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The Arcadia School Dubai – Secondary Campus, Jumeirah Village Triangle – THE REVIEW 2020
Exclusive architectural render of the new Arcadia Academy secondary school opening in Dubai in September 2020. Building comepleted in December 2019 and children are being welcomes from September 2019, initially at the Arcadia Preparatory School in Dubai for Year 7.
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The Arcadia School Dubai – Secondary Campus, Jumeirah Village Triangle – THE REVIEW 2020

by Jon WestleyOctober 18, 2020

Arcadia School Dubai – Secondary Campus: updated October 2020. All-through slipstream school of Arcadia School Dubai – Primary Campus. Verdict 2020.

“At The Arcadia School Dubai we reward merit.

If for financial reasons there is a child who cannot come to our school but who is otherwise outstanding, he, or she, will be given a scholarship.

He, or she, will be given the red carpet in our school.”

Mohan Valrani. Chairman. Arcadia Education. Co-founder and Mentor, Al Shirawi Group.

“The Arcadia School is important. This wonderful school is the legacy of my father, Mohan Valrani. It exists to give back and the bigger picture is our guiding ethos to nurture life long learning.

We have created a school that inspires children to love to learn.

The world is changing profoundly. We are heading into a very difficult world. These difficulties are beyond discussions of how AI and robots will inevitably replace jobs. People will also live longer. Lifelong learning is so important because in the new world which our children are growing up in they will need to continue retrain and continuously specialise.


Schools are ripe for disruption – all the way from the early years to university. We can already see this in the US where many children in “Flip Schools” come to school to complete homework and they go home to actually learn.

Schools need to offer a much greater focus on vocational education and specialism. The world is going to get very specialised.

The Arcadia School Dubai is about giving back. We do not call it a business. Education can never really be talked of in this way. Education is not, ultimately, about numbers: If you make a difference in the life of even one child that is … extraordinary.”

Navin Valrani. Chief Executive Officer. Arcadia Education. Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Al Shirawi Group.

“Arcadia is more than just a school.

It is an educational experience that brings learning to life, challenges our thinking and shapes creative and confident students into life-long learners.

At The Arcadia School every child matters. Every child is encouraged to develop their intellectual curiosity.”

Giles Pruett, Executive Principal, The Arcadia School Dubai


The Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus. Background and Timelines.

Also known as The Arcadia High School, the Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus is an all-new, purpose built Year 7 – Year 13 English National Curriculum founded school offering a British international education to children between age 11 and age 18 through IGCE, A’ Level and BTEC. The school opened in September 2020 to Year 8, with subsequent years launching in phases through to all-through opening.

The Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus, like its Primary sister, The Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus, has a capacity of just 800 children, this offering parents the smallest dedicated Secondary school education for children currently available anywhere in the UAE. For many parents, the draw of a small community school, and one dedicated to secondary provision, is considerable.

The Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus is sited independently from its preparatory school, but only a stones throw away just across the road.

Fees are premium but, given the exceptionally small scale of the school and quality of Tier 1 offer, we rate as offering outstanding value for parents:


Grade KHDA Approved Fees (AED) Fees for Academic Year 2020-21*
FS1 61,200 45,900
FS2 61,200 52,020
Year 1 70,400 59,840
Year 2 70,400 59,840
Year 3 70,400 59,840
Year 4 70,400 59,840
Year 5 70,400 59,840
Year 6 70,400 59,840
Year 7 75,000 63,750
Year 8 80,000 68,000
Year 9+ 80,000 68,000
Year 10+ 85,000 72,250
Year 11+ 85,000 72,250
Year 12+ 90,000 76,500
Year 13+ 90,000 76,500

Fees are fully inclusive of 4 sets of uniforms and text books, with no additional charges for (1) after-school/Extra Curricular Activities (ECAs) or (2) text books. The value of this package is around AED 10,500 and has been designed to ensure that every child has the same opportunity to excel.

Creditably, the ethic here is that no child should ever be left behind or have advantages not available to other children at the school.

