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Educating Students for Success in a Changing World

by Belinda Breeze

Al Mamoura Academy empowers students to achieve their full potential, developing young citizens equipped with a solid academic foundation, a passion for learning and exemplary character.

“We have an ambitious vision and purposeful strategic intentions, which are developed and reviewed in collaboration with staff, students and parents,” explains Principal Sarah Weaver. “The vision is that we are a sustainable and innovative learning community, where we nurture our learners through Collaboration, Leadership and Creativity.”

The Academy’s vision is further broken down into 10 clear strategic intentions with the responsibility for each intention being distributed amongst the academy’s senior leaders. The strategic intentions focus on inclusivity, community, learning, inspiration, leadership, sustainability, citizenship, innovation, breadth and depth of curriculum, achievement and aspiration for all students. “Student outcomes, from both internal and external sources, evidence our success in this as the large majority of areas are in excess of UK averages and the most recent ADEK inspection moved the school from Good to Very Good, demonstrating rapid and ongoing school improvement,” Sarah says.

Al Mamoura Academy challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity and high purpose

The school’s core values, through the Al Mamoura Academy DNA models, have been formulated in consultation with the school community and are unique to Al Mamoura Academy, making learning holistic and focusing on:

  • The Learner DNA – What attributes make a great learner
  • The Values DNA – What makes a great person
  • The Teacher DNA – What makes a great lesson

Dreaming Big!

Al Mamoura Academy challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity and high purpose, with its mission being to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all. It is supported in this quest by excellent facilities that include the very latest technology, such as VR headsets and robotics.

“We believe that imagination, creativity and big dreams can change the world!” Sarah says. “And we are focused on improvement and solutions, empowering our staff and students to be innovative and unconstrained. We celebrate thinkers, doers and new ideas, nurturing them through the use of a variety of technology within the classroom or during our ECA sessions.

“In addition, we have amazing sports facilities, including a swimming pool and a training pool, multipurpose playing fields, a basketball court and a dance studio. There are also soft play areas; the equipment provided supports and enhances children’s physical and social development.”

The curriculum at Al Mamoura Academy, the English National Curriculum,  allows the school to fully integrate the above facilities into its everyday lessons. Moreover, as a school situated in the UAE, it also runs the Ministry of Education Curriculum. This means that students study Arabic and Islamic studies alongside the English National Curriculum, with Emirati students studying both subjects until the end of their education. International students study Arabic until Year 10 and can opt to study Arabic in Year 11 onwards if desired.

In relation to the real-life application of learning and leadership, one of Al Mamoura Academy’s USPs is the promotion of industry partnerships

Developing Young Leaders

Leadership skills are abilities that help people guide teams, projects and organisations, with Al Mamoura Academy having significantly developed and enhanced the student leadership structure in recent years, giving the youngsters even more opportunities to showcase their leadership skills.

“The school has a range of roles encompassing a wide variety of areas, including Sustainability, Reading Ambassadors, National Identity and Emirati Culture, Sports Leaders and Ambassadors.  Student leadership opportunities that are offered throughout the school, from our youngest children in Foundation Stage up to Year 13, allow students with a variety of different strengths to become role models, and enhance their understanding and development of democratic values to widen their skillset further,” Sarah explains.

In relation to the real-life application of learning and leadership, one of Al Mamoura Academy’s USPs is the promotion of industry partnerships. This is a bespoke curriculum unique to the school and is important for several reasons, including:

  • Strategic mapping of the curriculum and industry allows for trips and visits to add value
  • Applicationof curriculum knowledge during visits 
  • Introduction to new industries and roles to inspirestudents

The industry partners the school has relationships with include Gracia Farms, Miral, The Louvre, NYUAD Art Gallery, Heritage Village, Two4TwentyFour, Masdar City, The Aquarium, Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre, Abu Dhabi Environment Agency and Jubail Mangroves Parks.

High Moral Values

The school places a high level of importance on the development of the whole child, emphasising the importance of pastoral care as well as academic knowledge. “Across Al Mamoura, moral education is taught through creative and innovative dedicated lessons and high moral values such as tolerance, empathy, resilience and mutual respect,” Sarah says. “The school goes above and beyond the minimum moral education legal requirement of the UAE.”

