Amity International School, Al Bahya – The Review 2023
It’s quite extraordinary, but it is fair to say, in 2023, that Abu Dhabi parents, seeking a beyond-world class British education for their children, now have five exceptional schools to choose from: Amity International School, Brighton College Abu Dhabi, Brighton College Al Ain, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi – and last, but not least, the British School Al Khubairat. These five schools, in different ways, capture the absolute best in education that the UAE, as a whole, has to offer – and, in our view, taken together, you could not find better British schools to educate children anywhere else in the world. These are strong claims, but these are exceptional schools. In the following we review Amity International School, on its own terms, but as a comparative site, it is worth setting this context. We do not believe that any of these schools would be anything but proud to be celebrated for their achievements together. As an educationalist you cannot help but be extraordinarily inspired, and not a little humbled, to have such an extraordinary cluster of outstanding British schools for parents within reach.
Amity International was founded in September 2015 – it is a relatively young school. But…. this is a school with a difference. In the last eight years the investment injected into this school is arguably the most of any school in the UAE to date. The brief? Build and create the best British curriculum school in the world for children. This is a not-for-profit school too. The aim of the leadership – more on this below, and school’s owners, was to get this right from Day One. The ambition here is quite something – and in the following review we hope to capture just how much that ambition has paid off. In simple terms, however, if you were to think about how to build a 21st century, forward-looking Eton in the UAE, this is perhaps a model for how you might try.
The school offers a fully co-education, 100% British all-through education for students between the ages of 3 and 18 years through EYFS, GCSE, Gold standard A’ Level and BTEC. Currently (2023) Amity International School Abu Dhabi educates 1550 students against a capacity of 2500 students. The new landmark Amity Sixth Form numbers 50 students against an eventual capacity of 300 students. Across the school there are around 55% boys to 45% girls. The teacher:student ratio we rank outstanding plus running from 1:4 in nursery, 1:6 in Reception and Year 1, 1:10 between Year 2 and Year 6 – and 1:7 across Secondary phases.
What Makes this School Different
- Not-for-profit – children’s interests placed centre stage. Children and families are the only core stakeholders, not shareholders.
- Facilities – second-to-none investment from an Olympic standard pool to its landmark, light-filled 21st century building filled with every conceivable facility – and annual ongoing investment improving and expanding on these as student needs are identified.
- Outstanding school leadership – and one of the most impressive school leadership teams we have experienced in the UAE – with a sense of shared purpose that we found an inspiration. The enabling and investing dynamics of this school create an environment in which everyone works together, everyone has a voice – and everyone is on the same page. That page is the welfare and individual achievement of students.
- Commitment student bursaries, scholarships, child happiness and the welfare of families. The school is joined up in a 360 degree vision of looking after students and families from the moment they join the school.
- Inclusion and international outlook and welcome – this is a British school with a big heart and welcome to families and cultures from every part of the world – with very serious investment in ensuring that every child which joins Amity gets immersed in the curriculum quickly – and is wrapped in meaningful care and support.
- Feedback from students – the direct feedback we gained from students at this school was at the very highest levels of positive feedback we have gained from any school operating in the UAE to date. Children are happy – and feel listened to and cared for. Absolutely stellar feedback.
- Enthusiasm – it is very long time since we have been in a school where everyone, from school leadership, through senior leadership, teaching faculty have been quite so happy, engaged, optimistic and enthusiastic about life at school. This comes from an ethos in which all children are encouraged to “reach for their stars” – knowing that a grand apparatus of support will help them each step of the way. They are not alone in “their journey” and the “oceans of possibility and discovery are wide open for each and every one of them.”
- Fast-track investment in Music, Dance and the broader Performing Arts
- Dedicated Minerva Enrichment Lead who supports applicants for Oxford and IVY league universities.
