Cranleigh Scholarship Overview
The Cranleigh Abu Dhabi scholarship programme is designed to broaden access to our holistic and enriching educational model, as well as to attract and support talented students who show passion for and potential in their chosen field.

As well as Academic awards, scholarships are available in: Sports, Visual Arts and Performing Arts, see below for details. There is also the possibility of an All Rounder award for pupils who demonstrate a consistent breadth and standard of achievement across several areas. The application process opens in the second term of the school year – details and a link to the Application Form will be posted here. Scholarships are open to pupils entering Year 7 and above in September of the next academic year.

Selection criteria vary depending on the award but in all cases, we look for strong evidence of achievement and potential. Candidates are expected to already be performing at a high level and, on top of that, we are particularly looking for children who demonstrate an independence of thought, a real love for their area of excellence and a desire to grow and develop.

Scholarship programmes are an important part of the independent school model, bringing benefits on a number of levels. At an individual level, scholars are typically offered opportunities to get involved in additional, prestigious activities that stretch and extend them. Further down the line, awards can add weight to university applications. For the student body, scholars act as role models and peer group leaders, demonstrating how potential can be realised and what can be achieved through commitment and determination. For the school as a whole, scholars add an energy and vibrancy that further add to community spirit, diversity and excellence.

Finally, and very importantly, by introducing a scholarship programme that carries fee remission, we are now able to ensure more children have the opportunity to benefit from the calibre and breadth of education offered here at Cranleigh. All scholarships attract a fee reduction and are merit-based.

The application process opens in the second term of the school year. Details and a link to the Application Form will be posted here. A shortlist will be created following review of applications received. All shortlisted candidates will be invited for assessment and interview. 

Award Categories



We award academic scholarships to pupils who take a genuine interest in the intellectual world, who have a track-record of achievement in a range of subjects, and who have the potential to become Cranleigh’s academic leaders. Our expectation is that academic scholars will be among the very top performers in their year-group when it comes to our internal and, later, public exams. We expect most of them to be at an academic level where ultimately, they could apply to Oxbridge, Ivy League or other world-leading universities.

We also expect scholars to play a full role in the school. In addition to participating in the range of co-curricular activities expected of every Cranleighan, successful candidates will attend scholars tutorials and be encouraged to take an active role in the broader Enrichment Programme which includes an annual Scholars’ Showcase as well as public speaking, debating and academic challenges such as Model United Nations, World Scholars Cup and Youth Circles.

Scholars are also encouraged to read widely around their subjects, to attend subject-specific talks, and to identify academics and other public intellectuals who could add value to the school community.

How to apply for an Academic Scholarship

An Application Form will be posted here early in the second term of the school year. This form will include a requirement to provide evidence of outstanding academic achievement, details of which will be followed up with the candidate’s current school. Candidates whose applications meet the required criteria will be invited to attend a testing day. Testing will include:

  • For entry to Y7 – Y10, three 45 minute exams in Maths, English and Science
  • For entry to Y12, two one hour exams from a choice of subjects
  • A standardised computer test which assesses verbal and non-verbal reasoning, spatial aptitude and numeracy. This typically takes 90 minutes

The top performers will be invited back for interview. The interviews will be from 15 to 30 minutes and will cover:

  • The pupil’s academic interests, aptitude and enthusiasm
  • The pupil’s attitude, manner and presentation
  • Other areas in which the pupil will contribute to the school

All of these areas will be scored with appropriate weighting to inform our overall decision.

Internal candidates will not be required to undergo the above testing as we will be in a position to use our own academic data and knowledge of the pupils. They will, however, be required to submit a completed Application Form, and shortlisted candidates will be called for interview.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts

Performing Arts scholarships may be given to pupils specialising in any or all of: Music (instrumental and voice), Drama and Dance. All awards will be made following a successful audition.

We expect applicants to be able to demonstrate that their interest and achievement in their field has been pursued outside of normal school lessons.

This may include active membership of bands, ensembles or groups, excellent results from a recognised examination awarding body, performance experience through conservatoires, dance and acting schools, original theatrical, musical or choreography compositions and/or other relevant accomplishments.

How to apply for a Drama Scholarship

An Application Form will be posted here early in the second term of the school year. Candidates whose application meets the required criteria will be invited to interview with the Head of Drama and will be required to perform a rehearsed piece.

