Cranleigh Abu Dhabi aims to inspire a love of learning at all ages and levels

We pride ourselves on a curriculum that not only enables our pupils to achieve exceptionally good examination results but also engages them in the excitement of learning, preparing them for the wider world.

Abu Dhabi Cranleighans will grow up to be independent, thoughtful and well-rounded individuals, confident in their ability to question, analyse and express opinions.

Our aim is to strike a balance between the academic disciplines and the wealth of extra-curricular activities on offer. We seek all-round excellence, sharing the same ethos as Cranleigh School in the UK.

Pre-Prep   (FS1 - Year 2)

Boys and girls in the Prep-Prep (FS1-Year 2) are nurtured in their understanding of the world around them. In a supportive, caring, secure, happy and creative environment, they develop in line with our ethos, to fulfil their potential.

They are placed in mixed ability classes, supervised by a teacher and a teaching assistant, with a low ratio of staff to children (no more than 18 pupils per class). We provide a broad curriculum within the framework outlined by both the UK EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) guidelines. Specialist teaching is introduced in music, languages, and sport from an early age. Arabic language teaching starts in FS2 with Islamic Studies commencing in Year 1.

The Pre-Prep (FS1-Year 2) has been designed to maximize the space for play/work based learning both inside and outside the classroom.

In FS1 and FS2 children are encouraged to explore, question and enjoy their learning. By Year 1 and Year 2 the children are expected to take more responsibility for their learning and to take pride in their work. They learn to work with other children to investigate and to extend their understanding and develop their self-confidence. Importance is placed on frequent communication with parents to ensure the children flourish and well prepared to move onto the Prep School (Year 3-8) and the next stage in their education.

Prep  (Year 3 - Year 8)

In a caring environment, boys and girls grow in their love of learning through stimulating lessons that stretch all abilities within small classes (no more than 18 pupils per class). The aim of the Prep School is to build firm foundations in all subjects, paving the way for deeper understanding and more complex ideas in the Senior School.

In Years 3 and 4 the boys and girls are taught in mixed ability classes, supervised by a teacher and teaching assistant. Most lessons are taught by their class teacher but specialist staff teach them music, sport, art, languages, Arabic and Islamic Studies. As they move into Years 5 and 6, the model moves entirely to specialist teaching. Setting and streaming is introduced to help support and stretch children at both ends of the academic spectrum. 

Senior   (Year 9 - Year 13)

Having been grounded in a range of subjects, and with the opportunity to try new ones, pupils delve further as they prepare for (I)GCSEs and the Sixth Form. Specialist subject teachers inspire and assist all pupils to achieve their best.


General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and International GCSE (IGCSE) courses are designed to be taught over two years in Years 10 and 11 although a start is often made in Year 9.

It is normal for students pupils to take about nine (I)GCSEs. The following subjects are compulsory: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Other subjects are selected from a list of options. The study of Arabic language is also required under ADEC regulations, although is not a compulsory GCSE subject. More detail on Arabic and all other subjects is in the 2017-2018 (I)GCSE Options Booklet which can viewed by clicking below. Hard copies are available from the Admissions Department in the Senior School.


Sixth Form

Sixth Form Revisited

Unlike other schools in the region, Cranleigh Sixth Form adopts an innovative approach to teaching and learning by embracing Harkness style teaching, a dialogue-based approach that allows students to further develop their independent thinking through tutorial style lessons around an oval table. More information on Harkness is in Cranleigh Abu Dhabi – Sixth Form Reinvented.

Our Sixth Form offers A Levels as well as the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), a qualification taken by an increasing number of students in the United Kingdom, where it is equivalent to half an A Level. The EPQ is similar in concept to the IB Extended Essay, but more in-depth in delivery. It is completed over the two years of Sixth Form. Alongside the Academic studies, Sixth Formers are offered a range of enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities and benefit from a well developed support infrastructure as they start to explore and prepare for their university careers. More information can be found here.

Our initial A Level programme will focus on the Russell Group’s facilitating subjects’ ensuring Cranleigh Sixth Formers retain as much flexibility as possible for University entry. Please click though to read our Sixth Form brochure or email the admissions team for information regarding entry.