Amity International School is located between Al Raha and Al Bahia beaches on the coast of Abu Dhabi where it lies adjacent to its own boathouse and sailing club on a landmark 14 hectare, bay side campus. Off its coast lie both Ba Al Ghaylam and Ramhan Islands. The school is well situated for communities across the capital including those clustered around Yas Island, Al Bahyah, Masdar City, the Airport and Khalifa City. Travel distances from key communities include:
- Al Reef (15 minutes)
- Al Zeina (10 minutes)
- Al Muneera (10 minutes)
- Al Bandar (10 minutes)
- Yas Island (10 minutes)
- Al Raha Gardens/Beach (15 minutes)
I am sure Mr Frost will forgive us with remarking that he bears an uncanny resemblance to David Cameron, Former Prime Minster of the United Kingdom. It is quite disconcerting on first meeting him and you would be forgiven for wondering whether you had in fact not landed in the House of Commons. However, regardless of your politics, the resemblance runs skin deep. Mr Frost is a very different, hugely inspirational animal – and a true educationalist at heart. We found him, very happily, about as far from as a dissembling politician as could be imagined. Keenly intelligent, exceptionally empathic, hugely warm, engaging and completely committed to his school (its students, families, teachers and community) we spent nearly four hours with him on our last visit to Amity – and could have spent another four. His views on everything from the importance of child happiness, of the values that underpin outstanding schools, of why British education is definitive – and why children, as individuals, must be the centrifugal focus of a school, amongst many other areas of discussion, left us hugely impressed and actually quite moved. If you are going to trust the education of your children to a school leader, you need to know, without qualification, that your child will matter to them. We left our visit believing unambiguously that Mr Frost would personally ensure that no child joining his school would be left behind. We can say that of far too few schools we visit.
Mr Frost is Oxbridge educated (he would no doubt emphasise the Oxford given the friendly battles between the two, and particularly in the context of Amity’s boating specialism!) – and it does show in all the good ways. Do not expect an individual is in any way arrogant or self-important, or indeed one that is not very conscious of the needs of others. He would probably raise eye brows if we wrote that found him very likeably woke – but actually woke is simply another word for being kind and thinking of others and we found both qualities in him expressed with clarity and depth. Hugely well read, with interesting and well thought views on every subject we touched, Mr Frost would make a wonderful guest at any dinner party. In a school those qualities transfer so well into creating a buzzing environment for student learning in which each child’s ability to question everything is seen as a gift to be encouraged and celebrated, rather than an act of anarchy. Tellingly, Mr Frost came most to life when discussing a vulnerable student with us who he described in very moving terms as one of the most special children in his school whose gifts would go on, he believed, to transform the world for the better. Equally, his eyes positively sparkled discussing the impacts of the Korean community of children in the school for their bringing to Amity a degree of hope, internationalism, culture and whole school happiness that has transformed the life chances and world view of every student in the school.
A biologist and scientist by degree, we found Mr Frost far from the traditional view of a numbers man drawn more to facts over people , human complexity and emotion. In fact, arguably his background in, and love for, Music and Sport, probably tells you at least as much about him. Educated at Eastbourne, he won prizes across multiple areas of school life and was seen by peers and staff as an one of those inspirational people in life that will are far too rare and set to make a difference. That he chose, with the opportunities of the world available to him, to focus his life on education – and overseas, is so telling. Equally telling is the resolve of a young man who chose to embrace choir, rugby and science almost in the same breath. The confidence here is all in the right places – and one about embracing life’s opportunities and the limited time we all have.
We also really like Mr Frost’s openness in exploring the commercial world post-Oxbridge. He spent some years working for Millward Brown, part of Kantar, WPP’s insight, information and consultancy group. The grounding focused his mind on the extraordinary power of education, as opposed to a more lucrative life in commerce, to make the difference that really matters. From Millward Brown, Mr Frost went on to gain experience across almost the who’s who of top British school brands in the UK – from St Paul’s to Brighton, from Magdalen to Bradfield. It was at the latter that he gained critical insight into the importance and value of scholarships and bursaries to a school, an aspect today of life at Amity International that has paid dividends in developing a school that inspires and supports children in equal measure.
From the UK, Mr Frost took up the position of Deputy Head Master and Vice Principal of Brighton College, Abu Dhabi, a position he held for three years, before moving to Amity International School in 2019. Again, tellingly, Mr Frost has been promoted from within, moving from his original posting as Founding Head of Secondary and Vice Principal.
Tellingly, Mr Frost passionately believes that exams no longer provide the most relevant indicator of either what makes a school successful for children, or what constitutes an outstanding education. To this end Mr Frost has augmented his school’s education provision to ensure that children develop the ‘skills for success’ that they require in later life. Mr Frost told us:
“Whilst exams might help open doors, how successful you are in your personal and professional life will depend on a lot more.”
