TOP-11 Schools in Abu Dhabi in 2021

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One of the main difficulties for families with children when moving to a new city or country is finding a good school with the best education within your budget . The UAE capital offers a large number of educational institutions for children from three to eighteen years old. We have prepared a compilation of the best international and private schools in Abu Dhabi.

Lists of best schools in Abu Dhabi

Residents of Abu Dhabi can choose among a wide range of international and private schools. All public and private educational institutions in the emirate are overseen by the Abu Dhabi Education Council, which was founded in 2005.

International schools

The majority of international schools in Abu Dhabi follow the British curriculum, due to English being the most common language used in education. Arabic is a mandatory second language. To maintain the exceptionally high learning standards The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) assesses all international schools every two years.

The British International School Abu Dhab

The educational institution offers a combination of the English National Curriculum in EYFS - Year 11 and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) in Years 12 and 13. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with UNICEF and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The school also provides special classes for inclusive children and specially selected teachers to work with them. The language of education is English. Other languages taught in the curriculum include Arabic, Spanish, French and German.

The educational institution offers Virtual School for distance learning which is available for Early Years, Primary and Secondary students. You can also experience 360° virtual tours of the Early Years, Primary, Secondary and IB facilities on the YouTube channel of The British International School.

One of the main advantages of the school is a lower headcount which means classes only include around 20-24 students. Children of more than eighty nationalities have studied here. All students have access to the Global Campus which is an exclusive online platform for learning and interaction for The British International School students and the students of other Nord Anglia schools around the world.

The school offers education to pupils aged three-eighteen years:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery) to kids aged three-five
  • Key Stage 1 (Years 1-2) to children aged five-seven
  • Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) to pupils aged seven-eleven
  • Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) to students aged eleven-fourteen
  • Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11) to pupils aged fourteen-sixteen
  • IB Diploma Programme (Years 12-13) to students aged 16-1
Admission criteria: Currently 2021/22 admissions are open. Acceptance of applications for admission is held during the whole school year. Required documents to apply for admission include a completed application form, the student's birth certificate, passport and a school or nursery report in English or Arabic language. The British International School does not accept students entering into Year 11 (Grade 10) or Year 13 (Grade 12) as both GCSE and IB are two-year programs.

Address: The school is located on the E22 road in Zayed City behind Abu Dhabi University. The closest neighbourhoods to the British International School in Abu Dhabi are Mohamed Bin Zayed City, Zayed City, Khalifa City and Shakhbout City.

Working time: According to scheduling, the educational institution works on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays from 07:30 to 16:30, Thursdays open only until 16:00. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 510 0100

American International School in Abu Dhabi (AISA)

This school follows an American curriculum and is licensed by the UAE Ministry of Education. The educational institution; International Baccalaureate World School offers IB Primary Years Program (IB-PYP) during the period from KG to Grade 5 and IB Diploma Program in grades 11-12. Students in grades 6-9 also follow the American curriculum. High school students have the opportunity to choose between the IB Diploma Program and USA High School Diploma.

AISA is a K-12 international school, which provides education to students aged three to nineteen from more than 70 countries around the world. Elementary school here is coeducational, but secondary grades are gender-segregated. Elementary and secondary AISA schools offer specialist teachers for children with specific learning support needs, but counseling services are limited.

Admission criteria: Admissions for the academic year 2021-2022 are open. Acceptance of applications for admission is held during the school year and all applications will be accepted for current or future academic years. Students from Grades 1-12 take entrance exams in Maths and English. Students who want to enter Grades 6-12 must have an intermediate level of English.

Address: American International School of Abu Dhabi is situated on the 29th street of Airport Road, in Zone 1 District. The nearest neighbourhoods include Al Rawdah, Al Muzoon, Hadbat Al Za'faranah, Al Mushrif.

Working time: In accordance with the scheduling, working days are Sunday to Thursday from 07:30 to 16:00. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 444 4333

Abu Dhabi International School

Abu Dhabi International School has an international body of students and teachers, which includes 60 different nationalities. It is a K-12 international school, which offers three curricula:

  • International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curriculum
  • American curriculum
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum

High school students can choose one of the above three options. During the period from KG to Grade 9 pupils follow the American curriculum. Abu Dhabi International School was licensed by the UAE Ministry of Education and is offered to students aged three-eighteen years. The virtual tours are available on the official school website.

Admission criteria: Admission for the academic year 2021-2022 is open for MBZ City Campus only. Admission is open for PS-Grade 11, however the school does not accept students entering into Grade 12. In order for students to graduate, students must have completed at least Grades 11 and 12 at the school. Children must be three years of age to enter PS, KG - four years old, Prep - five years old and six years old by September 1st for Grade 1.Students with mild learning difficulties or disabilities can be accepted by the Admissions Committee as well as children of AIS professors, siblings of current AIS pupils, former AIS students or their children. If there are no available places for the applicant, the applicant's name and contact details will be placed on a waiting list. If places become available, the school will contact the applicant's parents or guardians.

