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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British Schools In Dubai


Capital School

BSO Rating: Satisfactory

BSO Summary: Capital is a satisfactory school. It provides a British-style education, using a UK curriculum, while embracing and celebrating its UAE context and culture.

Location: Al Qusais, Dubai

Age: 3 to 13 years

Fees: AED 28,000 to AED 46,600

Website: here   

What they say: Most pupils arrive with little or no skills in English and few have experienced the school’s UK based approach to learning when they arrive, either in early years or elsewhere.

While this can limit pupils’ initial levels of attainment, the school, through its stimulating curriculum, is successful in helping pupils to make satisfactory progress and close the gap on their UK counterparts.

Outcomes in English and science are average at the end of primary and in Year 8 whereas, in mathematics, attainment is above average. The most able pupils make varied progress and sometimes tackle work that offers them insufficient challenge. Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities make more modest progress than their peers, particularly in English, when not taught in specialist classes.

The school’s curriculum is good. The school follows the early years foundation stage (EYFS) curriculum and then the revised national curriculum for England. All pupils in the primary and lower secondary classes follow a range of core subjects including English, mathematics, science, Arabic and Islamic Studies.

How Brit is is? The curriculum is designed to recognise and reflect the British nature of the school, the value of learning about Emirati culture and also the school’s multicultural context. Pupils are prepared well to enter or re-enter the British education system and their appreciation of British values and heritage permeates the pupils’ experience.

For example, pupils in key stage 2 study the history of the Tudor kings and queens and compare life in Dubai with that in Britain in their geography work. Pupils learn about the contribution of Florence Nightingale to military nursing and Shakespeare features in the secondary literature programme. The curriculum is broad, balanced, interesting and motivational to pupils.

Suggested improvements: Raise attainment in English, mathematics and science by: making more consistent and regular use of performance data, including summative testing.

To develop further the match between pupils’ demonstrated ability and the challenges they are offered in lessons.

Developing further teachers’ strategies for promoting English language skills for those pupils who speak English as an additional language.

Increasing the proportion of high quality teaching.

Introduce a more rigorous and focused structure both to school improvement planning and to the implementation and updating of agreed policies and procedures.

See full BSO report here 



Deira international School

Deira International School

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: "Deira International is a good and improving school that fully meets the requirements of the British School Overseas Standards. Most pupils make good progress from their starting points because of the good teaching they receive."

Location: Festival City, Dubai

Age: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 39,938 to AED 80,465

Website: Go

What they say: Pupils’ attainment in English across all phases is above average. Progress is good and, in some areas, outstanding. Results in IGCSE and IB show an improving trend overtime. In the primary phase, pupils successfully build on the outstanding progress they make in the early years.

In mathematics, pupils successfully build on the impressive progress that they have made in their early years classes. By the time they leave the primary phase, most are confident in solving number problems and have a good grasp of shape, space and measure.

Attainment in science is above average in both primary and secondary phases; progress is good. In early years and post-16 phases, attainment is high and progress 7 is rapid. In the primary phase, pupils’ attainment in science is above that found with pupils of a similar age in the UK.

How Brit is it? While the school is international in every way, that internationalism is underpinned by a British ethos. Pupils absorb this in lessons such as history, and English language is taught through the medium of works such as Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Goodnight Mr Tom. Pupils learn about democracy by applying to be representatives on the school council; they make presentations, stand for election and voting takes place in a formal election process.

Suggested Improvements: To provide more opportunities in lessons for pupils to consolidate and reflect on their learning.

For teachers to check on what pupils have learned and understood.

Ensure that all teachers make good use of the wealth of data available to them when they plan activities for the different ability groups represented in each class or set.

Sharpen the school’s self evaluation and improvement planning so that the ambitious and challenging targets contain clear and measureable success criteria.