Under Mr Frost’s leadership, Amity International School Abu Dhabi today adopts an extraordinarily broad and all-encompassing holistic agenda to ensure that “children are encouraged to be ambitious not only academically but physically and creatively,” whilst equally as importantly being supported by very strong processes of pastoral care and individualised learning. Mr Frost believes that the strength of his school is a product of the inter-relational trust that exists between the school’s governors, leadership, parents, and pupils. In order to protect this, he is a dogmatic pragmatist who firmly believes his role to be to protect the best interests of the students, “even when this exposes him to risk.” For Mr Frost, it is a philosophy of “putting children first” that must always define the trajectory and day-to-day learning and whole child investment of an outstanding school.
Tellingly too, both Mr Frost’s children attend Amity International School Abu Dhabi. Mr Frost’s wife works within the senior leadership in the secondary school. He could not have a higher personal stake in the success of the school.
If it is not already clear, we rate Mr Frost extremely highly and his impact, a hugely positive one, is evident across every aspect of Amity’s vibrant academic, ethical and cultural life.
Design and Architecture
Investment in glass, light and space are the hallmarks here. The buildings are of very high quality and the focus is clearly on function over form. We would have liked to see perhaps, given the ambitions of the school, a greater investment in architectural flourishes and landscaping, but the interior of the school, the spaces actually used by children, is where Amity invests and sparkles. It’s all about light, space, breadth and quality of facilities. The sense of space here for students is quite staggering – in so many schools you do really feel as if children are packed in like sardines – often this the reality of trading space for income and capacity. Here the school is focused only on giving children the space to learn – inspirationally and comfortably. It’s really impressive. Somehow too, the school creates this space whilst also inspiring huge warmth and purpose. That’s no easy feat given the scale and ambition here – it’s the children that achieve this, with the teachers and school leadership. In a way, that makes it all the more impressive. The children are the architecture.
Facilities at Amity International School include:
- Design and Technology Suite
- Olympic standard 50M swimming pool pool
- Dedicated Learners Pool
- Boat house/Sailing Club with spectrum of whole child on-water activities including canoeing (pictured)
- 3 International Libraries
- Dedicated Arabic library
- Science labs by phase and specialism
- Yamaha Music Suites – a core focus of school cultural life
- Acoustic Practice Rooms
- Fine Art rooms with gallery spaces
- Digital Media centres
- Drama Suite
- Dance Studio with rails and sprung floor
- Black box theatre
- 540 capacity landmark Auditorium
- Multiple indoor and outdoor play areas – including the spectrum of activities to nurture fine motoring schools and including water play
- Hydroponics Facility
- Sports Hall
- FS/Primary Gymnasium
- Dedicated FS wing for little ones with focus on celebrating childhood
- Arabic classrooms – deliberately integrated within school life, not siloed
- (Fabulous) whole school Dining Room – light filled and a real centre of community life
- Sixth Form Study Centre
- Shared Teacher/Sixth Form Cafe
- Indoor double-height Sports Hall including full-size basketball pitch.
- FS/Primary Gymnasium
- Tennis Courts
- Netball Courts – available for the use of boys and girls
- Landmark playing fields including FIFA standard football pitch
- 4G AstroTurf playing fields
- 500M running track
- Sixth Form Centre – a benchmark for how to engage with older students inspirationally
- Logo Robotics Lab
Investment in facilities is ongoing and average by our calculation at least one upgrade/new facility/activity per year of operation to date.
As above, investment in facilities is ongoing and average by our calculation a remarkable at least one upgrade/new facility/activity per year of operation to date. Investment in (expensive) British teaching faculty we rank Outstanding Plus. The school is not-for-profit. Genuine and wide-ranging bursary and scholarship programmes are offered and the school is notably transparent and open to discussing these and their rationale. The general focus of investment in scholarships is celebrating talent and ensuring that no child is left behind. On joining the school, families and children become an integral and valued part of the community, regardless of circumstances, for the lifetime they are the school.
GCSE Results 2019 – 2022
|Number of students in GCSE cohort||54||68||17|
|Number of GCSE entries||371||431||135|
|% of Examination entries graded 9||23.2%||26.9%||5.2%|
|% of Examination entries graded 9-8||43.7%||43.9%||19.3%|
|% of Examination entries graded 9-7||66.3%||58.7%||35.6%|
|% of Examination entries graded 9-6||80.1%||77.0%||57.8%|
|% of student achieving 5 GCSEs at Grades 9 – 4 including English and Mathematics||66.7%||47.1%||88.2%|
|Overall Pass Rate||99.5%||100%||100%|
In only its second year, we rate Curriculum breadth as Outstanding Plus. A Level options include:
- English Language
- English Literature
Theatre and the Performing Arts
- Business Studies
- Amity Mini MBA Programme – see prospectus below.