In interview, candidates should be ready to give details of their contributions to school productions, workshops and drama classes or clubs. They will also be expected to be able to talk about pieces of theatre that have inspired them.

Prospective scholars will be asked to perform a one to two minute monologue from a published play and may also be asked to show teamwork in a group workshop.

How to apply for a Music Scholarship

An Application Form will be posted here early in the second term of the school year. Candidates whose application meets the required criteria will be expected to be at Grade 4 ABRSM/Trinity College standard or above and they should supply their last certificate however those with fewer or no formal qualifications should not feel automatically excluded.

Candidates will be invited to attend a musical audition which will last around 15 minutes. This will consist of one prepared piece on both first and second instruments. If presenting with only one instrument, two contrasting pieces should be prepared. Should a pianist with no second instrument be awarded a scholarship, they must be prepared to take up an orchestral instrument when they get to the school.

Assessment will also include aural and sight reading appropriate to the grade accomplished and there will be a short interview with the Head of Music to explore musical interests and enthusiasms.

How to apply for a Dance Scholarship

An Application Form will be posted here early in the second term of the school year. Candidates whose application meets the required criteria will be invited to attend an interview with the Head of Dance, during which they should be ready to talk about their contributions to school productions as well as workshops and/or dance classes they have attended outside school. They will also be expected to be able to discuss pieces of dance that have inspired them.

Candidates may be asked to take part in a performing arts workshop where their ability to demonstrate they can work as part of a team will be evaluated.

All prospective Dance Scholars will be asked to perform a one-minute dance. This can be in any style and should be rehearsed and polished. Any music or other supporting performance requirements should be discussed in advance.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Visual Arts scholarships may be awarded for Art or Design Technology – or both.

All candidates will be expected to showcase a substantial and diverse portfolio of work and also demonstrate that their passion and accomplishment extends beyond work completed within the school curriculum.

Participation in competitions, courses and evidence of sustained and high level interest will support successful applications.

Interviews will be held with for those who make a shortlist and the process may also include the production of a piece of work on the day of the scholarship assessment.

How to apply for a Design and Technology Scholarship

An Application Form will be posted here early in the second term of the school year. Candidates whose application meets the required criteria will be invited for an interview with the Head of Design and Technology, in which they should be prepared to present their skill, aptitude and interest through design portfolios, evidence of competitions/awards, photographs and finished products (where applicable – restriction upon size) both from within and out of school. The Head of Department will be looking for evidence of passion, enthusiasm and knowledge.  

Candidates will also be taken on a tour of the Design and Technology Department during which they will be expected to demonstrate their understanding and experience levels.

How to apply for an Art Scholarship

An Application Form will be posted here early in the second term of the school year. Candidates whose application meets the required criteria will be asked to submit a portfolio.

Portfolios should include personal work produced by the candidate in their own time as well as work produced in school, school-based art clubs or holiday courses. Evidence of a wide variety of approaches is encouraged. It is hoped that much of the work submitted will be exploratory, experimental and drawing-based – a good deal of which might be suitable for submission in a sketchbook. The Head of Art will be looking for the ability to produce not only sustained work from first-hand observation, but also imaginative, thoughtful and creative responses in a variety of media.

All short-listed students will be invited back to Cranleigh to work on a test piece in the studios. This exercise will require candidates to produce a piece of mixed-media work on paper based on the observation of a chosen subject – very often a themed still life. The task will be introduced and explained. Candidates will be encouraged to tackle the task to show their skills in drawing and sensitivity to the basic elements of art and design (line, tone, colour, pattern, texture etc.) through a considered composition and the creative use of media.

When test pieces are completed, candidates will meet again with the Head of Art to talk about their work, developing interests and any artists or designers that they admire.

Note: Three-dimensional work such as pottery, sculpture and design projects should NOT be submitted with the portfolio but instead the work should be presented through good quality photographs showing a clear and accurate indication of the work’s quality. It would be helpful if work in the portfolio is clearly marked with the candidate’s name and school.



Sports scholarships at Cranleigh are designed to ensure that those pupils who are talented athletes are equipped with every opportunity to achieve their highest goals.

The aim of our programme is to develop a pathway that enables gifted sportspeople to fulfil their sporting potential within a professional, supportive framework.

