From offering a later start time giving pupils and teachers more time for sleep, to focusing on mental well-being and real-life experiences, UAE’s new schools are aiming to reshape education.
As of next week, Abu Dhabi is set to have its first Italian school. Meanwhile, Durham School Dubai, a branch of one of the UK's oldest educational institutes, will also open.
Non-traditional is the key word when it comes to the UAE’s new schools opening for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Bloom World Academy in Dubai, which has capacity for 1,800 pupils, will operate a 9am to 4pm school day. It will also introduce learning achievement passports that set goals for pupils in an attempt to change the way they learn.
Even the youngest pupils on campus will have the chance to choose their path of studies based on their stage of learning, not only their age.
Here The National has put together a guide on new schools opening in the Emirates this year.
Bloom World Academy
Curriculum: IB curriculum
Fees: Founders School package starts from Dh40,000 in pre-KG up to Dh72,000 in grade 9
Location: Al Barsha South, Dubai
Bloom World Academy will open its doors at the end of this month with a capacity for 1,800 pupils. The school will have pupils from pre-kindergarten to grade nine.
The school aims to provide a unique experience to pupils, with a focus on bespoke education. This means a pupil has a personal tutor overseeing their progress and where stage not age, interests and potential lead the pupil's educational path.
The school believes in incorporating technology, design and imagination to help pupils to grow in a dynamic curriculum.
Operating a 9am to 4pm school day, the IB curriculum campus will be the first in the city to offer a later start, with lessons getting under way more than an hour after most schools in the emirate.
Parents will also be welcome to eat with their children on a weekly basis during their school lunch break.
"We are a family-first school which means we will be the first school in the UAE to open at 9am every day," John Bell, principal at the school, said. "We are not an early start school and that's based around giving families more time in the morning."
The doors of the school will be open from 7am to 7pm and the school will also have a breakfast club, well-being and sports activities, and co-curricular activities after school.
"We will continually question education traditions at Bloom World Academy and our lunch-break initiatives are just one example of this," Mr Bell said.
Based in Al Barsha, Bloom World Academy, operated by Bloom Education, will be the group’s first own-brand school in the UAE.
Fees: Founders fees are Dh36,000 in foundation stage one to Dh52,000 in year six for the academic year 2022-23
Location: City Walk Dubai
The UK curriculum Citizens School, designed and developed by Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, is set to open on Monday.
The school claims to be the first in the Middle East to allow parents to pay school fees with cryptocurrencies. The school will accept payments in Bitcoin and Ether.
Children will learn about the importance of digital currency and blockchain technology, preparing them for the future.
The 43,000-square-metre school campus has capacity for 2,600 children between the ages of three and 18.
The school's learning experience focuses on holistic growth of a pupil and is built around each child’s unique requirements and talents.
Durham School Dubai
Curriculum: UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and English National Curriculum
Fees: Special fees for 2022-23: Dh38,340 in foundation stage one to Dh51,300 in year eight
Location: Dubai Investments Park
Durham School Dubai will open its doors to more than 100 pupils on Monday and, in its first year, the school will have pupils in foundation stage one to year eight.
The school is a branch of one of the oldest schools in the UK, and was founded in 1414 and refounded in 1541 by King Henry VIII.
With a 32 million-square-metre campus in Dubai Investments Park, the school will be able to cater to more than 1,700 pupils at full capacity.
The new property has a Foundation Stage section, a primary and secondary classroom complex with specialist science, art and IT labs, a music performance hall, auditorium, a multi-purpose sports hall and a 25-metre indoor swimming pool.
Mark Atkins, who has had a 35-year career in education that includes setting up and heading schools in Dubai, has been appointed the founding principal of the new school.
Italian International School
Curriculum: IB with Italian language and culture enrichment
Fees: Founders fees are Dh36,250 in kindergarten to Dh57,450 in grade 12
Location: Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi
This is the first school in Abu Dhabi inspired by Italy and its language, culture and curriculum.
The language of instruction at the school will be English.
The school will open its doors on August 29 for pupils in kindergarten to grade five. The school plans to open grades six to nine next year.
Fees at the school range from Dh47,200 to Dh62,800, but the school has offered founders fees to pupils registering in the academic year 2022-23 from Dh36,250 to Dh57,450. Families will benefit from these fees for the next three years.
In 2022, the school will start with half-class per year group and expect to have about 200-250 pupils in the first year.
Both the IB curriculum and the activities available to pupils beyond classroom hours are aimed at developing fundamental life skills. There is a culinary school, chess academy, martial arts, yoga, football, padel and cycling club.
The school has a strong focus on nutrition and healthy meals will be prepared on site by their chef.
As part of encouraging a balanced way of living, the school ensures that all learning happens at school so that children have time to spend with the family or to develop hobbies.
Abu Dhabi will open nine new charter schools
Abu Dhabi will open nine new charter schools with 12,000 places in September, the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.
The rapidly expanding programme, which was launched in the 2018-2019 school year with the opening of the 2,700-place Al Rayana School, will offer a total of 46,500 places in 31 schools when the new campuses open next month.
The new schools will offer kindergarten, Cycle 1, Cycle 2, and Cycle 3 and employ 139 Emiratis, who will work as administrative and teaching trainees after a dedicated recruitment drive.
Charter schools work on the public-private model, under which the government builds the infrastructure and then allows a private partner to manage the school.
Charter schools are free for their exclusively Emirati pupils, who live in the district where the school is based.
At present, there are 15 charter schools in Abu Dhabi city and seven in Al Ain offering the American curriculum to 30,198 Emirati children in primary school.