- Further Mathematics
- Computer Studies
- ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
- Design Technology
- Fashion and Textiles
- Fine Art
Given the otherwise extraordinary level of ambition here, we would like to see Government and Political Science offered – but these are early days. Worth noting, creditably and unusually, that both Psychology and Economics are also offered at GCSE (British Key Stage 4)
Technical Stream and Vocational Pathways
Amity International School offers three subjects within its BTEC founded technical stream pathway:
- Applied Science
- ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
By comparison, Cranleigh also offers three BTEC options, BSAK offers 6 options. Why does it matter? Children have different gifts – some are technical, some academic, some have a mixture of both. No parent can know when a child enters a school whether they will fit better with a technical stream, academic stream pathway or mixed pathway. Worth noting that in the area of technical stream education BSAK sets the current benchmark. Cranleigh has followed its example and is today only the second school in the entire GCC, after BSAK, to offer a BTEC in Engineering. Now there is a challenge Amity….. Engineering (for both young men and women) is important….(!)
Worth noting that Amity does not constrict the curriculum and ensures that students can study for a mix of BTEC and A Level qualifications.
For us, the provision of a serious and inspiring technical stream pathway is a key test of a school’s ability to deliver to the potential, needs, gift and ambitions of all students – and Amity passes this with flying colours. It is also arguably one of the single most important and unique aspect of a British education – even the IB generally has to borrow the BTEC qualification to hub its own technical stream alternative (its IB career-related Programme). On that note, Amity has been very clever here, in offering students the ability to combine technical stream study with both the Amity MBA and EPQ qualification – in doing so meeting head-on those who argue that the IB variant qualification has greater strength when compared to its British counterpart. At Amity International, even if the argument had some element of truth, it simply does not apply.
Post 16 provision covers the full extended British curriculum including “gold standard” A Level, technical stream BTEC, the Amity MBA, Amity Horizons Programme and British EPQ. We rate British Sixth Form provision at Amity International School Outstanding Plus.
The current Sixth Form options brochure follows:Amity International School Sixth Form A Level Options 2023
The Amity Mini MBA Programme Brochure follows:
The AmityAmity International School Mini MBA
Mini MBA Programme prospectus follows:
Absolutely centre stage, we were very fortunate in our last visit to Amity to spend time with a young student at the school who expressed, in absolutely unambiguous terms, the degree to which Amity transformed every aspect of her life. With perhaps not the easiest of lives behind her, Amity made the difference in providing her with hope and a school life rich in happiness, and attention to her gifts and ambitions. “They have given me my future” she told us. It was a story we heard from all the children we spoke with, in different ways. Amity children are outgoing, inquisitive, joy-filled, thoughtful and emotionally engaged. All these qualities are every bity as important as those you find expressed in qualifications. Today the school regulators are increasingly focused on child happiness for good reason. It is not just because all of us spend more than a fifth of our lives at school – and they absolutely should be happy ones – but as important, schools, in the era of Chat GPT and Entrepreneurship, cannot be about simply transfer of knowledge and command and control. Those days have, thankfully, gone. They have, instead, to be focused on creativity and moving knowledge forward. That means recognising students as creators, as human beings in their own right from Day One, and child happiness, values, soft skills, ethics, cross disciplinary learning and culture are the fundamental building blocks of this new economy based on invention, not repetition.
This investment in children, their welfare and happiness is seen across every aspect of school life at Amity. From a formidable and meaningful scholarships and bursary programme, to outstanding plus investment in breadth of subject and qualification pathways, and from investment in the whole child, particularly in areas such as Music and Sport, but also the Performing Arts and wider STEAM, to an internationalism that you can see building bridges between East and West before your very eyes, Amity is a class act.
Worth noting, and perhaps little wonder then, that Amity secures a Good rating across Arabic subjects at all phases within their ADEK 2022 inspection – something almost unheard of in even the most outstanding British schools anywhere in the UAE.
We rate child happiness at Amity International School Outstanding plus.
