Kingpin's Guide to Schooling in Oman
Oman’s emergence as a key economic centre in the Arab Gulf Region has led to increased number of expats arriving in the country. Throughout the Gulf, expats tend to prefer their children going to international schools, where risks of a culture shock in terms of language barriers and learning processes are mitigated. Oman, and in particular the capital Muscat, has a good range of international schools, many of which offer the British style curriculum and internationally recognised qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate.
British School Muscat (BSM)
Curriculum: British Style
Deemed one of the leading schools in Oman, BSM is among the top 3 schools in the whole of the Middle East in terms of GCSE results. The school is firmly set on becoming one of the leading British International schools, not just in the Gulf but in the world, and is committed to fulfilling the potential of all students. A 2017 inspection by the British Schools Overseas (BSO) was extremely positive, highlighting the standard of the school. The campus is bursting with facilities and this is set to keep growing. By September 2017, the school aims to have 5 halls, 3 swimming pools, 2 libraries and a professionally run health centre.
The curriculum follows the British Key Stage cycle in the primary school and in the early stages of senior school, though it has been tailored slightly for the international student base. The primary school is all about laying foundations and building up knowledge and good practice for the transition into senior school. Children start to learn Arabic in year 4 and have a variety of classes from specialised teachers, such as music and PE. The beginning of senior school is all about development and preparation for GCSEs. Key Stage 4 is where GCSE’s are sat, both core and chosen subjects. The student will then progress to sixth form (results permitting), where students can gain A-Level qualifications in a range of subjects. At this stage, the school is committed to delivering increased personalised support for these challenging courses. Results from the school are consistently impressive, with 92% of students gaining 5 or more A*-C passes at GCSE level and 64% of A level students achieving A*-B passes in 2016.
Beyond the Classroom
The school believes non-academic activities can stimulate and complement learning. For instance, there are a host of plays, trips, concerts and clubs for students to take a break from their hectic study schedule. BSM has an extensive ‘enrichment’ programme. This includes sports, where students are encouraged to participate no matter what their experience or ability level. There are also competitive teams for a number of sports, such as; football, netball, and swimming. These teams represent the BSM Wolves locally and throughout the Gulf. The school also offers a range of music classes and bands for students to learn instruments or sing their hearts out, regardless of ability level. Additionally, there are regular dance and drama classes, with each year group producing a show every year. Finally, students have the option of participating in the International Award scheme, as well as going trips abroad to a host of international destinations.
Admission Policy & Fees
The school is selective and looks for students with fluent English, a strong learning ethos, a supportive family and an ability to thrive in high-attaining school. There are entry requirements that vary depending on what year your child is in. Prior to the sixth form, prospective students must sit and pass cognitive ability tests and the school must believe they have what it takes to meet the student's needs. The application is made online and face to face interviews, along with prior school visits are commonplace. Annual fees increase as the student progresses, rising to OMR 7520 in years 10/11 and OMR 8815 in years 12/13. T Additionally, there is a OMR 3250 enrolment fee to be paid after all admission processes are complete.
American British Academy (ABA) International School
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB)
The ABA differs from the British School Muscat as it offers the International Baccalaureate Programme, as opposed to the British styled curriculum. One of ABA’s key aims is to produce graduates who achieve by learning in a multi-cultural environment, in the hope that this will prepare for life in an ever-evolving and globalised world. ABA is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and is equipped with a range of facilities from a gym to music rooms to cater to every student’s interests.
The school consists of 3 levels; elementary, middle school and high school, and these follow the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Schools Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma respectively. All are internationally recognised programmes. The PYP is aimed at developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of young students in order to give them the basis to build successful careers. The MYP comprises of 8 different subject groups, including at least two languages and is the perfect preparation for studying for the IB Diploma in the latter stages a student’s school career. It gives students a broad range of skills and abilities to take on in the future. During the final two years of school, students can study for the IB Diploma, an internationally recognised qualification which prepares students for university and beyond. ABA offers a variety of subjects to study at this level and will provide a high degree of support to students whilst studying this rewarding albeit challenging course.
Beyond the Classroom
ABA offers a varied range of activities to get involved in outside of school hours. The school has programmes for both elementary and secondary school, which both encompass a variety of fields. The elementary programme has numerous categories such as; Arts and Crafts, Performing Arts, Recreation and Sports, and technology. The secondary school has more councils and societies such as the senior student council. There are a range of bands and musical groups for different year groups, as well as a drama club, where students have the opportunity to take part in the International School Theatre Association festival. APA also offers more niche clubs such as the Minecraft club and entrepreneurial club.
Admission Policy & Fees
The school has some conditions for admission, however, these are not overly excessive. Parents must show they have the financial capability to pay schools fees in a timely manner. Proficiency in English is not a prerequisite for student acceptance to ABA at an elementary level, however, the student is expected to have or be working towards a grade-level standard of English by the time they reach secondary school. Some students may need to sit English and mathematics tests to clarify the level a student is at. Parents interested should consult the school for an application form and consequently arrange a school tour and interviews. Waiting lists will be used when demand exceeds supply, with priority often given to overseas transfer students. In terms of the fee structure for ABA, all students must pay an OMR 3000 Building and Capital Asset Replacement Fee along with their tuition fees. Annual Tuition fees rise from 3,060 in Kindergarten to OMR 7430 in Grades 11/12. There are small application and registration fees in place also.
More Reputable International Schools in Oman:
The American International School of Muscat
Age Range: 3 to 18
Al Batinah International School
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Age Range: 3 to 18
Muscat International School
Curriculum: British and Omani
Age Range: 3 to 18
Knowledge Gate International School
Age Range: 3 to 19
If you are interested in relocating to Oman or anywhere around the globe and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax opportunities, please contact a member of the team.