Candidates will be considered on a case-by-case basis but must demonstrate excellence and attainment in their chosen sport(s). All shortlisted candidates will be required to attend an assessment. This will include a general assessment of a candidate’s athleticism, as well as a session appropriate to their sporting strength.

The following sporting disciplines are considered:

  • Sports All Rounder
  • Football
  • Netball
  • Rugby
  • Swimming

How to apply for a Sports Scholarship

An Application Form will be posted here early in the second term of the school year. All applications will be reviewed and candidates who meet the required criteria will be asked shortlisted and invited to attend an assessment day which will include:

  • Team building exercises
  • Fitness Testing
  • Sport specific activities
  • An interview with the Head(s) of Sport

All applicants should have good athleticism, an excellent work ethic and be able to demonstrate a desire to listen and learn.


Q: Who is eligible to apply?

A: Any pupil (including children currently at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi) who will be entering Year 7 or above in September of the following school year is eligible to apply for a scholarship.

Q: What is expected of scholars at Cranleigh?

A: Cranleigh scholars should be ready to stand out as role models and peer group leaders, demonstrating how potential can be realised and what can be achieved through commitment and determination. They should show a high level of emotional maturity, evidenced through their ability to work cooperatively, be resilient and adaptable.

They will be expected to be very actively involved in activities relevant to their area of specialism. Some of these activities will require them to invest their free time after school, and on occasion, during weekends and in school holidays. These activities may carry travel, subsistence or other incremental costs.

Academic scholars will be expected to embrace opportunities offered through our Enrichment Programme; Performing Arts scholars will be expected to take leading roles in performances, ensembles, groups, after school activities/ clubs, UK exchanges etc; Visual Arts scholars will be expected to devote time (in and out of school) developing a body of work that can be showcased in exhibitions and competitions, and Sports scholars will be expected to train with the relevant squad(s) and represent the school in as many local, national and international competitions as possible.

All scholars will be expected to play a key role in the school’s ongoing pursuit of progress and excellence in their field of expertise.

Q: What will the fee reduction be?

A: Scholarships for Cranleigh pupils attract a fee reduction of 5% per scholarship up to a maximum of 10%. Applications from pupils who are not currently at Cranleigh will be reviewed on an individual basis. We are very keen to use our programme to provide opportunities for children to access the calibre and breadth that a Cranleigh education offers. All scholarships are merit-based.

Q: Will awards be given for a student’s entire school career?

A: Awards will be reviewed annually. Continued tenure of awards will be conditional upon the fulfilment of the requirements specified by each awarding department. Scholars will be expected to meet a minimum academic grade average evidenced through the interim and full reporting cycle.

Q: How do students apply?

A: Prospective scholars are required to complete an application form which will allow for a first review. Candidates who are successful at this first stage will be invited into school to sit their assessment/ undertake their audition/ produce their artwork/ attend an interview etc. Each award category has its own set of assessment criteria and process which is outlined above. All applicants should complete an Application Form for each scholarship they wish to apply for. The Application Form will be uploaded to this page in the second term of the school year. Please email if you have any questions.

Q: Can students apply for an All Rounder award?

A: No. In reviewing applications, the scholarship committee may, in exceptional circumstances, identify candidates whose skills and achievements lend themselves to an All Rounder award. As in all other categories, awards will be dependent on the number and calibre of students applying and the school reserves the right not to award at all if there are no candidates of sufficient merit. Candidates considered for an All Rounder award would typically have submitted at least two individual scholarship applications and be outstanding students with unusually high potential in a number of curriculum areas.

Q: How many scholarships can students apply for?

A: There is no restriction to the number of scholarships a student can apply for however, given the fact that the school is seeking exceptional candidates, students should consider their application approach carefully.  

Q: If applying for more than one category, is a separate application form required for each?

A: Yes, a separate application form should be submitted if a candidate is applying for more than one category. Note that although there is more than one sporting discipline specified, there is only one overall Sports scholarship category. If a child is talented in more than one sporting discipline, this should be explained as part of the motivation on the application form and supporting evidence of talent and achievements should be supplied.

Q: How many scholarships will be awarded?

A: The number and type of awards given will depend on the quality of the field. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi reserves the right not to award any scholarships if there are no candidates of sufficient merit.