I think what stands out for us at Amity is the bridging of cultures in a British context. This is not a conveyor belt for Britishness. Instead, and its rarely accomplished so well, Amity delivers one of the most vibrant spaces for internationalism, one rooted in British education, that we have experienced in a UAE school. Students here graduate “better” than their home grown counterparts. These are the types of young men and women that top tier British universities and industry are looking for – outward looking, engaged, interesting and driven young men and women rooted in the flow of cultures that you find uniquely so well expressed in UAE British education at, as here, its very best.
We saw this with the impact of the school’s Korean community on the life of the school and all its children, but this is a school that welcomes more than eighty nationalities – and proudly. Yes, British children are the largest majority, but you won’t find here any of the stuffiness and misplaced insularity fairly typical of a private British education at home. British teachers here are carefully chosen. They represent the best in their field – but the school looks for more than pure academic and teaching giftedness. The school is as insistent on a culture of child-centred learning – and that means teachers have to be able to educate by inspiring children – and inspiring people are rare in this world anyway – without trying to construct an entire community of teachers from this already limited pool. So too, values, the best of British values, including not walking by on the other side and celebrating the underdog, are evident here and made real, not simply talked about.
Scholarships are used as a mechanism of inspiration and to empower each child’s belief in their own gifts and potential. More on scholarship opportunities below:Amity International School Scholarships 2023
Amity is ranked a Very Good School with Outstanding Features by ADEK, the Abu Dhabi school’s inspectorate. Remember, however, this is a school in the early years of building its powerhouse Post-16 Sixth Form provision. In every single possible respect, in our view, this is, in practice, and Outstanding Plus school. It’s part and parcel of ADEK inspections, that it needs a history of post-16 achievement to deliver its highest accolade. Go beyond this, and this is a school already, on ADEK’s own terms, that is delivering above the already high expectations it demands for all schools to deliver a Good standard of education, this measured against the harshest of international standards. For Amity to be ranking at this level so early, is telling of a school already firing on all cylinders – and more, for its children. Remember too, this report was written in the wake of Covid 19; this was one of the most testing periods for school inspections since they started. It covers the Covid period. Had this inspection been conducted without the impacts of Covid-19 we are confident that Amity International School Abu Dhabi would have exceeded the standards required for Outstanding schooling.
Summary of key findings:
- Unambiguously “Outstanding” care and support of children including the attention to detail on their health and safety at school
- Unambiguously “Outstanding” management of the school
- Outstanding level of responsiveness to ADEK recommendations
- Average 25% across the board improvement in ADEK outcomes to well beyond the standards expected of Good schools
- Very high standard of teachers with expert subject knowledge and imaginative delivery of lessons to inspire the best from every child
- Exceptional commitment to inclusion across the board. Students of Determination attain very well at Amity – and progress highly against flight paths.
- Very strong visionary focus for the school’s direction of travel and its implementation
- Powerful, two-way relationships with parents and the wider community. This is a school that listens, cares and responds.
- Outstanding facilities with an ECA and in-school whole child development programmes that maximises the opportunities these open up for every student. There current number of books averaged per child is approaching 20; an almost unheard of level of investment in reading in this sector.
- Leverage the powerful links the school has with businesses locally and internationally to open up further opportunities for students. An example of an organisation doing this exceptionally is GEMS Education – you can read more about this here. As Amity beds in BTEC technical stream education, and ideally extends its opportunities for students in this area, it is likely that many more opportunities for the school will open up from this.
- ADEK is ambitious for the school to further improve delivery of Arabic subjects. As per our note above, Amity is already batting way above the average for British curriculum schools. This is an area that has proven itself a major stumbling block for all international schools. To its credit, Amity is embracing this challenge. There are schools that have simply “given up.”
The full 2022-23 ADEK Inspection Report follows:Amity International ADEK Inspection 2022 2023
Fees and Value
|YEAR GROUP||ANNUAL TUITION FEES|
Against this structure we rank Amity International School Abu Dhabi as follows:
Quality Rank: Tier 1
Staff:student ratio average: 1:12
Value added: High
Fee Level: Low premium
ROI: Very high/Outstanding plus
Overall ranking: Outstanding plus
Mrs Nicola Edwards-Cotton leads the Drama and Dance provision supported in Drama by Mr Thomas Faulkner.
All pupils take Drama lessons in Years 7-9 and Drama is powerfully supported within the curriculum from GCSE to A Level.
In the first two years of GCSE examinations the cohort is achieving at least 75% A*-A.
