28 Feb 2023

A delegation of educators from the Council of International Schools (CIS) has completed a six-day visit to Aspire Academy as part of the process of renewing its accreditation of the academy’s school.

During the visit the CIS team took time to interact with all the school’s departments including finance, dormitories, student affairs and administration as well as the teachers. They also heard from the student-athletes, parents, coaches and alumni.

They will now spend time compiling a report of their findings, which will be sent to Aspire Academy in two months-time along with the CIS recommendations.

The chairman of the CIS delegation, Mr. Leo Thompson, was unable to say whether Aspire Academy’s accreditation from 2016 will be renewed but he was full of praise for the academy.

“We are not allowed to say what our recommendation is, but we will say we are very positive about the school, about the academy and everything about you and the work that you are doing,” he said in his closing remarks to members of the academy’s staff on Thursday.

“We see you as a beacon, as a leader that is transforming student-athlete education, not just in the region but beyond it too - for this you must feel very very proud and we wish you all the best.”

“One of the wonderful things about the project is that it is nearly 20 years old and so it has been given that time to mature, to grow and graduate students who have gone off in different directions.”

“A really amazing discovery for us is the students who have taken different pathways still athletes, still excellent professionals looking after themselves and setting an example but some of those might be in the aeronautic industry or a professor in university.”

“The students can decide which way they go so they have future readiness and that was brought alive by the alumni and the graduates we met – so all things are possible at the academy.” 

Mr. Chapman also highlighted some of the things that student-athletes and graduates had told the team about the staff and the academy.

One quote that he called “very powerful” came from an unnamed alumnus who said: “They (the academy) build our characters.”

While another graduate, squash player Abdulla Al Tamimi, told the delegation: “My passport began with Aspire.”

One current student-athlete said: “They are preparing us very well in sports and education - and whatever you need they will help you as much as they can.”

While another explained: “They create the best environment possible for student-athletes to achieve their dreams.”

A student-athlete in grade 7 said: “With all the services I am getting from Aspire Academy – the sports, the education, the health – my future is in safe hands.”


The visitors also praised the facilities at the academy but were keen to point out that the staff are the key component to the success of Aspire Academy.

“Without the people the academy would be nothing it is all about the importance of the people and the people you have here – this is your true and real strength,” Mr. Chapman added.

“It (our accreditation) is a badge of quality that shows the school is honest and faithful about what it’s trying to achieve.”

“The best way of learning about that is to talk to the community and talk to the students and the parents but in a way that they aren’t told what to say, they are not prepared.”

“We want them to speak their minds, their hearts and that is the true value of the process.”

“To the outside world it is a badge of quality, but the reality is that it is an improvement process that enables the school to refocus on what their true goals are for the student-athletes.”

Aspire Academy’s Director of Education and Student Affairs, Badr Al Hay, thanked everyone involved in the visit.

“This is a learning process for both of us (CIS and Aspire Academy) for sure and we hope we can be a reference point for others to emulate,” he said.

“We are proud and happy with the feedback we have received from CIS so far.”

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