Answer: Abu Dhabi has some very good schools, although there is a disparity in quality and not every institution can boast to be of the highest standard. ADEK inspects schools in the emirate between every 18 and 24 months (although 2020 has proved an inspection write-off given Covid-19), and rates schools as Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Weak and Very Weak. There are currently 9 schools in Abu Dhabi Emirate that are considered Outstanding by the regulator (compared to neighbour Dubai's 17), and a further 21 schools are rated Very Good.
Conversely, there are still four schools in the emirate rated Weak, and 86 considered just "Acceptable".
The full list of school ratings can be found below.
|School Name||Current ADEK rating||Previous Rating||School Fees Minimum (AED)||School Fees Maximum (AED)|
|Al Muna Primary School*||Outstanding||Outstanding||41580||41580|
|Al Yasmina Academy*||Outstanding||Very Good||42,900||61,150|
|Bloom Academy (Brighton College) Al Ain||Outstanding||Outstanding||49900||79000|
|Brighton College, Abu Dhabi*||Outstanding||Very Good||48,900||77,720|
|Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi *||Outstanding||Very Good||65000||96333|
|Merryland International School||Outstanding||Very Good||23500||41400|
|Pearl Academy *||Outstanding||Very Good||41,700||43,150|
|Raha International Private School||Outstanding||Outstanding||36100||56900|
|The British School of Khubairat *||Outstanding||Very Good||43,160||70,630|
|Abu Dhabi International Private School||Very Good||Good||13,660||29,280|
|Abu Dhabi International Private School, Branch||Very Good||Good||30,800||46,400|
|Al Bateen Academy*||Very Good||Outstanding||56100||65900|
|American Community School of Abu Dhabi||Very Good||Very Good||47,220||85,490|
|Emirates National Private School, Al Ain||Very Good||Good||21,345||55,637|
|Emirates National Private School MBZ||Very Good||Good||23330||59920|
|GEMS World Academy||Very Good||Very Good||39950||58400|
|German International School||Very Good||Very Good||31,800||47,900|
|Horizon Private School Branch||Very Good||Good||23,490||44,080|
|Japanese School Of Abu Dhabi||Very Good||Very Good||15200||33000|
|Lycee Louis Massignon School||Very Good||Very Good||27,000||46,820|
|Repton Foundation School||Very Good||Very Good||55000||61000|
|Sheikh Zayed Academy for Girls||Very Good||Very Good||29000||66900|
|Sheikh Zayed Academy for Boys||Very Good||Good||47900||58200|
|The American International School Abu Dhabi||Very Good||Very Good||30500||55500|
|The British International School of Abu Dhabi||Very Good||Very Good||50300||66400|
|Al Ain American Private School||Very Good||Good||16800||29400|
|Al Ain Academy||Very Good||Very Good||39600||57330|
|Al Basma British School||Very Good||Good||22,040||40560|
|GEMS American Academy||Very Good||Very Good||50300||70100|
|Private International English School (Bhavans)||Very Good||Good||10,200||19,300|
|Repton School Abu Dhabi||Very Good||n/a||65,000||74,000|
|Abu Dhabi Grammar School Canada||Good||Acceptable||21000||45100|
|Abu Dhabi Indian School Branch 1||Good||Acceptable||9,360||20,000|
|Adnoc School, Sas Al Nakl||Good||Good||27,210||51,590|
|Ajyal International School||Good||Acceptable||27,270||48,870|
|Ajyal International School - Al Falah||Good||Good||20,580||41,160|
|Al Adhwa Private School||Good||Acceptable||7200||26708|
|Al Andalus Private Academy||Good||Good||5600||13700|
|Al Adhwa Private School||Good||Acceptable||7,720||21,400|
|Al Bashair Private School||Good||Good||12900||27200|
|Al Bateen Scientific School||Good||Good||15,430||25,310|
|Al Bahiya Private School||Good||Acceptable||16100||17300|
|Al Dhabiania Private School||Good||Good||9,050||16,460|
|Al Dhafra Private School AD||Good||Good||25,520||43,930|
|Al Dhafra Private School Al Ain||Good||Good||12,240||22,940|
|Al Ittihad National Private School AD||Good||Good||19200||39300|
|Al Ittihad National Private School Al Ain||Good||Acceptable||16,600||30,800|