CCA activities include Dance, Drama, Acting, Design and Technical Theatre. Pupils enjoy rehearsing for Dance Festivals and competitions and the Amity Dance Society is in planning. Dancers are entered for the annual BSME Dance Competition and in 2021 a senior soloists achieved its second highest award. Performing Arts events at Amity play a key role in the school culture of innovation and the flourishing of STEAM within the whole child focus of learning. 4 major events take pride of place at the school:
- The Amity Festival of Dance Dance led by Nicola Cotton and the Secondary Dancers and showcasing younger drama students as they grow in their skills and passion
- The Upper Primary Drama production
- The Senior Secondary Drama production
- The Secondary and Upper Primary Musical, this brining together the Dance, Drama and Music Departments of the school in a spectacular landmark annual extravaganza of creativity.
Performing Arts lessons and activities are taught in the Black Box Studio, the Auditorium, the Dance Studio and a second designated Drama space.
Nicola Edwards-Cotton, Head of Drama and Performing Arts, told us:
“I am delighted to witness that throughout the day, every day the Performing Arts Spaces are alive with activity, there is a real buzz around the school. Pupil’s excitement and engagement is palpable.”
The Amity Dance Prospectus follows:Amity International School Dance Prospectus
Rebekka Bills, Head of Music at Amity International School, believes passionately that Music is arguably our most important universal language, one that embodies one of the highest forms of human creativity. Her Department of Music engages and inspires pupils to develop a life-long love of music, providing children from an early age with countless opportunities to discover and explore their talent as musicians, while also expanding their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to perform, compose, and analyse music with increasing confidence and enjoyment. Ms Bills quoted Hans Christian Anderson in contextualising the moving and critical ways that music builds on inclusion and the intra-disciplinary focus of the school’s culture: ‘Where words fail, music speaks.’
Ms Bills told us:
“It is my pleasure to be the newly appointed Head of Music here at AIS. I believe that good quality music education has an important role in developing well-rounded, happy and successful students.
During my time at AIS, music has made a strong impact in the school community and beyond. Music is valued among the SLT and in Y7 alone, children receive 5 music lesson over two weeks! There is a real buzz in the Music Department, with three full-time music teachers supported by a team of music specialists from the International Music Institute.
Music has become an increasingly popular subject with a large cohort or pupils participating in Co-curricular activities and concerts/productions. The music activities on offer at the moment are: Senior School Choir, Primary School Choir, String Group, Keyboard Club, Junior Orchestra, Recorder Ensemble, Ukulele Club, multiple Rock Bands and instrumental ensemble. We also offer a music enrichment project- The Joy of Composing. In this project students explore a variety of composition techniques, while discovering their inner creativity to compose their own piece of music.
Here at AIS, we have five very talented Music Scholars, who are heavily involved in the day-to-day life of the Music Department. In this fabulous group of musicians, there are two ADYM winners and plenty of future winners to come!
All our Music Scholars are powerfully supported to grow their musical talent, including provision of a dedicated mentor who guides them through the year, setting goals, tracking progress on targets, preparing them for competitions and performances, and helping each find balance and wellbeing.
Very simply, my calling is to make sure that music is recognized and valued as the beating heart of the Amity International School Abu Dhabi school community.”
In December 2022 over 60 AIS primary and secondary students were invited to perform at the Emirates Palace Tree Lighting Ceremony. The 60- pupil strong AIS School Choir sang in front of over a thousand people, representing the school at one of the most prestigious events of the festive season.
The View of Amity students
“My personal journey catapulted me into the Cambridge curriculum and ultimately into Amity International school. I was not able to join a school as my emigration from South Africa to the UAE was delayed due to the pandemic. I resolved to study online switching from the South African school curriculum to the Cambridge curriculum. After completing YR 11 online I quickly realised my need for the supportive and nurturing school environment that could positively influence for me and support my individual strengths. The Principal of Amity International, without hesitation, took up my plight and, despite my late start in Sixth Form, welcomed me with open arms to the school.
The moment I walked through Amity’s doors I was greeted with with great enthusiasm, acceptance and patience. I was delighted with the highly educated, knowledgeable, and passionate tutors. The tutors and other students in the class quickly became a family.
Every tutor at Amity has been a positive influence for me. They have given me the confidence and education I need to accomplish my dreams. The values and skills that I have been taught made me feel more academically and socially confident in myself, especially when it came to pursuing my high education applications abroad.
I have been so lucky to find such a supportive well-rounded environment.
