23 July 2013| Last updated on 31 January 2017
Abu Dhabi: Schools, Colleges & Boarding
Here we bring you a definitive expat guide to your options for schooling your children in the region.
Welcome to ExpatWoman Abu Dhabi! We have a list of schools in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain as well as our guide to boarding or home schooling your child. Read on for more info or visit our forum to chat to other expat women in your area.
About Abu Dhabi Schools
Schools here in Abu Dhabi are governed by ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council); they state that ‘The development of a world-class education system with a large and empowered private education sector is a key priority for Abu Dhabi’.
All private schools are expected to adhere to ADEC’s minimum standards and will be evaluated through ADEC’s rigorous inspection process’. With this in mind, we are assured that all private schooling is of a high standard, and that the schools will provide a quality education for expatriate families, it is a case of finding a school that is a good fit for your family.
Most schools here will be able to give you a tour of their facilities, and because of the transient nature of expatriate community, are able to accommodate children joining school part way through a school year and from perhaps a different culture and or school system.
List Of Schools In Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Indian School
Indian, CBSE K - 12
Location - on island, Near 23rd St and Salam St, Muroor
The school is affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi, India (C.B.S.E Delhi, India affiliation No. 66304) and is recognized and licensed by the Ministry of Education, Private Section, Abu Dhabi Zone. The school prepares students for the All India Secondary School Exam at the end of grade 10 or 12 years of schooling and the All India School Senior Certificate Exam at the end of grade 12 or 14 years of schooling.
Al Bateen Primary School
Location: Street No.28,(Khalifa ben Shakhbout), Intersection with Street No.11 (Al Bateen Street) Al Manaseer Area
Al Bateen Secondary School, which opened in September 2011, provides high quality education for English-speaking students from the ages of 11 to 18. The School offers a British-style curriculum with an international dimension and one that is suitably adapted to meet the needs of students living and studying in Abu Dhabi.
The school aspires to be a leading IB World School. Our first IB Diploma and Certificate Programmes will commence in September 2014.
The IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma Programme involves the study of 6 subjects (3 at Higher level, 3 at Standard Level) – Literature, Language, Humanities, Sciences, Mathematics, Arts or Elective. This provides students with a broad curriculum, but allows individuals to select some subjects to study in depth. Students must also complete a Theory of knowledge course, complete a 4,000 word extended essay and at least 150 hours of creative study, sport, and community work.
Al Murooj Scientific Private School
British Curriculum and Special Needs education
Location – Khalifa Bin Shakhbun Strret, Khalidiyah
Al Murooj School believes in the philosophy of love and compassion. Besides taking care of academics, we try to inculcate human values through different activities inside and outside the class. Our vision: to prepare children so that they become effective members of society.
Our Mission: to provide education of the highest standard.
Our values: to invest our best in the children to prepare a better community.
Al Mushrif Primary School
Location: In Al Bateen Secondary School Campus
At Al Mushrif, we deliver a British curriculum. We believe that children should be actively involved in their learning and aim to do so by teaching in a creative and thematic way. As a result of this, learning is cross-curricular. Numeracy, Literacy and all other subjects are delivered in a fun and engaging way where children can make links and apply skills across the curriculum. Each term, topic overviews are sent home introducing the new thematic unit and the key elements delivered through each subject area. We believe that teaching through creative thematic units helps to embed skills and make the learning journey more relevant and vibrant for each individual. In addition to our British class teachers, we also have specialist teachers for Physical Education, Music, French, Arabic and Islamic Studies.
Al Shouhub School
National Curriculum / British curriculum
Since its opening in 1999 as a small girls' secondary school, Al Shohub has gone from strength to strength. The original vision of establishing a school which offered a high-quality British curriculum education within a multi-cultural environment is now very much a reality.
The thriving KG and Primary department welcomes girls aged 3-11 and boys up to Grade 4, who follow the National Curriculum up to Key Stage 2. The girls in our Secondary section work towards GCSE and Advanced level examinations, in preparation for university entrance both in the United Arab Emirates and abroad.
Al Yasat Private School
02 641 2300
Location – Off Muroor and Hazza Bin Zayed streets.
At Al Yasat we believe it is our special commitment to provide every student the opportunity to achieve educational success. To that end we are committed to providing a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on the whole-child. Our programs are designed to evaluate the academic, physical and emotional well-being of our students.
Abu Dhabi International School
US Curriculum K-12, British National Curriculum offered to A Level gr 9 - 12
02 443 4433
Location - on island Al Karahma
www. : www.aisuae.com
Abu Dhabi International School (AIS) was established 1981 Both the American and British systems of instruction are offered. The American curriculum is offered from KG to 12 while the British program is offered from 9-12. Upon completion of grade eight, students choose between American curriculum or British curriculum. The British curriculum begins with a two-year I.G.C.S.E. course of studies in grade 9 and continues with Advanced Supplementary (AS) courses in grade 11 and "A" Level courses in grade 12.