|Al Khalil International School||Good||Acceptable||5,600||14,200|
|Al Mamoura Academy||Good||Good||44,800||72,430|
|Al Manara Private School||Good||Acceptable||13000||17300|
|Al Mashail (National Torches) Private School||Good||Acceptable||8,500||20,000|
|Al Nahda National School for boys||Good||Good||17500||26000|
|Al Najah Private School||Good||Acceptable||13500||35000|
|Al Nash'e Assaleh Private School||Good||Good||7000||23000|
|Al Sanawbar Private School||Good||Good||12500||26600|
|Al Yasat Private School||Good||Good||32,410||49,700|
|Amity International School||Good||Good||42000||52000|
|Asian International Private School Br. 1||Good||Weak||3,370||11,860|
|Aspen Heights British School||Good||n/a||35,000||60,000|
|Belvedere British School||Good||Acceptable||23,600||31,590|
|Bright Riders School||Good||Good||9,470||19,650|
|Canadian International School||Good||Good||35075||46494|
|Creative British School||Good||Acceptable||7000||18000|
|Diyafah International School||Good||Good||25,900||42,600|
|Dunes International (formerly Ryan Private) School||Good||Good||12,000||23500|
|Future International Academy||Good||Good||12,350||30,350|
|Garden City British School Al Ain||Good||n/a||23,100||27,500|
|GEMS Cambridge International School||Good||Good||20500||34900|
|GEMS United Indian School||Good||Good||9570||11,420|
|GEMS Winchester School, Abu Dhabi||Good||Good||15,200||29,010|
|Global Indian International School||Good||Acceptable||10,600||12,550|
|Horizon Private School||Good||Acceptable||6,070||19,340|
|International Community School Branch 1||Good||Good||12,200||26,600|
|International Indian School Baniyas||Good||Good||11,600||21,100|
|International Jubilee Private School||Good||Acceptable||12200||26600|
|Liwa International Private School||Good||Good||16200||29300|
|Liwa International School for Girls||Good||Good||32,500||41,850|
|Mayoor Private School||Good||Good||17,500||25,000|
|Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan Generations School||Good||Acceptable||12,100||17,200|
|Our Own English High School Al Ain||Good||Good||5,800||11,480|
|Rawafed Private School||Good||Good||18000||41800|
|Rosary Private School||Good||Good||7,610||16,670|
|SABIS Yas Island||Good||n/a||39,500||62,200|
|Saint Joseph's School||Good||Good||5800||10000|
|Summit International School||Good||Acceptable||19,240||26,030|
|Sunrise English Private School||Good||Good||6800||10700|
|The Cambridge High School||Good||Good||14500||30700|
|The Gulf International Private Academy Al Ain||Good||Good||11,800||25,500|
|The International School of Choueifat Khalifa A||Good||Good||20000||35300|
|United School of Al Yahar||Good||Acceptable||14,920||29,220|
|United School of Bani Yas||Good||Acceptable||21,000||35,000|
|West Yas Academy||Good||Good||52,470||63,280|
|Emirates Private School AD||Good||Good||9100||21600|
|Abu Dhabi Indian Private School||Good*||Acceptable||7150||14414|
|Al Ain English Speaking School||Good*||Acceptable||21,200||43,280|
|Beit Al Maqdes International Private School||Good*||Acceptable||5100||9100|
|Emirates National School Manaseer||Good*||Acceptable||23330||32260|
|Indian Private School Al Ain||Good*||Good||4200||9200|
|International Community School||Good*||Acceptable||21750||50831|
|Ruwais International School||Good*||Acceptable||17,900||25,000|
|The International School of Choueifat Abu Dhabi||Good*||Good||19600||34600|
|Emirates Falcon International Private School||Good*||Acceptable||20000||27500|
|ABC Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||17,900||26,190|
|Abdulla Bin Zubair Private School||Acceptable||Weak||28,000||42,250|
|Abu Dhabi Island International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||15500||21480|
|ADNOC Private School - Ruwais||Acceptable||Good||23,300||44,100|
|Adnoc School, Ghayathi||Acceptable||Acceptable||20,410||38,670|
|Adnoc School, Madinat Zayed||Acceptable||Weak||23,500||44,500|
|Ain AlKhaleej Private School||Acceptable||Weak||5,520||13,710|
|Al Ain Juniors Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||7600||16100|
