Accredited Outstanding by British School Overseas

New British school in Dubai has been awarded the highest accreditation within its first year of operation, across all areas

The Aquila School, one of Dubai’s newest international British schools, has been rated as Outstanding by British School Overseas (BSO) across all of its eight areas of assessment.  The Outstanding grading this early on in a school’s operation is rare and The Aquila Team is very proud of this achievement.

To ensure they were ready for the accreditation process, The Aquila School had a pre-inspection visit by a BSO Lead Inspector in March 2019. As part of this process, the school had to provide numerous documents for consideration, including staff information and detailed insight into its curriculum, to show it met the rigorous British educational standards, and that the appearance, nature and ethos of the school was recognisably British. The fact that the school’s principal, Wayne Howsen, and its Head of Primary, Kylie Cleworth (both leaders at an Outstanding school, as rated by the Department of Education and Knowledge in Abu Dhabi prior to starting The Aquila School), are also BSO inspectors proved very helpful; they have taken part in around 12 inspections between them, on average one per year.

The leadership at The Aquila School decided to go through the BSO accreditation process early so that the quality of the provision the school offers was externally validated, especially as it is a new school that is establishing its reputation in the increasingly competitive educational landscape of Dubai. The BSO accreditation lasts for three years, and the school must go through the entire process again to ensure its high standards have been maintained.

Wayne Howsen, Principal of The Aquila School, commented: “Our team work tirelessly to ensure that every child makes as much progress as possible and is genuinely empowered to make decisions about their own learning. We are delighted that – within our first year of operation – we have been given the very highest rating possible from British Schools Overseas. Their recognition of the relevance of our engaging curriculum and commitment to progress, while ensuring that children are safe and happy, are a fitting testament to the excellent work of our committed and talented staff. Visitors to our school often comment on the happy community atmosphere, saying that the school is welcoming and has an established feel, and it is fantastic that the inspection team have also recognised this.’

“The Aquila School is already an outstanding school which is delivering its mission; ‘to ensure every child loves coming to school and makes as much progress as possible’. Parents are highly supportive of the school and value the opportunities it provides for their children,” says, Lead Inspector, BSO.

“Leadership is outstanding: and always highly effective. There is a real sense of community and an idiosyncratic approach to life: whilst focussing on real learning and what children need ‘right now’, there is frequent laughter that fills the corridors, classrooms and playgrounds. There is high quality of teaching which focusses on supporting ‘amazing learning’ for all pupils. The personal development of the pupils is excellent,” he concluded.

BSO’s assessment areas include the quality of education provided by the school (which encompasses the curriculum, teaching and assessment), the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, the welfare, health and safety of the pupils, the suitability of the proprietor and staff, the quality of the campus and facilities, the provision of information for parents, carers and others, the school’s procedure for handling complaints, and the leadership and management of the school.

The Aquila School opened in September 2018 to serve the growing educational needs of the surrounding communities in Dubailand, and across Dubai. The school offers a British education to children from FS1 to Year 7.

The Aquila School’s curriculum is broad, balanced and innovative, and is adapted to have a global dimension and relevance to children living in the UAE. Children are encouraged to direct their own learning through collaborative group problem solving, and there is an emphasis on cross-curricular learning, so that children make links between different subjects. This enables them to apply their skills and knowledge in a meaningful context, facilitating the development of essential critical thinking and communication skills.

For more information about The Aquila School, or to arrange a tour, please contact +971 (0) 4 586 2700, or visit