Head teachers in the UAE have told of their pride at building new schools while facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

From recruiting staff to coping with coronavirus cases, last-minute changes in construction plans and postponed opening dates, new schools have had to overcome adversity to welcome pupils.

As the UAE travels cautiously down the road to recovery, the mood of those in the education sector has lifted.

The start of a new term at the end of last month brought new hope as schools welcomed pupils in large numbers.

Raha International School opened a second campus in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, which has a capacity of 3,000 pupils.

Iain Colledge, its principal, said opening on time was a “remarkable feat”.

“We battled with Covid-19 cases, curfews, our construction company not being able to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, job losses throughout the community, continual uncertainty, losing 20 per cent of the land at the eleventh hour, and the particularly huge challenge of trying to market a construction site during a pandemic,” he said.

Phase one of the Abu Dhabi school complex opened in September 2020 with 300 pupils, while the second phase opened for the new academic year, with 720 pupils in years one to eight now enrolled.