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Six new schools in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, set to open in 2023, with more in the pipeline for the UAE…
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The UAE has the largest private-school market in the world, and this shows no signs of changing in 2023, with six brand-new schools slated to open in the emirates in August 2023, and several more in the pipeline.

The country’s education landscape has been developing rapidly over the past decade, with Dubai’s private-school sector shooting up by 30% from 153 schools in 2012 to 216 schools in 2022, according to KHDA figures, while Dubai school enrolments reached more than 300,00 pupils for the first time ever in April 2022.

Considering that the UAE already has the world’s highest number of students enrolled in international schools at 689,000 (ahead of China with 419,000 and India with 316,000 students), how many more schools can this relatively small country take?

A lot more, according to recent studies of the investment potential of the UAE education sector, which suggest that there are especially interesting investment opportunities in the high and medium fee segments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while competition in the premium segment is fierce.

A fast-growing and young population, as well as a number of thriving new residential projects may present additional opportunities for school operators and investors from 2023 onwards – including new developments in Al Khawaneej, Dubai Hills, Deira Islands and Bluewaters Island in Dubai, and Yas, Reem and Saadiyat Islands and Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi.

Although the previously frenetic growth of the UAE education sector slowed somewhat over the COVID-19 pandemic, the market has proven resilient, with four new schools having opened in 2022, which is expected to increase to six new UAE school openings in 2023.

The schools expected to open their doors for the academic year 2023/2024 are Noya British School, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, Arcadia Global School, Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi, Rashid & Latifa, and a possible new GEMS school, with more in the works for 2024, according to education intelligence service Edstatica.com. Find out more about each school below.

New UAE School Opening: Arcadia Global School

Construction is now well under way on Arcadia Global School, the new “high quality value school” from Arcadia Education, set to open in Dubai’s Al Furjan community in August 2023. The new school is positioned as offering the English national curriculum in premium facilities, yet at an affordable price point. It will be the third school in the UAE for Arcadia Education, which currently owns and operates Arcadia Primary and Arcadia High School in JVT (both of which charge premium-level school fees).

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Arcadia Global school has already hired its Founding Principal in the shape of Mr Andrew Wilson, who previously worked as Founding Principal for Westminster School, Sharjah and as Assistant Head at Jumeirah College.
The new Arcadia Global School campus, situated close to Al Furjan metro station, is set to have capacity for 4,200 students in total, from Foundation Stage 1 through to Year 13. The school will launch in 2023 with the primary school campus, which is set to have a capacity of 2,400 students, with the secondary campus due to open in 2024.

Read more about the outstanding features of an Arcadia School here, and here.

New UAE School Opening: Noya British School

Noya British School will open in September 2023, according to intelligence gathered by EdStatica.com. The school will form part of the rising Noya community on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

The purpose-built UK curriculum school is part of Aldar’s 1bn AED investment strategy to “diversify its portfolio”, outlined in the first half of 2022.

On Saadiyat Island, Aldar Education is also expanding Cranleigh Abu Dhabi to increase the school’s capacity and facilities. Aldar is also said to be developing another school under the Aldar Academies brand on Saadiyat Island that will cater to families in the surrounding communities that seek British curriculum education.

Read more about Aldar Education and its significant investment in the UAE here. 

New UAE School Opening: Nord Anglia set for third school in the UAE

Premium international schools group Nord Anglia Education has announced the launch of its third school in the UAE, Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi (NAS Abu Dhabi), set to open in August 2023.

Located on Al Reem Island, NAS Abu Dhabi will be Nord Anglia’s 83rd school globally, and will join its two other UAE-based sister establishments, The British International School Abu Dhabi and Nord Anglia International School Dubai.

NAS Abu Dhabi will be an all-through British school, offering the UK curriculum to students from Early Years until Year 13. Breadth and variety of subject choice will be a key consideration, with the school’s marketing material claiming it will offer up to 25 A-levels for Years 12 and 13 to “give students real depth of study within their subjects”.

The Abu Dhabi school’s purpose-built campus will have capacity for 2,600 students, with an Early Years building, specialist classrooms, sports hall, competition swimming pool, and auditorium. There will be more than 100 classrooms, 12 science labs, art studios, music rooms, and a large design technology and maker space.

NAS Abu Dhabi’s founding Principal is Jonathan Cuff, who was formerly Managing Director of Nord Anglia’s three schools in the UK: Oxford International College, d’Overbroeck’s Oxford, and Oxford Sixth Form College. Jonathan was also previously Principal of d’Overbroeck’s. He has been an independent school inspector since 2015.

