Repton Abu Dhabi provides a truly holistic approach to education. At Repton they develop the love of learning in every child and help them to succeed by becoming adaptable and flexible thinkers. Students learn in an atmosphere that fosters life-long learning, collaboration and trust. When you enter the doors of the institution, you cannot help but be impressed by the facilities, but Repton Abu Dhabi is so much more than a great building, it is a school with heart and soul. I literally sprinted around the school on a tour with the energetic Gillian Hammond ( Principal). She gave me a peek into life at Repton Abu Dhabi which I hope to share with you in this article. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff and the pride the students have in their school.
Repton’s Holistic Approach to Education
With over 74 different nationalities represented at Repton Abu Dhabi, their Inclusion Programme is integral in ensuring that all students access the curriculum and reach or exceed their potential. All students complete base-line assessments when they join the school and each year. It is essential that they identify the students’ talents, interests and challenges as soon as possible. Teachers then closely track progress and attainment throughout the year to ensure timely intervention and stretch. English language acquisition is also imperative to success both academically and socially. Their team of Teachers, Learning Support Assistants and Teaching Assistants, expertly intervene to provide the bespoke support each child requires, which involves small group workshops, 1:1 tuition, role-play, parent engagement and collaboration with external agencies where appropriate.
Music can always be heard at Repton Abu Dhabi. When I visited they were performing their Christmas production. Their Music lessons are extremely lively as students are encouraged to select their own instrument and then work together to either perform the same piece collaboratively or compose their own music. The School celebrates music as a way to unite our cultures, develop creativity and express personality. Music assemblies are held monthly, with a waiting list of students who would like to perform in front of the whole community, including parents. Staff share their passion and skill in this shared endeavour. Repton Abu Dhabi has been privileged to have hosted Eman Al Hashimi, the UAE’s first female Emirati composer, on several occasions. She has performed live and held interactive workshops for students. The school has even had Laurent Ferlet (a Walt Disney composer) perform on a Grand Piano in the school’s Atrium!
The School’s end of Term Sports Assembly was particularly special recently as they celebrated two large wins – an ADISSA Football Championship and a League Swimming Gala with 52 out of 52 podium finishes and ultimately 1st place. The school’s sports facilities really are second-to-none with a training swimming pool at Rose Campus for FS-Y1 and a full-size competitive pool at Fry Campus – used by Neptune Swimming Academy after hours. They also have 3 full-sized sports halls with spectator gallery and outdoor tennis courts which host PCC Tennis Academy after hours. The PE teachers themselves are successful sports stars who have represented their countries and still train other national sports teams during the summer break. This undoubtedly inspires the students. Repton Abu Dhabi celebrates its students’ success stories in various sporting competitions such as Judo, Gymnastics and Dance. In a time when sports and the arts are being side-lined for the sciences, it was wonderful to see the important place that it still holds at Repton Abu Dhabi.
Wellbeing at Repton Abu Dhabi
The Repton community is encouraged to adopt and maintain healthy behaviours. Students are taught during PE and Science lessons, the benefits of regular exercise, drinking lots of water and a healthy balanced diet – at the start of each year, the School Nurses deliver assemblies and produce a display of healthy lunch-boxes to share ideas with parents. The school’s Japanese families won the healthy lunch-box Olympics this year!
Repton Abu Dhabi actively promotes great citizenship, with student leadership roles, charity projects, and a bespoke course on Digital Citizenship – students learn to question information sources and to be able to identify ‘fake news’. And with such Social Media prominence, students are also taught how to recognise the impact their messages, tweets or posts may have on themselves and others.
March is Staff Wellness Month at Repton Abu Dhabi and last year staff were reminded to take a time-out of their busy schedules to reflect and relax with free Yoga classes. Staff also take part in weekly football matches (which are very competitive!), and each term our 2 Social Secretaries arrange a social event. Secret Buddies are a huge success too – staff secretly leave each another a small token of appreciation e.g. a bar of chocolate with a note explaining something they really appreciate or write a message on a staff notice board in the workroom to celebrate successes.
Continuing professional development is critical for staff to feel empowered and valued. All staff at Repton Abu Dhabi have a Personal Learning Coach who offers support, advice and encouragement throughout the year. Both internal and external training opportunities are provided. This is essential in our ex-pat community – staff have left family and friends to join an international school 1000’s of miles away from home. The support begins from the moment they are collected at the airport. Staff are presented with a welcome pack in their new home and given a tour of Abu Dhabi. Induction is led by existing staff and HR, who then regularly meet with a staff committee to obtain feedback and work together on amending policies and procedures where needed.
Using Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning at Repton Abu Dhabi
As an Apple Distinguished School, all students at Repton Abu Dhabi have an iPad. Students utilise these iPads as tools – they are integral in their learning and have had a huge impact on helping students to become independent, self-directed learners. Students turn automatically to their iPads to translate, calculate, spell-check, research, source images, produce graphs, collate data, present and share information. Students literally have everything they need at their fingertips! Leaving the teachers to skilfully challenge thinking and accelerate learning through discovery.
Apps are a great way to keep learning fresh, fun and exciting. Teachers and students are constantly finding new apps that enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom. Students are also coding a few Apps of their own. During lessons, it is easy to witness the facilitation of dynamic quizzes, discussions, evaluation and flipped learning. Students are scanning QR codes to find differentiated work and removing communication barriers by using translation apps. Parents attend workshops in school on how to utilise Apps to support home-learning and Personal Study projects.
Technology is also used during timetabled Innovation time where students are challenged to become entrepreneurs and identify a service or product that may be improved or invented. Students are then invited to use the technology available (Mac suite, woodwork lab, 3D-printers, Spheros, drones etc.) to research, design and develop prototypes to test, manufacture and market. Students have recently proudly presented their ideas and projects in the Apple Store in Dubai Mall and at the ADEK Private Schools Forum. These are all things that Repton Abu Dhabi should be very proud of.