Updated 20 November 2022

Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE, 2022

Which schools head the ranking of the Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE?

The Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE ranks all schools in our database that meet these criteria:

Location: United Arab Emirates
Price point: AED 80,000 or more
Phase: All

The ranking lists schools in order of their Parent Score, that is how well the score meets the expectations of this key stakeholder group represented numerically. We discuss why below. Schools not on this list, that you think should be and are missing, are likely to be as yet unrated. To be rated, a school simply needs a sufficient number of parent surveys to be undertaken. If you are a parent at one of these schools, please take the survey!

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com currently has 649 schools in its database. These are all independent, private, international schools offering a total of 54 curricula. All schools, we believe, aspire to offer the highest levels of care and performance for their students. Not all, however, are equally successful at doing so.

In this ranking, the Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE, we, currently, have 8 schools competing for top spot. The total number of possible schools that could be on this list if all schools had a sufficient number of parent surveys, and all these schools had a rating of above 3.0, is 9.

Again, if your child currently attends a school in UAE, then please do review it, by taking the survey here. Your input will help 1000s of parents that follow you!

How we compile this list

When a parent completes a survey, his or her feedback is incorporated into the database and the ranking updated each Sunday. Tune in on Sunday 27th of November just after midnight to see the changes to the Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE next week!

The WSA Parent Rating is based on the following questions in the survey:

  • Would you recommend your school to another parent?
  • How much of a sense of belonging does your child feel at his or her school?
  • To what extent do you think that children enjoy going to your child’s school?
  • How much do you agree to the statement: I think the fees I pay represent good value for money given the quality of the school offering.
  • Have you thought about moving your child from his current school?
  • Rate your satisfaction with the level of academic performance at your child’s school
  • How confident are you in your ability to make sure your child’s school meets your child’s learning needs?
  • Rate your satisfaction with the level of feedback you receive from your child’s school
  • How concerned are you about bullying at this school?
  • How much has this school improved your child’s confidence?

The WSA algorithm

We do not disclose the weighting we use, but in order to give schools, and parents, the power to impact their score, we skew results to those most recently received. A school looking to turnaround a score can therefore make improvements, and then ask its parents to retake the survey.

If parents appreciate the changes made, it will make a difference to a school’s position on the Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE list quite quickly.

Moreover, if a school has yet to send out a survey to its parents, then we would urge it to do so as soon as possible. The probability is it will make a significant difference to its score. Schools that asks their parents to take the survey, do better. Parents that are motivated to take a survey independently are often driven by high passions, which may not always be positive!

Why we do a Best School rating?

In choosing schools, parents have always used word of mouth, and the Parent survey captures this quantitatively.

Looking at the ‘Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE’ should only be one way you short list schools, however. It is a fun and informative way to order schools, and by being based on Parent Rating, is a way to get a good overview quickly.

Why use the Parent Rating for Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE?

In addition to capturing word of mouth recommendations numerically, we use the Parent Rating for the Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE, because unlike other measures it is not country, or even area specific as government regulations can be. The parent rating cuts across both curricula, and territory, to be a measure that we can apply equally anywhere and everywhere. Parents all want the best for their child, and will be equally critical, in whatever state they are in, for whatever curricula school their child attends.

Using a rank in this way also means that each school is measured quite independently through the lens of its own parent body. In order to do well, a school ‘simply’ has to understand and then meet the expectations of its parents.

Issues with ranking this way

This way of ranking is both a weakness and a strength. It is a strength because not only can it be universally applied, but it is a true way to measure a school based on the stakeholders that matter the most, its parents.

It is a weakness in the sense that the top school on the list, will not necessarily be the best school for you and your child. It is also NOT a comment on specifics: price point, curricula, location, but an holistic view of schools that fall within a set of criteria.

Expectations will also clearly be different between the parents of different schools. For example, a parent paying premium fees would have very different expectations when it comes to the scope of facilities offered than a parent paying fees associated with the value segment. A high score for a school is not about meeting a universal set of criteria, but about it delivering on its unique promise to its unique parent body.

One size in this context does not fit all and for this reason amongst others WhichSchoolAdvisor.com always encourages parents to look beyond simple rankings and ratings, and determine the best school for your child.

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com has undertaken multiple Best ofs, allowing us to be quite specific and therefore do some of the homework for you in your shortlisting. We do have Best ofs for curricula and for some price points for example.

To go further in your analysis of the Best School for you, then you need to look at additional resources.

In the UAE, some (but not all) parents are blessed with additional resources they can use when evaluating schools. Dubai parents have access to KHDA reports, Abu Dhabi parents have access to ADEK reports, while Sharjah parents will, eventually, have access to SPEA reports. That still leaves three other emirates without government ratings. What’s more, these reports have their own criteria and their own rating grades and scales, and are not compatible enough to compare across the country in the Best of Rankings we use here. We should also note, that all government ratings, are used to drive an agenda and the UAE is no different in this regard. We note the weighting for Arabic and Islamic and Social studies in this regard, which may be of interest to some parents, but will not be to all.

Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE

RANK
SCHOOL
PARENT
RATING
RATING
RISE/FALL
1
Royal Grammar School Guildford in Dubai
4.3
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The Royal Grammar School Guildford in Dubai opened in September 2021. It is the second school in the Middle East to be established in partnership with the 510 year old UK school - the other opened in Qatar in 2016. The Royal Grammar School Guildford UK is one of the most academically successful in the country.
Curricula: UK National Curriculum, EYFS, GCSE, A Level, AS Level
Founded: 2021
Principal: Clare Turnbull
Average fees: AED 98,000
Request info Read review
2
Dwight School Dubai
4.1
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Dwight School in New York was the first in the United States to be an all-through IB curriculum school. Dwight School Dubai first opened in September 2018 in collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based Bloom Education. Following an announcement in October 2021 that Bloom Education and Dwight School New York had mutually agreed to end their cooperation, in August 2022 the school will re-locate to a new campus in Sports City where it will be operated independently by Dwight.
Curricula: IB DP, IB, IB PYP, IB MYP, IB CP, IBDP Courses
Founded: 2018
Principal: David Hutson
Average fees: AED 81,500
Request info Read review
3
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
4.0
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Following our last visit to Cranleigh, our team described the school by saying that “Arguably this is the most successful school at achieving the feel of a British public school of any in the UAE, in the best sense of the word”. Since this visit, more well-known UK public schools have opened branches in the UAE (albeit most in Dubai) and it was time to revisit Cranleigh to see if this significant accolade still holds.
Address: PO BOX 126888, Abu Dhabi UAE
Curricula: EYFS, GCSE, UK National Curriculum, IGCSE, A Level, AS Level, Sports
Founded: 2014
Principal: Michael Wilson
Average fees: AED 80,500
Request info Read review
4
Dubai College
3.9
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Established in 1978, Dubai College is one of the oldest UK curriculum schools in the city and one of the few Secondary only schools. It is also one of a limited number of not for profit schools - although this does not mean that the fees are lower than the for-profit schools. DC's reputation is built on its renown as the most academic of schools.
Address: PO Box 837, Dubai UAE
Curricula: A Level, GCSE, UK National Curriculum, IGCSE
Founded: 1978
Principal: Michael Lambert
Average fees: AED 86,000
Request info Read review
5
GEMS Dubai American Academy
3.5
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GEMS Dubai American Academy, part of the GEMS school group, is a US curriculum school offering a US High School Diploma and, increasingly, the option of the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme. It is the only US curriculum school to have achieved the highest inspection rating of Outstanding from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, now for eight years in a row.
Address: Al Barsha 1, next to Al Zahra Hospital
Curricula: IB, US HS Diploma, IB DP, AP, Common Core
Founded: 1998
Principal: Tammy Murphy
Average fees: AED 82,500
Request info Read review
6
North London Collegiate School Dubai
3.4
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Prestigious British independent school North London Collegiate School (NLCS) opened in Dubai in September 2017, the brand’s first in the Middle East.
Curricula: IB, IB DP, IB PYP, IB MYP
Founded: 2017
Principal: James Monaghan
Average fees: AED 106,000
Request info Read review
7
Nord Anglia International School Dubai
3.4
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The second Nord Anglia Education school in the UAE opened in Dubai in September 2014, following the British International School of Abu Dhabi (BISAD), which has been established for a number of years in the capital.
Address: PO Box 502325, Dubai UAE
Curricula: EYFS, GCSE, IB DP, UK National Curriculum, IGCSE, A Level
Founded: 2014
Principal: Matthew Farthing
Average fees: AED 81,500
Request info Read review
8
GEMS World Academy Dubai
3.2
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GEMS World Academy, Dubai is a private Pre K-12 international school located in Al Barsha, Dubai. The school was first established in September 2007 by GEMS Education, although its first year of operation on its permanent site was in 2008. It is a pure International Baccalaureate curriculum-based school.
Address: PO Box 126260, Dubai UAE
Curricula: IB, IB DP, IB MYP, IB PYP, IB CP, EYFS
Founded: 2008
Principal: Dr Saima Rana
Average fees: AED 90,500
Request info Read review
CUT
2.9
CUT
2.9
Methodology: How we choose the Best Ultra-premium Schools in the UAE

Why this cut off point?

To make it onto the Parent Recommended Best Schools List, a school needs to score 3.0 or above on the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Rating.

The WSA Parent Rating score is drawn from multiple questions from our parent survey. More details can be found if you click Read More in the Best Schools explainer at the top of the page.

A score below 3.0 means a school could be admired for facets of its delivery, but there will be areas with question marks. A score above 3.0 means that its parents rate a school highly across the board. Any score above 3.5 is the sign of a school truly loved and admired by its parents, who have clearly bought into its vision and leadership.

A school can move up (and onto the list if it is not here), or down (and off the list) as more feedback comes in. The algorithm is weighted to more recent responses to allow schools to make improvements and for that to reflect in the rating. It also means that if a school takes unpopular decisions, or lowers the quality of its offering, it can move off the list altogether.

Note: If the school you are interested in is not here, it is either because its score is below 3.0, or has yet to receive sufficient surveys. We have a school reviews directory that lists all UAE schools.

Note, it is possible to score 5 if a school has perfect scores from its most recent respondents. It is difficult if not impossible to please all people, all of the time however… Parents doing their due diligence when choosing a school should pay attention also to the number of parent reviews a school has received. The more it has, the less likely the score will be to change as new reviews come in.

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