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The Arcadia School Dubai – Primary Campus, Jumeirah Village Triangle – THE REVIEW 2020
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The Arcadia School Dubai – Primary Campus, Jumeirah Village Triangle – THE REVIEW 2020

by October 18, 2020

Arcadia School Dubai – Primary Campus: updated October 2020. KHDA Inspection. All-through slipstream to Arcadia School Dubai – Secondary 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


Arcadia Preparatory School Background

Photograph of a child learning at The Arcadia Preparatory School in Dubai

Located in Jumeirah Village Triangle, The Arcadia School Primary Campus is a British, co-educational English national curriculum prep school educating children from the ages of 3 years to 11 years (FS1 to Grade 6). Its dedicated secondary slipstream school, The Arcadia Academy/High School, opened in September 2020 on an adjacent site – more below. The Academy, currently open to Year 8, will offer a complete secondary British curriculum education through to GCSE, A level and BTEC within the context of a small scale, 800 capacity school. Our review of the Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus can be found here.

The Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus is also a small school, currently educating 452 children (2019) against an overall capacity of just 800 children. Parents should note that this level and Tier 1 quality of investment and facility provision in such a small school is very rare.

The division of both schools within a single campus is designed to meet the needs of parents who want to protect childhood by having an independent primary school education for their children, whilst also drawing on the strengths that come from a slipstream secondary school. It’s rare to find this in the UAE and worth noting that this is the same approach adopted by the outstanding Dubai English Speaking School and Dubai English Speaking College, the joint winners of the Top School Award for Best School in the UAE.

Map showing the location of the Arcadia Preparatory School and Arcadia Schools in Dubai

The Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus aims to be the “finest preparatory school in Dubai.”

The ambitious goals for the school are each personally underwritten by the school’s respected founder, Mohan Valrani.

The ambitions include The Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus being:

  • The best in class provider of Primary and, with The Arcadia Secondary Campus, all through British curriculum founded education in Dubai;
  • To meet the needs of teaching staff employed by the group to ensure it can recruit and retain the best teaching staff in the sector;
  • To employ the latest technology available anywhere in the world to ensure that the quality of education children receive aligns with the best available;
  • To ensure that all its schools have facilities that are of “outstanding merit”;
  • To ensure that relationships with parents are both “personal and compassionate.”

Many schools have ambitions similar to these of course, but it is the delivery that is difficult. In the case of The Arcadia School Dubai, the personal underwriting of these ambitions by its founder and his son have proven to carry significant weight for prospective parents however.


Arcadia School Dubai ownership

Mohan Valrani is the founding partner, with Abdulla Al Shirawi, of the Al Shirawi Group/Oasis Investment, one of the largest privately owned Industrial Conglomerates in Dubai. The Al Shirawi Group currently employs more than 8,500 employees working across 42 group companies. Tellingly the Group’s launch into Dubai’s education sector takes pride of place on Al Shirawi’s corporate web site.

Mr Valrani’s educational expertise comes from his work as a Founder Governor of the not-for-profit Indian High School in Dubai, in our view an outstanding school and one which sets a benchmark for Indian secondary school provision across the UAE.

Mr Valrani’s extensive philanthropy includes significant investment in helping differently-abled children, particularly over more than 20 years’ personal investment in the Rashid Paediatric Centre in the Emirate.

The extensive focus on Special Educational Needs provision on The Arcadia Preparatory School’s web site is indicative of the level of investment the Group is placing in the school. Arcadia is emphatic that the school is committed to “the principle of inclusion and providing effective learning opportunities for all pupils” including Special Educational Needs [SEN], those children with English as an Additional Language [EAL], children identified as Gifted and Talented [G&T] and children developing Arabic as an Additional Language. Impressively, one in five children are identified as children of determination, including those who are gifted and talented.


Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus Curriculum 

Photograph of year-end graduating students at the Arcadia Preparatory School in Dubai celebrating their success together

The Arcadia Preparatory School curriculum closely follows the English National Curriculum from Foundation Stage 1 (Nursery) to Year 6.



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.

The Arcadia Preparatory School offer classes from FS1 through to Year 6. Each year group has four classes. English Additional Language (EAL) support is included within the fees and is not be charged separately. Specific EAL support classes extends to one EAL class in each year group throughout the school.  A maximum of 25 students per standard class is guaranteed with an average ratio of 1:12 staff to pupils throughout the school. Around 54 nationalities are currently represented within the student role.


Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus Facilities and ECA Provision 

School facilities at The Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus include an advanced ICT Suite; Art Rooms; Music facilities; Science Laboratories; multi-purpose hall with facilities to showcase theatre productions to a London West End standard; (beautiful) 20M 365-day heated and cooled swimming/learners pool; Art House; Language Rooms; FS Play Centre; Break-out areas; Oxbridge Study Area, Enterprise Zone; Dance Studio; Food Technology Suite; Media rooms; Planting areas; extensive inter-class IT provision include IPADS and a fabulous Rooftop play area and gardens.

Extra and co-curricular activities are extensive with particularly impressive languages provision including Russian, German, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish schools in addition to core English, Arabic and French programmes within the core curriculum.

Arcadia School Dubai Prospectus



Arcadia School Dubai Scholarships and Bursaries

The Arcadia Preparatory School was the first school in the UAE to offer bursaries. The impact of this on UAE education has been definitive with scholarships and bursaries now increasingly expected of any outstanding school operating in the UAE.

The Arcadia School Dubai, to date (2019), has committed more than AED 12.1M to bursaries and scholarships – the aim being to ensure that the school provides its students with a school rich in its tapestry of gifted students and a student role drawn from the broadest range of backgrounds, cultures and talents. The positive impact of bursaries and scholarships on student achievement is well documented and is seen one of the defining strengths, for example, of top tier private schools in the United Kingdom.

In 2020-21 all students are eligible for the Arcadia Preparatory School “Governors’ Scholarship” programme which offers a 15% fee reduction for the lifetime of the student at the school.

For students joining Foundation Stage 1 classes in 2020-21, the tuition fee will be subsidised 25%.


Arcadia School Dubai School Fees


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 Primary Campus KHDA 2019-20

Core identified strengths include:

  • Outstanding child personal development at Primary phase
  • Outstanding staffing, facilities and resources across the school in all phases
  • Very good relationships with parents and community
  • Good levels of child progress against benchmarks/flightpaths established on children joining the school
  • Teachers create hugely inspirational lessons that engage children and drive development
  • Outstanding teacher CPD
  • Parents describe the school in superlatives including “lovely” and “friendly” – supporting the ambitions of the school to be exceptionally caring, inclusive and child-focused.

Weaknesses of the school are limited to Arabic subjects (a challenging area for all British schools) and the inevitable teething problems of a new school bedding in provision (the school has only had a first inspection). Technology and innovation are identified as strengths of the school that will take time to deliver to their potential.


Arcadia School Dubai Secondary Campus Opened in September 2020


Bottom line? The Verdict on the Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus 2020

The main entrance to the Arcadia Preparatory School in Dubai

We rate The Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus very highly. This is a school with huge potential and one subject to very considerable ongoing investment. We have no doubt that The Arcadia School Dubai Primary Campus is an outstanding school in the making – and its inclusive values, pioneering implementation of scholarships in the UAE and commitment to CPD set benchmarks in UAE education. The opening of the Arcadia School Dubai secondary slipstream school in September 2020 (initially to Year 8 as of September 2020) completes a very impressive picture of a hugely ambitious school that punches well above its weight. Fees offer outstanding ROI given the Tier 1 offer.

Highly recommended.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers from in association with our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.

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Details to consider
2018/19 Overall ADEK / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features (First inspection)

2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating


2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating


2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating


Rating FS


Rating Primary / Elementary


Rating Secondary / Middle

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Rating Post 16 / High

See Arcadia Academy - opened September 2020

Type of school

Private, for-profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: KHDA 61,200, Discounted 45,900
FS2: KHDA 61,200, Discounted 52,020
Year 1: KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840
Year 2: KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840
Year 3: KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840
Year 4: KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840
Year 5: KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840
Year 6: KHDA 70,400, Discounted 59,840
Year 7: Slipstream to The Arcadia Academy from September 2020
Year 8: Slipstream to The Arcadia Academy from September 2020
Year 9: Slipstream to The Arcadia Academy from September 2020
Year 10: Slipstream to The Arcadia Academy from September 2020
Year 11: Slipstream to The Arcadia Academy from September 2020
Year 12: Slipstream to The Arcadia Academy from September 2020
Year 13: Slipstream to The Arcadia Academy from September 2020
*Fees include uniform (two sets each for Summer and Winter), all text books, stationery and EAL provision with a value in excess of AED 10,500


