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Best Schools in Abu Dhabi Considered By Expats

Best Schools in Abu Dhabi Considered By Expats

Giving your child the best education possible is number one on the priority list for most parents. After all, education in formative years is what determines the child’s future endeavours and career plans. Concerned parents want to give their child the best of education possible, one that will equip them to easily excel in any environment in the world. The concern turns twofold if you are residing away from home in a foreign country. If you are a nomad travelling around the world or if you are residing in Abu Dhabi on business, you must be concerned about your family’s well being and especially your child’s education. Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second-most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. It is a home to people belonging to various communities, nationalities, ethnicities and strata of the world. To meet the needs of a diverse city community like Abu Dhabi, there are several international schools and private tutors in Dubai who are experts in the British Curriculum and the international standards of education. This vast variety of schools is highly commendable for expats currently residing in Abu Dhabi with their families. Due to their international curriculum and faculty, these schools are best suited for the children of expats who do not compromise on quality.

Down below, we have gathered a list of schools in Abu Dhabi for your convenience. Most of the schools added in this list follow an English curriculum and are best suited to equip your child with the best of abilities to excel in an international environment. Now, let’s have a look at the best schools of Abu Dhabi that follow the guidelines and syllabus of the British Curriculum. Please make a note of the fact that the list is arbitrary and in no particular order.

American International School (AISA)

American International School is one of the most esteemed and well established English school in Abu Dhabi. It is one of the groups of nine international schools, owned by ESOL Education. The school was founded in 1995. It was originally aimed at Americans and other expats but, gradually the whole school has moved on to a more mixed student demographic.

American international school

The school offers an American High School Diploma/IB Diploma and caters to the ages between 4 to 18. The classes are co-ed till elementary. However, gender segregation starts from the secondary level of education. The school is privately owned and it is dually accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).

British School Al Khubairat (BSAK)

The school was originally established as a primary school in 1968. It is one of the oldest and most well established English school in Abu Dhabi. Over the years, however, it has expanded, both upwards and downwards since then. Offering an all-through British education from nursery to graduation, the school has managed to bag exceptional exam results for a non-selective school, with students gaining places at leading global universities. In 2017, it was the first school in Abu Dhabi to be awarded the full accreditation of the British Council’s International School Award (ISA). It follows the EYFS/ adapted National Curriculum for England/ GCSE/ A Level’s mode of instruction. Moreover, the school caters to the ages between 3 to 18. It hosts over 1900 students.

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi is a result of a partnership between Cranleigh School in the UK and the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) UAE. The school was established in 2014 on the premises of Saadiyat Island. At first, it was the only school in that locality, however now, as the English Education spectrum is increasing, it is being joined there by other schools. The student base mostly consists of British students who make the 27 per cent of the student population, followed by Emiratis (18%) and Americans (13%). The school has a great building, small classes and impressive results from the first small cohort to have taken A-Level exams.

cranleigh school

Repton School (RSAD)

Repton School was established in 2013 on Al Reem Island. With an aim to become the ‘premier technology school in the UAE’, the school hosts around 1,300 students. Around 20 per cent of these students are Emiratis, with UK, US, Indian and Canadian citizens being the other largest groups amongst the 60 or so nationalities attending the school. The school has adopted the National Curriculum for England and offers diplomas in IGCSE/ A Level. It takes students from the age of 3-18. It is a co-ed, independent and privately owned school.

repton school

Abu Dhabi International School (AIS)

Founded in 1992, the school follows an American curriculum from Kindergarten to Grade 9. It has a total of two campuses. The original Abu Dhabi City campus offers the IGCSE curriculum and the newer site teaches American and International Baccalaureate Diploma programmes. Nearly 80 per cent of the students are international, coming from around 70 nationalities, and five per cent of the places are reserved for special needs students with learning difficulties. The school offers the American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP/ IGCSE/ A-Level/ IB Diploma.

abu dhabi international school

American Community School (ACS)

American Community School plans to build a new Saadiyat Island campus to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the school’s foundation in 1972. The mode of instruction in this school is mainly in English with Arabic, French and Spanish taught as foreign languages. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), with around 60 per cent of students holding US passports.

american international school

Amity International School

Despite being part of an Indian organisation, the school follows an adapted British curriculum. It was established in 2015, with the first cohort starting IGCSEs in 2019. Emirati students are the largest group among its student base followed by UK passport holders and a small number of US citizens. In 2019, a new head (formerly Vice-Principal) took over the helm from the Founding Principal and changed the course of the school. The school follows an adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE. It caters to the ages between 3 to 16 years. It is a co-ed, private non-profit school that hosts over 1200 students.

amity school

Belvedere British School

Linked to a prep school in Liverpool in the UK, the Abu Dhabi branch of Belvedere British School was established in 2012. The school provides modern British Education with a traditional and strict adherence to rules and regulations. The school rules include a strict dress code and uniform. Over the years, the school has expanded upwards. However, it is still bottom-heavy with a much larger number of primary students and a very small sixth form cohort.

