Cranleigh Abu Dhabi was founded in 2014, in the relatively newly developed cultural district of Saadiyat Island. The school closely follows the systems adopted by its sister school, Cranleigh UK which was established in 1865. In fact, teams from Cranleigh UK and Abu Dhabi worked together from 2011 to 2014 to bring the essence of the school to the UAE while also embracing Emirati culture. The school offers the British International Curriculum from FS1 to Year 13 and is considered to be one of the best schools in Abu Dhabi.
Currently, the school has over 1000 enrolled students, 134 teachers and 41 teaching assistants. The teacher to student ratio is 1:9 which ensures each student gets plenty of care and attention.
In 2019, the school was awarded the International School of the Year at the Tes Independent School Awards and the Red Crescent Charity, School of the Year. The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has also rated the school as ‘Outstanding’, making it one among the top schools in Abu Dhabi.
Take a look at this guide by Bayut to learn more about the curriculum, facilities and fee structure of Cranleigh Abu Dhabi.
Residential Communities near Cranleigh
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi is situated in Saadiyat Island and is conveniently located in proximity to a number of residential communities such as:
Parents looking to live closer to the school can consider these housing options:
- Apartments for rent near Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
- Apartments for sale near Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
- Villas for rent near Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
- Villas for sale near Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
- Townhouses for rent near Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
- Townhouses for sale near Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Campus of Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
The impressive campus of Cranleigh was built over 7 hectares of land and is located in the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi in Saadiyat Island. The architecture of the campus is modern and the general theme of the school’s interiors are bright and airy with plenty of windows. The campus is divided into junior and senior sections.
The Early Years and Junior school are located on the ground floor with a central area dedicated to play and group activities.
The classrooms also follow the same theme and are spacious. Students’ work is adorned on the walls of the classrooms.
Older students are placed on the second floor and classrooms are designed in both ways- classrooms that have ‘Lecture hall style’ seating, and classrooms that have practical workspaces.
The other campus facilities include a fully digital campus, dance studios, drama studios, Junior and Senior dining rooms, music rooms, 150- seat recital and lecture hall, professional theatre facilities- a black box theatre, 3 libraries, science labs, IT labs, Art and Design Labs, 650 seat auditorium, Art department, 2 music schools, extensive playgrounds, recreational spaces and informal social areas.
Location of Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi is located in Saadiyat Island, next to Manarat Al Saadiyat.
The Cranleigh school has become a highly sought-after educational institute in the capital creating a very good name for itself in a short span of time. The school works together with its highly successful parent school which was established over 150 years, to bring the essence of a Cranleigh education to the UAE. Apart from the outstanding rating received by ADEK, the school is the winner of the ‘International School of the Year’ at Tes Independent School Awards 2019.
The school’s location is a very attractive feature as the school is centrally placed in the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi. The school has developed close partnerships with many nearby establishments. This has enabled the school to introduce extracurricular activities such as golf to their students.
The school has an exceptional multi-layer pastoral care system in place which ensures that every students’ individual need is identified and met. As part of offering holistic education, students are provided with the finest and latest facilities both academically and in recreational sports. The school has been recognised on various platforms for their outstanding breadth of academic, technical and ECA options.
Cranleigh offers an excellent and well-adapted British curriculum through which students have gained very good results in their IGCSE and A level examinations. This has been made possible through their innovative teaching methods by the highly experienced teachers of the school. The school encourages the students to explore and develop their curiosity through their innovative STEM programs.
Years Offered at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Cranleigh is an all-inclusive school that provides education from Nursery to Year 13 for children from ages 3 to 18 years. The educational system is composed of the following sections:
- The first phase of education at this school is Pre-Prep. It consists of Nursery, Foundation Stage 2 (FS2), Year 1 and Year 2.
- The next phase of education is the prep school that consists of Years 3 to 8.
- This is followed by secondary school consisting of Year 9 to 11.
- The school also offers Sixth Form consisting of Year 12 and 13.
Cranleigh School Curriculum
The curriculum offered in Cranleigh Abu Dhabi shares the same ethos as their sister school. The curriculum aims at striking a balance between the academic curriculum and the wide variety of extracurricular activities on offer. The following are the academic subjects on offer at Cranleigh:
- Design Technology
- Modern Foreign Languages (Spanish, French etc)
- Computer Science
- Islamic Studies
- The Libraries
- Social Studies
Pre Prep (Nursery, FS2, Year 1 and Year 2)
The pre-prep comprises of students aged 3 to 7 years following the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. At Cranleigh, students are provided with a healthy balance between free play and teacher-directed learning. The curriculum itself encompasses a structured approach to learning through play and developing the natural curiosity within each child.
