This list gives you a snapshot overview of schools in Doha that are considered by English-speaking expats... sometimes chosen by parents and sometimes not.
Schools selected for full GSGI review are noted with next to their names.
If we haven't selected a particular school on this list for review, it could mean only that we have not yet heard enough positive comment from parents.
We do welcome information from parents wishing to comment on any of these schools.
Doha English Speaking School (DESS)
Near TV roundabout or Burger King roundabout
Tel: +974 4459 2750
Fax: +974 4459 2761
PO Box 7660
English National curriculum; nursery through year 6; co-ed day school.
DESS is sponsored by the British Embassy, and this is THE first choice for primary school among the British expats (and probably most European expats, as well). If you do not have a British passport, the odds of getting your child accepted are virtually nonexistent. Even if you are British, your odds are slim because classes are small, and the waiting list is LONG. If you are reading this, start calling right now to inquire and get on the list.
The school has an excellent reputation for its academics and educational, nurturing environment. On the DESS campus, there is a grass field (rare in Doha), and the school offers a number of school-sponsored and privately run extracurricular activities. Students wear uniforms. Parents are extremely pleased with the school and hate to have their children leave. After year 6, most DESS students matriculate to Doha College.
Doha College (DC) (-pending)
Al Bustan Street (near Salwa Road and the Decoration roundabaout)
Primary Tel: +974 4468 4495
Primary Fax: +974 4468 7897
Secondary Tel: +974 4468 7379
Secondary Fax: +974 4468 5720
PO Box 5404 (Primary) / 7506 (Secondary)
English National Curriculum; ages 3-18; co-ed day school.
Well-established, well-known primary, secondary and 6th form school sponsored by the British Embassy. At first glance, the campus looks small and worn in the literal shadow of the American School’s large new campus facilities. It is almost unfair that they are neighbors and might be compared because they are very different schools inside and out. To paraphrase an old saying, “Don’t judge a school by its cover.” DC’s academics have a much better reputation than their campus and facilities. DC is a typically British, formal educational environment, and is highly selective in its admissions process. Students wear uniforms and are expected to exhibit a high level of discipline at every age.
DC ‘s academic reputation extends beyond Doha, and parents of graduating students say that the UK colleges and universities recognize the quality of a DC education. Because of its reputation, the school usually has a lengthy waiting list. (Note for American readers: Doha College is not a college). To Americans, DC may seem gloomy and way too strict of an environment. Its facilities are old and small, even for Doha. DC parents tend to be a bit smug and a bit dismissive of other schools here.
Park House English School (PH)
Tel: +974 4468 3800
Fax: +974 4458 3785
PO Box 22215
Primary - Combination of English National Curriculum and International Primary Curriculum; Secondary – National Curriculum of England; IGCSE; nursery to year 13; co-ed.
Park House is an established, well-known school. Like DESS and DC, it tends to have a waiting list, though usually not as long. The new purpose built campus, opened in 2005, consists of three separate blocks for nursery and reception, primary, and secondary as well as common use facilities for outdoor and indoor athletics, arts, and school assemblies. PH exudes a traditional British style or feel, and parents and students seem very pleased with the education and activities offered. When asked for his opinion of PH, a teenage boy said “it’s great, I love it.” Any school that can elicit a positive response from a teenage male has to be doing something right. PH is located next to three other schools with similar schedules, so parking and traffic at drop-off and pick-up times can get a little hairy.
General feeling is that a spot at PH should be taken because the wait for an opening at other schools can be years. But even those for whom PH was not their first choice, once there most parents seem happy with the school. Parents warn that the receptionist who answers the phone for inquiries is very off-putting which may drive away some families with a negative first impression; but some feel this may be done on purpose to weed out families without real interest in PH –to see which parents want PH badly enough to put up with the grief!
Past (west of ) Education City
Tel: +974 4459 6400 (main) / +974 5576 9197 (mobile)
Fax: +974 4459-6412
PO Box 1108
English National curriculum through year 6, then CES ISEB years 7-8 (opened September 2010); ages 4-12; plans to add year 9 in September 2011; co-ed day school.
Although Sherborne is new to the Doha scene, it rides the name recognition coattails of its mother school, Sherborne UK, which was invited by the Supreme Education Council to open a branch in Qatar. The original school plays an active role in governing and administration at Sherborne Qatar. While the UK connection lends it some immediate “street cred” in Doha with the British expats, it lags behind others with a proven local history. It also has the reputation of being more expensive than the other British schools here, although the tuition and fees are not easily located, if at all, on the website.
Sherborne is described as having “a proper British school” feel in terms of attitude and uniforms. The facilities are new, and some work is still being done around the campus. Currently, there is no cafeteria (the space is being used for other purposes), so students must bring their lunch every day. Students are required to take Arabic, and the Arab students receive Islamic studies lessons.
Newton International Schools
West Bay; and D Ring (at Al Ma’Amoora)
Tel: +974 4411 0014
Fax: +974 4411 3960
PO Box 8449
English National curriculum, co-ed day school.
The school follows the British curriculum, and also includes Arabic for all students as well as Islamic studies courses for the large number of Qatari and other Muslim students; strong Arabic student population. The school has two campuses: the West Bay campus, opened in 2006, offers reception through year 9; and the D-Ring campus, opened in 2007, offers pre-school through year 11. As newer institutions, some of the administrative and faculty issues are still being worked out. The Newton schools do not have the long waiting lists that some of the other international schools do. There are a number of threads on Qatar Living about these schools -- both negative and supportive -- so take them with a grain of salt (and maybe some aspirin).