See the full BSO report here: Go


Dubai British School

2015 BSO Rating: Outstanding

2015 BSO Summary: DBS passed their first inspection with flying colours and Outstanding ratings across the board.

Location: Springs 3, Dubai

Age: 3 to 18 years

Fees: AED 48,032 to AED 72,049

Website: Go

What they say: In the early years (Foundation Stage 1 and 2), progress is outstanding. Attainment is well above
the English average in all aspects of the early learning goals and is rising. The school moderates its assessment scores with an outstanding British school and attainment is rising regularly.

Attainment at GCSE level is high. In English Language, for example, two thirds of all pupils gained grade A* or A in last year’s examinations.

In mathematics, attainment is high overall. It is particularly so in the early years, primary school and in post-16.

In science, attainment is high and progress is outstanding. In the early years, most children make at least good, and often much better, progress from their starting points in their knowledge and understanding of the world. In 2015, 92% achieved a good level of development compared with 85% in the UK.

How Brit is it? The school promotes a knowledge and understanding of British life from the pupils’ earliest years. Year 1 pupils imagine that Paddington visits British landmarks such as Big Ben, Cardiff Stadium and Edinburgh Castle and they write postcards about what he has seen.

Occasions such as the Remembrance Day observance instill respect for the British way of life. PSHE lessons and classroom debates enable pupils to discuss modern issues such as global warming and international conflict. Societies like the jazz club and the choir, Duke of Edinburgh Award activities, together with the involvement of a large number of pupils in sports teams and clubs, all serve to underline the school’s British identity.

Suggested Improvements: Improve the use of assessment to aid lesson planning and promote optimum learning.

See the full BSO report: here


Horizon English School

BSO Rating: Outstanding

BSO Summary: "The school provides an excellent quality of education. The school is highly effective in seeking to meet its vision of being a school that promotes independence and confidence in young people, giving them the skills to grasp the opportunities the world will offer to them."

Location: Near Safa Park, Dubai

Ages: 3 to 11

Fees: AED 28,249 to AED 39,564

Website: Go

What they say: Achievement across the school is high and the progress made by many pupils is at least good. In many cases, it is exceptional. EYFS attainment data indicates that despite a low starting point, 85% of pupils meet or exceed UK expectations in reading and 58% in writing.

At the end of Key Stage 2, attainment in reading, writing and mathematics are well above the UK national average.

How Brit is it?: The school prides itself on implementing new British initiatives that support its vision: teachers are knowledgeable about current UK thought, strategy and educational ideas. Horizon is a very active member of British Schools of the Middle East.

The ethos, nature and appearance of Horizon are recognisably British, mirroring what would be found in the independent sector in the UK. There are bright, creative displays around school, celebrating the achievements of the pupils.

There are regular whole school community events, including (over the last few years) celebrating the last royal wedding, St. George’s Day, St. Andrew’s Day, the Jubilee and observing Remembrance Sunday. There are frequent sports days, class assemblies, end-of-year shows and other celebrations. Horizon has a successful house system which every child is part of.

Suggested Improvements:  To secure and protect the character and ethos of the school as it expands.

To explore ways to embed aspects of the Arabic language and Islamic Studies curriculum in other aspects of learning;

To survey and review the success of the introduction of the French language into the curriculum, to explore whether the way it is currently organised allows pupils to make good enough progress.

See the full BSO report here: Go


Kings' School Dubai

2014 BSO Rating: Outstanding

2014 BSO Summary: "Kings’ School Dubai is an outstanding school. It provides an excellent ‘British style education’ while embracing fully and celebrating the values and heritage of the United Arab Emirates and the diversity of cultures represented in the school."

Location: Umm Sequim 3, Dubai

Ages: 3 to 11

Fees: AED 42,734 to AED 65,037

Website: Go

What they say: Pupils’ attainment and progress in English are outstanding.

The rapid progress children make in mathematics in the Early Years Foundation Stage continues through all key stages. Results in 2014 for pupils at the end of Key Stage 2, confirm that pupils exceed UK standards by a significant percentage. An increasing number of pupils are reaching level 6.

