Cranleigh Abu Dhabi was born in late January 2011, when a group of Old Cranleighans based in Abu Dhabi introduced the School to members of the Board of Directors at TDIC. Visits to Abu Dhabi were followed by a high level visit to Cranleigh, leading to an agreement to work together to explore the possibilities of opening a school on Saadiyat Island in September 2014.
The Cranleigh ethos, based around the school moto, ‘Ex Cultu Robur – from Culture Comes Strength’, resonated perfectly with that of Saadiyat Island with its rich cultural identity.
A project team was formed and given a clear remit from both boards:
- Get to know and understand each other
- Conduct market research to see what size and type of school is needed on Saadiyat Island
- Understand Cranleigh’s past and present but look forward to Cranleigh Abu Dhabi’s future
- Research other schools to identify what could be done better
- Find the right people to translate – not clone – Cranleigh UK into a Middle Eastern setting
- Appreciate the responsibility you have to the children of Abu Dhabi
- Get it built by September 2014!
The architectural firm of Godwin, Austen and Johnson (GAJ) were appointed to design the school in 2012, and on 18th November 2012 a Joint Venture Agreement was signed by TDIC and Cranleigh UK and their partners, The Royal Group, to open Cranleigh Abu Dhabi in September 2014.
Having gained the necessary building regulation and educational approvals, the initial groundwork was completed in July 2013 and the contract to build was awarded in September 2013.
Brendan Law was appointed as the first Headmaster of Cranleigh Abu Dhabi. He has been TDIC’s Director of Education since September 2012