On top of the fees, parents are only required to invest further in the cost of field trips, lunches, transport and an iPad/Pencil from Year 3.

Addition benefits are offered to families who work for MBC, Emirates, Etihad Airways and FlyDubai.


Arcadia School Dubai – Secondary Campus: Unique features

Four stand-out, unique features of the school have been announced.

First, and a first for the UAE, is the promise that all Arcadia children will access work placements in one of the more than forty group companies owned by the school’s owners. This sort of access to industry is a standard feature today of education in the United Kingdom which has developed sophisticated apprenticeship programmes which have yet to reach the UAE. The perceived importance of vocational education is captured in the quotes above. Worth noting that the Arcadia School Dubai is not given to spurious marketing – it delivers what it promises and is exceptionally strategically engineered and resourced.

Secondly, Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus will include curriculum options in  areas including Engineering and Artificial Intelligence. To date, the only school in the UAE offering BTEC engineering in the UAE is the Outstanding British School of Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi.

Thirdly, Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus, has partnered with the Atlanta, US-headquartered R.E.A.L. Discussion to provide teacher training to Arcadia staff in Atlanta and curricular materials for student use in humanities subjects. The Arcadia High School will be the first UAE based school to implement its discussion-based learning system. More information can be found here.

Fourthly, The Arcadia School Dubai – Secondary Campus focuses on six defined pathways as part of an extended school day that integrates whole child enrichment:

  1. Academic excellence
  2. Sport
  3. The Performing Arts including Dance, Music and Theatre
  4. Digital Innovation and Technology
  5. Service Learning
  6. Entrepreneurship

The school backs this approach with links to the Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership and a Junior MBA programme. Each of these areas is subject to very high levels of investment and serious engagement. For example, in the area of the Performing Arts, Navin Valrani, Chief Executive Officer of Arcadia Education is on the record as stating that “… poetry, art and music are very important areas of life. A life without poetry, music and art is a life not worth living.” Mr Valrani was educated at Dubai College  where he won the Economics Award before studying at the Wharton Business School where he graduated in Economics and Entrepreneurial Management. At just 21 he entered the family business and took its Engineering Division from a turnover of some AED 40 million to its current turnover in excess of AED 1.5 Billion. His commitment to lifelong learning, the fundamental and underpinning ethos of the Arcadia School Dubai, has seen him study at The London Business School (MBA, 2011- 2013) and University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (MSc Education, 2017-2018), a school where today Mr Valrani is continuing his doctoral studies. Students at The Arcadia School Dubai Secondary, uniquely, will have access to companies across the Al Shirawi Group.


Arcadia School Dubai Leadership

Photograph of Giles Pruett Executive Principal and Director The Arcadia School Dubai

Executive Principal of the Arcadia School, Giles Pruett is an educationalist by training. Mr  Pruett graduated from De Montford in Secondary Education and Teaching and secured his Masters in Education from the University of Bath with Distinction. Mr Pruett brings to The Arcadia School Dubai 25 years experience in education, latterly at GEMS World Academy in Dubai where he led Secondary School  provision for five years. This followed his role as Vice Principal of GEMS Jumeirah Collage for four years and fourteen years as a Day and Boarding Housemaster at Prior Park College in Bath.

Mr Pruett is supported by a strong leadership team including a spectrum of senior educationalists, management consultants, human resource and business development experts, some senior roles transferring from leadership at Al Shirawi to ensure and drive the success of Arcadia.

More on Mr Pruett can be found here.


Arcadia Academy Location

The Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus, like its slipstream Primary, is located in Jumeirah Village Triangle – exact locations following:

Map showing the location of the Arcadia Academy in Dubai

Satellite image showing the location of the new Arcadia Academy and proximity to the Arcadia Preparatory School in Dubai. The Academy will open in September 2020.

The Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus building accommodates a maximum of 800 students. Ground floor classrooms open onto open protected spaces, providing students with outside study areas from their classrooms.

Ease of access is promised both on foot from the surrounding community and by vehicle. Vehicle parking will be provided in the basement.


Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus Facilities

Sports facilities are outstanding for such a small school and include a swimming pool and basketball court on the roof. A full sized football pitch is located on the ground level.


Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus Bottom line? The verdict 2020

We are long-standing admirers of what has been achieved at the original, in our view, outstanding Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus. Our review can be found here.

With the launch of its secondary school, we think the offer for parents is a compelling one. This is a school group that invests in its schools and teachers at an extraordinary level given the small scale schooling on offer. Its investment in teachers is serious and it is telling that every member of faculty is recognised by the school here.

Inclusion is absolutely fundamental to the individualised, child centric learning on offer and compassion and care for children is stand-out.

We are waiting for clarification on the final shape of the curriculum. We think schools, even in phased launch, should publish the academic prospectus for GCSE and Sixth Form Study at the earliest opportunity so that parents can accurately gauge the eventual shape of provision – and its ambition.

This aside, this is a school it is hard to find fault with. The establishment of the Arcadia School Dubai has been completed as a legacy project with money no object to deliver the finest education available anywhere in the UAE. The whole project is breathtaking in its ambition and ethics. Already, in its introduction  of scholarships, the Aracdia School Dubai has pretty much engineered a transformation of education across UAE schools. We expect its unparalleled investment in teachers to secure similar dividends in future years.

The opportunities here are rare – and probably unique for families seeking alternatives to the 2000 plus plus capacity schools that increasingly dominate in the UAE. Arcadia has the small scale, serious ethics and levels of investment to make Tier 1 Outstanding Plus community schooling real in the UAE for arguably the first time. Much will finally depend on the ambition of its Sixth form academic and vocational pathways to determine just how successful this will be. We would at this stage not bet against it delivering anything short of remarkable.

It’s too early of course to recommend a school without qualification that has yet to fully open its all-through provision or publish its academic prospectus.  But, if any school in recent years deserves our wishing it well, this surely has to be it. The promise here is inspirational, credible, ambitious, forward looking and ethically impressive  – and, we think, that makes the Arcadia School Dubai an important and integral part of the evolving story of education, as a whole, in the UAE.

Highly recommended.

© 2020. All rights reserved.





Details to consider
2018/19 Overall ADEK / KHDA Rating

First inspection due 2022

2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

First inspection due 2022

2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

First inspection due 2022

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

First inspection due 2022

Type of school

Private, for-profit

Full WSA Review

Coming soon

Average Cost Per Year

FS1: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 61,200, Discounted 45,900)
FS2: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 61,200, Discounted 52,020)
Year 1: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840)
Year 2: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840)
Year 3: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840)
Year 4: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840)
Year 5: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840)
Year 6: See Arcadia Preparatory School (KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840)
Year 7: 75,000
Year 8: 80,000
Year 9: 80,000
Year 10: 85,000
Year 11: 85,000
Year 12: 90,000
Year 13: 90,000


National Curriculum of England
(1) BTEC
(2) A level
(3) GCSE

External Exam Boards


Number of A Levels offered


A Levels offered


Number of I/GCSEs Offered


I/GCSEs offered



No, fully inclusive

Waiting list


Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

Capacity: 800

Teacher to Student Ratio


Largest nationality teachers


Year opened

2020 (September)
(1)Building completion December 2019


Jumeirah Village Triangle, Dubai

Student composition



Mixed, co-educational

School canteen



Oasis Investment
Al Shirawi Group
Arcadia Eduplan

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0)4 55 22 600

Web Address

• Outstanding school ownership
• Commitment to inclusion and child-centred learning
• R.E.A.L Discussion partnership
• New architecturally designed dedicated school buildings
• Small scale community dynamics
• Scholarship provision
• Commitment to industry-based education with proven links and work experience integrated within the curriculum
• Strong ROI
• Inspiring and serious ethical underpinning
• Deep commitment to vocational and technical stream education with access to Al Shirawi Group Company immersion for Arcadia students


• Potential teething issues of any new school in phased launch

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• An important school for the Emirates. Potentially ground breaking.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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