belvedere british school

Brighton College Abu Dhabi

Owned in partnership by Brighton College International Schools and Bloom Holdings, Brighton College was established in 2011 on a brand-new campus. It was then divided into a Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior School. Gradually, over the years, the school has progressed a lot and now, it holds the position of HMC (Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference) School. Its recent graduates get to continue their education at esteemed universities in the UK, including Oxford, Edinburgh and Bristol. Brighton College adopts the National Curriculum for England/ GCSE/ A Level. The student base ranges from the age of 3 to 18 years old. The school is co-ed, privately owned and hosts over 1,800 students in number.

brighton college abu dhabi

British International School

British International School was founded in 2009 and is now owned by the Nord Anglia Education group. This school system is currently running around 70 international schools worldwide which reflects its credibility and well management. The majority of student base belongs to either British or Emirati background with a small number of students belonging to Indian contingent and other nationalities. The school offers collaborative programmes, devised by esteemed institutions such as MIT and Juilliard School in New York as well. The school uses National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE and A-Level. It is an independent, privately-owned school that caters to over 1,800 students.

british international school

Canadian International School

Canadian International School focuses on teaching a rigorous Canadian curriculum to English-speaking students from all over the world. The school was established in 2007. Since then, its largest contingent is Canadian (over 20 per cent), followed by Emirati, Canadian and British (roughly 5 per cent). The plus point of this school is that there is a strong Parent Council that coordinates social events. The school offers the Alberta State Curriculum/ Alberta High School Diploma. It caters to the ages between 3-18. It is a co-ed, privately owned school with over 900 students.

canadian internation school

Gems American Academy (GAA)

Gems American Academy has the privilege of being the only US curriculum school in Abu Dhabi operated by Dubai-based GEMS education. Its student base mainly consists of Emirati, American, Korean or Canadian passports with the majority of teachers either American, Canadian or British. Average International Baccalaureate Diploma average results are just under the UAE figure but above the global one of 30. The school is highly accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). In terms of the diplomas, the school offers a PYP/ adapted American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ IB Diplomas. Its student base ranges from the age of 3 to 18. The school moved to a brand new campus in Khalifa City in 2011. Since then, it has been able to host a total of 2050 students on its premises.

gems academy


Gems Cambridge International School

Gems Cambridge International School surely is one of its kind among the best schools in Abu Dhabi. Founded in 2013, this is a relatively youthful Abu Dhabi school. Often described as a ‘bottom heavy’ school, it has a relatively high proportion (around 2,000 students) in Primary School. Emiratis account for 30 per cent of the student body, followed by Pakistanis, Egyptians and Indians so there is a smaller percentage of native English speakers than in some of its competitors. The school focuses on the National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level/ BTEC. It caters to the ages between 3 to 18 as its student base. The school follows coeducation. It is privately owned with over 3500 brilliant students with promising futures.

gems cambridge international school

Gems World Academy

Gems World Academy is a relatively smaller elementary school as per the standards of the Abu Dhabi educational spectrum. However, this school is more international in terms of the number of different nationalities in its faculty and student base. The plus point of choosing this school is that its graduates have automatic entry to GEMS American Academy to continue their education. A higher proportion of SEN and ELL staff than in some other schools. It is an elementary school, therefore, it focuses on the students between the ages of 4 to 11. It is privately owned and over 550 expat students study in it.

gems world academy

Lycée Francais Louis Massignon

Lycée Francais Louis Massignon was founded in 1972. This esteemed institution has been authorised by the French Embassy in the UAE and inspected by Abu Dhabi Education and Knowledge (ADEK). The school is also a part of the French school network, Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE). It has over 500 global schools in nearly 140 countries. The medium of instruction is the french language and it has students from over 40 nationalities. The school follows a French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac. It takes students between the age of 3 to 18. It follows the co-ed mode of instruction. It is an independent organization with over 1,750 students.

Lycée Français Louis Massignon

Lycée Francais Théodore Monod

The younger of the two lycées in Abu Dhabi, opened in 2003 and operated by the Association Franco-Libanaise pour l’Éducation et la Culture (AFLEC). Accordingly, one-third of the students are French nationals, with a small number of Emiratis and the remainder (over 60 per cent) from a wide range of nationalities. The school accepts students right up from the ‘Toute Petite Section (under three) to the high school level. As evident from the name, Lycée Francais Théodore Monod follows the French curriculum. It caters to a student base ranging from age 2 to 18 years old. The school is co-ed. It is a private non-profit institution with over 1100 students.

lycee theodore monod

Raha International School (RIS)

Raha International School is yet another fine option from English schools by expats. The school offers a PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma and caters to a student base ranging from age 4 to 18. The school has adopted a co-ed mode of education. It is an independent and privately owned institution with over 2,000 students. The school was founded in 2006 and it is the first school in Abu Dhabi which was authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate programme (taught in English). Approximately 15 per cent of the students are Emiratis, with the remainder from over 80 different nationalities. Now with an architecturally, exciting second campus in Khalifa City. The school is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).raha international school

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With over 3 years of experience in teaching, Chloe is very deeply connected with the topics that talk about the educational and general aspects of a student's life. Her writing has been very helpful for students to gain a better understanding of their academics and personal well-being. I’m also open to any suggestions that you might have! Please reach out to me at chloedaniel402 [at]