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The British International School (BISAD) UAE 3 - 18
The British International School (BISAD)
Abu Dhabi
, ages 16-18 | Mixed | Day

Sixth Form

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Our View

Part of the Nord Anglia group, the wonderful British International School Abu Dhabi (or BISAD, as it’s known) opened in 2009 and has a truly global community.


A short drive out of town in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, BISAD is perfectly located for anyone living off-island (it’s a 15-20 minute commute from many of the expat compounds).  The campus is vast – it’s one of the biggest plots for a school in Abu Dhabi  – but the sixth form has its own community on the second floor of the building (shared with the rest of the secondary school).


Patrick Horne joined in 2014 and was previously principal at Nord Anglia’s British International School Shanghai, so he has plenty of experience of expat education. Well-respected and very visible, he takes time to talk to parents during morning drop-off.


The school is not restricted by space, so it tries not to turn away any prospective pupils (though they won’t exceed class-number limits). If you’re applying as an expat and have a complete CAT 4 test report, the school will not require any additional testing. Many European schools only provide a tick-box report, in which case your child may be asked to complete a test. BISAD also holds informal virtual-discovery meetings during the admissions process. If a young person has a specific interest (such as science), the school will invite the relevant senior leaders to join the call, allowing prospective sixth-formers and parents to ask questions about the academics.

Scholarships or bursaries are not given out at BISAD but the school will look at individual cases that are brought to their attention or try to support a family if their circumstances change.


Students in Years 12 and 13 study the IB curriculum, with the belief that this lets them keep their options open for longer (in comparison to A-levels); there’s also the option of Arabic and Islamic Studies for Muslim pupils (up to Year 12). Results are top-notch: in 2020, 25 per cent of students achieved 40 or above, (which is required for universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Stanford), with an above-average point score of 35.

Abu Dhabi and the Middle East are rather behind the curve on inclusion, but BISAD is well known for its SEN offering and very open about the fact that it will go above and beyond to cater for pupils’ needs, including one-to-one support. In our experience, the staff are very kind and caring in their assessments, and proactive in their help. (Note that within the UAE, one-to-one support is an extra cost for parents.) 

The majority of students (39 per cent) head off to university in England - to the likes of Goldsmiths, King’s College, Durham - followed by the US and Canada, Europe and the Middle East.


Passionate about performing arts, the school has a collaboration with the Juilliard School in New York (the music, dance and drama studies are hand-selected and designed by them). 

A member of Abu Dhabi School Sports Association (ADISSA), the school has arguably the best facilities in the city, including an outdoor pool, shaded playing courts, a multipurpose sports hall and expansive outdoor space and playing fields.  

Co-curricular includes Duke of Edinburgh and global-service projects including, in the sixth form, the chance to travel to Tanzania and work with local communities. 

School community

Pastoral care is taken very seriously at BISAD, which has two counsellors and round-the-clock security.   

There are more than 80 nationalities throughout the entire school, and this is celebrated on International Days. The active PTA hosts events to engage families: coffee mornings, cinema nights, welcome tours for prospective parents (we found these to be very honest and useful). Parents can also meet in The Hub café (which is specifically for sixth-formers) at drop-off and pick-up.

And finally....

Pupils are allocated to a house (Oak Eagles, Elm Lions, Ash Dragons and Willow Sharks) and we love that once or twice a year, all ages come together in house groups to work on a project – it’s a real bonding, community effort.
  • Admissions

    Assessment sessions are held throughout the academic year for Year 1 to Year 12. Play sessions for Nursery & Foundations Stage 2 are a mandatory step in the admissions process for all students currently in the UAE. Once applications have been reviewed, parents receive a written response via email from the admissions office as to the status of the application and the next steps. Students applying to the school may be required to sit an assessment to gauge their level of English, additional learning needs, or to help decide which year level will be most appropriate.
  • University Destinations

    BIS Abu Dhabi students head off to some of the top universities around the world including the University of Oxford, the University of Sydney, McGill University in Canada and the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Sports

    Touch Rugby, Water Polo
  • Fees

    Day fees per annum
    From 68,700.00 UAE Dirham

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  • Transport Links

    Nearest international airport: Abu Dhabi International Airport


PO BOX 60968, Abu Dhabi,



Term Dates

Open Days


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