|Al Awa'il Private School||Acceptable||Weak||5500||11000|
|Al Dar Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||7370||14805|
|Al Eman Private School||Acceptable||Weak||6,000||12,000|
|Al Hamdanya Grand Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||6891||11,275|
|Al Israa Private School||Acceptable||Weak||3,170||9,110|
|Al Ikhlass Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||5920||17705|
|Al Maharat Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||14000||25000|
|Al Manahil Private School||Acceptable||Weak||5,760||12,470|
|Al Manhal International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||9900||18600|
|Al Marfa'a International School||Acceptable||n/a||4,090||6,850|
|Al Muneera Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||11500||14100|
|Al Murooj Scientific School||Acceptable||Acceptable||18855||33255|
|Al Nahda National School for girls||Acceptable||Acceptable||14,120||27,930|
|Al Rabeeh Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||27,680||34,160|
|Al Saad Indian Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||8,700||14,320|
|Al Seddeq Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||3,170||9,620|
|Al Shohub Private School||Acceptable||Good||25,500||49,980|
|Al Sorouh American School||Acceptable||Weak||20300||24640|
|Al Tharwat National Private School||Acceptable||Very Weak||10,100||12,200|
|Aliaa Internatonal School||Acceptable||Weak||10,000||23,000|
|Ashbal Al Quds Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||8100||16100|
|Asian International Private School||Acceptable||Weak||4,000||5,650|
|Bani Yas International Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||13,890||29,120|
|Baraem Al Ain Private School Baniyas||Acceptable||n/a||3,890||12,790|
|Bright Riders School Branch 1||Acceptable||Weak||4,700||6,000|
|(Choueifat) International Private School Rowais||Acceptable||Good||17900||25000|
|Crescent International Private School||Acceptable||Weak||11,970||16,470|
|Dar Al Uloom Private School||Acceptable||Weak||4,090||8,080|
|Elite Private School (formerly Al Nukhba)||Acceptable||Acceptable||24,040||31,720|
|Emirates Education Academy||Acceptable||Acceptable||5,000||7,400|
|Emirates Private School Al Ain||Acceptable||Acceptable||8000||13000|
|Emirates Private School Bani Yas||Acceptable||Weak||3,580||6,450|
|First Lebanon Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||2700||10800|
|Future (Al Mustaqbal) International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||11,730||25,070|
|Global English Private School||Acceptable||Weak||16,380||26,570|
|Good Will Children Private School||Acceptable||Good||23,900||30,800|
|Ibn Khaldoun Islamic School||Acceptable||Weak||3200||9400|
|International Academic School||Acceptable||Acceptable||29000||39000|
|International Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||4,300||11,770|
|Islamia English High School||Acceptable||Acceptable||6900||14100|
|Lebanon First School and KG||Acceptable||Acceptable||3,790||14,730|
|Lycee Theodore Monod||Acceptable||Acceptable||19100||22700|
|Madar International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||17700||28700|
|Manor Hall International Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||25000||35000|
|Maplewood International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||38,000||46,000|
|Modern Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||14,000||25,000|
|New Indian Model School||Acceptable||Acceptable||4300||7000|
|Oasis International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||3,180||5,000|
|Pakistan Community Welfare School||Acceptable||Weak||2,700||2700|
|Polaris Private Academy||Acceptable||Acceptable||9,150||14,500|
|Reach British School||Acceptable||Acceptable||23,330||47,880|
|Rowad Al Dhafra (Al Tumooh) Private School||Acceptable||n/a||4,600||13,225|
|Ryan International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||13,710||23,330|
|Scientific Distinction Private School||Acceptable||Weak||7500||10700|
|Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||3,700||5,100|
|Sharjah (formerly Scholars) American International AD||Acceptable||Acceptable||29,500||43,200|
|Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Arab Pakistan School||Acceptable||Acceptable||3,680||6,240|
|Shining Star Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||12686||20731|
|Tawaam Model Private School||Acceptable||Weak||6000||14200|
|The Australian School of Abu Dhabi||Acceptable||Acceptable||14,975||35,534|
|The International School of Choueifat Al Ain||Acceptable||Acceptable||19400||34300|
|The Model Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||4500||6200|
|The Philippine Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||6400||6600|
|The Philippines Global School||Acceptable||Acceptable||5,220||8,290|
|Universal Private School||Acceptable||Weak||4,910||15,450|
|Virginia International School||Acceptable||Acceptable||24000||35000|
|Vision Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||7,160||14,320|
|Wales International School (formerly Al Ansar)||Acceptable||Weak||23500||30500|
|Yas Academy Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||4000||8600|
|Zakher Private School||Acceptable||Acceptable||4900||11200|
|Al Manara Private School branch 1||Acceptable||n/a||12,700||16,900|
|Baraem Al Ain Private School Al Muwaiji||Acceptable||Weak||3,790||10,030|
|Emirates Future International Academy||Acceptable||Weak||7800||14600|
|Emirates National Private School, AlNayhan||Acceptable||Weak||34150||55920|
|Al Ettehad Private School||Acceptable*||Very Weak||2,100||3,000|
|Al Rabeeh (Royal American) Academy MBZ||Acceptable*||Weak||10,230||17,800|
|Dar Al Huda International Private School||Acceptable*||Weak||5,120||10,540|
|Pakistani Islamic Private School||Acceptable*||Very Weak||2,970||5,630|
|Palestine Private Academy||Acceptable*||Very Weak||2,460||7,060|
|Al Maali International Private School||Weak||Very Weak||8,400||15,000|
|Philippine - Emirates Private School||Weak||Acceptable||6,000||13,200|
|The Iranian School AD||Weak||Weak||3600||4560|
|The Iranian School Al Ain||Weak||Weak||3,000||3,800|
|Manar Al Ilm Private School||n/a||Weak||6,900||28,000|
Government ratings are just one strand of what can be considered good, of course. Abu Dhabi schools are not, as a whole, very forthcoming regarding third-party data such as results in external examinations, but the best schools are increasingly stepping up. Results data is not the be all and end all but does provides strong clues as to the quality of education at any school - although please do note that a selective school will of course perform better than one that is not.
For UK schools, impressive results are regularly recorded at Brighton College Al Ain and Brighton College Abu Dhabi, at the British School Al Kubairat (possibly the city's most successful A Level school academically), at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi and at Cambridge International Abu Dhabi. Al Yasmina Academy has just started to release limited data to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. Click here for UAE wide A Level exam results tables.
For the IB Diploma, the British International School of Abu Dhabi this year published its results, along with Al Bateen Academy, GEMS American Academy, and Raha International. That's four of the nine schools offering the IB Diploma in the emirate... Click to check out the full UAE IB DP results in 2020.
The final check to do is to see how parents themselves rate their schools in Abu Dhabi. Forums are great for this, but if you want the wisdom of the crowds expressed as a single number, check out the WSA Best Schools List for Abu Dhabi, ranked by Parents' ratings...
Answer: Schools begin in September (or last week in August) and end in June or July for all curricula except Indian, Pakistani and Japanese curricula schools. For Indian, Pakistani and Japanese curricula schools, the academic year is from April to March.
