Best British Schools in UAE: Rated By UK Inspectors

If you're looking for a great British school, there's lots of things to check, not least the British School Overseas (BSO) inspection reports, checked and written by school inspectors all the way from the UK. As well as academics, facilities, teaching and curriculum, these inspectors also look at the 'British-ness,' teacher demographics and how closely they resemble a school in the UK. Find out which schools have chosen to be affiliated and what their most recent ratings are here...
Best British Schools in UAE: Rated By UK Inspectors
By C Hoppe
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The GEMS Education Schools

GEMS Education is one of the most successful privately owned education companies in the world. It is almost unique in its ability to be able to launch multiple types of schools targeting different demographics via a full range of curricula, and via very different price points and schools to fit. The group's UK schools, for the most part are in its premium (read expensive) tier of schools.


Jumeriah College (JC) 

Jumeirah College

BSO Rating: Outstanding 

BSO Summary: "This College provides an outstanding quality of education for its pupils. It combines the best of British educational standards and methodology with an awareness of the local cultural and regional context. Pupils’ attainment is very high and compares very favourably with standards reached in British independent schools."

Location: Near Safa Park, Dubai

Age: 11 to 18

Fees: AED 71,508 to AED 89,385

Website: Go

What they say: Attainment and progress in English are outstanding. The fact that 78% of students achieved A* or A at A level in 2013 exemplifies the high aspirations and attainment of all pupils in this department. At GCSE in 2013, more than half of the pupils in that year group/cohort gained A* or B, and almost all pupils gained an A to C award.

Pupils’ attainment and progress in mathematics are outstanding across all phases of the school. Pupils reach standards that are well-above average when compared to independent schools in the UK. Pupils make a good start to their secondary education in Key Stage 3 so that, in 2013 at the end of Year 9, 91% of pupils met or exceeded the challenging targets that were set for them by the college staff.

Attainment and progress in science are outstanding. In GCSE examinations in all three sciences, well over 75% of pupils achieved A* to B grades, comparing very favourably with UK averages.

How Brit is it? The college successfully promotes knowledge and understanding of British life. This was exemplified by the Remembrance Day ceremonies and the awareness pupils showed of the significance of the British Legion and the poppy.

In the Remembrance Day assembly, the excellent speaker linked the remembrance theme to sacrifices in the wider world. The faith-to-faith programme encourages international, peaceful coexistence while the history syllabus gives pupils a thorough grounding in aspects of British traditions and culture.

The strong debating culture means many pupils think deeply about important issues and the Model United Nations group replicates the procedures of the United Nations Conference. Human Rights’ Day is marked by groups discussing problems such as capital punishment and slavery.

Suggested Improvements: To take steps to raise the quality of all teaching and assessment to the level of the best.

See the full BSO report here: Go


GEMS Firstpoint

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: GEMS First Point is a good school. The British-style curriculum supports pupils’ good achievement in all age groups.

Location: The Villa, Dubai

Age: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 39,368 to AED 67,340

Website: here 

What they say: As well as achieving well in reading, writing, mathematics and science, pupils also achieve well in other subjects across the curriculum.

The school has made significant investment in developing specialist teachers and departments, such as in technology and engineering. The quality of pupils’ sporting achievements is also impressive. The school is highly effective in helping pupils reach high standards in their art work. Pupils in the primary years benefit from specialist teaching and access to a wide range of provision, for example in the well-equipped drama studios.

The curriculum is good. The school follows the early years foundation stage curriculum and then the revised national curriculum for England, leading to pupils taking either the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations. 

How Brit is is? The curriculum has been adapted to meet the needs of the pupils, who benefit from an approach that recognises the British nature of the school, the value of learning about the Emirati culture and also the school’s multicultural context. Pupils are well prepared to re-enter the British education system. Britishness permeates the curriculum, for example, pupils in Year 2 have been carrying out work relating to the Great Fire of London. The curriculum is broad, balanced, rich and very interesting and motivational to pupils.

Suggested improvements: Increase further the frequency of outstanding teaching throughout the school, and challenge the most able pupils to gain even greater achievement in their work.

Develop further the use of assessment information to track accurately the progress of pupils and plot their attainment, aligning with requirements of the new national curriculum, across all year groups.

See full BSO report here 


GEMS: Jumeirah Primary School (JPS)

BSO Rating: Outstanding

BSO Summary: "Jumeirah Primary is an outstanding school. It provides pupils with an excellent and exciting British-style education which prepares them well to enter or re-enter the UK independent system."