This curriculum, which includes core subjects such as Science, English, and Maths, is complemented with specialist teaching in P.E. Swimming, and Music.
Nursery students are also introduced to Arabic through a half an hour lesson each week for non-native speakers. For Arabic speakers, they get to do classroom activities in Arabic.
In FS2, students have an hour of Arabic in a week and are introduced to ICT, Library, Arts, and Focused Activity. In Year 2 as per the ADEK curriculum, students are offered Islamic Education for Muslim students.
Prep School (Year 3 to 8)
Cranleigh aims to build strong foundations in prep school for the more complex principles taught in Senior school. Starting from Year 3 and in Year 4 students are taught in mixed ability classes by their class teacher and supported by a teaching assistant. Specialist teachers handle classes in drama, music, sport, art, languages, Arabic and Islamic Studies. French is introduced from Year 3.
In Year 5 and 6 the format of learning changes to specialist teaching. Students in Year 7 and 8 cover the Common Entrance 13+ curriculum. At Cranleigh, students are prepared well to take the internal Common Entrance examination at the end of Year 8, in the core subjects of Maths, English, French and the sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology).
These are a rigorous set of examinations set and standardised by the ISEB (Independent Schools Examinations Board).
In Year 7 Non-Muslim students can choose either Latin or Spanish as a second language. All students are also taught Arabicin the school. Non-native speakers learn from a basic Arabic B syllabus while Arabic speakers are taught the Arabic A syllabus prescribed by MoE.
Senior School (Year 9 to 11)
Senior school is where students are prepared with the skills and qualifications that they will need to go to university. In this curriculum, students can opt for subjects based on their interests and ambitions.
At Cranleigh, students are also provided opportunities to be involved with many activities, societies, sports and leadership opportunities.
In Year 9 students start preparing for their (I)GCSE courses and begin with these courses in Year 10 and give their (I)GCSE exams at the end of Year 11.
Pupils take at least eight (I)GCSEs. The following subjects are compulsory: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and a combination of Sciences. Able pupils will study full (I)GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. For students who are less scientifically oriented, there is an option to study two of the three sciences or Dual Award Science. Other subjects are selected from a list of options given above.
The study of the Arabic language is an ADEK requirement.
Sixth Form (Year 12 and 13)
The sixth form offered at Cranleigh is unique compared to other schools in the region.
The Harkness style teaching which is a dialogue-based approach is adopted here. In this approach students further develop their independent thinking through tutorial style lessons around an oval table.
Sixth Formers study A-Levels as well as the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The EPQ is similar in concept to the IB Extended Essay but more in-depth in delivery. It is completed over the course of the two years of Sixth Form.
A work experience programme is offered in the sixth form. This program also includes a certified pre-college course in innovation and entrepreneurship led by Dr Jack McGourty PhD at the prestigious Ivy League Columbia Business School. The full options and what is offered in the Sixth form can be accessed here.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) is a government entity that is responsible for licensing all private education institutes and monitoring their commitment to providing high-quality service in accordance with regulations. Through the Irtiqaa Programme, ADEK carries out periodic evaluations of all schools and are based on six basic criteria as listed below:
- Quality of students’ achievement.
- Quality of personal and social development as well as innovation skills of the students.
- Quality of teaching and assessment.
- Quality of curriculum.
- Quality of student safety and wellbeing, as well as the guidance and support provided to them.
- Quality of school leadership and management.
ADEK has rated Cranleigh ‘Outstanding’ for its overall performance. As per the inspection reports, the following are the key strengths of the school:
- The teachers are very good at encouraging and bringing the best teaching practices to promote students learning and developing their skills.
- Students have a level of attainment in National and International examinations.
- Good leadership ensures a high quality of care and guidance are provided for each student
- The curriculum is adapted well to support each student’s aspirations.
- Self-evaluation by the school leaders are very comprehensive which has, in turn, resulted in a very effective and fully inclusive school.
ADEK has also made the following recommendations for the school:
- Raise the level of Arabic so that that it is at par with the outstanding levels in other subjects
- Improvements can be made to make students fully independent and self-reliant learners.
Academic Calendar for Cranleigh
The academic year at Cranleigh starts in September and ends in July. Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi term dates are as follows:
- The first-term starts in the first week of September and ends in the second week of December. The expected holidays for students include a mid-term break in the last week of October.
- After a 3-week winter holiday, the second term commences in the first week of January and ends in the last week of March. Students go on a mid-term break in the third week of February.
- After a 2-week spring break, the students return to school for the third term in the third week of April. The term concludes in the first week of July.
Admission and Fees
How to Apply to Cranleigh Abu Dhabi?
The school admission process begins with the admissions page on the website.
The school clearly announces when admissions are open on this page.
