Brighton College Abu Dhabi, Bloom Gardens, Khalifa Park – The Review
One of our key aims is to foster intellectual curiosity, promote confident debate and involve pupils in a wide variety of co-curricular activities so that they become rounded human beings who can make a real contribution to society once they leave.
We strongly endorse the best traditions of British independent school education and links with Brighton College UK and the other schools in the Brighton family are strong.
Our community is underpinned by a profound belief in our values – a love of learning for its own sake; an awareness of, and appreciation of, the spiritual dimension in our lives; an enthusiasm for the world beyond the classroom, in particular in sport, music and the performing arts; respect for difference in others – and a recognition that the efforts and achievements of every individual in our community should be valued equally.”
Simon Corns, Headmaster, Brighton College Abu Dhabi
Updated February 2019 – Brighton College Abu Dhabi fees, 2018 ADEC Report, context and SchoolsCompared.com rating
Opened in September 2011, Brighton College Abu Dhabi (BCAD) has rapidly establishing itself in the premier league of the capital’s schools offering a traditional British education to children between 3 and 18 years from FS1 to Year 13. Brighton College secured an Outstanding rating from the Abu Dhabi Inspectorate of Schools, ADEC, in 2018 with some of the most positive and complimentary commentary we have seen to date from Inspectors.
Set in Bloom Gardens, near Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi, Brighton College Abu Dhabi delivers the English National Curriculum to 1801 students. Primary School enrollment stands at around 580 children. The curriculum is resolutely British, focused on GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations in Year 11 and GCE A’ Levels in Year 12 and 13.
According to the school it had “the best GCSE results in the emirate. In 2013-14 87% of students achieved 5 or more A* to C grades. In 2016. 64% of students achieved grades A-A, and 97% of students achieved grades A-C. In 2017, students achieved 63% A* to A. We have no data for 2018 – however progress and attainment at the school is exceptional.
GCE A’ Level provision started in 2014. In 2016 95% of students achieved an A* to C grade while 72% scored between A* and B. In 2017, 43 percent of students achieved A* to A grades and 70.5 percent of students A* to B grades. Again, we have no data for 2018, but informally we understand that Brighton College secured the best results in the capital. The feeling we think is that Brighton does not feel the need to publicise its results – partly at least because that would be to detract from the bigger, more important picture of its development of the whole, very individual, child. That simply cannot be measured in league tables.
According to the school an “impressive 70% of UK bound Year 13 pupils hold at least one offer from a top tier Russell Group university and over 25% hold offers from UCL, Imperial or Cambridge University. Students have also have received unconditional offers to study at Utrecht, Purdue, Colorado Boulder and Florida Institute of Technology.”
Brighton College Abu Dhabi achieved A2 Very Good rankings by ADEC in 2015 and 2017.Only one school in the emirate had at that time been rated A1 (Al Muna) – so this was a considerable achievement given the youth of the school. It is also worth noting that its A2 rating came with the qualification that the school provides a considerable number of Outstanding features rated, the highest standard awarded by the Abu Dhabi Inspectorate of schools. In 2018, as above, Brighton College achieved a near cross-the-board Outstanding rating with lesser scoring only in Arabic subjects where the scoring is the highest we have seen for an international school in the UAE.
Uniquely, Brighton’s Prep School, for children aged between 7 and 13, focuses on 11+ and 13+ Common Entrance syllabuses devised and monitored by the Independent School Examinations Board (ISEB). As 11+ and 13+ exams are the gateways to the best independent schools in the United Kingdom Brighton offers a distinct advantage for parents seeking to continue their child’s post-primary education in the UK private sector. Around 15 students each year currently continue their schooling in England.
There is a specialised SEN and Dyslexia Centre and the school is aiming to receive the Dyslexia Award for its work in this field.
Impressively Brighton College offers senior school academic scholarships, these targeted to the brightest Year 9 and Sixth Form pupils in the region.
Scholarships, whilst not the most generous in the UAE, are credible and meaningful, entitling eligible pupils to receive up to 50% off of their tuition fees for the academic year.
Brighton College Abu Dhabi bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com verdict 2019
Across every aspect of the school, Brighton College shines. It is selective and certainly a school established for the more academic child. Worth noting that on 12th February 2019 it was confirmed that Amy Willetts, who graduated from Brighton College Abu Dhabi in June 2018, achieved the highest A Level grade in the world for Geography.
