The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys is a unique and highly prestigious school. Situated in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi, the school opened in 2015 to continue the success and reputation of The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Girls which was established in 2000 to fulfil the vision of the Late President, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.


Approximately 95% of our students are Emirati whose parents have specifically chosen our school because of our vision of Honoring the past. Educating for the future. Our parents tell us this is something we truly deliver on a daily basis. It is the golden thread that’s weaves through everything we do.


SZPAB is a blended curriculum school, combining the American Massachusetts State Common Core Curriculum with the UAE Ministry of Education Curriculum, offering programs such as UAE Social Studies and My Identity. The school is unique in the UAE in offering its Eyal Zayed Program, a joint project between the UAE Armed Forces and The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys. The program aims to prepare students for different aspects of life including leadership, loyalty and service.


SZPAB has been accredited by CIS and NEASC and is recognized by the College Board as designated to offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Our school has achieved a rating of ‘Very Good’ in the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) inspections in 2018 and 2021.

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Outstanding National Identity Mark

Outstanding National Identity Mark

At SZPAB innovation and a strong sense of national identity are interwoven. We take immense pride in being recognized as one of the very few schools in Abu Dhabi to receive the prestigious "Outstanding" grade for National Identity.

At SZPAB, we understand the significance of nurturing a deep connection to the UAE's rich heritage while preparing our students for the future. Selecting SZPAB for your child means choosing an institution that goes beyond imparting academic knowledge; it means belonging to a school where your children will be intricately woven into the fabric of their UAE identity.

Our commitment to "honoring the past; educating for the future" is not just a mission statement – it's a way of life at SZPAB. We believe that a strong foundation in the cultural and historical context of the UAE is crucial for shaping responsible global citizens. Our “Outstanding” grade for National Identity reflects our unwavering dedication to instilling a profound sense of pride, respect and understanding of the heritage that defines us.

At SZPAB, we take learning beyond textbooks and classrooms; we immerse our students in experiences that celebrate the UAE's rich traditions. From special events to innovative curriculum modules, we ensure that every child not only learns about their cultural roots, but also lives them. Our educators are passionate about creating an environment where students not only excel academically but, also grow into individuals who carry the essence of their UAE identity with them, wherever life takes them.

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Apple Distinguished School

Apple Distinguished School

Apple Distinguished School

SZPAB is recognized as an Apple Distinguished School, a title that reflects our commitment to educational innovation and exclusivity. This respected recognition, given to schools that excel in innovation, leadership and educational excellence, aligns perfectly with our ethos. At SZPAB, we harness the full spectrum of Apple's cutting-edge technology, creating an enriching environment that is not only future-forward, but also deeply rooted in modern teaching methodologies.

Our classrooms, equipped with the latest Apple technology, offer students access to learning experiences that are both innovative and engaging. This approach goes beyond enhancing the learning experience; it immerses our students and teachers in advanced technology, equipping them for a dynamic and rapidly evolving future. Our swift adaptation to new technologies highlights our dedication to providing an educational experience that is second to none.

In embracing our status as an Apple Distinguished School, SZPAB is committed to continually pushing the boundaries of education. By integrating Apple's state-of-the-art resources, we enable our students to not just learn, but to explore, create, and innovate. We are setting them on a trajectory of success, preparing them for a world where technology and change are constants. Our focus on leveraging Apple technology, combined with our innovative curriculum, empowers our students to thrive in an ever-changing digital landscape.

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Meet the team

Neil Matthews

Neil Matthews


Ahmed AlShehhi

Ahmed AlShehhi

Vice Principal

Rhys Flavell

Rhys Flavell

Elementary Principal

Nicola Lavis

Nicola Lavis

Head of Early Years

Vincent Maiella

Vincent Maiella

Head of Secondary

Early Childhood Pre K - Grade 1

Early Childhood Pre K - Grade 1

In the Early Years Department, we pride ourselves on helping students develop a solid foundation while developing their skills and dispositions needed to excel in an ever changing world. We have a program of study that is engaging, motivating and personalized to our little learners. SZPAB educates the whole child by ensuring students’ individual academic, social and personal development goals are met through individualized monitoring and target setting to ensure that all students reach their potential. Our indoor and outdoor learning environments provide students with a wide range of opportunities and experiences in a hands on, multi-sensory way.

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Elementary Grades 2 - 5

Elementary Grades 2 - 5

The Elementary years are vitally important for your child’s development. We take this responsibility very seriously, by ensuring that teaching and learning programs are individualized and highly focused on closing any gaps and developing strengths. Children develop at different stages and our programs acknowledge this. We focus on each child making progress towards their own educational goals.