Answer: That very much depends upon your child. The "Which is the best school?" question is the one we are most commonly asked, and actually why we're called WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. However the answer is either there isn't one, or more accurately, there are many, because there will be a best school for a specific set of characteristics and requirements.
The answers to these questions, and others like them, will help you identify the characteristics of the school that is best - for your child.
Please note, that does not mean that some schools are not performing better than others. In Abu Dhabi the Abu Dhabi Department for Education and Knowledge (ADEK) provides a rating for all schools that will help you understand which schools the regulator thinks are currently Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Weak or Very Weak. Reports need to be read in the context of what the regulator is looking for. It may not be what you are looking for.
Parents also have a view of the best schools in Abu Dhabi which can diverge from what regulators, and indeed educators think of as "best". You can read the forums to get a view of this, or, in a much simpler format, take a look at our parent rated Best Schools in Abu Dhabi list. We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com have tried to capture the wisdom of the crowds in our quantitative ranking - the Best Schools by parents. The data comes from our parent surveys. If you're a parent, teacher or student in a UAE school, take the survey!
In terms of desk based research, the other resources to look at include our sister site, SchoolsCompared.com, and if you are looking at UK schools, the British Schools Overseas (BSO) reports. The latter are very much optional so only a handful of schools have been inspected this way, but the inspections follow those of OFSTED in England and a school that does undertake this process is clearly committed to providing education at least on a par with, or better than, English public schools.
Nothing however beats visiting schools, so our final recommendation - once you have made your shortlist using the likes of WSA - is to visit the schools themselves. Here is what to look for on a school tour...
Answer: There are 13 different types of National curricula in Abu Dhabi, and 14 in total if you consider SABIS one (we don't, it's actually more of an approach - the curricula it uses are largely UK based). Most families choose a curriculum that either a) aligns with their national curriculum or b) is a truly international curriculum that 'travels'.
Option (a) is especially important for international families that plan to 'return home'; while option (b) is important for those parents that do not see themselves returning home, but perhaps moving between countries. Option (b) is also important for parents targeting a tertiary education for their child(ren) outside their country of origin.
The most international curricula are the UK (I/GCSE and A' Level) and the IB. We define international simply as the curricula most frequently used by international private schools around the world, and the qualifications accepted most readily/easily by universities globally.
Despite the fact there are a large number of 'US curriculum' schools in Abu Dhabi, there is no real USA-wide curriculum, since education is organised on a State-by-State basis. All US curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi are required to be accredited by a US-based School or College Association, but some of these are more highly regarded by universities than others. There is no requirement for students in US curriculum schools to take pre-university public examinations comparable with A Level and IB.
Answer: Cranleigh Abu Dhabi tops the list with average annual fees across all age groups of 80,500 AED. It is a full 10,000 AED more expensive than GEMS American Academy (70,500 AED), closely followed by the American Community School of Abu Dhabi (67,000 AED), Brighton College in Al Ain (65,000 AED), the same price point as Repton (also 65,000 AED).
In general fees in Abu Dhabi are lower than in neighbouring Dubai, and that is because traditionally the emirate's regulator has been stricter when it comes to the fees schools are allowed to charge when opening, but also because Dubai just has a greater variety of all types of schools at all price points. A table of the most expensive fees in Abu Dhabi may be found below.
You should note that these are the official fees, approved by the education regulator. In reality, there are often discounts - some of which are published, and some of which you have to ask for. The size of a discount (and whether there is one at all) depends on how much pressure the school has on school places. Abu Dhabi in general has seen less of an influx of new schools, and so has not seen the kind of discounting that has happened in Dubai.