(New) National Curriculum for England

External Exam Boards


Number of A Levels offered

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

A Levels offered

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

A Level A* to A

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

A Level A* to C

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020


See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020


See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Number of I/GCSEs Offered

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

I/GCSEs offered

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020



Waiting list


Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

452 (2019)
Overall capacity: 800

Teacher to Student Ratio


Largest nationality teachers


Teacher turnover


Year opened

September 2016


Jumeirah Village Triangle, Dubai

Student composition

European (largest nationality)
50 nationalities
Emirati: 0
SEND: 89


Mixed, co-educational

School canteen



Oasis Investment
Al Shirawi Group
Arcadia Eduplan

Admissions Telephone

+971 4 551 4264

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM


Attainment Pri SEM


Attainment Sec SEM

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Attainment Post-16 SEM

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Progress Nur SEM


Progress Pri SEM


Progress Sec SEM

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Progress Post-16 SEM

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)


Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)


Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Islamic St. Primary Results


Islamic St. Secondary Results

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

See Arcadia Academy - opening September 2020







Quality of teaching


Student personal responsibility


Quality of curriculum


School Governance


SEN Provision



• Small class sizes with an exceptionally low student to teacher ratio of provision across the school
• Small school intimacy and ethos with clear separation from its secondary Arcadia school slipstream
• Founded by a pioneer in UAE education and Chairman of the Indian High School, one of the finest schools in the UAE
• Beautiful school design by GAJ with fabulous roof play areas and gardens and exceptional light flows across the school
• Dubai first, world class bursary provision for exceptional children who would not otherwise be able to afford a place
• Outstanding Special Educational Needs [SEN[, English as an Additional Language, Arabic as an Additional Language [AAL] and Gifted and Talented [G&T] child provision fully inclusive within fees
• Staggered school opening designed to concentrate on giving all children joining the school a world class educational experience from Day 1
• Opportunity for parents and children to play a founding role within a new school with a defining influence in its development as it evolves
• The commitment of a highly respected UAE company at the highest level of its leadership to support the school and ensure its success for its students, parents, teachers and the Emirate
• Extremely warm and nurturing school with exceptional focus on whole child development
• Exceptional levels of on-going investment in teachers, their welfare and on-going professional development with a model based on teachers being partners rather than employees in the delivery of a world class, happy education for children
• Dedicated secondary slipstream school offering, in phased opening, a full all-though British education through GCSE to A' Level and Level 3 BTEC.

Our Rating
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Arts & Drama
SEND Provision
Scl Community
Scl Facilities

• Fabulous school with clear potential to be Outstanding as it builds capacity. Recommended.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]
  • RB
    November 15, 2016 at 11:55 am

    *Fantastic community school
    *Teachers are amazing & school is heavily focused on ongoing staff development
    *School is working hard to be a leader in education in the UAE, with it's adoption of innovative teaching methods (such as Talk for Writing)
    *Outstanding facilities
    *Very good at communicating with parents and welcoming parent involvement in the school
    *Excellent discount: just register your child in the founding year (2016-17), doesn't matter what year they will start school.
    *Arabic integrated into curriculum from FS.
    *Extra curricular activities are included in school fees.
    *Uniforms are included in school fees


    New school so bound to be some issues, but so far we have been delighted with the school. Anytime issues arise the Principal and Head of Infants have been very approachable.

    Can’t recommend the school highly enough. Outstanding quality of education with community feel to the school.

  • Talha
    February 1, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    The teachers!
    The Founding partner's vision.
    The entrepreneurial spirit of the school.
    Our son in Year 1 is already learning coding! At this age! Brilliant support from teachers for gifted children as well as children with learning challenges!
    I cannot tell you how much our child has changed since he joined this school! Brilliant! Wouldn't change it for the world!


    New school so still a few communication based concerns but that's it.

    Arts & DramaA+
    SEND ProvisionA+
    Scl CommunityA+
    Scl FacilitiesA+

    Great school!

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