Location: Al Safa, Dubai

Age: 3 to 11

Fees: AED 40,036 to AED 50,466

Website: Go

What they say: "Children make outstanding progress towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. Some children arrive in school with limited language skills in English but settle quickly within a ‘language rich’ environment. By the time children move to Year 1, they are generally working with above age-related skills in all the areas of learning.

In the primary phase, extremely good results in English in key stage tests confirm that attainment in the school is outstanding. Most pupils achieve at or above the levels expected and exceed international levels. Progress, also, is excellent.

Pupils make outstanding progress in science across the school. Of the pupils, 59% make three or more levels of progress from their Key Stage1 starting points and only a very small minority of pupils make less than expected progress. The acquisition of scientific skills prepares them well for making excellent progress."

How Brit is it?  "Pupils are imbued with British values and culture through what they learn in class - for example, the Tudors, a Shakespeare play and the egg-and-spoon race. Remembrance Day is marked by the wearing of poppies and a minute’s silence.

The current school production is Mary Poppins and pupils even learn place value in mathematics with the help of Captain Hook from Peter Pan. A love of reading, in particular English texts, is fostered by library lessons and very large numbers borrow books and learn about British culture. One Year 6 boy, not of British origin, summed up his attitude by saying; ’I have a more positive attitude to Britain now and have learnt not to stereotype people.’"

Suggested Improvements:  Improve the accuracy of assessments made of children as they start school and as they move from year to year.

See the full BSO report here: Go


GEMS Royal Dubai

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: This school provides a good quality of education for its pupils. It combines the best of British educational standards and methodology with an awareness of the local cultural and regional context.

Location: Al Mizhar, Dubai

Age: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 37,554 to AED 47,351

Website: Go

What they say: Attainment and progress in English are good across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Pupils make outstanding progress in speaking and listening, and in reading.

Attainment and progress in mathematics are good across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. By the end of Key Stage 1, the proportion of pupils at or above expected levels of attainment in mathematics is slightly higher than the UK average.

In science, across the primary phase, attainment is good and progress is outstanding.

How Brit is it? The school promotes pupils’ knowledge and understanding of modern British life in relation to social issues and the values of tolerance, democracy, and respect for freedom of expression. These values are at the heart of school life and are reinforced on a daily basis. For example, on Remembrance Day, pupils of different nationalities and religions, including the very youngest, observed the two minute silence and behaved with reverence and respect.

Suggested Improvements: To continue to raise the quality of teaching and assessment to the level of the best.

See the full BSO report here: Go



GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: Gems Wellington Academy Al Khail is a good school. It is a new school with extensive facilities and state-of-the-art accommodation. 

Location: Al Khail, Dubai

Age: 3 to 16+

Fees: AED 52,000 to AED 85,000

Website: here   

What they say: Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding and behaviour is excellent. Teachers provide exciting lessons and the curriculum is interesting and supplemented by a range of visits.

The school is staffed with well-qualified teachers, supported effectively by teaching assistants. Even though there have been many changes in teachers and leaders since the school’s opening, it is improving and has good capacity to improve further.

The school meets the requirements of this Standard. The curriculum is good. It has a number of strong features and is firmly based around the school’s central values. The requirements of the early years and English national curriculum are fully met.

The quality of teaching and assessment is good across the school and children and pupils, including those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities, acquire knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop useful skills.

Teachers are well-qualified and have good subject knowledge. As a result, pupils make good progress and achieve above average standards in most subjects. There are highly positive relationships between pupils and teachers and teachers are excellent role models. Pupils are valued and respected by teachers and other adults.

How Brit is is? The school promotes general knowledge and understanding of modern British life, including its institutions and attitudes towards tolerance, democracy, respect for freedom of expression and other human rights.

Special events in Britain are acknowledged, for example Remembrance Day. The language of instruction in the school is English and the school is organised according to the structures used in independent English schools.

Classroom management, displays of work, the three-term year and age-related year groups contribute to the British character of the school. Most members of staff have trained and qualified in the UK. Parents are highly supportive of the British nature of the curriculum. Pupils value the British values underpinning school life and the opportunities that will open up from studying in a British school.

Suggested improvements: Build on the good teaching to ensure that all pupils are suitably challenged to meet their potential, especially the most able and those who face difficulties learning through English.

