United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Khalifa City A / Raha International School, Gardens, Abu Dhabi

Raha International School, Gardens, Abu Dhabi Q & A

A popular and successful school, Raha, was again rated Outstanding in its latest ADEK report. Its ambitious Principal has what he terms ‘a rather long to-do’ list’. With its broad mix of nationalities across pupils and staff, Raha has a ‘new world’ feel in an environment designed with a semblance to a traditional Arabic village. A second branch campus was launched in September 2020 and offers enhanced sports facilities that will be used by both schools.
Parents' Rating
3.3 out of 5 based on 21 reviews
At a glance
School type
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
No data
Availability 2023/24
No data
Annual fee average
AED 55,500
Annual fees
AED 39,330–61,900
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
Ms Nicola Neethling
Main student nationality
United Arab Emirates
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Welcome to the Raha International School, Gardens, Abu Dhabi official Q and A page. Here we ask the questions, and the school answers directly. It is its chance to have its say on specific areas you have told us you want to know about. If you think there are additional questions we should be asking you may contact us here.

Does your school have a waiting list? In which years?

We typically experience waiting lists for each grade every year. The school operates at capacity so there are only vacancies when a child leaves the school. Parents are encouraged to ensure they have applied early as after siblings and staff children have been placed, other applications will be considered on a first come, first served basis.

What are qualities and characteristics that define your school and its students?

At Raha International School, a member of the Taaleem family of schools, we believe that a successful education is all about inspired, imaginative teaching, centred on the learner as an individual. We nurture students not only to achieve academic success but also to become true global citizens. Raha is an International Baccalaureate World School catering for all grades from Early Years 1 to Grade 12. Our school community is made up of over 2,400 students spread over two campuses who hail from over 80 nations and collectively speak 45 mother tongues. We pride ourselves on being a big school but a small family! 

How many nationalities are represented in your school? How international would you say your school is?

We currently have over 80 nationalities represented in our school across two campuses.

Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?

We do not have a gross majority of one nationality. Our largest population is our Emirati population at approximately 15%.

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?


If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?

In grade 12, students take the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme examinations.

Please provide details of how well your school did in its previous external exams for students at 16 and at 18 years of age? Please provide sufficient detail to allow parents to have a view on how academic your school is?

In our graduating class of 2018 we had a 90% pass rate. We are very proud of the overall average points achieved being 32.3, which is above the global average diploma score of 29.78. The highest score achieved this year was 44 points out of a total 45.

What percentage of your sixth form that take exams at 18 go to university, and where, in general, do they go?

Approximately 90% of our graduates are accepted to their first-choice university.

The 75 students of our Class of 2017 received in some instances, numerous offers to their top desired universities in 20 world countries on five continents. The UK remains our graduates’ most desired destination for higher learning at 33%, followed by the US at 25%, Canada at 21%, and mainland Europe at 20%.

In some countries, such as the United States, IB students are accepted at twice the rate in comparison with students from other curriculums.

Describe your school's approach to education and teaching?

At the centre of international education in the IB, are students with their own learning styles, strengths and limitations. Students come to school with combinations of unique and shared patterns of values, knowledge and experience of the world and their place in it.

By promoting open communication based on understanding and respect, Raha encourages students to become active, compassionate lifelong learners. An IB education is holistic in nature—it is concerned with the whole person. Along with cognitive development, IB programmes and qualifications address students’ social, emotional and physical well-being. They value and offer opportunities for students to become active and caring members of local, national and global communities; they focus attention on the processes and the outcomes of internationally minded learning described in the IB learner profile.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?

Opportunities to accumulate physical activity during the school day include time spent in physical education class, house intramural sports activities at lunch time, classroom-based movement, free-play at recess, walking or biking to school, and recreational/competitive sport and play that occurs before, during, and after school.

In Physical Education classes we teach students how to integrate physical activity into their daily routine and why it is important in their life.

How does your school promote healthy lifestyles?

Most students, consistently make healthy eating and positive lifestyle choices which is reinforced regularly at assemblies and at lunch times in addition to being explicitly covered in numerous PYP units of inquiry. There is a wide range of opportunities for exercise and significant education about food throughout our PHE and wellbeing curricula.  The introduction of Moral Education also promotes safe and healthy lifestyles.   

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students? How does it promote a balanced diet?

Yes, Raha has a large canteen for all students.

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?

EY1 7:45am – 1:00pm

EY2 7:45am – 2:00pm

Grades 1-12 7:45am – 3:00pm

Is there a school uniform?

Yes, there is.

Please advise on your discipline policy?

Raha students and staff are expected to model the Learner Profile in their behaviour; in doing so, their behaviour should exhibit a caring, principled, reflective and open minded approach towards others, themselves, their school and the greater community. The approach to managing behaviour is supported by several fundamental beliefs and principles as follows:

• Positive reinforcement is the most effective strategy in reducing incidents of inappropriate student behaviour.

• Initially it is the teacher in the classroom who intervenes and takes action to address a situation when students behave inappropriately.

• Student behaviour will improve when effective relationships are developed between parent, child and teacher. Regular contact with parents is encouraged.

• People are responsible for their choices and actions to themselves, society and their environment.

• All those involved have been treated fairly and have had an opportunity to be heard.

Which languages are taught at your school - please detail any as a first as well as second language?

Additional foreign languages are taught from Grade 6. Students can choose between French or Spanish. 

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?

Yes, Raha has an extensive and very supportive EAL programme for students who emigrate from different countries, have English as their second or third language or have varying levels of English. Once a student reaches a ‘high - intermediate’ level they can exit the programme. Their progress is continually monitored thereafter.

Do you offer a dedicated prayer room/s for students? For which faiths?

Yes, we do.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

Each of our students that fall under the Gifted & Talented umbrella is entitled to an Advanced Learning Plan. The G&T team meet with students and families 3 times a year as a collaborative team to make sure the students need for extension and support are being met. For instance, if a student is working above grade level in mathematics, alternate programs of study are arranged and overseen by our math learning specialist on a weekly basis. The open structure of the IB allows for great flexibility for students to pursue studies in their areas of interest and making their questions of inquiry as challenging as they are prepared to take on. 

Do you have a learning support team in your school?

Yes, we do. 

Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?

As per the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge’s (ADEK) policy, we are able to support children with mild to moderate special educational needs & disabilities.

Does your school have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?

We have access to several recommended educational psychologists, some of whom will meet students and parents at Raha for assessments.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?

Yes, Raha has a wonderful Raha Parent Team who support the school in many ways. Several big events, such as International Day, are organised by the Raha Parent Team, as well as other day-to-day volunteer opportunities for parents.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?

The Raha Parent Team liaises with the school and organises various volunteer opportunities for parents to support learning and activities within the school without having to join the Raha Parent Team. Heads may also reach out to parents from time-to-time for opportunities to support students in various areas.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?

Yes, Raha hosts several information sessions and events, across the school, for both new and existing parents.


Curriculum information sessions for parents to help them understand our three programmes (PYP, MYP & DP) within the International Baccalaureate curriculum. These sessions are led by the curriculum coordinators.

The Raha Parent Team hosts coffee mornings for new and existing parents.

EAL department hosts a weekly Parent Coffee Morning for Conversational English to help parents learn English in the cooler months.

School events such as the Treasure Hunt, Holiday Bazaar, International Day, National Day bring together all our families.

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

Raha International School, Gardens, Abu Dhabi is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:

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