American International School Abu Dhabi – IB, DP, US HS Diploma
(K to 12)
Location - on island, 29th Street
AISA was established in 1995, and currently have over 1200 students from 77 nationalities in Pre-K to 12th Grade. American school with a curriculum based on the Virginia state standards. It is a well-established school with strong links to the local community and is fully accredited in the USA by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges. It was the first school to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Abu Dhabi and later became the first school in Abu Dhabi to be authorized to offer the IB Primary Years Program.
American Community School – US, IB
(Kinder to Gr 12)
Location – on-island - Khalidiya
ACS is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools based in the United States, their students graduate with an American diploma in addition, the option for IB Diploma is available.
The American Community School of Abu Dhabi is a nonprofit, college preparatory institution driven by student learning. An American-based curriculum promotes excellence in academics, athletics and the arts.
Al Yasmina – UK National Curriculum
(K to 12)
Location – off island, Al Raha Gardens
Part of ALDAR Academies, is a non-profit making school. Any surplus generated is reinvested in the school for the benefit of the pupils. Opened in September 2008 and caters for children from Foundation Stage 1 (KG1) to Year 12. In subsequent years it will 'grow through' to Year 13. It has a capacity for over 1800 pupils. It is a state of the art facility that has been designed to accommodate the most up to date teaching methodology and technology. The school offers all that you would expect from a quality English school and is a popular school of choice for the residents of Abu Dhabi.
Australian School of Abu Dhabi – IB, PYP, MYP DP,
(K to 12)
Location – off island Khalifa City B
The Australian School of Abu Dhabi (ASAD) opened in 2006, is a fully registered international school from KG-1 to year 12 with separate wings and playgrounds for each division and separate facilities for male and female students. The school is a branch of the Australian International Academy operating in Australia since 1983 has branches in Melbourne, Sydney and Abu Dhabi, UAE. The Australian School of Abu Dhabi is a unique example of the advanced Australian Education System with an international dimension. ASAD is an authorised IB Diploma school and also a candidate school for both PYP and MYP.
Al Muna Primary School
National Curriculum for England K-Year 6
02 501 4777
Location – on island Al Markaziyah (downtown)
Part of the Aldar Academy group, Al Muna, delivers the English National Curriculum for Primary Schools catering for Foundation Stage to Year Six in English. The school will also focus on providing students with Arabic Language and Islamic Studies. French will be taught from Year Three
Brighton College Abu Dhabi – UK National Curriculum to A Level
(Currently offering pre-reception to Yr 9, subsequent years to follow)
Location - on island, Khalifa Park/Bloom Gardens
Now one of the leading schools in England, Brighton College achieved the best A-Level results of any co-educational school in England in 2008, 2009 and 2010, with over 50 ex-pupils currently studying at Oxford and Cambridge. The state-of-the-art campus on Abu Dhabi Island is centrally located in a new and purpose-built campus next to Khalifa Park. BCAD opened in September 2011 and provides a range of state of the art facilities and learning environments within the Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior Schools. BCAD is committed to becoming the leading school in the Middle East, is teaching Mandarin as part of the secondary curriculum. Brighton College Abu Dhabi offers its pupils a distinctive British-style independent school ethos that reflects the values and dynamic culture of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.
British International School AD – UK National Curriculum
(FS1 to yr 10, subsequent years to follow)
Location – off island between Khalifa B and MBZ City on Al Ain Road
Part of the Nord Anglia Education Group, BISAD has strong education foundations and the support of a network of 12 international schools worldwide. BISAD offers students a unique educational experience by ensuring high academic standards through a diverse curriculum, stimulating units of work and an engaging learning environment mapping each student’s learning and using differentiated instruction to ensure every student fulfills their potential. BISAD aspire to become an IB accredited school and intend to offer the IB programme to their senior pupils.
Canadian International School
Alberta Education grades 1 to 12
Location – off island Khalifa Cita A
Alberta Education promotes Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL), a “process where students are involved in their learning, formulate questions, investigate widely and then build new understandings, meanings and knowledge” IBL is not a textbook or curriculum: IBL is an educational approach that involves administrators, teachers, students and parents in a culture of inquiry – a component of all Alberta Education curricula. Grade 12 students write provincial examinations in core subject areas to qualify for an Alberta High School Diploma. This internationally recognized diploma permits students’ entry into university programs throughout North America and the world.
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
UK Curriculum FS 1 - Year 13 (Year 13 from 2018)
Location: Saadiyat Island Cultural District
Based on the rich academic heritage and family values of Cranleigh UK, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi aims to instil a love of learning using innovative and creative teaching techniques. A rigorous academic programme, augmented by a diverse range of extracurricular activities fosters growth and discovery.
