Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi becomes the seventh school in the Middle East and the third in the UAE to be opened by the international school group.
Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi (NAS Abu Dhabi) will eventually accommodate up to 2,400 students. Although advertised as a new school, NAS Abu Dhabi is, in fact, a reincarnation of a school, Nord Anglia International American School, Abu Dhabi which was originally due to open in 2017 on the same site. As such, NAS Abu Dhabi should not be impacted by construction delays or similar issues and can be expected to hit its August/September 2023 target.
In so doing, it becomes the second Nord Anglia school in the capital alongside The British International School Abu Dhabi (BISAD), and the third in the UAE, with sister school Nord Anglia International School Dubai (NAS Dubai) having opened in September 2014.
The new school will initially open from FS1 (3+ years of age) to Year 9 (15+), adding Year 10 through organic growth and Year 12 (Lower Sixth Form) in August 2024. The school will be fully open across all year groups in August 2025, with its first cohort of A Level students graduating in July 2026.
According to Nord Anglia, the school's educational offering will be based on its Six core educational pillars:
The school will be led by Jonathan Cuff, a former educational inspector in the UK, who has joined NAS Abu Dhabi from Nord Anglia’s prestigious d’Overbroeck Secondary and Sixth Form Schools in Oxfordshire, England.
NAS Abu Dhabi will follow the National Curriculum for England, offering the Early Years Foundation Stage for its youngest students, leading to IGCSE for those in Years 10 and 11, followed by AS and A level examinations in Years 12 and 13. The school does not currently plan to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB Diploma), despite this being the school leaving qualification at sister school BISAD. NAS Dubai, whilst originally offering the IB Diploma only, subsequently introduced A Levels also, based on demand from parents and students. It will be interesting to see whether the Abu Dhabi school later goes down this two stream route.
According to the school “At the forefront of this experience will be educational technology, as “the key to building the leaders of tomorrow”, as well as a personalised approach to learning to empower students to “map out their own academic journey from early years”.
The Nord Anglia schools are known for their broad curriculum offering in both technology and performing arts, including their associations with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Juilliard School of Performing Arts.
Parents can expect to find a broad range of sports activities (Mr. Cuff is a keen sportsman and believes sports to be particularly important in developing team building skills), together with a range of extra-curricular activities.
With the Nord Anglia group known for their schools' academic focus, NAS Abu Dhabi says:
“Guided by outstanding British and international teachers, your child will get exceptional academic results that open doors to higher education across the globe. One in two Nord Anglia students go on to study at one of the world's top 100 universities, including Cambridge, Stanford, and Imperial College London.”
Certainly, the Dubai school has been among the top performing schools for both IB Diploma and A Level results, although the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic affected its outcomes, together with all other UAE schools. By the time the first cohorts of IGCSE and AS/A Level students complete their examinations, normality will have returned fully to the process, enabling comparisons with pre-pandemic achievements to take place.
Set on a site of over 44,000 square meters, the new, purpose-built campus will provide state-of-the-art facilities.
These will include large classrooms, a 'World class' library, state-of-the-art science labs, a multi-purpose hall with performance facilities and retractable seating, outdoor sports fields, a large multi-purpose sports field, and an indoor swimming pool.
With a recognised name in the UAE, Nord Anglia can reasonably expect that there will be demand for their new school. Clearly, they have determined that a UK curriculum school is more likely to succeed (and to build on their known strengths) than the originally planned US curriculum operation.
However, their location on Reem Island puts them in close proximity to several other highly regarded international schools including Repton Abu Dhabi, whose main campus (from Year 2 to Year 13) opened in 2018 and is already rated Outstanding by ADEK. Very Good rated GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi relocated its campus in 2021 and started its expansion to Grade 12 when it will become one of only two full IB curriculum schools in the capital.
Fee information has not been released at this time. However, the fees for the Nord Anglia Dubai school range from AED 63,447 in FS1 to AED 95,946 in Year 13. Fees for BISAD range from AED 50,300 in FS1 to AED 68,700 in Year 13. By contrast, Repton Abu Dhabi's fees are AED 74,000 for Year 13.
School fees in Abu Dhabi are generally lower than those of Dubai, and we would therefore anticipate that a similar fee level to Repton Abu Dhabi is likely.
Whatever the final outcome, they will be at the premium level.
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