Attainment and progress in science are outstanding. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage exceed the expected levels in scientific knowledge, vocabulary and skills’ development. Rapid progress continues across the key stages. By Year 6, most pupils exceed the levels expected for their age, especially in problem solving and critical thinking. Results in 2014 confirmed that 16% of pupils were above those of the same age in England at level 5.

How Brit is it? The pupils have age appropriate levels of general knowledge about society and life in Britain. Older pupils, for example, can describe the recent referendum in Scotland and the importance of commemorating events such as on Remembrance Day. Pupils value each other, respect differences and take delight in being members of the school family.

Suggested Improvements: To increase the proportion of outstanding teaching by continuing to provide high quality professional development opportunities, peer observations and rigorous monitoring of teaching and learning.

To raise further the quality of pupils’ work and the standards they reach by ensuring that pupils have the opportunity to respond to the good suggestions teachers make in their marking of pupils work.

See the full BSO report here: Go


Nord Anglia School Dubai

Nord Anglia Dubai

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: Nord Anglia International School, Dubai, is a good school. It provides a good education for pupils from early years to Year 11 and meets the requirements of all the Standards for British Schools Overseas.

Location: Al Barsha, Dubai

Age: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 62,160 to AED 94,000

Website: here 

What they say: The school encourages open and meaningful communication with parents, recognising the importance of their part in educating their children.

Facilities, informal and formal meetings allow them to be visible members of the school community. Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding during lessons, at leisure and when moving about the school. They are self-disciplined and enjoy respectful and relaxed relationships with teachers.

The school community represents more than 60 nations and pupils acquire a deep understanding of different cultures from all over the world.

Pupils place high value on the broad curriculum and the innovative partnerships that provide stimulating learning activities. This includes a choice of foreign languages from early years, music and performing arts, technology and physical education.

How Brit is is? The curriculum is taught in English and promotes understanding of British culture, history and significant events. Pupils are encouraged to draw on personal experiences of living in or visiting Britain which helps to deepen learning and appreciation of the four nations of the British Isles and different global locations. The broad range of sports and physical education includes subjects found in English schools and internationally. Pupils gain experience of British values, such as democracy and inclusion, through voting and selection for house leaders, sports leaders and the school council.

Suggested improvements: Raise the expectations of leaders at all levels to reach and sustain high standards, so achieving the school’s vision and mission.

Improve use of the extensive assessment information available to monitor more effectively the impact of structured improvement plans.

See full BSO report here



Regent International School

Regents International School

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: "Regent International School is a good school that meets the requirements of the British School Overseas Standards. Pupils make good progress from their starting points because they enjoy good quality teaching and a good overall education."

Location: The Greens, Dubai

Age: 3 to 11

Fees:  AED 42,265 to AED 92,482

Website: Go

What they say: Attainment in the school is above average in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. Pupils make good and often outstanding progress, especially in the early years and in the classes in the lower primary school.

Attainment is above average in English and progress is good overall and strongest in the early years. Children from varying starting points quickly attain above expected levels in listening, speaking, reading and writing and make outstanding progress.

In mathematics in the early years, children make outstanding progress and achieve very well when compared to UK national averages.

Attainment is high in the secondary school and, in 2015, most pupils were successful in attaining a good grade in their IGCSE examination which they sat a year early.

Attainment is above average and progress is good in other subjects across the school and very good in some.

How Brit is it? Pupils absorb an understanding of British life and culture though the curriculum, with many novels studied by all ages providing insight.

The issues from the novels are often used as a basis for thematic learning about culture and values. Values of tolerance, respect for freedom of expression and other human rights underpin the school’s ethos. Pupils experience democracy through elections to Student Voice and for house captains. Those in leadership roles take their responsibilities very seriously.

Suggested Improvements: Revise the format for reporting to parents to make reports more accessible to them. Provide more personal guidance in the careers programme.

When managing staff performance, embed the recent improvements and maintain the balance between the support and challenge to staff.

Successfully promote continuity in staffing and help pupils achieve the best possible standards in teaching and learning.