A child's future success isn't dictated by academic grades alone. When the ultimate goal is to produce a confident, well-rounded adult, there is much more to learn than just core subjects. We are opposed to what can be referred to as “teaching to the test.” Instead, we ensure that all our pupils are offered a comprehensive, creative curriculum designed to prepare them for life beyond their school days.
Emirates Autism Center
Location: Bani Yas Najda Street (Street 6)
Emirates Autism Center is a private center specialized in the field of autism, based in the capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi. Its doors officially opened under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan on the 2nd of April, 2008. The center is a non profit organization and its doors are open throughout the entire year with state-of-the-art classrooms specifically designed to meet thesensory and environmental needs of its students.
TEACCH is not a technique or a method, it is a complete program that takes into consideration the special learning patterns of autistic children based on knowledge of ways of thinking and their behavior such as selective attention, visual learning, spatial memory and concrete cognition. It focuses on the development of one's own potential rather than meet pre-determined expectations of what is normal.
GEMS American Academy Abu Dhabi
US National Standards
Location: Khalifa City A
GEMS American Academy, Abu Dhabi (GAA) is the first of many planned American schools that are modeled after the highly successful and sought after Dubai American Academy. Opened in September 2007, GEMS American Academy, Abu Dhabi benefits from the experience of our sister school in providing an outstanding college preparatory educational program in the English language to students from around the world. In October 2011, we moved to our new state-of-the art facilities in Khalifa City A which include a planetarium, a 500 seat auditorium, a six courts sports hall, 2 swimming pools, 4 full size tennis/basketball courts and a full sized rugby pitch.
GEMS American Academy - Abu Dhabi offers an enriched American curriculum with an international perspective for students Kindergarten through Grade 8, with Grade 9 and 10 to open in September 2012 and Grade 11 and 12 the following year.
Our curriculum follows US National Standards, is informed by accepted best practices in teaching and learning and supports our school’s Mission and educational goals. It is anchored in the Commonwealth of Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and includes the core curricula of Language Arts (English), Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.
This core is enriched by specialist courses in Music, Art, Physical Education and Information Technology, Library, Arabic Language & Culture, and Guidance. Middle School exploratory courses introduce those students to the additional subjects of French, Spanish, Drama and Design & Technology.
GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi
Location: At the intersection of Najda and Defence streets
Our standards are derived from both the Primary Years Program and the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA. We pride ourselves in offering outstanding curricular materials from around the world. Many of them are from the U.S. such as Every Day Mathematics which is endorsed in the U.S. by the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).
Our curriculum is organized by subject area and balanced by a broad range of age appropriate inter-disciplinary studies. GEMS World Academy-Abu Dhabi provides a PYP Coordinator who trains and works closely with all classroom teachers to ensure curricular alignment while incorporating PYP practices.
German International School Abu Dhabi
German IB Curriculum ages 1 - 12
Location - on island, downtown area between 9th and 26th
The German school with attached nursery is located in the center of the island of Abu Dhabi with a spacious campus with more than 2.3 ha and superb facilities - gymnasium, natural science rooms, library and media rooms to provide students with an excellent learning environment. Arabic is compulsory from grade 2 the school sees it as a rewarding challenge for our students that will enable them to move into the future in a global environment. The German school community are students, parents and teachers from different countries and see themselves as an international school.
US , AP Programme K- 12
Location - off island, Sas Al Nakheel (beside Abu Dhabi Golf Club)
The Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi was founded in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). It is one of the educational entities and is part of ADNOC’s educational family of learning institutions. The primary goal of GSAD is to create and conduct a challenging and rigorous secondary academic curriculum and program for highly qualified students from the UAE and other countries. Glenelg school provides students with a challenging academic curriculum, a vigorous athletic program, a diverse selection of courses in the fine arts, competitive IT skills, and a global awareness of world culture. The school has both male and female campus.
Lycee Louis Massignon
Ecole Francais – French Curriculum, Primary & Secondary
Location - on island, 29th St, between Muroor Rd and Airport Rd
The Lycee Louis Massignon is a French institution, directly managed by the Agency for French Education Abroad (EFMA). Founded in 1972 with a small school, the number of French schoolchildren in Abu Dhabi grew rapidly and after many adventures, in 1981 the French School moved into new premises, which they still occupy. In February, 1982, the official opening by Mr Claude CHEYSSON, Minister of External Relations. The French School of Abu Dhabi was officially renamed the Lycée Louis Massignon.
