There are currently 206 public schools in Bahrain and a further 72 private international schools, serving a total of about 195,000 pupils. The school year runs from September to July and includes three terms. School hours vary, but usually start early (from 7.30am) and run until somewhere between 12 noon and 3pm.
As in other Gulf states, local children typically attend the government schools and expatriates the international establishments. Private schools run UK, American, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani and French curriculums, to name just a few. Western expatriates tend to favour the British and American schools, of which there is not a huge choice given Bahrains small size. Most well known are The British School of Bahrain and St Christophers. Fees are set by the schools, but have to be approved by the Ministry of Education. Costs increase with the age of the pupil. At The British School of Bahrain, for example, the fee for a reception child (aged 4-5) is BD1,002 ($2,657) a term, while for a senior pupil (aged 14-16) it is BD1,561 ($4,169) a term. Parents of older children (aged 16-18) can expect to pay BD2,038 ($5,404) a term. This school is based in new, state-of-the-art facilities in Hamala, located on the northwest coast of Bahrain, to the south of the causeway linking the kingdom with Saudi Arabia. Apply in January for a place the following September.
St Christophers opened in Manama in 1961 and is now one of the largest international schools with more than 2,100 pupils. It has two locations: senior students are based in Isa Town, and the junior and infant school is further north on two campuses at Maqaba. Fees are more expensive than The Bahrain British School. Fees for reception children are BD1,147 ($3,047) a term, senior students BD1,951 ($5,173) and older students BD2,302 ($6,102).
The oldest international school in Bahrain is the American Mission School, which is now called the Al-Raja School. It is a multicultural school, with international and local pupils. It has a strong Arabic teaching element and operates in a bilingual capacity. The fees are paid annually in five installments and are considerably lower than the British and American schools. For example, the price for a reception child is BD1,220 ($3,235) for the full year and BD2,500 ($6,629) for a 14-16 year old.
Other international schools include Al-Hekma International School, Riffa Views International School and The Bahrain School.
Selected private schools in Bahrain
The Bahrain British School
Tel: (+973) 1 761 0943
St Christophers School
Tel: (+973) 1 759 8500
Tel: (+973) 1 725 4414
The Bahrain School
Tel: (+973) 1 772 7828
Al-Hekma International School
Tel: (+973) 1 762 0820