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Abu Dhabi royal family goes back to school

The ruling family of Abu Dhabi, the al Nahyan dynasty, is backing an ambitious project to set up a chain of schools around the world. The emirate's international investment company's real estate arm, Bloom Properties, has signed a deal with a leading British private school to establish a dozen more institutions.

Bloom, which last year announced plans to develop a $10 billion dollar property portfolio, has chosen Brighton College as its educational partner. The first school will be established in the new Bloom Gardens development in the heart of Abu Dhabi, with the aim of rolling out more in Mauritius, Oman, Jordan, Romania, Vietnam and India.

Each of the schools will be part of a much larger mixed-use project and aimed at wealthy families from both local and expatriate communities.

The exact terms of the financial deal are confidential but the headmaster of Brighton College, Richard Cairns, commented: "Potentially, this is the most significant development at Brighton College since our foundation in 1845. It will provide new funds for buildings, bursaries and endowments without us having to raise fees."

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966 and its first president. He died in 2004 but was succeeded by his eldest son Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

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