Table of the most expensive schools in Abu Dhabi
|School||Average Fee (Annual)||Location||Curriculum|
|Cranleigh Abu Dhabi||80,500||Saadiyat Island||UK|
|GEMS American Academy||70,500||Khalidiya||US/IB|
|American Community School Abu Dhabi||60,700||Khalidiya||US|
|Brighton College Al Ain||65,500||Gafat Al Nayyar||UK|
|Repton||65,000||Al Reem Island||UK/IB|
|Al Bateen Academy||62,500||Al Manaseer||UK/IB|
|Brighton College Abu Dhabi||62,000||Bloom Gardens||UK|
|Repton Foundation||61,500||Al Reem Island||UK|
|Sheikh Zayed Academy for Boys||61,000||Al Khalidia||US|
|British School Al Khubairat||59,500||Al Khubairat||UK|
|British International School Abu Dhabi||59,000||Shakhbout City||UK|
|Al Mamoura Academy||58,000||Al Nahyan||UK|
|Al Ain Academy||57,500||Al Sarooj||UK|
|West Yas Academy||57,000||Yas West||US|
|GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi||56,000||Al Danah||IB|
|Raha International School||55,500||Khalifa City A||IB|
Click here for the full directory of Abu Dhabi schools, listed by price.
Answer: The most affordable, cheapest or lowest cost schools can be found in the table below. Note these are mainly Indian curriculum (CBSE) schools.
Table of the least expensive schools in Abu Dhabi
|School Fee||Fee||Curriculum||ADEK Rating||Location|
|Asian International School Madinat Zayed||4000||CBSE||Acceptable||Madinat Zayed|
|Grace Valley Indian School||4,500||CBSE||Acceptable||Manasir|
|The Model (New Indian) Private School Abu Dhabi||5,000||CBSE||Acceptable||Mussafah|
|New Indian Model School Al Ain||6000||CBSE||Acceptable||Falaj Hazzaa|
|Indian School Al Ain||6500||CBSE||Good||Falaj Hazzaa|
|The Philippine Private School Abu Dhabi||6500||Philippines||Acceptable|
|Asian International School Ruwais||7,000||CBSE||Good||Ruwais|
|St. Joseph's School Abu Dhabi||7,000||CBSE||Good||Al Mushrif|
|Sunrise English Private School||8000||CBSE||Good||Mussafah|
|GEMS Our Own English High School||8500||UK||Good||Al Manaseer|
|Islamia English School||9,000||UK||Acceptable||Al Dhafrah|
|Darul Huda Islamic Schoo||9,000||CBSE||Weak||Falaj Hazzaa|
|Abu Dhabi Indian School||9,000||CBSE||Good||Shabia Muroor|
Click here for our Abu Dhabi schools directory, ordered by fee, lowest at the top.
The lowest cost UK school (GCSE based) in Al Ain is GEMS Our Own English High School. In Abu Dhabi it is Islamia English School, currently rated Acceptable. The lowest priced UK school, with a Good rating, in Abu Dhabi is Creative British School with fees of 14,000 AED per annum.
The lowest priced IB continuum school (IB PYP, MYP and DP) in Abu Dhabi is the Australian School of Abu Dhabi with average annual fees of 26,000 AED. These are very low fees for an IB school which in general has smaller class sizes than those found in other curricula schools.
Last, but not least, the most inexpensive US based school (offering the High School Diploma) would be the Summit International School in Madinat Zayed, with fees of AED 19,000 per annum.
ADEK lists 234 private schools across the emirate (to Dubai's 207). This includes schools in Al Ain, and Al Dhafra. In the Abu Dhabi 'region' itself there are 149 private schools. This includes 9 IB schools, 41 American curriculum schools, 40 British curriculum schools and 15 Indian schools.
ADEK stands for the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), previously Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC). It is the educational authority for the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The equivalent in Dubai is the KHDA and in Sharjah, SPEA. These agencies have a dotted line to the UAE's Ministry of Education which retains some authority for private education in each of the emirate's, especially when it comes to federal matters and the curriculum for the teaching of Arabic and Islamic Studies. The MoE retains direct control over public institutions, and nurseries. The remaining emirates are more reliant on the Ministry of Education for the regulation of both public and private schools.
Answer: Children need to be 3 years by 31st December to start school in the September. However, many UK curriculum schools with strong links to the UK still follow the UK cut-off date which is 31st August for children starting school in FS1.