See the full BSO report here: Go




BSO Rating: Outstanding

BSO Summary: "Repton provides an outstanding quality of education for its pupils, marrying high quality British-style education with an awareness of its UAE context and a celebration of the international nature of the school community."

Location: Nad Al Sheba, Dubai

Ages: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 60,072 to AED 120,145

Website: Go

What they say: From broadly typical starting points, children in early years make rapid progress towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. By the time they complete their Reception Year, most have made great strides and are exceeding expected standards in the majority of learning areas.

Attainment is above average and progress is good in English for the older students and outstanding in all other areas of the school.

In mathematics, almost all pupils make excellent progress from Year 1 through to post-16 level. Attainment is above average for the oldest students and very high elsewhere.

Attainment in science is very high and progress is outstanding in primary and aboveaverage in both secondary and post-16 phases.

How Brit is it? In spite of its strong international element, the school is characteristically British. Sport plays a major role in school life and there are many sports in which pupils may participate, as well as competitive teams to join.

Lessons are delivered in English and pupils absorb British values when learning of Britain’s history; younger pupils learn about medieval castles, monasteries and chivalry while older ones study the Tudor period and the First World War.

The library is well stocked with English fiction and pupils read a wide variety of English texts from Michael Morpugo to Hardy and Shakespeare. The topic of Human Rights is explored in the Prep School as part of a UNICEF project and for older pupils as part of the personal, social, health and citizenship education programme. British celebrations like Pancake Day provide light entertainment while Remembrance Day is always taken seriously and marked by a special assembly.

Suggested Improvements: To raise the level of parental involvement in the development of the school by: ensuring that parental views are effectively canvassed by the school’s strategic leadership and governance encouraging parents to contribute to the pupils’ learning experiences in school.

Provide adequate staffing to further support the progress of pupils with additional learning needs.

In its long-term strategic plan, the school should aim to offer girls the same quality of boarding experience as that enjoyed by the boys.

See the full BSO report here: Go


Safa Private School

Al Safa British School

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: "Safa Private School provides a good education for its pupils. From the Early Years Foundation Stage to Year 6, pupils make good progress and obtain good results in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science."

Location: Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Ages: 3 to 11

Fees: AED 26,864 to AED 41,315

Website: Go

What they say: The curriculum, teaching, overall attainment of students and pupil progress is all rated good, while leadership at Al Safa is rated outstanding.

How Brit is it?: Teaching and assessment methods are British in character and the complete adoption of the English National Curriculum means that pupils are able to integrate easily back into the British education system. The school celebrates special British days like Remembrance Day and supports British charities. Through topics, especially relating to British history, pupils learn about life in different circumstances such as in the current Year 6 work on the Second World War, enhancing their cultural awareness.

Suggested Improvements: to develop a whole-school approach to the teaching of core subjects through the appointment of whole-school subject coordinators.

To develop the curriculum for personal, social and health education to include more detailed reference to British institutions and way of life.

See the full BSO report here: Go


Sunmarke School


BSO Rating: Good

BSO SummarySunmarke School is a good school and meets the requirements of all the Standards for British Schools Overseas.

Location: JVT, Dubai

Age: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 41,900 to AED 71,900

Website: here    

What they say: Across the school, there has been a strong focus on the development of speaking and listening skills, leading to confident learners who are able to discuss their work. This focus has also provided support for pupils who speak English as an additional language, enabling them to make good progress.

The curriculum is good in all phases of the school. It is broad and balanced so that the needs of all pupils are met. It is based on the English national curriculum, leading to International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and General Certificate of Education (GCE) qualifications.

In addition, it incorporates local UAE requirements, including Arabic and Islamic Education. The curriculum enables pupils to make good progress so that they are prepared well for the next stage in their education, and allows them to enter or re-enter the UK education system.

In almost all lessons, pupils’ behaviour is excellent. Relationships are positive and mutually respectful, leading to a productive learning environment where pupils feel confident in seeking clarification, engaging in discussions and actively participating in their learning. Pupils are enthusiastic and motivated learners and routinely enjoy opportunities to work collaboratively and learn through discussions with their peers. They report that learning is fun in their school.