“We are proud to be the first school in the Aldar Education Group to achieve the Eco Green Flag status”

Al Mamoura Academy is currently undergoing an assessment to be awarded the Kite Mark as a recognised School of Character, incorporating Trust, Respect, Aspiration, Courage, Kindness (TRACK). “These values are in our DNA and are pivotal when developing the next generation of learners. By explicitly teaching students about these values, and working in partnership with our parents, the school is able to develop students socially, emotionally and intellectually,” Sarah explains.

Of course, a vital part of modern moral education is sustainability and caring for the environment, with Sarah continuing:  “We are proud to be the first school in the Aldar Education Group to achieve the Eco Green Flag status and were selected to represent the Aldar Education Group in promoting sustainable action across the region. Uniquely, our commitment to sustainable action is led almost entirely by a dedicated team of student ambassadors from ages 3 – 18.” 

Making the Best Teachers Even Better 

The education sector is constantly evolving, with new and innovative teaching methods, technologies, and research materialising continually. Professional development is therefore indispensable for teachers because it enhances their knowledge and skills, enabling them to advance their teaching practices in order to lead to better learning outcomes for their students. 

At Al Mamoura Academy, in-house professional development (PD) takes place on a weekly basis and is mapped out in response to the identified needs of the staff body based on termly learning and teaching feedback, plus the Monitoring, Evaluation and Review process. 

“PD is facilitated by teachers and leaders across the school according to identified strengths.  We find a balance between making sure that PD is extended enough to allow teachers to learn, do and reflect, while also responding to current pedagogical changes.  As such, we theme our internal PD sessions to take place over termly periods.  Internal PD will either be whole-school, phase-based, or subject-based depending on the PD topic in order to match the training provided with the needs of our staff. 

“All staff have the opportunity to go on regular external PD, be that through the Aldar Training Academy, with external examination boards, or other identified opportunities”

“To further support new staff to the school, we run an extended induction programme for teachers to introduce them to the ‘ways of working’ at Al Mamoura Academy.  Alongside this, we have further professional development for our ECT staff, who have additional training at Al Mamoura, as well as allocated mentors to support their learning and development. 

“We do not believe that professional development should only be aimed at teachers, so separate weekly training also takes place for our classroom assistants. This is facilitated by our Director of Learning and Teaching and is planned in collaboration with class teachers to respond to the needs of teachers and learners.  The development of leaders is as important as the development of teachers; without strong leadership, we cannot develop strong teachers.

“We are aware that while in-house professional development has an important place in improving pedagogy, the value of external PD is equally important.  As such, we offer a range of external professional development that allows our staff to educate themselves and support them in the next stages of their career, as well as identifying talent within the school and being conscious of succession planning at Al Mamoura.  All staff have the opportunity to go on regular external PD, be that through the Aldar Training Academy, with external examination boards, or other identified opportunities. 

Working Closely with Parents

Equally as important as the teachers in a child’s education are the parents, all of whom are valued members of the school community and involved and included in all aspects of school life.

“As a school, we have a clear communication strategy which ensures parents are well informed about what their child will be learning, their progress and the events taking place within the school,” Sarah says. “In addition to having a Parent Relations Executive, we regularly promote points of contact and who to speak to if a parent has a concern or requires support. The leadership team is visible and available at the beginning and end of each day to offer support to any families that need guidance. Regular newsletters, coffee mornings, workshops, community events and parent-teacher conferences are scheduled to encourage parental engagement.”

Parents are regularly invited to celebrate their children’s successes in the form of curriculum showcases, awards assemblies and themed events, while the Al Mamoura Parents Association actively contributes to community events and the strategic direction of the school, providing a representation of parent voice.

A Constantly Expanding Curriculum

The curriculum on offer at Al Mamoura Academy is both rich and imaginative, offering an excellent range of opportunities designed to motivate and inspire all students. Enrichment days and activities have been developed across the whole school, such as World Book Day, Seussical the Musical, STEM Weeks and Fabulous Finishes, making a significant contribution towards expanding the curriculum further.

“We are a wholly inclusive school that prides itself on being student-centred, family and community oriented. We believe that every person has worth and is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and, in a society where young people need to prepare for a changing world, learning is a life-long process,” Sarah concludes.

To read more from Al Mamoura Academy