The classroom instruction is guided by some of the top educational programs targeting the learning of phonics and reading, student creative and informative writing, as well as critical thinking in mathematics and science.


In the Elementary division, we passionately believe in our children taking ownership of their learning, attitude and behavior. We do this in a number of ways with our children; leading parent conferences; goal setting from their own assessment; and developing the language to explain their academic journey.

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Middle School Grades 6 - 8

Middle School Grades 6 - 8

The middle school curriculum at SZPAB is designed to provide a comprehensive and engaging educational experience. Our program aims to nurture the intellectual, social, and emotional development of our students, fostering a strong foundation for future academic success. We focus on promoting critical thinking, problem-solving skills and a well-rounded approach to learning.


Curriculum Framework:

At SZPAB, our middle school curriculum is built upon the principles of academic excellence and standards-based learning. We adhere to the American curriculum standards, ensuring that our students receive a robust education that prepares them for higher levels of learning and personal growth. The curriculum is designed to be dynamic, engaging, and adaptable, catering to the diverse needs and learning styles of our students.



Our middle school assessment strategy is grounded in standards-based grading, focusing on specific learning objectives and benchmarks within each subject. This approach provides a clear and detailed understanding of students' mastery of the curriculum standards, allowing for targeted support and individualized learning plans. 


SZPAB has a live grade book which is accessible to both our students and parents via Schoology. Regularly visiting the gradebook of your son is actively encouraged. It is essential that all of our students and parents have access to the Schoology app: Schoology app for Apple and Schoology app for Android.


In addition to the internal assessments, our students will also sit the external MAP test in Reading, Language, Math and Science throughout the year. MAP is the Measure of Academic Progress and is used by American Curriculum schools worldwide to benchmark student performance at any given time against expected US norms. MAP tests are individual and each time a student sits a MAP test they are given a personal Rasch UnIT (RIT) score and target for their next test. 


MOE Subjects:

Alongside the American curriculum, students at SZPAB also complete the Ministry of Education (MOE) curriculum for Arabic, Islamic Studies and UAE Social Studies. These subjects align with the educational guidelines set forth by the UAE Ministry of Education, enabling students to gain proficiency in Arabic language skills, deepen their understanding of Islamic principles, and develop knowledge about the history, culture and social aspects of the United Arab Emirates.



The middle school curriculum at SZPAB aims to inspire a love for learning, foster intellectual curiosity, and equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in higher education and beyond. Through a standards-based approach, a commitment to academic excellence, and the integration of MOE subjects, we strive to empower our students to become critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and responsible global citizens.


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High School Grades 9 – 12

High School Grades 9 – 12

At the Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys (SZPAB), our secondary curriculum is designed to support our vision of “honoring the past, educating for the future”. The secondary curriculum provides a forward-thinking education that prepares our students for the challenges and opportunities of the future, while also honoring the rich heritage and traditions of the past. Through a rigorous American curriculum, we aim to empower our students with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing world.


The SZPAB secondary curriculum is built on the principles of academic excellence, critical thinking, creativity and cultural awareness. We combine the best practices of American education with local and international perspectives to provide a holistic and well-rounded educational experience. Our curriculum is aligned with relevant standards and benchmarks and is continually reviewed and updated to ensure its relevance and effectiveness in preparing students for the future.


We employ a range of assessment methods, including formative and summative assessments, projects, presentations, and standardized tests to evaluate student achievement. In middle school, assessments are standards-based, while in high school assessments follow traditional percentage-based grading. Regular reports are shared with parents to keep them informed about their child.


At SZPAB, our curriculum provides a comprehensive educational experience that prepares students for success in higher education, careers and life. By fostering critical thinking, cultural understanding and character development, we strive to empower our students to become responsible global citizens who can navigate the challenges and opportunities of the future, while remaining connected to their heritage and traditions.

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Extra Curricular Programs

Extra Curricular Programs

●     School Clubs and ECAs

SZPAB students actively engage in a well-rounded education through a combination of challenging coursework and diverse extra curricular activities. They develop their leadership skills by participating in workshops, lectures and community service with organizations like the Red Crescent. The students also take an active role in shaping their school's development through the Student Council. Additionally, the school provides exciting opportunities for international travel.

The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys offers students the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of extra curricular activities (ECAs) to address different interests and enrich student experiences.

In the elementary school, we place a strong emphasis on fitness, offering swimming and a fitness club for students in grades 2 to 5. Additionally, we integrate STEM education into the curriculum through a LEGO club for students in grades 2 to 5.

In the secondary school, the enrichment program offers a range of opportunities in order to support our students' graduation and acceptance into their first-choice universities. The SZPAB sports teams regularly attend athletic events against other schools. In addition, they have entered into the ADISSA League and ADEK Cup for a number of different sports.