Newton British School
There is no Newton British specific website (or at least no easily located website). According to posts on Qatar Living, Newton British has been open since September 2008. It is part of the Newton International family of schools, although there is no mention of it on the other Newton International sites. It seems to have a better reputation than its sibling schools. The small campus of NB school is located in the Al Waab area close to a number of residential compounds and Villagio mall. Its classrooms are individual, stand-alone villas with their own bathroom and kitchen facilities. They hire British teachers, many of them very young and new to the profession.
Compass International School
Tel.: +974 4487 7445
Fax: +974 4487 7446
Madinat Khalifa Campus
Tel.: +974 4493 2036/6683 8022
Fax: +974 4487 7446
PO Box 23479
[email protected] (general inquiries)
Primary: International Primary Curriculum supported by elements of the National Curriculum of England; Secondary: adapted version of English National Curriculum, followed by IGCSE; plans to add IB program; ages 3- 14; co-ed day school. Starting in Year 1, all students take French and Arabic. Dutch students also take Dutch language classes.
Opened in 2006, Compass is newer to Doha, and started out as a primary school. The original Gharaffa campus in Education City still only offers the primary program (Early Years to Year 6). The Madinat Khalifa campus, opened in September 2010, houses both primary and their new secondary program (Early Years 2 to Year 10). They plan to add a secondary year annually until they offer education through Year 13 (2013).
The Gharaffa campus is close to Education City, and the new Khalifa campus is closer to West Bay, so you would not want your children at different Compass campuses. The administration seems willing to make sure families are put at the same campus. Classes are small, between 12 and 15 students per class, and there are 2 classes per grade.
Unlike the classes, tuition for Compass is not small. It is one of the priciest schools in Doha. The new Khalifa campus is quite an upgrade from the old, gloomy, no-longer-in-use Rayyan campus. However, there is still a bit of construction activity at Khalifa – lots of dust and trucks (like most of Doha,) and parking is limited. Compass parents seem happy with the teachers and administration, but the activities, especially sports, offered are somewhat limited (no grass play area, which was a disappointment to a mother with three boys there).
American School of Doha (ASD)(-pending)
Tel: +974 4459 1500
Fax: +974 4459 1570
PO Box 22090
American curriculum; ages 4- 18; co-ed day school.
ASD, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, offers a standards based curriculum designed to meet both American and International educational benchmarks. The high school offers a college prep program with both the AP and the IB diploma program curriculums; academics and facilities are tops. ASD is an American School with a culturally diverse student population that represents over 40 nationalities, although the majority of students are from the US and Canada; the atmosphere is decidedly American.
The faculty and administration try to incorporate an international perspective throughout the ASD experience. Admission is selective and highly competitive. ASD offers excellent academics as well as a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities for the students – athletic teams, arts and clubs. Throughout the year, there are school events and productions as well as community-wide events. ASD has a large, newly completed campus with the elementary divisions separate from the middle and high schools. The divisions do share the grass play fields. It is also one of the only schools in Doha that does not require uniforms.
Qatar Academy (QA)
Tel: +974 4454 2000
Fax: +974 4480 2769
PO Box 1129
International Baccalaureate Primary, IB Middle Years; IB Diploma (secondary); ages 3-18; co-ed day school.
Located in Education City, QA is part of The Qatar Foundation and considered to be the Emir’s crown jewel of primary/secondary education Doha. Accreditations include: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Council of International Schools. It has an excellent reputation for academics and athletics, and its facilities are state of the art. In fact, the rep is that it's an academic mill with very strict grade requirements to maintain enrollment, with an intense environment that is not for all students. On the flip side, it also has the perception that the native English speakers suffer because the teachers have to teach at a pace that the non-native English speakers can handle. The school supports and provides its students with well-trained teachers and the latest educational resources and materials, and it does not lack for resources on other levels – at a volleyball tournament for local English speaking schools, QA had the best and newest uniforms far and away.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities offered from primary through secondary years. QA tends to get the some of the best and the brightest Qatari students. Arabic language classes are required for all students and Islamic Studies courses are encouraged (though optional for non-Muslim students). Admission is highly selective. Because of its reputation, there is a long waiting list. Apparently the waiting list is so long that some companies are not even adding it to list of prospective schools because the odds of getting in are so slim.
Doha Montessori and British School
Ain Khaled (across Salwa Road from Al Wa’ab)
Tel: +974 4450 2257/2259
Fax: +974 4450 2235
PO Box 6142
Modified Montessori curriculum for preschool and the beginning of reception; reception to year 12 offers a modified English National Curriculum in preparation for IGCSE; IB diploma curriculum for 6th form; ages 3-18, co-ed day school.
Arabic and Islamic studies are required courses for native Arabic speakers. Established in 1997, Doha Montessori and British school moved to its current campus in 2005. The student population includes 65 nationalities.
International School of London Qatar
Tel: +974 4499 5196 / 4499 5190
Fax: +974 4499 5208
PO Box 18511
IB Primary; IB Middle school; IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed day school.
Established in September 2008 at the invitation of the Supreme Council of Education, ISLQ is small and one of the newest schools in Doha, but it comes with management and resources of the International School of London Group. ISLQ’s brand new purpose built facility is located further out from the established residential areas than most other schools, making it too inconvenient for many.
Qatar International School
United Nations Street, West Bay
Tel: +974 4483 3456
Fax: +974 4483 1096
PO Box 5697
English National Curriculum; IGCSE; A levels; 3-18, co-ed day school.
Established in 1977, QIS moved into its purpose built facility in 2001. School says they are not academically selective in admissions. English is the second language for 95% of the students.
English Modern School
Tel: +974 4444 6868
Fax: +974 4444 1415
Modified version of the English National Curriculum; nursery through secondary; co-ed.
School owned by a prominent business family. Predominantly non-native English speaking students.