For senior leaders to monitor the outcomes of policies and practice regularly and form judgements based on all of the available evidence.

See full BSO report here    



GEMS Wellington International School

BSO Rating: Outstanding

BSO Summary: GEMS Wellington International is an outstanding school. Pupils experience a ‘British-style education’ while celebrating the diversity of cultures represented in the school.

Location: Al Sufouh, Dubai

Ages: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 43,050 to AED 93,658

Website: Go

What they say: Attainment in English is outstanding across all key stages. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage achieve consistently high levels compared with those in UK schools. In the primary school by the end of Year 6, over 40% of pupils achieved a level 5 in 2013. Pupils continue to score highly at GCSE and in the IB where results at the higher levels compare very favourably with similar international schools.

Attainment and progress in mathematics are outstanding in almost all phases. The exception is Key Stage 5 where attainment is above average and improving. At IGCSE, pupils’ performance is exceptionally strong with pupils achieving
examination results that are consistently well above both UK and international standards. For example, in 2013, 95% of pupils achieved an A*-C grade in mathematics.

Attainment in science is outstanding in all phases.

How Brit is it? The school successfully promotes a knowledge and understanding of British life. Most of the staff qualified in the UK, the curriculum is British and extra activities like rugby, cricket and netball, drama, and music imbue the school with a British character. Occasions such as Remembrance Day are commemorated and 12 collections organised for the British Legion. The house system, common in British schools, encourages competition and a sense of corporate identity.

Suggested Improvements: To sharpen the accuracy of assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage so that transition into Key Stage 1 is smoother and improves progress further in Year 1.

See the full BSO report here: Go



GEMS Wellington Primary School

GEMS Wellington Primary

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: "GEMS Wellington Primary provides a good quality of education for its pupils, blending together the best of the current British curriculum, a strong approach to learning skills and an awareness of the national context of the school."

Location: Al Satwa, Dubai

Ages: 3 to 11

Fees: AED 42,508 to AED 53,582

Website: Go

What they say: Attainment is above average and progress in English is good across the school except in reading, where pupils in Key Stages 1 and 2 make outstanding progress and reach high levels of attainment.

By the end of both Key Stages 1 and 2, attainment in mathematics is above average compared with that of pupils of the same ages in schools in England. Standards have risen in both key stages over the last two years.

In science, attainment is above average across the school.

How Brit is it? There are frequent educational and cultural visits all linked to the curriculum such as a visit to Dubai museum by classes studying pearl divers. Competitions, sporting events, festivals and celebrations such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, or a London Olympics event, help pupils gain a sense of British heritage, a wider perspective on life and to become well-rounded individuals.

Suggested Improvements: To improve further the use of assessment during lessons to enable effective adjustments to be made that enhance all pupils’ progress.

To take steps to reduce the pockets of merely acceptable teaching and raise the quality of all teaching to that of the best.

See the full BSO report here: Go



GEMS Wellington Silicon Oasis

2013 BSO Rating: Good

2013 BSO Summary: This academy provides a good quality of education for its pupils. Many of its elements are excellent.

Location: Silicon Oasis, Dubai

Ages: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 36,540 to AED 82,511

Website: Go

What they say: In English, attainment in the Early Years Foundation Stage and primary phase is above average and is high in the secondary phase. Progress is good in the primary phase and is outstanding in the Early Years Foundation Stage and the secondary phase.

Pupils make good progress in mathematics during the primary phase. By the time pupils reach the end of Key Stage 2, they are reaching standards that are above those typically found in the UK. In the secondary phase, pupils build on this successful start and make outstanding progress towards their IGCSE examinations. In this growing school, only a small
number of pupils have taken external examinations in mathematics so far. In 2013, all pupils who sat the examination attained A*- B with 71% awarded A* or A grades.

Almost half of the pupils gained A*-B in core science in the Year 10 IGCSE exams, well above UK averages.

How Brit is it? Pupils develop a good basic knowledge of public institutions and services in Dubai and in the UK. For example, pupil displays about the UAE National Day and the Queen’s Jubilee were detailed and confirmed pupils’ awareness of different, but complementary, cultural mores. This prepares them very well for the next stage of their lives.

Suggested Improvements:  To promote approaches which ensure all pupils are challenged and receive constructive feedback on how to improve.

See the full BSO report here: Go

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