Canadian International School, Khalifa City A
• Child focused, inquiry-based learning
• One of only two Canadian schools in Abu Dhabi
• Good SEN provision with expertise in Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Good level of facilities
• The impact of a rapid increase in student numbers will require time to bed-in
• Strength in teaching provision for children of low to average ability
• Good value fees
• High level of personal development for students across all age groups
• Staff turnover
• Ongoing changes in leadership
• Students within British schools will need to compromise years to transfer
• Weakness in teaching provision for the Gifted and Talented child [G&T]
• Canteen facilities are small and require further improvement
• Weakness in Arabic language teaching, planning and resources
Four changes of Head in under two years since its last Inspection, and rapidly growing student numbers (up to 900 from a recorded KHDA school at maximum capacity with 650 pupils in April 2014), have resulted in a school in a clear process of transition. This follows expressed concerns by inspectors of The Canadian School in 2014 that:
“Further and speedier progress has been inhibited by frequent changes in the senior leadership. If the school retains senior staff with experience and outstanding management and leadership skills it will be well placed to move towards being a very good or outstanding school. ”
The 2016 Abu Dhabi inspection is not yet complete and in the context of school change we recommend prospective parents visit the school to better understand the dynamics at play. Note we have used inspection data for consistency.
Located in Khalfa A, Abu Dhabi, the Candian International School is the only school in the capital offering an Alberta based curriculum. The single alternative Canadian school, Abu Dhabi Grammar School, offers a very different Nova Scotia based HS Diploma. Both Canadian schools are, in terms of fees, considerably more competitive than the majority of US curriculum based alternatives.
Of its 59 different nationalities of students, Canadian children predominate (24%) with strong representation from Emirati (13%), American (11%) and Australian (8%) nationalities. Just under one half of pupils are Muslim. The Canadian School offers continuity of education to its students between the ages of 3 and 18 years.
The school is currently rated in the high performing A3 band by ADEC, Abu Dhabi’s education regulator. This places it within the blurred edges of the broadly equivalent Good classification awarded by to Dubai schools by its counterpart inspectorate. All A band schools are said to be performing schools.
The school offers a child-centred, holistic and ‘whole child’ approach to learning and it is telling that the school is not only non-selective and open, but also welcomes children with Special Educational Needs [SEN]; 12% of students are identified as having SEN needs, with a significant number of these with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Art, music and sport are particular strengths of the school.
It is important that prospective parents of children at British schools should note that syllabuses do not align with respective years:
|British Curriculum||Alberta Curriculum|
|Year 2||Grade 1|
|Year 3||Grade 2|
|Year 4||Grade 3|
|Year 5||Grade 4|
|Year 6||Grade 5|
|Year 7||Grade 6|
|Year 8||Grade 7|
|Year 9||Grade 8|
|Year 10||Grade 9|
|Year 11||Grade 10|
|Year 12||Grade 11|
|Year 13||Grade 12|
The school is situated in a modern, purpose built compound in Khalifa City A, some 30km from Abu Dhabi city centre. Facilities are good including also a library; science labs; a computer lab; art room; gymnasium, 25-foot indoor pool, a music room, dance studio; grass soccer field; central turf playing field; a separate elementary school playground; an indoor, air-conditioned KG playground and impressive art studio.
Notwithstanding concerns with the rapid changes in leadership and broader staff turnover, for parents set on a Canadian education, and for parents more broadly seeking an education focused on individualized, progressive learning, The Canadian School has much to offer. As above, however, we recommend, at the least, a visit to the school before application to better understand the dynamics, impact and rationale of ongoing change.Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
YEAR 1: 40,535
YEAR 2: 40,535
YEAR 3: 40,535
YEAR 4: 40,535
YEAR 5: 40,535
YEAR 6: 43,344
YEAR 7: 43,344
YEAR 8: 43,344
YEAR 9: 43,344
YEAR 10: 46,494
YEAR 11: 46,494
YEAR 12: 46,494
Canadian - Alberta
Not published (potentially high)
663 (2014) 900 (2016)
Not published (High)
Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi
Slightly more boys than girls
Slightly more non‐Muslim than Muslim students
Students drawn from 70 countries
11 % American
Smaller proportions: UK, Lebanon, Egypt, European countries.
12% of students are identified as having Special Educational Needs [SEN]
Significant number of these with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Private (Joint Enterprise -3 Partners)
+971 2 556 4206