Update: New Schools, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, 2014-2015

Update: New Schools, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, 2014-2015
By David Westley
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Reach British School

Opening: September 2014
Grades on opening: FS1 - Yr6
Fees: 19,800 - 23,100 AED
Other fees: 500 AED registration fee
Eventual Capacity: 2500
Location: Abu Dhabi, Baniyas East
Tel. 026767751
E-mail: abu.mon@rb-school.com

A school developled by Reach Holding at an investment cost of $29 million, and with an eventual capacity for 2,460 students.

Reach is not an educational specialist, but rather invests across industries, and across the Middle East. "Reach Holding [has] established over 15 companies that invest in different sectors of economies in the Middle East, from Industrial, Real Estate and Service to Healthcare and Education... We are continually seeking new investment opportunities in various forms."

The company is 80% owned by GulfCapital, a private equity and investment company.

What's different about the school?
Too early to tell. It has the basis covered with a pretty impressive looking building, and a curriculum in place for its students. Reach will follow the Cambridge Primary Programme.

The school seems to be setting itself up for sizable number of students who will have English as a second language. The curriculum "includes extended... frameworks and a new curriculum for English as a second language.

"There are built in Progression Tests for English, Mathematics and Science from the third year of teaching placing the learners performance into three bands (Gold, Silver and Bronze) which is aligned to the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint examinations taken in Year 6."

Eventually the school will provide International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and finally A Levels using the CIE external examinations board.

Facilities look good. Construction of the school has been managed by Firas, a company responsible for a number of schools in the capital.

The school is a purpose built facility with a foundation stage block with its own entrance, two almost identical teaching blocks (the second opening in 2015), a multi -purpose block housing a 25-meter swimming pool, with a large indoor sports hall, changing rooms and a canteen. There is also an administrative block.

A shaded play area, and sports areas are positioned between the two teaching buildings.


Ontario International Canadian School

Start date: September 01, 2014
Fees: 43,750 AED - 66,750 (KG1 to Gr 6); Discount 37,200 AED - 60,075 AED for early joiners. The discounted rate will apply to joiners for the next three years. There is an additional discount for Canadian students
Other fees: Application Processing Fee: 300 AED; Textbook Fee (50% refundable at year end if books returned in reasonable condition), Medical Services Fee,Transportation Fee – if service selected, Activities Fees (based on cost of activities selected)
Location: Algeria Road and 15 Street, Uptown Mirdiff, Dubai
Web: http://oics.ae/
Tel: +971 4 255 9880 /+971 4 255 9899
Email: admissions@oics.ae

Dubai's first Canadian school will open in September in Mirdiff, with the curriculum provided by the Ontario Ministry of Education. Arabic, Islamic Studies and UAE Social Studies provision will be based on UAE requirements.

The school begins with KG to Grade 6, but says it will add additional grades each year and eventually provide a complete educational sequence through to the end of Grade 12.

Students will then be able to graduate with a Canadian high school diploma.

The school also plans to establish a waiting list for Grades Seven from opening, "and will consider adding those grades to its programme for 2014-15 if there is sufficient interest".

The school's principal, Gregory Cosgrove, has Middle East experience, having been Director of the Canadian International School of Egypt for almost 6 years, up to July, 2011.

This school says it will become known for its academic rigor, and its focus on each learner "as a unique individual".

The school also seems to want to promote a strong student – parent – school partnership. "We will succeed based as much the strength of that partnership as on the strength of our instructional programming."

We like the look of OICs' language school. English is the language of instruction at the Ontario International Canadian School, however students will also study French as part of their daily classroom schedule. In addition, the school will operate an optional after-class language academy offering Mandarin, Spanish, Russian and German.

As part of UAE MoE guidelines the school will teach Arabic.


Nord Anglia International School

Curriculum: National Curriculum of England
Opening: September 2014
Location: Al Barsha South, Dubai
Fee level: 52,000 to 75,000 AED. There is a (very slight) founder's discount.
Initial age groups: FS to Year 8
Capacity: 2000 students

Nord Anglia specialises in a British curriculum for international markets. The 27 schools it operates seem very highly regarded by parents around the world. The group itself is headquartered in Hong Kong, but its education HQ is based in Oxford.

The group is well-funded: Nord Anglia Education recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange and shares rose as much as 12 percent on their U.S. market debut on March 26 2014, valuing the group at about $1.7 billion. The group itself raised some $304 million from the float.

Some 1,200 students from over 70 nationalities already study in one of its schools in the UAE. The British International School Abu Dhabi has been operational in the capital since 2009. BISAD is currently ranked B4 by the Abu Dhabi Education Authority - the highest grade in its Satisfactory banding. Parent feedback we have received has been predominantly positive.

Anything different about the Dubai school?
Clearly the school follows the Nord Anglia Education model. It is selective*, and has a focus on British education and the IB. The school is being built from scratch, in Barsha South, which is going from desert when it comes to schooling, into a bit of a cluster. The building is due for handover in May, and the school says this is on course. Facilities look very good indeed.

Nord Anglia Education Schools students score four points above the global average in their IB diploma - according to the school group itself. From the WSA Q and A: "In 2012, one in five Nord Anglia Education students won places at the world’s top 30 universities. Three of its students received full marks on their IB diploma, a feat achieved by only 109 of the 119,000 who sat this exam worldwide. 15% of all Nord Anglia Education students who sat the IB Diploma achieved a score of 40 or above, more than double the global average of 6%." More here.

*  Nord Anglia Education schools are not specifically academically selective, but are selective based on attitude. Some of its schools are selective based on ability to access the curriculum (for example IB). The school's interview process is based on this selection criteria.

Looks very good, and currently seems on track. Regular updates on the school's Facebook page.

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