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The Arcadia Preparatory School, Jumeirah Village Triangle – THE REVIEW

The Arcadia Preparatory School, Jumeirah Village Triangle – THE REVIEW

by August 15, 2019

Arcadia School Dubai – updated August 2019. New Arcadia Academy secondary school announced. KHDA first inspection 2019. 


“From the moment a child enters our beautiful school, he or she is surrounded with warmth and positivity.”

Graham Beale, Founding Principal, Arcadia Preparatory School


Arcadia Preparatory School Background

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

Located in Jumeirah Village Triangle, The Arcadia Preparatory school 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, opens in September 2020 on an adjacent site – more below. The Academy will offer GCSE, A level and BTEC within the context of a small scale, 800 capacity school. The Arcadia Preparatory School is also a small school, currently educating 452 children (2019) against an overall capacity of 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.


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

The Arcadia Preparatory School 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 Preparatory School being:

  • The best in class provider of Primary and, with The Arcadia Academy, Secondary school 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 in any schools 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 Arcadia the personal underwriting of these ambitions by its owner have proven to carry significant weight for prospective parents however.

Arcadia Preparatory School 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.

Arcadia preparatory School Curriculum and Leadership

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.



Founding Principal of the Arcadia Preparatory School, Graham Beale, is the former Head of the highly respected Al Khor International School in Qatar, a position Mr Beale held for 8 years immediately prior to his joining Arcadia. Al Khor offers a dual-stream CBSE/English National Curriculum syllabus to more than 4000 students between Nursery and Grade 13. Mr Beale has strong academics, securing a Master of Science from Leicester University in Human Resource Management following his B.Ed. training at Massey.

Mr Beale 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 Preparatory School Facilities and ECA Provision 

School facilities at The Arcadia Preparatory School 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 Preparatory School Prospectus



Arcadia Preparatory School Scholarships and Bursaries

The Arcadia Preparatory School was the first in the UAE to offer bursaries. “We reward merit…rewarding excellence means if there is a child who cannot come to us because of financial reasons, he will definitely be given a scholarship, if there is a student who is excellent he will be given the red carpet in our school.” Interview, Valrani,

Outstandingly, The Arcadia School, 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 of top tier private schools in the United Kingdom.

In 2019-2020 all students are eligible for the Arcadia Preparatory School “Governors’ Scholarship” programme which will offer a 15% fee reduction for the lifetime of the student at the school. For pupils joining Foundation Stage 1 classes in 2019-2020, the tuition fee will be subsidised 25% for that year only and thereafter will be subsidised at 15% for the remainder of the pupil’s time at The Arcadia Preparatory School until the end of Year 6.

Arcadia Preparatory School Fees

Grade KHDA Approved Fees (AED) Fees for Academic Year 2019-20*
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


Fees are fully inclusive of 4 sets of uniforms and text books, with no additional charges for (1) English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision; (2) after-school/Extra Curricular Activities (ECAs) or (3) in-school homework support. The value of this package is around AED 10,000 and has been designed to esnure 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.

Arcadia Preparatory School KHDA 2019

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 Academy – The slipstream Secondary coming in 2020 


Bottom line? The Verdict on the Arcadia Preparatory School 2019 

The main entrance to the Arcadia Preparatory School in Dubai

We rate The Arcadia Prepratory School very highly. This is a school with huge potential and one subject to very considerable ongoing investment. We have no doubt that The Arcadia Preparatory School 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 confirmed opening of tyhe Arcadia Academy Secondary slipstream school in September 2020 will complete 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 our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.

Request School Information

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 - opening 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 10,000


(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 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, The Arcadia Academy, opening in September 2020

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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