress. Such enquiries would be directed, in the first instance, to the child‘s class teacher or from tutor. Appointments could also be made with other members of the Senior Management Team, including the Principal

Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language in your school?
Second language

Which other languages are taught?
French, Spanish

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?
No we do not

Is Islamic Education/Studies for the Arab Muslim students delivered in Arabic for them?
Yes it is

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

If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?
The school will be delivering GCSE and A levels

What is you medium of instruction?
English

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?
Safa Community School is an all inclusive school where students will be accepted with various levels of academics and abilities. We provide a safe, stimulating, supportive, happy and secure environment for students with mild to moderate special educational needs.

At Safa Community School, a comprehensive inclusive policy is in practice wherein we support our children to enable them to achieve their potential academically, socially and personally by recognising their individual differences, needs, strengths, weaknesses, experiences and interests.

At Safa Community School, we define Learning Enhancement Needs as follows:

• Those with learning difficulties, emotional and behavioural problems, physical disabilities, language based difficulties and medical conditions and children who are working well above the expectation of the year group.
• The needs of a student are considered ‘different’ when a child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age or are working significantly above the level of the children of the same age, or when a child’s disability limits or denies the child’s ability to use educational facilities.

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

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?
There are gifted and talented young people in all schools. Safa Community School understands that pupils who are gifted and talented have specific needs that must be met if they are to achieve their full potential. They may be identified at any stage of education and are a diverse and disparate population. We have a well defined academic programme for identification of gifted and talented students and the learning strategies that are to be put in place to encourage such students.

Identification
At Safa Community School gifted and talented students will be identified by making a judgement based on an analysis of various sources of information including:
• Test scores (end of key stage levels; CAT scores; NFER Scores)
• Teacher nomination (based on classroom observation, discussions with pupils, work scrutiny)
• Peer or self-nomination
• Parental nomination
• Predicted test/ examination results
• Reading ages

This information is collated by a teacher designated as the gifted and talented co-ordinator and is made available to all staff. The gifted and talented register is regularly reviewed and updated.

Organisational and in-class approaches

Important strategies include:
• The coherent management of pupil groupings (whether in mixed ability groups or ability sets) and recognition that whilst there may be a higher concentration of gifted and talented pupils in some groups there will be pupils who have gifts and talents in all groups.
• The provision of opportunities for gifted and talented pupils to work with pupils of similar ability. This will mean that it is appropriate for pupils to work with older pupils occasionally.
• Mentoring and additional provision for pupils of exceptional ability.
• The provision of enrichment/extension activities and tasks.
• Differentiation within subject areas.
• The development of independent learning by allowing pupils to organise their own work, to carry out tasks unaided, evaluate their work and become self-critical.

Does your school have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?
Yes it does

Kindly provide details on the support for specific learning needs your school provides?
Range of Special Needs Students the School will Accommodate:
(MLD) Moderate Learning Difficulties
Speech Language and Communication Difficulties Yes with outsourcing for specialist assistance where required
Epilepsy
ADHD
Autism
Visually Impaired Yes with appropriate resourcing
Hearing Impaired Yes with appropriate resourcing
( SpLD) Specific Learning Difficulties
(Dyslexia, Dyscalculia)
Asperger’s Syndrome

Does your school have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?
Yes it does

Does you school offer activities to students from other schools after school hours?
Yes it does, for more, go here.

Our basic pattern of daily lessons will be enhanced by a whole range of exciting opportunities for students to extend their learning in other ways. Each week we will have a vast array of clubs on offer to all year groups with the school, covering topics as varied as model-making, basketball and philosophy.

We know that extra-curricular participation is immensely beneficial for students – it can improve their behaviour and academic performance as well as providing them with opportunities to develop interests and friendships.

The activities are designed to broaden and develop the mind and body. Students have regular opportunities to visit museums, exhibitions and theatres, as well as longer residential trips both within the UAE and abroad. We will use various agencies to support our extracurricular work and also aim to support students in gaining accreditation, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?
Yes we do, please contact pta at safacommunityschool.com

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. We welcome parents into Safa Community School believing we are partners in the education of your children. There will be many opportunities for parents to become involved in the life of the school and to gain a greater understanding of its work. Parents’ support and expertise can be used in many ways and is greatly valued. If you are able to help, please come and talk to your child’s teacher.

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?
Yes there is. The governing body of the school will be made up of people from a variety of backgrounds. The school governors are a group of individuals, who are elected, nominated or co-opted and are representatives of parents, staff and the local community. School Governors work with the Headteacher and will be responsible for setting the strategic direction of the school. Meetings will be held once a term. If you are interested in becoming a school governor, please contact the Headteacher and ask for a Governors Information Pack.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?
We have an open morning every Monday at 8.30. Its an opportunity to meet the headteacher and tour the school.

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