Dubai’s second-largest school operator, Taaleem Holdings, will open four new premium British schools in the next three years.
Two more schools — one in Dubai and the second one in Abu Dhabi — will open in 2025.
Mr Williamson said each school will have the capacity for 1,600 to 2,000 pupils. Fees will range from Dh45,000 to Dh75,000.
The expansion was announced as Taaleem Holdings prepares to list on the Dubai Financial Market. It aims to raise Dh750 million ($204.2m) from its initial public offering.
Taaleem did not specify the percentage of share capital it plans to sell to the public, or when it will list its shares.
“We will be raising Dh750m equity through the IPO and we have concrete plans to build four new premium schools, three in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, and we will be expanding our Dubai British schools group," Mr Williamson said.
“We will be building a school in the Mira community and this will be the first premium school in the community which also has access to Town Square.
“The second school is in an incredible location by the water canal in Jumeirah."
He said the regulatory approvals were in place and the design actioned.
He said all of them will be UK curriculum schools because there is huge demand for British schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The school operator, which has a staff of 1,700, will hire dozens of teachers for the new institutions.
Mr Williamson said they have been on a hiring spree as the group opened several new schools across the country. From 17 schools in 2021, there are now 26 schools under the Taaleem umbrella.
Pupil numbers double in two years
In 2020, Taaleem had 13,200 pupils whereas in 2022 it had more than 27,400 pupils in the new academic year. Mr Williamson said the group has been successful in attracting expat and Emiratis pupils.
In June, the group — along with Aldar Education and Bloom Education — partnered with the government to run Ajyal Schools, or Generation Schools, which are based on a public-private partnership model.
Ten schools opened in September and are being operated by these groups and 18 more will open in the next three years.
"There will be incremental growth with the opening of the public-private partnership schools," Mr Williamson said.
"We recruited approximately 600 teachers to expand our eight schools this summer. We can expect the same level of expansion this year with PPP schools.
"We will be recruiting around 80 for our two new Dubai British schools in September 2024."
He said they would hire teachers across all subjects.
Mr Williamson said further growth was in the pipeline.
“A key part of growth for us will be additional pupils at our existing schools. Fifty per cent of our new pupils came from competitor schools," he said.
He said independent market research shows there would be 60,000 new pupils in the UAE over the next five years.
“We will also look to quickly pivot to any acquisition that becomes available through us in the market. This is the commitment that we are giving in the prospectus to interested investors," he said.
“In terms of the impact of the IPO, Taaleem has a fantastic track record of delivering the highest of education and 22 per cent of our pupils graduate to the top Russell Group and Ivy League universities and we will continue to invest in our existing schools."
This year, Taaleem completed a Dh233.5m takeover of Jebel Ali School, one of Dubai's oldest non-profit schools.
Established in 1977, the school originally served the children of residents working on the construction of Jebel Ali Port.
It relocated to Damac Hills in 2016 and later became a private school under Taaleem.