But Performing Arts provision, including in Drama and Music, is formidable and breadth of subject offer at both IGCSE and A level is outstanding. Telling of an academic school is the investment in the broadest range of subjects and the beyond outstanding achievement of children in Art shines a powerful light on the bigger picture, whole child achievement that fires the holistic engine of Brighton College Abu Dhabi.
This is a British school that really delivers. Yes, we would like to see BTEC. But this is a small critique of an otherwise extraordinary school.
Our visit to the school was never less than inspirational. Some of the initiatives at the school across philanthropy were stand-out for us, linking academic subject disciplines with a genuine care and outward looking focus on the less fortunate. The school, tellingly, was open to dicussions to how this could be improved further.
We also engaged in a lively debate with a number of older students on the role of women and were pleased to see female students fighting their corner and empowered. Investment in extremely accomplished female teaching faculty reflects the values at the heart of school life and the importance Brighton places on role models for both boys and girls.
School leadership is outstanding. Caring, impassioned, utterly transparent, fascinated and engaged in all that is happening in the school and an ambassador for children.
Facilities were outstanding – although parking is quite the headache.
We also noted the welcome we received by all faculty and students – this is a very happy, engaged school. Children were wonderfully gracious, enthused, well-mannered, vocally positive about the school and teaching faculty and inspiring to speak with.
A school like Brighton College deserves to be celebrated – not for its results only, as outstanding as they are, but the way it wraps these up in an education rich in the bigger picture so important for children to later make their mark in the world.
We left the school, from one of our most inspiring visits of any UAE school in 2018-19, certain that this is a school we would send our own children to – this probably the highest compliment we can give.
There is an extraordinary sense of peace, adventure, freedom, integrity, possibility – and home – at Brighton College that is quite unique and utterly beautiful.
Long overdue, a big thank you to children, faculty and the leadership of Brighton College Abu Dhabi for such a very special visit and welcome from all at SchoolsCompared.com.
Brighton College Abu Dhabi, particularly for the academic inquisitive child, comes beyond highly recommended.
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Very Good with Outstanding features
Very Good with Outstanding features
Year 1: 57,900
Year 2: 57,900
Year 3: 57,900
Year 4: 57,900
Year 5: 57,900
Year 6: 63,400
Year 7: 63,400
Year 8: 63,400
Year 9: 63,400
Year 10: 63,400
Year 11: 77,400
Year 12: 77,400
Year 13: 77,400
National Curriculum of England
Drama and Theatre Studies
Government & Politics
Design & Technology
(2) 100% A*E
(1) 88% A*B
(1) 37% A*
Design & Technology
Yes in Primary, FS1, FS2, Years 2,3 and 5 (2019)
Maximum class size throughout the school is capped at 25 students
(1) Around 104 FTE teaching staff from the UK
(2) Around 17 FTE teaching staff from other European countries
(3) Around 2 FTE teaching staff from North America
(4) Around 2 FTE teaching staff from Australia
(5) Around 27 FTE teaching staff of other nationalities
Bloom Gardens, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi
Total nationalities: 73
27% United Kingdom (UK) (around 495 children)
18% Emirati (around 306 students)
6% Indian (around 111 students)
6% Australian (around 111 students)
17% other nationalities
7% Special Educational Needs (SEN)
+971 (0)2 815 6504.
• High quality, inspiring, caring, highly strategic leadership and direction that “very effectively” drives the improvement agenda and direction of the school
• New Director of Arabic (2018) achieving extraordinarily well within the school in Arabic subjects
• Committed, effective and dedicated teachers driving students’ personal and academic development
• Unique UK “Common Entrance” focus expanding parental options for transition to UK private schooling
• Impressive programmes for supporting the academic progress of both students with Special Educational Needs [SEN] and those children who speak English as an additional language
• Very high quality facilities supported by a genuinely inspirational, exciting, caring and happy school environment
• By Year 11, attainment is outstanding in most subjects and well above GCSE curriculum benchmarks
• Personal development in all sections of the school is “outstanding”
• Outstanding investment in the whole child.
• Extraordinary, hugely inspirational Art department. Student work reflects school investment in, and commitment to, intellectual freedom, innovation, whole child development and individual self-confidence that come high in the list of priorities of the school.
• An outstanding range of well‐planned extra‐curricular activities enriches the curriculum with more than 150 clubs and activities for students to choose from
• Brighton is expensive and many parents will simply not be able to afford the fees. This notwithstanding, ROI is high.