Case studies

Case study

School inspection in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Education Development Trust delivers a comprehensive school inspections programme in Abu Dhabi setting a framework of accountability for government and private schools across the emirate, to increase students’ attainment to international standards and to achieve school improvement.

The context


Education Development Trust is a valued partner of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and we have been supporting the implementation of several of ADEC’s ambitious reform programmes since 2006. We are currently collaborating with them to deliver their school inspections service, Irtiqa'a, which means 'to raise the bar'.

Our solution


Applying our international best practice, we shape the inspections provision from end to end. We support ADEC to build local inspector capacity through training and accrediting Emirati inspectors; we co-ordinate the recruitment and training of international inspectors who are drawn from across the world to ensure the curriculum expertise required. All of our inspection teams have bilingual inspectors. Our annual inspections are underpinned with a focus on the use of longitudinal inspection data and thematic research and our in-depth annual research reports and data analysis inform ADEC policy development and target school improvement initiatives. Ensuring we meet the needs of schools and principals providing an excellent service is at the heart of our work.  We employ bilingual speakers on our operational team and provide a help-line service for schools.

First-class training


Education Development Trust trains and accredits local inspectors through the CfBT Reviewer Competence Quality Mark (RCQM), ensuring that inspectors have a level of skill and competence equivalent to those inspectors in high-performing education systems worldwide. This approach is grounded in inspectors' actual practice: participants are assessed during a training course and through evidence from deployment on inspections.  All participants produce a portfolio of their work for assesment and moderation. The inspectors benefit from receiving a recognised award from a leading inspection provider, which serves as evidence of advanced study and professional development, allowing candidates to apply for a masters level Postgraduate Certificate in Inspection and Regulation University College London (UCL) Institute of Education (IOE). Education Development Trust's Irtiqa’a director works with the IOE to co-tutor a group of local inspectors enrolled on the programme.

Operational expertise


Operationally, our inspections team in Abu Dhabi manages the deployment of up to 50 trained inspectors in country at any one time from a pool of 100 approved inspectors. All inspection teams must include bilingual inspectors and every inspection report must be translated into Arabic for submission. Education Development Trust inspects government and private schools across the Emirate from the border with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the border with Oman. Schools inspected follow a wide range of curricula: including British, US, Canadian, French, German, Indian, Philippines, Pakistan, Chinese, International Baccalaureate, MOE Arabic, Japanese and Iranian.

Evidence-informed practice


The thematic research that impacts directly on ADEC policy is a key part of our work. Our extensive research studies have included, levels of school attendance, parental engagement and an assessment of the quality of provision for students with special educational needs. The impact of Education Development Trust Irtiqa’a’s work in these areas is now reflected in changes to inspection methodology and data collection in schools.

The results


Since the inception of the Irtiqa'a programme, inspections have shown that private schools have significantly improved on each of the inspection performance standards. The proportion of schools found to be either 'satisfactory and improving' or good or better through inspection, has increased from 28% up to 56% in five years.

Inspections by numbers


60 Emirati inspectors have received inspector face-to-face training and achieved RCQM level 1
20 Emirati inspectors have achieved the CfBT RCQM award at level 2 – team inspector
13 Emirati inspectors have been accepted onto the M level Post Graduate Certificate in Inspection, Evaluation and School Improvement
CfBT inspects a minimum of 150 schools each year
CfBT achieved the rigorous key performance indicator (KPI) of 95% quality of delivery over the last 3 years.