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The 12 Best Schools in Dubai – KHDA

The 12 Best Schools in Dubai – KHDA

In the latest (2012/13) report from Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) the number of students attending ‘Outstanding’ schools in Dubai has inched forward over the previous year with two new schools making it to the list, and one dropping off.

Read: The Best British Schools in Dubai – The Report

Read: Dubai School Fees – the complete list, by Year Group

In total 20,435 students now attend Outstanding schools, up from 18,456 students last year. According to the KHDA 49% of all private school students are now studying at either Good or Outstanding educational establishments. This also means 51% of students study at schools below the Dubai education regulator’s threshold for schools in the emirate.

Currently, the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB), the school inspections department of the KHDA, annually inspects all private schools in Dubai.  According to the KHDA, these positive improvements to education standards can be directly linked to the school inspections, which began in 2008.

The percentage of students attending Good and Outstanding schools in Dubai has risen by 19% since 2008, when the KHDA first began its inspections.

That said, only 10 of 143 schools increased their ranking in the 2012/13 annual report.

The performance levels, according to the KHDA website, are defined as follows:

Outstanding: Exceptionally high quality of performance or practice.

Good: The expected level for every school in Dubai.

Acceptable: The minimum level of quality required for Dubai. All key aspects of performance and practice in every school should meet or exceed this level.

Unsatisfactory: Quality not yet at the level acceptable for schools in Dubai. Schools will be expected to take urgent measures to improve the quality of any aspect of their performance or practice that is judged at this level.


Outstanding Schools Revealed

Schools that score an overall outstanding rating will undoubtedly become the most sought-after school places in Dubai. Here are the 12 outstanding performing private schools in Dubai, as of May 2013.


  1. Kings Dubai, UK
  2. GEMS Wellington International School, UK/IB
  3. Jumeirah College, UK
  4. Jumeirah English Speaking School, UK
  5. Dubai College, UK
  6. GEMS Jumeirah Primary School, UK
  7. Jumeirah English Speaking School – Arabian Ranches, UK/IB
  8. GEMS Dubai American Academy, US/IB,
  9. Dubai Modern High School, Indian (ISCE)
  10. The Indian High School, Indian (CBSE)
  11. Dubai English Speaking College, UK – New
  12. Horizon School, UK – New

Note, Jebel Ali Primary School (UK), which last year made the Outstanding grade reverted to its 2010/11 rating of Good. It is still rated as Outstanding in most elements of the KHDA’s report.


Getting into one of these schools

If you are currently researching schools, you want to read our guide to getting into a good school in the UAE.


How school inspections are done

Internationally qualified school inspectors pay on site visits to every private school in Dubai to rate the school on key questions such as:

  1. How good are the students’ attainment and progress in key subjects? (Key subjects focus on Maths, Science and English)
  2. How good is the students’ personal and social development? 
  3. How good is the teaching, learning and assessment methods?

  4. How well does the curriculum meet the educational needs of all students? 
  5. How well does the school protect and support its students?
  6. How good are the leadership and management of the school?

  7. How well does the school perform overall?

Following each inspection, the school gets a full written report with details of the school’s performance and shortfalls. Parents considering specific schools should be able to access the latest school inspection report through the KHDA website.

The school is expected to prepare an action plan addressing any recommendations for further development, which is then used as a benchmark for the next year’s inspections.


Further reading: www.khda.gov.ae/en

Read: The Best British Schools in Dubai – The Report

And: Complete Dubai School Rankings – KHDA

And: School Availability – Latest Admissions Information. This list is updated regularly.

Also see: Analysis of the 2012/13 ReportRecommendations of the 2012/13 report


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  1. Nadira Jaffar says
    April 18, 2014, 7:04 pm

    My son is facing mild dyslexia, but he is good in studies and would like to do commerce in Plus one. Kindly assist please.

    • admin says
      April 20, 2014, 11:46 am

      We’re in the process of writing a comprehensive guide to SEN in the UAE. We aim to have it on the site within the next 4-8 weeks.


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