Demand for places in the best schools in Dubai is very high, although not as high as it is in Abu Dhabi, which is still behind the emirate in terms of capacity.
[Article update, Jan 2017: In one segment, in Dubai, the capacity/demand equation has flipped on its head - notably premium IB/UK schools. Here, with the possible exception of early years places, there is more capacity than demand. Parents can be choosy. They can also ask for better terms...]
For an analysis of how to shortlist and choose a school, taking into account where demand is, go here. It is as full as an analysis as you will find in terms of how to try to plan, research and short list schools wisely.
The key point to note is that demand is not evenly spread.
Primary and Foundation/KG is by far the most competitive of all age groups in terms of entrance. This is simply because of the demographic of Dubai: Dubai has a rapidly growing population and an increasingly younger expatriate demographic. This puts particular pressure on schools for primary places. By secondary and post-16, schools have seen the pipeline coming and have had time to gear up to offer sufficient capacity.
Two charts will give you a sense of the scale of the issue here. First, the size of the school in terms of student numbers (benchmarked against the KHDA Ranking) will give you a sense of the number of places, and second, the Which School Advisor’s Interest/Availability chart will show you the demand.
All of the schools discussed thus far will be a challenge to get into, although some more than others. The chart compares actual searches on WSA (as an index) with a relative index of perceived availability. It is flawed in that it reflects the interest of WSA users, and availability is not scientifically measured. We do ask schools regarding availability, but cannot claim to be comprehensive in doing so. Some schools are also very guarded about providing this information to us.
The Best British Schools in Dubai Part 1: Start Here
Best British Schools in Dubai: What We Measure
Best British Schools in Dubai: The Data we have Used
Best British Schools in Dubai: The Demand for Places
Best British Schools in Dubai: Post 16 Education
Best British Schools in Dubai: Secondary Education
Best British Schools in Dubai: Best British Primary Schools
Best British Schools in Dubai: Best British KGs
Best British Schools in Dubai: The WSA Survey, What Current Parents Think
Best British Schools in Dubai: Nationality, Fees and Attainment
Best British Schools in Dubai: A Final Summary
Best British Schools in Dubai Table: Contact Emails and Overview