Merryland International School (Sherwood Academy)
UK – IGCSE – CIE (Sherwood Group of Schools)
Location - Location - off island, Mussafah
With many different nationalities under its wing, Sherwood Academy is a school with a view; a view of ethnic cultures that are forged to form an inimitable blend that is reflected in a unique cultural ethos that the school is reflective of. It is a school that fosters cultural interchange and encourages the individual to create a sense of cultural awareness and belonging in a world that has become a fusion of cultures. Sherwood Academy and Merryland International with strength of 3,000 pupils and 300 staff are testaments of success.
Pearl Primary School
UK KS1 – KS2
Location - on island, 11th Street between 6th and 4th
The curriculum followed is the National Curriculum for England, with additional lessons in Arabic Language, Islamic Studies and Social Studies to meet the requirements of the UAE Ministry of Education. The National Curriculum for England defines two 'key stages'; Key Stage 1 through 2. In addition to offering education from Key Stage 1 to 2, The Pearl Primary School offers Foundation classes for 3 to 5 year olds.
Phillippine National School
K1 & 2, Elementary 1-6 High School 1-4
02 6418747, 02 6419291
Location - on island, Al Dhafrah
Philippine National School, offers a non-sectarian Filipino-curriculum and uses English as a medium of instruction. The school caters for Islamic Studies for Muslim students and includes Arabic as well as UAE Social Studies as required subjects. PNS cultivates young minds through high -quality education in a multi-cultural setting, and provides varied student-centered learning activities and co-curricular activities that will transform learners into well-rounded individuals. Phillippine National School employs premier and proficient educators hired from the Philippines
Raha International School – IB: PYP, MYP, DP
(PreK to 12 )
Location – off island, Al Raha Gardens, Khalifa City A
Raha International School (part of Taaleem Education) is a non-profit making school and is situated on 14 acres of beautifully landscaped property located approximately 35 minutes from the city centre. The campus is constructed according to traditional Arabic architecture. Opened in September 2006, caters for children from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. It has a capacity for 1450 and is a state of the art facility that has been designed to accommodate the most up to date teaching methodology and technology. The school offers all that you would expect from a quality IB school, delivering all three IB programmes: The Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme. It is a popular school of choice for the residents of Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Zayed Private Academy For Girls (a GEMS school) US KG 1 – KG 12
Location - on island, Khalifa Park/Bloom Gardens
The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy has a unique educational program. This program combines the rich history, culture, and traditions represented in the curriculum of the United Arab Emirates, with an American academic curriculum. GEMS focuses on holistic education that extends beyond the classroom to embrace a wide range of extra curricular activities including sports, nature trips, arts and crafts and exploratory excursions that provide a well-rounded experience and development of student potential. The students are held to high academic expectations that allow for risk taking, supporting each other as they maintain a commitment to be learners. At SZPA, is an effective learning community that is based on trust, respect, and integrity allowing all members of the school community to embrace life-long learning.
Stars for Special Abilities – Offering support services for special needs
Location - on island, Airport Road
Stars for Special Abilities offer all specialized multidisciplinary services to support every child with learning difficulties to reach their full potential and accomplish a successful Inclusion. Stars for Special Abilities is committed to building a strong team with a common goal of helping every student shine. In partnership with children, teachers, parents, schools, medical professionals and the community along with a firm belief that all children are capable of success, Stars for Special Abilities is committed to helping each child develop not only academically but also socially and emotionally to their fullest potential and building each child's self-confidence and self-worth.
The British School Al Khubairat – UK National Curriculum
(Ages 3 - 18 )
Location – on island, 5 minutes from city centre
BSAK established here in 1968. A highly respected British curriculum school has 1,800 students of more than 50 nationalities, aged from three to 18-years-old. It is a not-for-profit school, providing an education for the whole child, creating an environment for students where they can thrive academically and socially and have the opportunity of participating in a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
In March 2011 UK’s Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), The British School was rated ‘Excellent’ in all categories.
The International School of Choueifat
Sabis -English Medium ages 3 – 19
02 446 1444
Location – off island Khalifa Cita A
SABIS® is a global education management organization.. The distinguishing mark of these schools is their implementation of a system that offers a rigorous, internationally-oriented, college-preparatory curriculum for students aged 3 to 18+, focusing primarily on the core subjects of English, mathematics, sciences, and world languages. The first school in the SABIS® School Network was in the village of Choueifat, a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. In addition to the core subjects the curriculum is designed to provide students with knowledge of a broad range of subjects including science, social studies, art, music, health, physical education, and computers. It is meant to develop a balanced, well-rounded college preparatory experience. It often includes remediation, honors courses, and Advanced Placement course opportunities.
The Cambridge High School
UK – IGCSE, AS, A Level, KG 1 to Yr 13
(a GEMS school)
Location - off island, Mussafah
The Cambridge High School, Abu Dhabi follows the National Curriculum of England, providing students with an education that is recognised around the world. It is a skill-based curriculum, served by many excellent textbooks and resources, with its own testing mechanism. It fits into the English public examination system which is accepte