Teachers demonstrate good classroom management skills and lessons are well paced to engage pupils. Most teachers have created bright and supportive learning environments that support, encourage and celebrate pupils’ achievements. In the large majority of lessons, teachers use good questioning skills to provide pupils with opportunities to extend and deepen their learning.

How Brit is is? Links with the UK come through the curriculum in subjects like geography, history and government and politics for older pupils. The school celebrates occasions such as Remembrance Day, while British values such as the rule of law, tolerance, fairness and democracy are prominent. The latter is evidenced by the election of school council members and prefects, all voted for by pupils. UAE celebrations like National Day and Flag Day also play a major part in school life.

Suggested improvements: Improve further the quality of teaching and raise pupils’ achievement, particularly for the most able pupils by ensuring that: expectations of what pupils can achieve are always high enough.

Ensure the work set is always hard enough so that pupils are challenged consistently to make the best possible progress and achieve the highest standards.

See full BSO report here 



The School of Research Science

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: "This school provides a good quality of education for its pupils. Many of its features are excellent. Leadership and management are outstanding and have an excellent view of the school’s strengths and areas to develop."

Location: Al Warqa 4, Dubai

Age: 3 to 18

Fees: AED 34,359 to AED 73,769

Website: Go

What they say: The school’s key strengths are its successful bi-lingual teaching, its high quality of management, its pupils who are enthusiastic and committed learners and its constant striving for improvement.

Most children start school with skills that are well below those typical for their age. Very few arrive in school with fluency in English. Children of all abilities generally make outstanding progress during their time in the early years and leave working at levels that are broadly average. Increasing proportions of children exceed these expectations in the different areas of learning.

Children make good progress in developing mathematical skills. By the time pupils sit their IGCSE examinations they are very well prepared. This is illustrated by the impressive and improving results they achieve. In 2014, pupils at the school achieved 86% at IGCSE compared to the UK average of 74%. The percentage of pupils achieving the higher levels of A* and A was 40% compared to the UK average of 18%. Ninety per cent of pupils.

How Brit is it? Although most pupils understand how British public institutions compare to those in Dubai, the school acknowledges that more work needs to be undertaken in this area so that such comparisons are systematically built into the school’s curriculum.

Suggested Improvements: To improve the education of pupils with special educational needs by giving more attention to the identification of these needs and by refining the quality of support for these needs.

To increase the opportunities for pupils to learn about public institutions in the United Kingdom.

See the full BSO report here: Go



Victory Heights Primary School

Victory Heights Primary School

BSO Rating: Good

BSO Summary: "Victory Heights is a good school. It provides a good quality of education under-pinned by effective pastoral care. The quality of learning, teaching and leadership are good."

Location: Dubai Sports City, Dubai

Age: 3 to 11

Fees: AED 35,834 to AED 48,865

Website: Go

What they say: Overall the standards achieved are broadly in line with UK national expectations. Most children meet the Foundation Stage expected outcomes.

Throughout Key Stage 2, children continue to make expected or better progress, particularly in mathematics.

How Brit is it? The ethos, nature and appearance of the school are recognisably British, and mirror what would be found in the independent sector in the UK. The school is organised according to the structures used in English schools.

Classroom management, displays of work, three term year and age-related year groups contribute to a British feel of the school. Victory Heights follows the National Curriculum for England. In addition the house system and elected school council representatives are reflective of British practice. The majority of teaching staff are from the UK.

Approaches to performance management, staff target setting and annual review meetings are in line with British practice. Victory Heights is developing strong links with St. Dunstan’s school in the UK. Sixty B.Ed. students from Wolverhampton University spent 2 days in school as part of their professional development.

Suggested Improvements: To raise expectations and the level of challenge in lessons to ensure accelerated value added. To embed good practice by reviewing the school’s current initiatives and focusing on those which best promote high standards- further developing assessment for learning- strengthening the role of middle leaders in assuring the quality of teaching, learning and the raising of attainment.

See the full BSO report here: Go

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