Thank you just doesn’t seem adequate for all that Amity has done for me.”
Atish, Amity Pupil 2023
“Choosing Amity was the best decision for me while studying A levels. The biggest reason being our community still being relatively small and new, meaning all of us get much more attention in class and outside of class than most other schools in the area. We all have a good and functional relationship with our teachers and their dedication to always helping us succeed will never fail to amaze me. What I most like about Amity’s sixth form is the extraordinary facilities they offer students such as a lounge centre with desks and study booths or quiet study time, amazing sport facilities such as the only Olympic swimming pool in a school in the city, as well as tennis courts, basketball courts, and a football pitch. Many would say that a bigger and more popular school is better in almost everything, but given my experience in a popular school and now being at Amity, I can confirm that when it comes to education in a way, we can say that less is more.”
Matteo, Amity Pupil 2023
“My time at Amity Abu Dhabi has been nothing short of amazing! Our Sixth Form cohort lives by the ethos of individual development and collective leadership and you will find a diverse and close-knit class of high aspirants that truly supports one another to bring the very best out of each other. Having a wide range of A-level options essentially supports highly personalised streams that allow us to tailor our studies to our strengths and interests. From veterinary biology to machine learning to clinical psychology, there are endless possibilities for us to realise our high ambitions at top universities around the globe.
Being around our experienced and passionate mentors constantly provides us with every opportunity to benefit from their expert guidance in planning our career paths, developing our super curricular portfolios and embodying academic excellence by providing a unique holistic approach to learning and helping us grow into pioneers of the future. Amitian culture revolves around our outstanding co-curricular programmes and, as Sixth Formers, student leadership and initiatives are perfect platforms to lead and mentor the youth at our school, creating symbiotic relationships and inspiring them as role models in our community.
As a top academy seeking to nurture future trailblazers, I am sure you will find Amity Sixth Form to be the perfect home for the growing golden group of exquisite leaders of tomorrow.”
Armaan, Amity Pupil 2023
After receiving invaluable support and guidance during my IGCSE’s, it was a “no brainer” to continue my A- level journey at Amity.
A-levels have challenged me beyond any expectation, but the continuous encouragement from both my teachers and Sixth Form community has made it possible to persevere.
I am thankful for the amazing quality of learning I’ve received in each of my subjects due to the small class sizes which allows for a personalised learning experience.
The door is always open. This Amity policy has made me feel comfortable and confident in asking for help with choosing a university course, writing my personal statement, or just needing an ear to listen.
I will forever cherish my time at Amity and am sure that it is the right place for any committed student to grow and flourish.
Francis, Amity Pupil 2023
Top Schools Awards
Amity International School is currently being reviewed by Judges for recognition in the Top Schools Awards 2023. Our gratitude to Wiktoria (pictured below left) for her ambition, kindness and bravery in completing first stage Jet Pack trials for this year’s STEAM focussed annual UAE Education Awards. Her engagement and delight in taking part was an absolute credit to her school.
Bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com Verdict for Parents 2023
Amity International School has achieved what no one could have anticipated – a very deserved place at the very top table of British education in the UAE. This is a an absolute phenomenon of a school that took our breath away across every single category of our inspection. Where do you begin on a school that fires on every cylinder and in the starkest terms – exists only for a single purpose: it’s students. There is absolutely no diversion here – and the owners have refused any compromise, anywhere, in meeting those needs – and in full. And, profoundly, when those needs change, the investment taps are swiftly turned on so that new needs are met. We saw this first hand in two areas. The first the welcome given to two very different communities joining the school in 2022-23, and second in the extraordinary care given to one quite exceptional and gifted child who had very defined needs. We spoke to the student at length and it was impossible not to be moved by her story which for confidentiality reasons we obviously cannot repeat here. What we can say is that, in the vast majority of schools, the care invested in her would not have been made available, in part because of resources, in part because of the extraordinary culture of individual child-focused care at Amity driven by school leadership and cascaded through every part of the teaching body.
Little wonder the school ranks in the top three schools in Abu Dhabi for positive parental feedback by EDSTATICATM, the only independent large scale source of parental data in the UAE, this with the British School of Al Khubairat and Cranleigh Abu Dhabi – both outstanding plus ADEK schools.
