United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Shakhbout City / British International School Abu Dhabi

British International School Abu Dhabi Review

The British International School Abu Dhabi (BISAD) is a rapidly growing K-12 private school for students between the ages of 3 to 18 years. The school, located between Khalifa City B and Madinat bin Zayed City, was established in September 2009, and is run by Nord Anglia as part of a group of international schools.
British International School Abu Dhabi
First Published: Saturday 7 July, 2012
Updated: Wednesday 28 February, 2018

The British International School Abu Dhabi (BISAD) is a rapidly growing K-12 private school for students between the ages of 3 to 18 years. The school, located between Khalifa City B and Madinat bin Zayed City, was established in September 2009, and is run by Nord Anglia as part of a group of international schools.

First Published: Saturday 7 July, 2012
Updated: Wednesday 28 February, 2018

BISAD has recently been rated A2 (Very Good) by the Abu Dhabi education authority, which puts it in a very small band of schools. This is all the more impressive because it has jumped two grades since its last inspection when it was rated B4 - satisfactory and improving.

The Story so Far

The school follows the English National Curriculum, with the International Baccalaureate Diploma program recently introduced in Year 12, and caters for 1580 students (up from 1350 in 2015 and 1250 students in 2014). The school has 829 pupils in primary, 314 students in Middle and 109 in High. There are also 330 students in KG/FS. British students form the single largest group with one in four students. There is also a sizable Emirati population (21%), and a smaller Indian one (6%).

Helping to beef up attainment and the IB offering is the (relatively) new Principal, Patrick Horne.  Most recently Mr Horne was Principal of the British International School of Shanghai, a fellow Nord Anglia Education school. The school was recognised as within the top 5% of schools in the world by the International Baccalaureate Organisation.



Mr Horne leads a team of 125 teachers, and 79 teaching assistants. The school has a teacher to sudent ratio of 1:19 in KG/ FS, 1:22 in Primary, and 1:9 in Secondary. Teacher turnover is currently running at 20%. This is slightly below the UAE average. Helping with lower churn of staff will be professional development which is said to be "continuous and has a very positive impact on learning".

Key Strength of the School 

Key strengths of the school according to ADEC are in the secure personal and social development made by students that "is very effectively nurtured by the quality of protection, care, support and guidance.

"Students demonstrate improving rates of progress: the majority of students attain levels that are above curriculum standards in Islamic education, English, mathematics, science and other subjects. "This represents very good progress from students’ starting points."

Curriculum planning, adaptation and implementation are also "highly effective and meet the learning needs of most students, particularly those with special educational needs (SEN).

"Staff, parents and students are strongly supportive of the school’s aims and the clear strategic direction and educational leadership provided by the principal.

Subjects taught include English, maths and science, French and Spanish, as well as Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies. BISAD also has a Global Classroom initiative to help students develop better cultural and political awareness of the world around them. Extra curricular activities offered are varied, including film studies, sport and drama.

What about Facilities?

The range of facilities available at the school is impressive, and includes common rooms, science labs, a pool, music suites, art rooms, drama studio, ICT labs plus a well-stocked library, which is new, of 17000 books and access to e-books. Courtyards are well-shaded. Classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards. In addition, all areas of the school are accessible to wheelchair users and standards of hygiene at the school are considered very high.

 



In September 2015, BISAD opened its 2nd floor extension to their original building so that it has now grown to Ground plus 2.  This has enabled the school to refurbish some of the original classrooms and particularly to extend the Sports halls and Sixth form facilities.



The new floor is almost entirely given over to Sixth form students, with specialist classrooms, study areas, a purpose-built library and catering facilities.   All areas are light and bright with strong primary colours in the common areas and more muted tones in the classrooms.  New outdoor sports facilities have also been added with a vast new swimming pool facility, but much of the grass sports fields remain untouched and are used for all manner of grass sports.

Further plans for updates to the building and facilities are in hand with more changes expected to take place in the coming months.

The school has also had its canteen refurbished (relatively recently) and communal eating is encouraged, although younger children eat in a separate dining hall.

What about Fees? 

School fees range from 47,900 AED to 63,200 AED, plus an additional 1500 AED registration fee. This is premium pricing in Abu Dhabi.

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