Best Schools in Abu Dhabi for Expats

Abu Dhabi, as the capital of the United Arab Emirates, offers a wealth of experiences – from the rich Arabic culture to a diverse, cosmopolitan lifestyle. The city is a magnet for expats seeking professional opportunities and a high quality of life. 

One of the top concerns for families moving to Abu Dhabi, however, is the standard and accessibility of education. There are many excellent international schools in Abu Dhabi, but with so many choices, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your child.

This article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the best schools in Abu Dhabi for expats. 

Understanding Abu Dhabi's School System

Before diving into the list, it is crucial to understand the schooling system in Abu Dhabi. A significant number of schools cater to a wide range of international curricula such as British, American, French, and International Baccalaureate (IB). Given Abu Dhabi’s multi-cultural environment, most schools offer excellent language programmes and have a diverse faculty and student base.

Now, let’s explore the top-rated schools in Abu Dhabi that offer exceptional educational experiences for expatriate children.

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British International School Abu Dhabi (BISAD)

BISAD, part of the Nord Anglia Education group, is renowned for its British curriculum that extends from Early Years Foundation Stage to A-Levels. Known for its well-qualified faculty, broad extracurricular activities, and a well-rounded approach to education, BISAD helps students build academic and personal skills in a nurturing environment.

American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS)

Offering an American curriculum from pre-kindergarten to grade 12, ACS is a top choice among American expats and those seeking a US-style education. ACS students have high acceptance rates into prestigious American and international universities, underlining the quality of its education.

Raha International School

As an IB World School, Raha International provides an immersive, student-focused educational experience from Early Years to Diploma. This school is part of the Taaleem group, known for its commitment to holistic development and international-mindedness.

The French International School Abu Dhabi

For those seeking French instruction, The French International School Abu Dhabi offers a curriculum aligned with France’s national education system from pre-school to high school. The school prepares students for the French Baccalaureate and offers bilingual classes in French and English.

Aldar Academies - Al Yasmina Academy

Al Yasmina, part of the prestigious Aldar Academies group, provides a British curriculum from Foundation Stage to A-Levels. Noteworthy for its emphasis on personal growth, creativity, and critical thinking, Al Yasmina encourages students to become active learners and conscientious global citizens.

Abu Dhabi International School (ADIS)

ADIS offers both American and British curriculum from KG1 to Grade 12. Providing a multiculturally enriched learning environment, the school encourages students to embrace cultural diversity, promoting international understanding and respect.

GEMS American Academy

Part of the highly-regarded GEMS Education group, GEMS American Academy is an internationally recognized, American curriculum school, offering education from KG1 to Grade 12. The school boasts excellent facilities, highly qualified teachers, and a strong commitment to incorporating innovation and technology in learning.

Brighton College Abu Dhabi

Affiliated with the prestigious Brighton College UK, this school offers a British curriculum and has a strong focus on academic achievement without overlooking the importance of extracurricular activities. With a reputation for academic excellence and a vibrant school community, Brighton College is a popular choice among expatriate families.

Abu Dhabi Grammar School (Canada)

Founded in 1978, Abu Dhabi Grammar School (Canada) provides a Canadian-style education from Grade 1 to 12. Known for its friendly environment, excellent teaching staff, and strong academic standards, the school provides students with an enriching educational experience that focuses on development, innovation, and creativity.

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, affiliated with Cranleigh School in England, offers an enriched British curriculum from FS1 to Year 13. With a strong emphasis on a holistic educational experience, the school provides students with an array of opportunities for learning, development, and self-expression in a supportive and nurturing environment.


Choosing the right school is a significant decision for families relocating to Abu Dhabi. The city’s international schools are highly competitive and have a wide range of offerings, curricula, and teaching styles to cater to a diverse expatriate population.

These top-rated schools in Abu Dhabi provide excellent education and a vibrant, multicultural environment. To select the best fit for your child, consider factors such as curriculum, the school’s teaching philosophy, facilities, extracurricular offerings, and feedback from other expat parents.

Moving to a new country can be a challenging experience, but finding the right school doesn’t have to be. Armed with the right information and a clear understanding of what your child needs, you can ensure that their educational journey in Abu Dhabi is enriching, exciting, and fulfilling.

Finding the Right Home Loan for Expats in Australia

Finding the right home loan for you when you’re purchasing in Australia is just as important as finding the right school for your children. That’s where Odin Mortgage can help.

We’re a team of experienced mortgage brokers who specialise in helping expats and foreign nationals get the best home loan possible. We understand the unique challenges that expats face when it comes to getting a mortgage, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the right home loan for your needs.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Frequently asked questions

There are many great schools in Abu Dhabi, but some of the most highly-rated include:

  • The British School of Abu Dhabi
  • The American Community School of Abu Dhabi
  • The International School of Choueifat
  • The Lycée Français International d’Abu Dhabi
  • The GEMS World Academy

These schools offer a variety of curriculums, from the British and American systems to the International Baccalaureate. They also have excellent facilities and highly-qualified teachers.

No, education is not free in the UAE for expats. Expats must pay tuition fees for their children to attend school, whether it is a public or private school.

Yes, foreigners can go to public school in the UAE. However, there are some restrictions. For example, only children of UAE nationals and those with a valid UAE residency visa are eligible to attend public schools for free. Expats who want to send their children to public school will need to pay a tuition fee.

School fees in Abu Dhabi vary depending on the school, the grade level, and the curriculum. However, on average, international school fees range from AED 35,000 to AED 120,000 per year. Public school fees are much lower, typically around AED 6,000 per year.

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