If there is a weakness, it is a technical one that stems from the relative newness of the school. This will be only the second year of British Sixth Form at Amity. However, Cranleigh has a year’s head start (it opened in September 2014) – and it has taken Cranleigh until 2023 to deliver a breadth of A Level and BTEC options that we now rank, with Amity and BSAK, Outstanding Plus. In the early days Cranleigh provision was significantly more limited. The lesson is that even the most outstanding British curriculum schools today need time, resources and the unwavering commitment to deliver. Amity International School has all three.
Also worth noting that average fees at Amity are around a third less than those of Cranleigh, whilst broadly in parity with BSAK. Both Cranleigh and BSAK, in particular, set the bar here very high but already Amity International School is offering an education for children, in its unique way, at least their equal.
Our original critique of the school, one based on the absence of a formal technical stream pathway for children, is now fully addressed in the schools provision of BTEC study in Sport, ICT and Applied Science. If you wanted to be simplistic you might argue that Amity shines for its Sailing, Sports infrastructure, Internationalism, Music and ethics. BSAK shines for its technical stream education, traditional British sporting achievements, inclusion, historic importance in the UAE, Engineering and Science. Cranleigh shines for its particularly impressive Performing Arts programmes. Brighton Colleges for a very British education and Fine Art. All of these, simplistic summaries, however, miss the detail and magic of what makes each of these school its own – and all of them are outstanding in their own right. At this level of achievement for children, a comparative site like SchoolsCompared, loses, to some degree, its raison d’etre.
Would we like to see changes? With schools as high performing as this, these are inevitably tweaking. Yes, we would like to see introduction of A Level study in Political Science. We also think that there is room to expand options in technical stream education. The school faces very stiff competition in this area – but we think there is room for introduction of a BTEC in Engineering. Abu Dhabi has the opportunity to become pioneers in this area of learning; it has already cast shade on its Dubai school equivalents in this key area. Arguably too, more could be done to ratchet up investment in the Performing Arts which would play well with the outstanding strengths of the school already in Music. Whilst it is early days, we also would like to see work beginning on an alumni programme. Dubai College, for example, is setting the benchmark here with establishment of a UK charity to drive forward funding for bursaries and scholarships. As part of this we would welcome publication of a formal statement on bursary provision for those exceptional circumstances where parents face financial hardship. Finally, all schools now need to be working through responses to the impact of AI and Chat GPT. This could mean switching some of the more traditional classroom based learning to outside school during time now given to homework to free up time for much more debate in class. Finally, we hope that the school does not let up. At this rate of investment and improvement, Amity could end up being in the running for the Best British curriculum school in the region.
From some of the best facilities of any school in the UAE then, to absolutely top-drawer British teachers and school leadership; from school owners and leadership who are unambiguously driven by the needs of children rather than anything else, to a culture of school happiness that is both nurtured and achieved – and from its very clear capacity to grow and excel still further, adventurous curriculum and sparkle in Music, to its thoughtful and altruistic investment in scholarships, bursaries and family/student welfare – Amity International Abu Dhabi is a school that deserves accolades – and many of them. Profoundly inspiring, clever and imaginative, Amity International School Abu Dhabi is hugely impressive – and no less than a tour de force in British education.
Amity International school secures our, unambiguous, recommendation. This is a what an outstanding plus school for children looks like in the twenty first century.
© SchoolsCompared.com 2023
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2022: Very Good with Outstanding Features (Note post-Covid inspection - see main body for explanation)
Very Good with Outstanding features
Very Good with Outstanding features
Very Good with Outstanding features
Very Good with Outstanding features
Under review 2023-24
Nursery: AED 43,300
Reception: AED 44,550
Year 1: AED 47,230
Year 2: AED 47,230
Year 3: AED 50,930
Year 4: AED 50,930
Year 5: AED 50,930
Year 6: AED 50,930
Year 7: AED 55,150
Year 8: AED 55,150
Year 9: AED 55,150
Year 10: AED 61,010
Year 11: AED 61,010
Year 12: AED 61,010
Year 13 61,010
British, English National Curriculum:
Amity Mini MBA Programme - see prospectus below.
ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
Fashion and Textiles
BTEC Applied Science
Design and Technology
Art and Design
Unambiguously academically and Determination inclusive
In some years
Negligible. Very significantly below average.
Al Bahya, Abu Dhabi
Largest nationality: British
CEO: Dr. Vajahat Hussain
Governance: H.E. Dr Saif Al Seiari, Mrs Jo Vigneron
+971 (0)2 503 9003
+971 (0)55 625 4609
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