The Aquila School Image Credit: Supplied

The Aquila School is the flagship school of International Schools Partnership (ISP) family, a global network of 31 schools across eight countries, which ensures outstanding international learning connections, quality assurance and excellent governance.

This is the first self-designed and constructed school for ISP offering world-class facilities including a large auditorium, a dance studio, purpose-built arts and design technology rooms, food lab, a large AstroTurf pitch and two heated and chilled swimming pools. At this newly opened school, educators emphasise meaningful, enquiry-based learning. This is at the fore of the Dubailand-based school’s British curriculum, and its UK-trained teachers and management, many of whom have worked at outstanding-ranked UAE schools.

The Aquila School ethos is based on instilling a design-thinking mindset in its students: “A structured approach to learning, collaboration and problem-solving, which will guide the child from inquiry through to discovery to understanding and application,” says Kylie Cleworth, Head of Primary at The Aquila School. “Learning will be authentic, not relying on textbooks and worksheets, to ensure maximum engagement in practical learning. Engaged learning means children are actively learning through a lesson — independently and collaborating — having maximum choice in the activities they do.”

Instead, children have access to tablets, Chromebooks and interactive panels in naturally lit classrooms. For example, year four students are exploring inventions they believe could improve the UAE. Using a green screen app on their tablet, the children will design an advert that pitches their invention to investors. “We believe that when assigning a textbook or worksheet to a class of children, you’re assuming that all the children are of the same ability and are able to complete the same activities,” explains Cleworth.

“For some children, that puts a ceiling on their learning and expectations because they will only complete what’s in front of them and won’t be encouraged to do anything above and beyond.” Class sizes are limited to 24, and teachers provide a personalised curriculum for every child. “If a child needs assistance with a particular topic, their teacher works with our inclusion team to set individual goals so that the child can make as much progress as possible.” Teachers are readily available to see families at the start and end of the school day and are kept well informed about learning and events at school via the school app.”

Children also play a part in deciding what they’ll be learning about. “Teachers work with all of our children — even from FS1 — to plan topics and activities around the interests of the children,” says Cleworth. When one teacher observed how excited her FS1 class was about the school bus — a novel concept for them — she decided to make buses and transport the topic they would learn about the following week.

“We are already ensuring that children love coming to school through fun and engaging learning activities and in line with the UAE’s vision, the school is committed to be a happy community school that every child loves attending every day” adds Wayne Howsen, Principal of The Aquila School.

Cherie Litwiller, Regional Director of Learning at ISP, says, “With The Aquila School, we have built a school that has state-of-the-art facilities, progressive education, highly qualified teachers and leaders who will provide the best education not only in the local community but also in greater Dubai.”

To learn more, visit www.theaquilaschool.com