The school offers a wide range of activities including:

-       Clubs (i.e., Book Club and LEGO Club)

-       Sports (Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Futsal and swimming)

-       Arts

-       Leadership opportunities

-       Enrichment activities

-       Qur'an Recitation Program

●     Community service

As part of the school’s commitment to launching humanitarian initiatives, The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys, in cooperation with the Emirates Red Crescent, take part in several charity campaigns throughout the academic year, which allow our secondary students to participate in serving their community and providing support to communities abroad, such as participating in:

·          Warm Winter Campaign

·          Youth Champions

·          Spring of Refugees

●     Leadership opportunities

In the secondary school, there are a number of leadership opportunities in Physical Education lessons, where students study an internationally recognized leadership course (Sports Leaders UK Level 2 and 3). Students learn to teach sport to younger students in the school and gain over 60 hours of leadership practice. Our sports leaders also plan a sports event for Students of Determination at the Al Karamah school twice a year. In addition, our student council system offers students the opportunity to gain leadership experience across the school, and contribute to the further development of school provision and organization of events. All of our leadership opportunities allow students to set themselves apart from their peers when applying to universities, both in the UAE and around the world.

The SZPAB student council represents the student body and plays a vital role in promoting student voice, leadership and involvement in student affairs.


We have four members leading the board and two class representatives for each class within the tasks board which are to:

-       Represent the opinions and interests of their colleagues in the student council

-       Keep their class informed of the board's decisions


The Red Crescent represents the student body and plays a vital role in promoting leadership and their love of charity and participation in volunteer work. We have four members leading the board of directors and 50 members who share the committee's work.


●     Student support services

The counseling department in the secondary phase at The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys provides many services that support its students. These include individual and group sessions that are personalized to the student. SZPAB also participate in many support events that support students in raising their awareness of issues with security and safety, such as:

·          Awareness of bullying (Anti Bullying week)

·          World Children's Day

·          International Tolerance Day

·          International Day of Happiness

·          World Mental Health Day

·          Safer internet Day

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Enrichment Programs

The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys (SZPAB) aims to develop a generation of young men who are proud of their identity, culture and heritage. Our students are well-educated and prepared to meet the challenges in an ever-changing world. The Academy provides a range of unique enrichment programs that are specifically designed for students to develop their characters in all aspects; enhance their skills; help them acquire a greater knowledge; and prepare them in their journey to become active citizens.


●     The "Arabi "Program for Enhancement of the Arabic Language Skills 

Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, The Sheikh Zayed Private Academies launched the Arabi program at the beginning of the academic year 2022-2023. In support of the UAE leadership’s efforts to preserve the Arabic language and to reinforce it among students, this program seeks to strengthen the Arabic language from KG 1 to Grade 12. This will enhance students’ skills and confidence enabling them to use it in their daily lives. The program has been designed in accordance with the best practices and research in the field of Arabic language pedagogy.

●     Humanitarian Touch Program


An optional activity for secondary students in coordination with the UAE Red Crescent. It adopts many charitable and humanitarian initiatives to serve the local and international community.


●     Student Council

SZPAB runs both elementary and secondary student councils. The council representatives are chosen through student elections. Throughout the year, student council members meet to discuss a variety of topics and coordinate events for the student body.


●     First Aid and CPR Program

This is a mandatory training program for Grade 12 students. It is provided by AAEI and approved by Sheikh Khalifa Medical City and the American Heart Association. At the end of the training program, students receive an approved license that entitles them to practice first aid and save the lives of people 

who need CPR where required.


●     My Identity Program

The My Identity Program is an exclusive program for all students from KG to Grade 12 which seeks to promote UAE national identity and equip students with moral values to ensure their comprehensive self and social growth.


●     Quran Program

A free optional activity for Grades 1-12. The program is led by qualified instructors licensed and approved by AWQAF.


●     The Military Program

A mandatory program for UAE students in grades 6 to 12. It runs in cooperation with the Support Units in the UAE General Command of the Armed Forces. It is an approved curriculum designed to align with the general framework of the Massachusetts Physical Education Curriculum applied by the academy. The program seeks to enhance the spirit of leadership among students and prepare them for the National Service program.


●     Eyal Zayed Program

A mandatory program for students in Grades 6 to 12. It runs in partnership with the Saif Bin Zayed Academy for Security and Policing Sciences to raise students' awareness in the field of safety and security. The program aims to prepare young students for different aspects of life, including encouragement of active participation, promotion of national identity, acquisition of positive behavior skills, and development of leadership qualities that enhance trust, self-reliance, initiative, loyalty and service to others and country.

