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Brand new campuses

Olivia Olarte-Ulherr / 12 January 2013

Four new and quality private schools will be opening their doors in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain this year and one by 2014, creating over 11,000 seats for children by 2017 and relieving the burden off many private schools.

The private education sector across the emirate is currently overstretched with about 69 per cent of private schools enrolling more students than their actual capacity, according to Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, Private School and Quality Assurance executive director at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).

First to open this year is the Bright Riders School in Mohammed bin Zayed City in March. The new school will offer CBSE International curriculum and will initially open up places from Kindergarten till Grade 4. 

Dr BR Shetty, CEO of New Medical Centre Healthcare and chairman of Bright Riders, said that all places are “already full” months ahead of its opening date. Built over 36,000 square metre, Bright Riders can accommodate up to 4,000 students and will have spacious classrooms, multi-purpose auditorium, an indoor swimming pool and athletic track.

GEMS Cambridge International School — Abu Dhabi (Baniyas City), Repton School Abu Dhabi (Reem Island) and Brighton College Al Ain are all due to open in September. 

GEMS Cambridge is part of the Bawabat Al Sharq (BAS) project by Baniyas Investment and Development Company (BIDC), which has signed an agreement with GEMS Education, one of the world’s largest private school operators.

GEMS Education manages a network of international schools around the world. The GEMS global network of schools presents a unique brand of award winning schools which provide education to more than 110,000 students from 151 countries.

GEMS Cambridge can accommodate up to 3,400 pupils and will offer UK curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 13.

The British school Repton is a partnership between Evolvence Knowledge Investments Limited (EKI) and Sorouh Real Estate, and is located within Sorouh’s residential and business community development Shams Abu Dhabi on Reem Island.

The new school will be spread across two campuses. The first is a 7,000 square metre site for 520 children from Nursery to Year 2.  The second campus will open in 2014 for children in Year 3 and over. Facilities include two multi-purpose halls and a swimming pool.

“Education is a key component of the overall vision of Abu Dhabi and this represents Sorouh’s first project in this important area... (and) our first education partnership with the leading British institution Repton School. This world-renowned school will significantly enhance the thriving community on Shams Abu Dhabi and the wider Al Reem Island, by offering the highest standards of education to families in Abu Dhabi,” said Abubaker Seddiq Al Khouri, Sorouh managing director.

Brighton College Al Ain is the second branch to open in the UAE and Abu Dhabi. Spread over 25 acres of land, the campus will boast state-of-the-art facilities and is committed to becoming one of the leading schools in the Gulf. Places will initially be opened for pupils in Foundation Stage 1 up to Year 4, together with the Boys’ School and the Girls’ School from Years 5 to 9. Admission will be based on entry assessment.

Years 10 to 13 will open from 2014 and by 2017, the College will educate 1,200 pupils across the full three-18 age range, offering a British curriculum leading to GCSE and the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Abu Dhabi will have its first boarding school on Saadiyat Island in the third quarter of 2014. Built over seven hectares of land, with a capacity to accommodate more than 1,600 students, from three to 18 years, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi will be located in the Saadiyat Cultural District.

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi is a partnership between the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) and Cranleigh School, a leading UK independent school founded in 1865.

It will house specialist facilities for music, science, art, design and technology, drama, dance, and sport classes and state-of-the-art IT facilities with the latest technology, including electronic tables provided for pupils.

These will be complemented by a shared 650-seat auditorium, 2,900-square-metre sports centre and 19,300 square metres of outdoor fields with generously spacious recreational areas. Sporting facilities will include two grass pitches, an AstroTurf pitch, four tennis courts, two swimming pools and an indoor arena comprising of two full-sized courts, which can be used for basketball, football, badminton, gymnasium, dance studio and drama suite.

The school is currently in the schematic design phase, which will be ready by the first quarter of 2013. The concept has been designed carefully to provide a better environment for the students.

According to the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the private education population has been growing at an annual rate of seven per cent in the past six years.

There are over 198,000 students currently enrolled in 185 private schools across the emirate offering 15 curricula. If demand continues in its current rate, the student population is expected to reach 280,000 by 2020 with an annual growth rate of five per cent. 

This means an additional 146,000 seats and 100 more private schools are required by 2020, according to Engineer Al Dhaheri.

The private school sector has the highest number of pupils at 60 per cent, 25 per cent of whom are Emiratis.

Fifty per cent of students attend curricula in British, International Baccalaureate, American and Canadian; 26 per cent learn curriculum that depends on the Arabic language while 22 per cent follow the Asian curricula.



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