As a rule, it is better for children to be among the oldest in the class rather than the youngest, as the level of maturity (and therefore the ability to settle in school) varies enormously at this age.
You should be guided by the Admissions team at the school in choosing what is the best for your child when that time comes.
For Indian, Pakistani and Japanese schools, children need to be four years of age by 31st July to commence school in KG1 at the start of the academic year in April.
Short answer, no if you are an expatriate (with limited exceptions for other Arabs), but yes if you are an Emirati. Schools are also free - for you - if your company pays of course. ADNOC schools, for example, are free or heavily subsidised for example, for most ADNOC employees.
That said, even for international families paying their own way there are very low cost schools in the emirate. At the time of writing the threshold for a school place was 4,000 AED for the year, for a place at Asian International School in Madinat Zayed
Answer: In Abu Dhabi, according to the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, "the student shall not be dismissed from school because of delay in payment of school and tuition fees and instalments, but the school may temporarily suspend the student from attending the school after warning his\her guardians three times. The school may also withhold the student’s result and refrain from delivering transfer certificates until a settlement of instalments is reached. No student may be deprived from attending the final exam of the year because of non-payment of tuition fees." (Organising Regulations of Private Schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, The Chairman of the Executive Council, Resolution No. (26) of 2013).
It is always a good idea to be honest with your school and keep them informed of your situation. Far better to be working with your school towards some form of resolution than be in conflict with the institution that educates your child.
Answer: There is paperwork to do but it's doable, but with some strict limitations on the timing of such moves. Unless they have relocated from another area of Abu Dhabi Emirate, children may only transfer schools within the first month of the academic year, and within the same curriculum. In order to switch curriculum, they will need to wait until the end of the academic year.
Abu Dhabi Education and Knowledge Department (ADEK) aims for continuity of education for all children and therefore tries to ensure children are registered in the correct age group and academic level upon transfer. This is more complex for children switching curricula, particularly if the grading structure in the current school is different to the new one. Students are not permitted to change curriculum after Grade 8/Year 9 in order to ensure that they complete their final four High school years in the same curriculum.
There are also different requirements if you are switching from another emirate, or from overseas. There are additional considerations if you are switching mid year. Those families moving from the Southern Hemisphere should note that if their children are joining in September, they will be required to repeat the same academic year. Click here for the complete rules for switching schools in Abu Dhabi.
Answer: School fees vary significantly in Abu Dhabi to cater to its very different affluence levels. While everyone always wants fees to be cheaper, the truth is that all price points are pretty much covered with fees currently ranging from 4,000 AED to 80,000 AED. Put another way, the fees of most expensive school are currently 20 times more than its most inexpensive. There are lots of schools in-between.
Note the cheapest school is not necessarily the best value, and the most expensive school is not necessarily the most overpriced. Any parent doing their due diligence needs to ask: Will I be getting what I'm paying for?
Answer: It depends on the specific year. Each year schools apply to ADEK to be able to increase their fees. Permission to do so, and how much they can do so, depends on the performance of a school, as outlined in its Irtiqa'a report, and a school's spending on teaching, technical and administrative staff including salaries, professional development, infrastructure improvements, the number of students, the focus on inclusion, the number of national teaching and administrative staff and their retention rate. Fee increases also need to be linked to an improvement plan.
Answer: Abu Dhabi has government owned and run schools (operated by the Ministry of Education) and it has private independent schools. It also has schools which are government owned, but run by private school groups.
If you have already raised your specific issue with your school with no satisfactory resolution, you can register a case through the ADEK monitored complaint management system. This system allows you to raise the complaint directly with the school again, while giving full visibility to ADEK. All cases raised through the ADEK monitored complaint management system will be reviewed and monitored by ADEK for compliance to regulations.
If your case is related to child abuse, please contact the Abu Dhabi Social Police: 024490008, 037151103 (Al Ain), or 028081852 (Al Dhafra region)
You may also contact the Ministry of Education, which has a toll free hotline: 800 51115.