The school will be built over seven hectares of land and will accommodate more than 1,600 students between the ages of three and 18. Once built Cranleigh Abu Dhabi will become the largest school campus in the emirate with open green spaces and will, according to press reports, be equipped with the latest technology.
The school will have a shared 650-seat auditorium, 2,900-square-metre sports centre and 19,300 square metres of outdoor fields, two grass pitches, an Astroturf pitch, four tennis courts, two swimming pools and an indoor arena comprising of two full-sized multi-purpose courts.
The school will also introduce a broad academic curriculum with emphasis on the individual and lots of opportunities for students to take part in a full range of talents in fine arts, performing arts, music, sports and cultural activities.
Located next to Manarat Al Saadiyat and the UAE Pavilion in the Saadiyat Cultural District, the school will also offer boarding facilities which is the first time that a school will provide such facilities in Abu Dhabi. Various boarding arrangements in purpose-built houses — separate for males and females — will be offered, including full-boarding as well as individualised day and weekly boarding options. However, the majority of students are expected to be day pupils.
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi will also be one of several education facilities on Saadiyat, such as a pre-school nursery opening in 2013 and New York University Abu Dhabi which is expected to be completed in 2014.
Cranleigh will join Repton, another leading independent UK boarding school, which has set up in the UAE. Dubai based Repton opened its gates in 2007, and has had its share of teething problems, showing hundreds of years of history will not necessarily be grafted into a new country overnight. Repton is currently ranked a Good school by the KHDA, Dubai's education regulator. It is the second highest rating the body offers.