Address: The international school is situated at Al Kamasha street, Al Manhal area. Such neighbourhoods as Al Nahyan, Al Mushrif, Al Bateen and Al Danah are in close proximity to the educational institution.

Working time: Study days include Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdayand Thursday from 07:30 to 16:00. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 443 4433

Amity International School Abu Dhabi

This international school with a British curriculum is a part of a Not-for Profit Education Group. Students of Amity International School Abu Dhabi are boys and girls aged three-eighteen. The school has an Inclusion Department for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.Virtual tours for parents and applicants are available on the official website of the school as well as resources for distance learning. Students are also offered a comprehensive scholarship program, for a greater commitment to learning.

The curriculum includes:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Primary School, which follows the 2014 National Curriculum of England
  • Secondary School, which consists of Key Stage 3 (Grades 7-9) and Key Stage 4 (Grades 10-11)

Admission criteria: In order to apply for Amity school it is necessary to complete the online application form. The Admissions team will answer as soon as possible or you may contact the registrar Ms Naomi Etheridge: + 971 2 503 9003. The working hours of the registrar are from 07:30 a.m. to 04:30 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday).

Address: The school is located at Al Bahyah Street. The closest neighbourhoods are Al Shahama and Al Rahah.

Working time: Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are study days in the school. Students attend lessons from 08:00-15:00. Non-working days are Friday and Saturday.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 503 9000

Brighton College Abu Dhabi

Brighton College Abu Dhabi is an FS-year 13 school, which follows a modified British curriculum. The virtual tour, which shows amenities and classrooms of Brighton College is available on the official website of the educational institution. Students of Brighton College Abu Dhabi are children from three-eighteen years old. The school offers Early Years Foundation Stage (FS levels) for children. Distance learning is available for all students who still want to take this option.

The curriculum includes:

  • Pre-Prep School (to children aged 3-7)
  • Prep School (to pupils aged 7-11)
  • Senior School (to students aged 11-18)
Admission criteria: Admissions open in September. Brighton College is an academically selective educational institution. Pupils of Pre-Prep School have to complete a play date and students of Prep and Senior School a formal assessment. Formal interview is mandatory for pupils who apply to Sixth Form. There are waiting lists for most of the year groups so we advise calling the admissions team to check if any places are available before submitting an application.

Address: The college is located on 175 Das street, Zone 1. Al Rawdah and Al Kheeran are the nearest neighbourhoods.

Working time: In accordance with scheduling, study days at the international school are Sunday to Thursday from 07:30 to 16:30. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 815 6500

Private schools

The emirate's government takes education extremely seriously and allocates 25% of its budget to education development. The private school sector is controlled by The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, which provides a world-class education system and the highest standards of safety.

Horizon Private School

The school is one of the best private schools in the emirate. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi follows the British curriculum and the language of choice is English. The educational institution is available for pupils aged three-eighteen years and currently has over 71 nationalities within the school.

The curriculum includes:

  • Pre-Prep School (FS1 to Year 2)
  • Prep School (Years 3-6)
  • Senior School (Years 7-9)
  • IGCSE (Years 10-11)
  • A-level (Years 12-13)
Admission criteria: The school welcomes applicants for Years 3 - Year 10. Registrations of children from other emirates and overseas can be accepted at any time during the first two terms, usually from September to April. Applications during the third term (summer) are discussed with the Admissions team. As for children who already attend a school in Abu Dhabi, they have an option to transfer to Cranleigh School so long as the admission has been made before the transfer deadline. The deadline this year has already passed, which means the school is no longer accepting applications from pupils attending other schools in Abu Dhabi.

Address: The school is situated on Saadiyat Island.

Working time: According to scheduling, the educational institution works on Sunday through Thursday from 08:00-16:00. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 497 0000

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

We can say that home owners gain more money from short-term rent as it can vary between 20-40%. Guests pay a higher fee than long-term tenants, so even deducting extra-services, e.g. electricity, water and Wi-Fi, which can cost around AED 1000 (USD 272) in total monthly, owners will still get a high investment return. Moreover, short-term returns are continual as opposed to long-term which are fixed over a period of agreement. For example, if you rent a residence out for over three years, you will have no other profit between searching for a new tenant, while with short-term contracts you will make money constantly.

Due to seasonality, short-term gains can vary from month to month. December in Abu Dhabi is more profitable than May. With long-term contracts, returns are fixed and can be increased up to 5% maximum annually as mentioned above.

