- Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi – is located on Saadiyat Island, the new cultural home of the capital, and therefore almost an ideal location for a school – or will be. At the moment, it is still surrounded by construction, with a one way traffic system that makes it a lengthy process to reach. However, once you negotiate the traffic system, you are led to the main entrance to the school which is large and imposing, and will be neighbours with the likes of the Louvre and Guggenheim.
The school follows an England and Wales based curriculum initially, with EYFS and IGCSEs. The school will then move on to either A-levels or the International Baccalaureate. The school has yet to make its decision, and says it is watching closely the current overhaul of the UK’s post-16 education landscape.
Classroom sizes are small, with a maximum of 18 per class.
As you would expect teachers have been predominantly recruited from the UK, with some UK experienced staff recruited from within the Gulf area. Staff are said to all have public school experience – which should prove to be a key differentiator for Cranleigh.
As you walk into the school the first impression is of an extremely cheerful and helpful Security guard on door duty who is greeted politely by students as they come and go. The entrance opens onto a large foyer which is light and airy. Offices are to the right of the foyer and great care has been taken to ensure that each has windows at both ends, so that the light streams through to the Reception area.
The classrooms for the Early years and Junior School are located on the ground floor, leading off onto corridors to the left of the main lobby area. Each corridor has classrooms on both sides and a central area for play and group activity. Between the corridors are outside shaded areas which are used for PE for the youngest children currently.
Classrooms are again light, bright and airy and pieces of students’ work adorned on the walls add to the busy atmosphere.
Great care has been taken to ensure that even the youngest children can see outside (low-level windows) and that equipment is totally appropriate to their needs – much has been produced locally to the school’s specifications.
The school canteen is also located on the ground floor.
Older students are accommodated on the Second floor, where there are also specialist Science labs and the Library.
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi operates an extended day with many students at school from 8am to 4.30pm and later, as Prep time and Sports activities are built into the schedule.
It is hoped that this format will encourage families to consider day-boarding initially with weekly and full-time boarding to follow eventually. Boarding Houses are due to follow in the next phase of construction.
With its proximity to the water surrounding the area, students are able to take part in a range of water-based activities, as well as the more traditional sports and after-school clubs.
Fees are at the very top end for Abu Dhabi, where schools tend to have lower fees than in neighbouring Dubai. They range from 65,000 AED in FS1 to 80,000 in Year 9. These are top end prices (and would be even for Dubai). However, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi is positioning itself as one of, if not the premium option in the capital, operating in a very exclusive location, with the experienced staff you would expect from a similar school in the UK.
This will put pressure on the school to deliver quickly. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi is a very new school and its processes will no doubt be still bedding down. However, it already leaves a positive impression in terms of its scale, appearance and its busy, bright and cheerful atmosphere.
Level taught: FS1-11
Curriculum: EYFS, GCSE, National Curriculum for England
Number of Children: 1100
Emirate and Area: Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island
Tel and Web Address: +97124970000
Principal and Owner: Brendan Law (Principal), TDIC (Owner)
School Inspection Rating: Good
Year Founded: 2014
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Address: Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Headmaster’s PA: +97124970101
Arabic Secretary: +97124970104
Uniform Shop: +97126817648
Admissions – firstname.lastname@example.org
Recruitment – email@example.com