Jonathan Cuff, Principal, NAS Abu Dhabi, said: “NAS Abu Dhabi represents a fantastic choice for families in Al Reem Island and across the city. With our architects, we’re creating a learning environment like no other and are looking forward to welcoming our founding families when we open our doors next year.”

Read our full First Looks review of Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi here.

New UAE School Opening: GEMS set for first new school in 3 years

EdStatica.com revealed that the first new GEMS UAE school in over three years is expected to open in Dubai in August 2023, near Sustainable City. According to EdStatica.com the location appears to be the same as a number of discarded projects: The School of Digital Futures, GEMS Vertus and Founders School Al Waha.

EdStatica intelligence says that a job advert said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of a UK school in 2023. The School will be located in Al Waha, close to Sustainable City. It will follow an established, successful GEMS brand with unique features at a great fee point. Teaching and leadership staff will be UK-qualified. The school will open for learners from FS1 to Yr 8, and be an all through in 6-years.”

EdStatica.com’s guess is a new Metropole school which, with Founders, has been one of the most successful brands in GEMS’ recent history.

The poster of the job advert was Nav IQ, current Principal of GEMS Metropol Motor City.

Read about the stand out features of a GEMS Metropole School here.

New UAE School Opening: Cranleigh Abu Dhabi Pre-Prep

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital’s most expensive school, has broken ground on a new pre-prep facility, which will open in September 2023, according to education intelligence service EdStatica.com.

The new site is located on the Saadiyat Reserve, and will be a 17,500 m² facility.

According to its social media channels in September 2022, admissions for the pre-prep are already open…

Read about the stand-out features of a Cranleigh School here, and here.

New UAE School Opening: Rashid and Latifa

The new Rashid and Latifa school, which closed in 2020 in order to be upgraded, is set to reopen in 2023. The institutions, which are two of the oldest and most prestigious schools in Dubai, count several Dubai leaders and public figures among their alumni, including H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, who graduated from the Rashid School for Boys, and Chairperson of Dubai Women’s Establishment H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who graduated from Latifa School for Girls.

Both schools were shut down completely in 2020 as part of a development plan aimed at enhancing the educational capacities of the schools. Students from the two schools were enrolled in other schools in coordination with Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

However, in April 2022 His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, issued Law No. (11) of 2022 pertaining to the formation of the Rashid and Latifa Schools Establishment. An April 2022 announcement by emirates news service WAM said that this would mean the Rashid and Latifa school is no longer part of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority’s (KHDA) remit:

“The Law stipulates that the Rashid and Latifa Schools Establishment will assume all responsibilities and functions of the Rashid School for Boys and the Latifa School for Girls, which are currently being overseen by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai. The Rashid and Latifa Schools Establishment will take charge of both of the schools’ assets and liabilities. Furthermore, all faculty members and staff from the two schools will be transferred to the Establishment without any prejudice to their rights.”

Latifa School for Girls, which opened in 1982, offers an education based on the British curriculum and the Arabic and Islamic curriculum approved by the UAE Ministry of Education. Rashid School for Boys, which was established in 1986 as a secondary school, added an elementary section in 2003.

The all new Rashid and Latifa schools continue to recruit for new staff, the latest position to be advertised was the Head of Boys Secondary.
The school is expected to open in August 2023.

New UAE schools Opening: Taaleem opening 4 new schools, including 2 new DBS schools

Dubai school operator Taaleem plans to raise 750 million AED ($204.21 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) to expand its premium schools network, the education group said in a statement in Autumn 2022.
According to the statement, funds raised will be used to invest in “the contemplated roll-out of four new premium schools in prime locations in the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“The roll-out of these four additional new schools is expected to consist of three schools in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, including two new schools under the DBS brand, subject to regulatory approvals.”
Taaleem recently acquired premium land adjacent to the canal in Al Safa (next to Horizon English School) for a new DBS branded school, expected to be called Dubai British School Al Safa. A new DBS school has also been mooted for the Mira community in Dubai.

Taaleem are headhunting two Founding Principals for two new Dubai British School campuses scheduled to open August 2024.
The successful candidates will play a key role in Taaleem’s vision of “being the most respected provider of early childhood, primary and secondary education in the Gulf region”.

The two schools are: Dubai British School, Mira and Dubai British School, Jumeirah.

Read about the stand-out features of Dubai British Schools here, and here.

© SchoolsCompared.com. A WhichMedia Group publication. 2022. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of SchoolsCompared.com. Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and SchoolsCompared.com's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Friday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter. You can often find Tabitha on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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