Gordonstoun Abu Dhabi: School attended by King Charles III coming to capital

President Sheikh Mohamed also attended the Scottish institution for a summer

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A branch of Gordonstoun, the Scottish school attended by King Charles III, is to open on Jubail Island in Abu Dhabi.

Jubail Island Investment Company and Spaces Investment and Real Estate Development have signed an exclusive Gulf-wide regional licensing agreement with the Scottish school to use its name, trademarks, curriculum and know-how in the development of the school, which will open in September 2026.

Jubail Island’s Gordonstoun School will correspond with the pupil experience offered by Scottish institution and will aim to combine its emphasis on leadership, challenge and service with UAE culture and tradition.

Gordonstoun, a coeducational school for boarding and day pupils in Moray, north-eastern Scotland, is regarded as one of the world's leading independent schools.

It caters to pupils aged four to 18 and has several high-profile alumni. King Charles and his father Prince Philip were both Gordonstoun pupils. King Charles has said the school instilled him with self-discipline and a sense of responsibility.

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed also attended Gordonstoun for a summer during his secondary school days.

The Scottish school follows the English GCSE and A-level curriculum and its amenities include a rifle range, a five-hole golf course, a 400-metre running track and an indoor swimming pool.

No details have been provided yet of the amenities planned for the Abu Dhabi school.

Fahad Al Blooshi, chairman of Spaces, said teaming up with Jubail Island Investment Company (JIIC) and Gordonstoun to launch the school was “an incredible opportunity that will see the foundations laid for a new kind of education”.

“Gordonstoun’s specialised approach to value-based education, which teaches students hands-on skills and supports with positive character building, is in alignment with UAE values and culture, which aim to encourage independence, perseverance, and discipline,” he said.

Boarding fees per term at Gordonstoun range from £10,350 ($12,600) for junior school (age 8-13) to £16,330 ($19,900) for Year 13. About a third of the pupils at the coeducational boarding school in Scotland receive financial help in order to attend.

“The income from our international operations is essential to fund our bursary programme, which offers life-changing opportunities to children from underprivileged backgrounds,” said David White, chairman of the board of governors and chairman of Gordonstoun International.

“It also allows us to develop our facilities for the benefit of our students and local community.”

Gordonstoun also has agreements for overseas schools in China and Canada.

Abu Dhabi's Dh10 billion Jubail Island project, located between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island, will have six residential village estates covering more than 400 hectares and is expected to be home to 10,000 residents within four years.

More than 60 per cent of the island will be a natural reserve with mangroves, water bodies and salt marshes, Mahmoud Dandashly, chief business officer at JIIC, told The National last year.

“Jubail Island spreads across an area of 45 million square metres. Out of that, only 15 million square metres [are] used for real estate development,” he said.

The villages will have a host of amenities including play areas, athletic courts, cycling and jogging tracks, supermarkets and other retail and office spaces, medical centres and restaurants.

Located in a biodiversity hotspot, the project is also home to Jubail Mangrove Park, the first self-contained nature and leisure destination in the UAE capital.

Jubail Island Villas: in pictures

Updated: October 25, 2023, 10:29 AM