Flexibility is the key factor of short-term rents. As an owner, you are able to use your property whenever and however you like. You may switch from short-term to long-term rental or sell the asset at any time. A long-term tenant does not provide much flexibility – once the property is rented out you are legally constrained. As stated by Law No. 4 of 2010, a landlord can evict the tenant by giving two months' notice preceding the end of the rental contract.

However, short-term rental require more efforts, time and work from a landlord. You have to furnish the property and switch on utilities. Of course, you can use services of a property management company, which will take over these issues. In Abu Dhabi such services start from 5% amount of annual rent. On the other hand, long-term tenants are obliged to pay all the consumption charges directly to provider. They also purchase furnishings on their own, so a landlord has fewer expenses that way.

Al Yasat Private School

The school follows the American Common Core curriculum for subjects such as Maths and English and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Science. All other subjects are studied in accordance with the Virginia Curriculum. The age-groups consist of four-eighteen year old students. School tours are conducted at 10 a.m. every weekend.

Education in Al Yasat Private School includes four stages:

  • The Kindergarten
  • The Elementary School
  • The Secondary School
  • The High School
Admission criteria: The admissions process for the academic year 2021-2022 consists of an online application, document submission, an interview and admission decision. Applicants for Elementary, Middle and High School will have an MAP test in maths and literacy. Moreover, school reports for the last two years are obligatory.

Address: Al Yasat Private School is located at Al Shamkhan Neighbourhood. Madinat Al Riyad, Al Shawamekh, Al Shamkha East and Al Falah are the nearest residential communities.

Working time: The study days in Al Yasat Private School include Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 07:45 to 15:00. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 641 2300

Al Shohub Private School

The educational institution has an age-group of four-eighteen, is based on the British curriculum and includes the following stages:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (nursery-FS2)
  • Primary School, which consists of Key Stage 1 (Years 1-2) and Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6)Secondary School, which includes Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) and Key Stage 4 (10-11)
Admission criteria: In order to apply to the school, parents have to complete the health questionnaire and registration form. Both documents are available online on the official school website. Further stages such as interviews and or admission assessments will take place after a parents consultation with the teaching team.

Address: Al Shohub Private School is located in Khalifa City behind the police station. Neighbourhoods such as Al Rahah and Zayed City are located in close proximity.

Working time: In accordance with the scheduling of the school, study days are Sunday to -Thursday from 07:30 to 15:30. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 555 9995

ABC Private School

This school is number 24 in the "Best Schools in Abu Dhabi" ranking. The educational institution follows the National British curriculum and the language of choice is English. Students of ABC Private School are children from ages three-eighteen years old. The curriculum of the education institution includes following stages:

  • Kindergarten (KG1 and KG2)
  • Primary School (Years 1-4)
  • Secondary School (Years 5-8)
  • High School (Years 9-12)
Admission criteria: Admissions are open to all students. In order to apply for a place at the school, parents have to complete the online registration form and provide all necessary documents then the admissions office will invite students for assessment. Every application is considered separately. Admission's assessment exams will assess the abilities of chosen students (knowledge, level of language and behaviour among peers).

Address: ABC Private School is situated at Al Shamkha City. The closest neighbourhoods include Madinat Al Riyad, Al Falah and Al Shawamekh.

Working time: Study days in the school are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 09:00 to 17:00. Thursday is also a study day. According to the timings school commences from 07:30-14:30. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: + 971 2 444 5800

New school

The International Community Schools (ICS) have four campuses in the UAE: ICS Mushrif, ICS City Centre, ICS KHALIDIYA and ICS AL Falah. Recently ICS opened a new fifth campus, which is located in the Khalifa City area.

ICS Khalifa City follows an American curriculum and works with artificial intelligence. It is a K-12 school which provides education to children from kindergarten to 12th grade. The students of ICS Khalifa City are representatives from more than 55 countries.

The curriculum consists of 3 stages:

  • Foundation stage (The Early Years Foundation Stage)
  • Key stage 1&2
  • Key stage 3
Admission criteria: Registration for the academic year 2021-2022 from KG to Grade 12 is open. Parents need to accurately fill out the online form to enroll students at ICS Khalifa City. The Higher Grades (from 6 to 12) will be available depending on the number of registered pupils.

Address: The school is situated in the Khalifa City area, near Al Shadha Street.

Working time: According to scheduling, the ICS Khalifa City works from Sunday to Thursday from 07:00-16:00. Friday and Saturday are non-working days.

Contact phone number: +971 50 590 8879

Summary

  1. Abu Dhabi offers a wide choice of international and private schools.
  2. The school and work week starts on Sunday.
  3. Schools are open until 5pm at the latest.
  4. The American school system of K-12 (education from kindergarten to twelfth grade) is widespread in Abu Dhabi.
  5. The number of children in private and international school classes is no more than 25.

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