Today’s global economy has transcended boundaries, opening doors for numerous opportunities to individuals across nations. Students nowadays receive the opportunity to pursue their education in institutions situated in other countries. The leading international baccalaureate (IB) schools assist students with high-quality education programmes, which support academic and career development of students. They provide scope for collaborative teaching and learning and personal development.
A prominent institution, which operates with the objective of providing quality education under the IB curriculum is none other than Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Academy. It is one of the oldest, largest, and most prestigious international schools in the UAE. Originally founded in 1975, the school opened under the name RAK English Speaking School with only 20 primary school expatriate students on January 17th 1976. For the next 16 years, the total number of students in the school hovered around the 100 mark.
The school’s reputation grew with time, gaining popularity among the local Emirati population. In 1994, the secondary school was established and the school enrollment as a whole began to grow at almost 20% per year. It introduced the prestigious IB Diploma and Primary Years Program (PYP) in 2006 and established a British Curriculum Primary School in 2007. Today, the academy is proud to welcome over 2800 students every day, from over 60 nationalities.
Plethora of Educational and Infrastructural Facilities
RAK Academy International Baccalaureate Primary Khuzam (IPK) focuses on enhancing the students’ learning, with emphasis on local and international contexts. The school caters to students ranging from 3 to 11 years, in a supportive, safe, and intellectually stimulating learning environment. It provides a variety of facilities to the students including 80 multi-purpose classrooms, technology suites, bilingual libraries, a media centre, music centre, two theatres, two swimming pools, two grass soccer fields, two cafeterias, dance room and a double size gymnasium.
The IPK school is situated alongside two neighbouring campuses: one offering a British-style primary curriculum (RAK Academy BSK) for students aged 3-11 years, and the other being the RAK Academy secondary offering curriculum KS3, IGCSE, IB Diploma and A/S Levels. The three campuses cover over 23 acres in total. There are extensive IT suites on both sites, including over 700 networked computers school-wide and smart board technology in most classrooms.
The IPK main language of instruction is English, with an Arabic language programme as well. The teaching staff are recruited mainly from the United Kingdom, although more than a dozen nationalities are currently represented on the teaching body. All teachers are certified in their professional area and the average length of stay of teaching staff at RAK Academy is four years.
The school provides admission to students on the basis of previous school records and an entrance test. RAK Academy is the school of choice for both expatriate and local families living and working in the northern UAE. Almost all students progress on to universities in the United Kingdom, North America, and the Middle East.
The International Baccalaureate programme offers an international education. It encourages students to pursue personal and academic achievement, while challenging them to excel in their studies and develop their personality. A key component to develop the personal and academic achievements of students is the IB Learner Profile. The profile aims to develop learners who are:
Each member of the school community models these attributes and encourages and develops the students who use them as a life guide.
About the IB PYP Programme
The academy’s International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) offers students meaningful and connected tasks using an inquiry-based, concept-driven transdisciplinary approach.
Students apply their knowledge to think, reflect, analyse, problem solve, evaluate, and reflect. In-school and extra-curricular activities are designed to enhance multiple learning experiences engaging students to challenge and take risks through work and play. RAK offers an integrated technology approach to support students in grades 3 to 5 as tool for promoting creativity and communication.
The Erudite Front Runner
The person heading RAK Academy IPK is Mr. Wayne Richardson, the Head of School, IPK (PYP). Hailing from Australia, he joined RAK Academy in September 2016. He holds a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Education, and a Masters of Education from Cambridge University (UK) and Masters of Leadership from Bath University (UK). Throughout his celebrated career, Wayne has taught in Australia, Thailand, England, China, and Indonesia at six international schools and a teacher’s college. He is interested in teaching and learning, questioning and inquiry, and how technology can enhance students’ understanding.
Beyond Traditional Teachings
The IB programmes focus on attaining various objectives by developing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. It employs current research to inform good practice, as opposed to trends. For example, the final year students of PYP are instructed to carry out an extended, in-depth, collaborative project known as the PYP exhibition. Under this, students work collaboratively to conduct an in-depth inquiry into real-life issues or problems. They collectively synthesize all of the essential elements of the PYP in ways that can be shared with the whole school community. It also provides teachers with a powerful and authentic process for assessing student understanding. Moreover, the academy dedicates itself towards nurturing the students’ skills and allows them to indulge in their areas of interest and subject content.
Along with offering splendid academic facilities, RAK Academy also offers financial support to the students. It values socioeconomic and inter-cultural diversity and supports various student populations. RAK offers percentage discounts to families, who can pay the full tuition fee by the deadline.
The Career Horizon
With a wide range of courses and programme options, the academy assists the students and their families to consider various career options beyond graduation, including university planning. The university guidance counseling department maintains a collection of UAE and international university catalogs and admission testing materials. Students also receive assistance from guidance counselors in case of university searches and applications. RAK Academy hosts visitors from universities around the world in school for students and families to discussion degrees and placements.
The Future Frontier
Marching ahead towards a future of endless possibilities, RAK Academy focuses on improving the quality of its international research-based programmes. It aims to integrate both local traditions and global events into the curriculum, while promoting inquiry and learner responsibility across multiple subjects. The academy plans to encourage students to study two world languages and cultures – English and Arabic.
Additionally, RAK focuses on fostering character development and emotional resilience, and establishing a UAE IB schools’ network, positioning itself as a leader of learning, hosting conferences, and providing teacher training for member schools.