Due to the high demand, the admission form links are open only for a brief time. Parents who are interested in enrolling their children with Cranleigh need to apply as soon as the links are open on the webpage. New Admissions for the academic year 2020-2021 is as follows:
- The admissions for Pre-prep will open on 17th August 2020.
- The school has opened its registration for all Prep and Senior years (Year 3 and above) for the academic year 2020/21.
Students in Abu Dhabi who are looking to transfer to Cranleigh within the academic year can do so within 15th October of the current academic year.
The school encourages parents to book a school tour and talk to the admissions team. The admission process can be summarised in three simple steps:
Students can register on the links provided on the website. All applicants go through the same process. However, admission priority is given to siblings and thereafter to students who are best suited to thrive at Cranleigh based on assessments. Children who are still suited and cannot be placed due to the number of available seats will be placed in a wait pool. Parents are also informed about the age equivalence so they can apply to the right year groups.
Cranleigh follows the UK system to determine the age for each year group. Age as of 31st August should be:
- 3 years old- FS1
- 4 years old- FS2
- 5 years old- Year 1
- 6 years old- Year 2
The following documents must be uploaded with this form:
- Passport with a valid UAE residence visa of the candidate (1 copy)
- Recent passport-size photograph
- Birth certificate of the candidate (1 copy, in Arabic or English)
- Emirates ID of the candidate (1 copy, both sides)
- Latest academic record
- Immunisation record (1 copy)
- Original transfer certificate (if applicable)
- Records indicating special needs (1 copy, if applicable)
After applying, the school calls the parents to bring their child for an assessment. Depending on the year the student is applying for, Cranleigh follows different assessment plans with set targets. The main outlook of the assessment plans for each year are as follows:
FS1, FS2, Year 1 and Year 2
In this Pre-prep stage, the school invites students for what is referred to as a taster session.
Students are checked to see if they are at the appropriate level of literacy and numeracy skills along with social, emotional and behavioural development.
For Year 1 and Year 2, parents are required to submit an academic report which shows the child’s level of attainment across all subjects, i.e English, Maths and Science. The school reviews these reports in depth so as to ensure that children have a positive attitude towards learning and their peers. In addition to this, the school will request a confidential reference from the child’s previous school.
Year 3 to Year 13
To get admission from Year 3 onwards to Year 10, the candidate needs to clear the assessment test that is based on a short piece of writing in English as well as an online evaluation.
Sixth Form applicants will be asked to complete two subject papers of their choice as well as an online evaluation.
The exact structure of the tests varies depending on the year group, however, they are all designed to provide the school with insights into three areas of cognitive ability: numerical, verbal and non-verbal.
Resident Abu Dhabi applicants will be asked to come to the school for a short, informal interview with a member of the Admissions Team. The aim of the interview is to allow the school to get to know each child a little better and to understand his or her particular academic and extra-curricular interests.
For all overseas applicants, the school liaises with their current school to set up the testing at their current school. Applicants may also be asked to take part in a Skype interview.
Evaluation results help the school to understand pupils’ current performance levels and their ability to adapt to the competitive curriculum.
Please note that no specific preparation can be done for the tests although parents can help their children by encouraging them to work quietly on their own, complete homework set by their school and read widely. Children should also be encouraged to try to solve problems by looking things up for themselves.
The school makes offers to those who, in their professional opinion, will be able to adapt to the Cranleigh curriculum and be happy learners at this top Abu Dhabi school.
Fee Structure at Cranleigh
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi fees for the academic year 2019-2020 are as follows:
- FS1 – Year 1:
- First term – AED 21,667
- Second term – AED 21,667
- Third term – AED 21,667
- Annual tuition fee – AED 65,000
- Year 2 – Year 4:
- First term – AED 25,000
- Second term – AED 25,000
- Third term – AED 25,000
- Annual tuition fee – AED 75,000
- Year 5 – Year 9:
- First term – AED 26,667
- Second term – AED 26,667
- Third term – AED 26,667
- Annual tuition fee – AED 80,000
- Year 10 – Year 13:
- First term – AED 32,111
- Second term – AED 32,111
- Third term – AED 32,111
- Annual tuition fee – AED 96,333
Scholarships at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Cranleigh offers scholarship programs for the academic year 2020/2021. Students entering Year 7 and above can apply for scholarships in the following categories:
- Visual Arts
- Performing Arts
The school aims at attracting talented students who have interests in their chosen fields. The scholarship programs are part of the initiative to enhance the availability of their education model to students who are not as financially capable to studying at Cranleigh.
Lunch Options at Cranleigh
The school canteen is very clean and special care is taken to provide healthy snacks and drinks during break time. The canteen food at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi School is provided by Slices which is an external company based in UAE. They specialise in providing healthy and balanced food options in schools.
