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United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Barsha

Dubai American Academy

Dubai American Academy, part of the GEMS school group, currently has 2,340 students on its roster aged from 3 to 18 years of age (KG to Grade 12). This is largely flat over the previous year (a small increase) - the school is "at capacity"
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Dubai American Academy

At a glance

School Type
All Through
Also Known As
Year Opened
Annual Fees
AED 21,781 - 80,640
Annual Fee Average
AED 75,000
Inspection Rating
Dr. James Hardin
Curricula Taught
Main Teacher Nationality
US Citizen
Main Student Nationality
US Citizen

At Dubai American Academy, there are in total an impressive 99 nationalities represented within the student body, with the biggest numbers coming from the US (22.07%), Canada (9.49%), India (6.84%), S. Korea (5.96%) and Egypt (4.09%). There is a 50:50 male to female ratio.

The school employs 193 teachers and 62 teaching assistants with staff employed at recruitment fairs in the UK, US and Thailand. The majority of teachers come from the US. The student:teacher ratio is 1:22 in Grades 6-12, and 1:12 on average across grades. All teachers are degree educated, and a majority hold Masters degrees or above. The school had a teacher turnover of 25% over the previous year - average to high for the UAE, and up 5% on the previous academic year.

DAA is fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and has been since 2004. 

In addition, DAA offers the IB Diploma Program for parents wanting a broader, more internationally focused qualification.

It is presently the only school in Dubai following an American, standards-based curriculum to have been awarded an “Outstanding” rating by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (2013-14). It is the fifth year in a row DAA has made the grade after three years of a Good rating.

According to the KHDA Dubai American Academy provides an Outstanding quality of education. Strengths include attainment and progress in English, mathematics and science in all phases. The quality of teaching for effective learning is Outstanding in Kindergarten, elementary and middle school. The ethos of the school is said to be Outstanding, supported by the equally Outstanding curriculum.

It is also a rather happy school...


Dubai American Academy's entry into the's Happiest School in the UAE" video competition.

Dubai American Academy has introduced initiatives to improve the curriculum in Islamic Education and Arabic. However, progress in these areas was said to be "still inconsistent" (2011), a comment continued into its 2012-2103 to 2014/15 reports. In the latest report the KHDA inspection team does however note improvements, but that inconsistency is still evident: "Progress had improved in Islamic education and the Arabic language for first language and additional language speakers in some higher phases in the school. However, it is clearly still very much work in progress.

Dubai American Academy provides information on where its students head for university - although the information does not appear to have been updated for two years. In 2013/14 students made over 850 university applications with 500 acceptances from nearly 400 universities. In 2012/13 over 1,000 university applications were made, again with over 500 acceptances from nearly 400 universities. Students head for nine countries, with the largest percentage going to the United States, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Students in the class of 2012 received acceptances from University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, McGill University, University of California Berkeley, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, London School of Economics (UK), Warwick University (UK), and Queen Mary University (UK).

Although only 50-70% of applications are successful, the school claims to achieve "100% entry to higher educational institutions, including the best universities and colleges around the world" in the WSA Q and A. Go here. In further correspondence with DAA, the school notes that 2% of students opt to take a gap year.

Dubai American Academy used to provide details on its IB performance - and deserved praise for doing so. However, as a group GEMS Education stopped providing details of performance in 2015. This is the last data we have available to us. A 33 IB rating would be a relatively good score for a Dubai IB school, but not out of the ordinary.

In 2014 nine DAA students achieved a score of 40 or higher - only 4.4% of students worldwide earn 40 points or more, which puts this impressive accomplishment into perspective. Oxbridge has an entry requirement of 38 points.

GEMs Education has worked on the SEN provision within its schools in recent years and for the 2013/14 academic year, 124 students had been identified as having some form of Special Educational Needs, a figure growing to 249 last year. SEN students make relatively good progress at the school.

The academy houses a wide range of facilities on its twenty three acres: Notably, computer labs, a weight room, science labs, drama and music rooms, art studios, and two library media centres. It also has two swimming pools, a football pitch, tennis courts, and large gyms.

Fees at the school are in the premium range, with fees of 57,2013 in KG2  and rising to 80,640 AED by Grade 12.

 DAA is known for its friendly, participatory approach to teaching. Children are said to be a happy bunch, and look forward to going to school. The school is also noted for a strong programme for children who don’t have English as a first language. A highly recommended school in the WSA school survey, with some questioning relative 'Good Value'. 


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