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●     Indoor facilities

As part of our drive to educate for the future, the school includes green screen facilities, digital music suites and high IT infrastructure to compliment our one-to-one iPad program. In 2018, the school added a learning support suites to help guide our students with learning difficulties in small group settings.

- The learning environment covers 29,000 square meters (capacity for 1400 students).

- The walls have more than a kilometer of decorations inspired by language, mathematical patterns, desert sceneries, local animals and camel-races.

- The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys won a gold category in 2016 with IDA Design Awards in the category of Institutional Interior Design and the Real Estate Asia Award 2021 for the best Education Building Design.

As part of our innovative design, the school includes:

- Green screen facilities, used from KG to Grade 12.

- Dedicated LEGO innovation spaces, where students have access to curriculum-linked robotics.

- STEM based activities that enhance learning, creativity and critical-thinking skills.

- Five science laboratories make up part of the science wing, engaging students in daily hands-on learning and experiments.

●     Outdoor facilities

The SZPAB offers a wide-range of activities for its students. The boys have access to athletic facilities including a semi-Olympic swimming pool, outdoor football pitch, basketball courts, climbing apparatus and running track.

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Inclusion at The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys

At The Sheikh Private Academy for Boys (SZPAB), we believe in providing the best possible education for students of all abilities and are committed to giving all of our students every opportunity to achieve the highest standards. We plan our teaching and learning so that each student can aspire to the highest level of personal achievement. We ensure that adjustments are made to the curriculum and provision to meet the particular needs of each identified student.

The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys aims to:

?      To ensure that all students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum

?      To provide a differentiated curriculum appropriate to the individuals needs and ability

?      To ensure the rapid and effective identification of all students requiring additional provision as early as possible on entry to SPAB

?      To ensure that students take as full a part as possible in all SPAB activities

?      To ensure that parents/carers of students are kept fully informed of their childs progress and attainment

?      To ensure that students are as involved as much as possible, in decisions affecting their future SEN provision.


A student is classified as a Student of Determination if he or she has a special education need diagnosed by a qualified clinician.


SZPAB understands the importance of a students special educational needs being identified as early as possible so that the appropriate provision can be put in place. Students can be referred to the Inclusion Department on entry or at any point during their education at SPZAB.


On Entry / Application to SZPAB

On application to the school, the following measures are used to help assess the level of individual need and to ensure that appropriate provision can be made for each student.

  1. Parents/Carers are asked to disclose any special educational need that has been previously identified.
  2. Each students application needs to be accompanied by previous academic reports, transfer certificates and any previous medical/psychological assessments that are relevant to the application including previous Provision Plans and Individual Education Plans.
  3. Before entry to Kindergarten, students are invited to a stay and play session and observed by staff and discussions with parents take place during the session.

If any of these measures indicate that the student may have an additional need, the application is referred to the Head of Inclusion for additional consideration. 


Identification of Enrolled Students

For students already enrolled at SZPAB, the following is taken into consideration:

  1. Data gathered from the SZPAB Standardized Tests. These tests will include entrance assessments alongside other standardized tests. Students with a low score in any of these tests will be referred to the Inclusion Team for further assessment, support and identification if needed.
  2. Benchmark testing - all students undergo benchmark testing. Students working significantly below age related norms may be referred to the Inclusion Team if the class (or specialist) teacher is concerned that this is related to a specific or general need.
  3. On-going Assessments - Regular testing and analysis of work samples will assess progress. Students struggling to make expected progress may be referred to the Inclusion Team if the class or specialist teachers are concerned that this is related to a specific or general need.
  4. Specific concerns - a student may be referred by teachers or parents if specific concerns are raised that the Inclusion Team may be able to address.



Once a referral has been made, the student will be assessed by a member of the Inclusion Team to ascertain their needs. The assessment may comprise of several different elements, but is likely to include;

  1. Seeking the viewpoint of the student
  2. Seeking and coordinating feedback from teachers across the curriculum to identify common difficulties and/or strategies that have proved effective with this student
  3. Discussions with parents on historical and current difficulties the student may be experiencing and seeking parental consent to complete in-school assessments to assertion the students current level.
  4. Informal Assessments
  5. Standardized tests to assess current levels
  6. Observations and advice from internal or external specialist staff


It may be appropriate to seek advice from external agencies that could help give a clearer picture of the students needs. This may include a request for a full educational assessment from a suitably qualified professional.

Once the assessment has been completed, the Inclusion Lead will collate and assess the information to decide if further action needs to be taken. If the student is considered to have a need that necessitates additional provision, in or out of the classroom, the Inclusion Lead will meet with the student, parents and associated professionals as appropriate to plan for provision.

Categories of Disabilities / Special Education Need

In line with the UAE Ministry of Education, we recognize the following categories of Disabilities/ Special Educational Needs:


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