School Transportation Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Currently, the school doesn’t provide transportation. Parents are expected to drop off and collect their children.
Boarding Facility at Cranleigh
The school does not offer boarding facilities as of now but may offer them in the future. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi has an extended day program. Students start their day at 7: 30 am and finish at 3:30 pm, after which students can opt to take on more than one cross-curricular activity. This results in a school day that finishes at around 6:00 pm.
This approach is a reflection to the sister school in the UK that offers the boarding school and their approach to home/school balance.
Holiday Camps at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Currently, the school offers limited holiday camps that are exclusive to their students and is provided through external providers, such as PASS Abu Dhabi that offers football camp during the midterm break for children between the ages 5-12 years old. Parents are informed about the camps on offer closer to the school holidays.
Cranleigh offers a PE curriculum that provides students with a wide range of sports options. There is a whole department of PE specialists dedicated to helping students grow and develop their interests in sports.
The core sports included are football for both boys and girls, cricket, dance, athletics, badminton, basketball, swimming, field hockey, gymnastics, martial arts, netball, riding, rounders, rugby, sailing, golf (at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club), tennis and volleyball.
The sports facilities available at the school include an Indoor Sports Complex that comprises of a large sports hall, 2 basketball courts and a dance studio. Other facilities include 2 shaded swimming pools- one a 25m 6-lane competition pool and the other a 10m beginner pool. There are 2 shaded grass pitches that are used for cricket and football, 2 junior school netball/tennis courts and 3 senior school netball/tennis courts. The school also has indoor cricket nets to supplement their cricket coaching.
Extra-curricular Activities at Cranleigh
At Cranleigh, a lot of emphasis is applied to giving their students a holistic education. Students have a wide range of extracurricular activities on offer to suit their personal tastes and interests. The school also offers scholarships to encourage students to excel in their chosen talents.
Music, Drama, Dance, Art and Design are given equal importance in Cranleigh. Musical exchange workshops are run on a bi-annual basis between their UK school. This gives students from both schools an opportunity to work together through workshops, performances and develop their musical skills.
Every term the school calendar includes regular formal and informal concerts, presentations and events. Students are introduced to small studio productions, dramatic presentations and fully staged plays right from the early years.
The school strongly believes that learning should not be limited to classrooms. Students in Pre-Prep, Prep and the Senior School are given a wide range of activities so as to develop both socially and educationally. Here is a summary of the list of co-curricular activities available:
- An extensive co-curricular activities (CCA) programme
- A recreational and competitive sports programme
- A music programme that includes individual instrumental lessons, choirs, ensembles and concerts
- Drama productions and performances
- Whole school events e.g. National Day and International Day
- House Events and Competitions
- External events and guest speakers hosted by the school
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi participates in the Abu Dhabi Schools Sports Association (ADISSA) leagues and tournaments on a regular weekly basis with other schools. The school also actively participates in the BSME games, netball, golf and swimming.
Field Trips from Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
As part of the curriculum, the school arranges educational trips, visits, overnight trips and international excursions. A few of the trips organized by the school in the past include theAustria Ski Trip, Borneo Eco Expedition, Qasr Al Hosn festival, Little World and so on.
The school day of Nursery at Pre Prep school finishes at 12:00 pm, after which parents can opt for their kids to stay on till 02:30 pm. During this time the kids are offered several after-school activities. For students in the higher grades too, there are after school activities from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm spread over music, dance, sports, drama and more.
Medical Care at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
The school has a fully equipped clinic that is managed by three full-time nurses. The clinic provides students with first aid and medication with the approval of parents.
Mode of Communication between Teachers and Parents
The school understands the importance of communication with parents. Therefore, the school ensures that they regularly communicate with parents. For this purpose, they have introduced several modes of communication.
The official website is the primary source of communication for the school to share information with parents. The school has a parent portal where parents can see the personalised reports and information of their child. The school also has a blog page where information about their upcoming events is posted. The school also hosts a number of workshops for parents on how they actively contribute to their child’s progress.
The school arranges Meet the Tutor Evening (start of term), Interims (just before half-term), Parents’ Evening (second half of term), Interims (just before the end of term), Exam Report (just before the end of term) to discuss their child’s progress in detail each academic year.
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi Contact Information
- Telephone Number:
- Reception: +971 2 497 0000
- Headmaster’s PA: +971 2 497 0101
- Admissions: +971 2 497 0000
- Arabic Secretary: +971 2 497 0114
- Uniform Shop: +971 2 497 0218
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.cranleigh.ae/
- Cranleigh Abu Dhabi Facebook
Note that the cover image belongs to Cranleigh Abu Dhabi.