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The British School Al Khubairat UAE 3 - 18
The British School Al Khubairat
Abu Dhabi
860 pupils, ages 11-18 | Mixed | Day


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Places in every year group at The British School Al Khubairat (BSAK) are highly sought after by both local and international families. And with all-encompassing facilities, a commitment to rounded learning and an inclusion policy that is welcoming, comprehensive and genuine, it’s not hard to see why.


Founded in 1968, BSAK is one of the UAE’s longest-established international schools. It’s a member of both IAPS and the HMC, and pupils from nursery to sixth form are taught the British curriculum. Always a top choice for those relocating from overseas, it was recently officially appointed the British Embassy’s recommended school. Located on land donated by the late president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, BSAK is set in the vibrant heart of Abu Dhabi, so wherever you live in the city, you’ll have a school run of less than 30 minutes.

All sections of the school are set on the same bright and modern campus, which, if you have children at different educational stages, makes for an easy drop-off and pick-up. Children in the secondary school have plenty of space to enjoy sunny breaks between lessons, including two Astro pitches, their own dining hall and dance studio, and a dedicated assembly hall.


Whole-school head Mark Leppard has been in charge here since 2009. He is passionate about BSAK and its community, and perfectly represents the focused, lively spirit of this high-achieving place. Highly experienced both as a headteacher and a school inspector (he also holds an MBE for services to education overseas), Mr Leppard has lived in the region for more than 20 years, giving him an in-depth knowledge and unique understanding of both the UAE and the British education system, which he is happy to impart to local families and new arrivals. He views education as something that happens beyond as well as in the classroom, and puts this to practise on the sports fields as an enthusiastic spectator supporting his school’s clubs and teams, and personally as ex-rugby player and current golf fanatic.


Academically non-selective and with an outstanding reputation, BSAK has waiting lists for all year groups. Priority is given to siblings, British nationals and diplomatic and military overseas children but, if a move to the area is imminent, don’t despair: the school is pragmatic about its admissions process and happy to offer helpful, detailed personal advice on whether your child will gain a place. Class sizes are similar to those of UK state schools, with about 28 children in each. Music scholarships are available but these bring no fee discount; instead, recipients are given extra support and lessons within their specialist area.


Rated ‘Outstanding’ by the area’s local inspection agency and with many awards to its name, BSAK is rightly proud of its excellent results and reputation. The school has the widest choice of academic subjects available in Abu Dhabi – twenty-six, at time of writing – and pupils sit a minimum of nine GCSEs, with a current pass rate of 100 per cent.

The school week runs from Monday to Friday in line with the business working week in the UAE. In secondary school, BSAK follows the English national curriculum, with adaptations that reflect its Emirati setting. All pupils study Arabic, with the majority sitting it for GCSE; many also take up Islamic studies too.

All BSAK teachers are highly qualified, with a PGCE or a four-year degree, and the majority have at least two years of teaching experience in the UK; the low rate of staff turnover is an indication of how great it is to work here.

Inclusion is a top priority for BSAK, which makes it stand out within the region. It welcomes students from across the whole ability spectrum, and each child who requires it receives individualised support, with staff incorporating the help of specialists such as speech and language therapists, medical professionals and educational psychologists in order to fully meet the needs of each child and help them progress. All pupils, including those with physical disabilities, are taught with their peers in class groups. There is also an EAL department that specialises in interventions for students who might be struggling with English.


With more than 170 co-curricular activities available, ranging from academic enrichment to music, art, drama and sport, it’s encouraging to know that almost all pupils take part in them. A well-established house system, based on the UK independent-school system, brings a fun rivalry to many of these activities and ensures everyone can have a go.

Music is a particular strength, with individual instrument and singing lessons offered by specialist music teachers employed by BSAK (which is unusual in the UAE); in the school as a whole, more than 450 children take up this opportunity weekly.

Sport, too, is highly important. Facilities include a large on-site Astro pitch, a 25-metre pool, sports halls and two dance studios. Football is the most popular sport for both boys and girls, with many pupils representing BSAK in the local sports ADISSA leagues. Rugby isn’t far behind: pupils take part in the highly-competitive Dubai 7s.

Drama and art are equally strong. Regular performances are staged in the school’s top-notch theatre, and the standard of pupils’ art on display in the glazed art corridor is testament to their skills and the dedication of BSAK’s talented art department.

School community

BSAK has a friendly reputation and ensures that everyone feels immediately at home, from long-established families to newcomers. ‘Link parents’, an initiative set up by the school, are appointed to make relocating families feel at ease and are there to answer questions, help them make friends and, on a practical level, ensure that they are added to the all-too-necessary WhatsApp groups. 

The Friends of BSAK group is a great social network that also raises funds for the school (often not possible within the UAE). Parents can join the choir that performs at the adjacent Christian church. And BSAK’s status as the British Embassy’s recommended school means it is able to openly celebrate Christmas and Easter, as well as marking all Muslim and Hindu festivals. With many parents living close by on similar compounds, friendships are struck between families that last for life.

Pastoral care is taken extremely seriously, and the school holds a gold-standard mental-health award from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. This reflects its commitment and dedication to mental health, both for staff and students, and on a practical level means the community can access support groups, counsellors and help with wellbeing at home.

And finally....

Strong on academics and excelling at pastoral care, BSAK delivers an outstanding take on the British curriculum while proudly honouring its Emirati locale.

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The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
The British School Al Khubairat gallery image
  • Admissions

    The school is non-selective but oversubscribed and very popular. There are waiting lists in most year groups and the school prioritises British Passport holders. The school is required to find places for all diplomatic and military overseas parents’ children. For prospective pupils with siblings already attending BSAK, applications are moved up towards to the top of the list. The school asks for pupil's most recent two academic reports. They will also work directly with the previous school to obtain confidential references.
  • Academic results

    A-level % grades A*-B: 70%
  • University Destinations

    % of last year's leavers who went on to universities in Australia: 2%
    % of last year's leavers who went on to universities in Canada: 6%
    % of last year's leavers who went on to universities in the UK: 70%
    % of last year's leavers who went on to universities in the USA: 8%
    % of last year's leavers who went on to other overseas universities: 9%

    The vast majority of pupils go on to university, with most attending good UK universities. Other destinations are include UAE, America, Canada and a small number who go to European universities.
  • Sports

  • Fees

    Day fees per annum
    From 68,020.00 UAE Dirham to 70,630.00 UAE Dirham

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  • SEND

    25 staff

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    The school is holistic and inclusive, and offers an individual, tailored programme of support for each child. They work with parents, class teachers, Heads of Year, Teaching Assistants, Senior Leaders, school counsellor, Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists and medical professionals amongst others to ensure they meet the needs of every student. Children with more significant needs will have an Individual Education Plan. The school commits to meeting face-to-face with parents at least 3 times a year. The school uses the Assess, Plan, Do, Review model to ensure their support for children is effective and relevant, and takes its lead from the British Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2014).

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    There are three qualified Special Needs Teachers and a learning support teacher dedicated to each year group, plus a lead in Primary and one for Secondary. Depending on pupils' needs and requirements, they may be extracted from class for dedicated group work, or 1:1 additional learning. With all things tackled at the school, SEN included, they work with the ethos ‘Adapt, Improvise and Overcome’.

  • Transport Links

    Nearest international airport: Abu Dhabi International Airport


PO Box 4001, Abu Dhabi

(+971) 2 204 0200



Term Dates

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Inspection report


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