Topping the list of primary schools for attainment in English, Mathematics and Science in the KHDA's inspection reports are Kings' School Dubai (45,073 AED), Jumeirah English Speaking School (38,252 AED), GEMs Wellington International School (44,319 AED), JESS Arabian Ranches (38,252 AED), Dubai English Speaking School (34,560 AED) and Jebel Ali Primary School (36,296 AED).
[Update, Jan 2017: For the latest schools to be rated Outstanding by the KHDA, go here.]
Of these, parents may express a preference for primary only schools, or those with a secondary school attached. Kings' School Dubai, Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS), Dubai English Speaking School (DESS) and Jebel Ali Private School (JAPS) are all Foundation/KG to primary schools, while Wellington International and JESS Arabian Ranches offer secondary schooling from the same location.
There are of course pluses on both sides. Foundation/KG to primary schools often have an advantage over the 'feel' of the school, and to some degree empowering older primary school children who get to experience being the eldest before secondary school entrance. However, getting into the 'right' school is difficult, and parents who send their children to schools with no direct access to a secondary school open themselves up to this admissions pain twice.
Parents should check whether schools have agreements in place with secondary schools for primary only institutions. Fortunately most schools in this list do.
Kings Dubai: Kings Nad Al Sheba
GEMS Jumeirah Primary School: GEMs secondary schools - e.g. Jumeirah College
Jumeirah English Speaking School: JESS Arabian Ranches
Dubai English Speaking School: Dubai English Speaking College
There is a strong set of schools falling just behind this first set in terms of KHDA attainment ratings for English, mathematics and science. These include GEMs Jumeirah Primary School (41,315 AED), Horizon English School (54,770 AED), Dubai Scholars Private School (13,448 AED) and The English College Dubai (27,578 AED).
The KG to primary only schools here also have a progression to secondary schools in place. GEMs Jumeirah Primary School has GEM's secondary schools to consider, while Horizon is believed to have a progression agreement for Year 6 students with Dubai College (DC), Dubai English Speaking College (DESC), and The English College Primary School in Dubai.
There are a few outliers whose fees seem out of kilter for their current attainment levels. In general these will be newer schools, in all likelihood in prime real estate (i.e. central) with modern facilities such as Jumeirah Baccalaureate School (which is IB based) whose processes are still very much bedding down.
New schools as we have noted are in general more expensive than older schools.
Admissions into primary years education is one of the toughest missions anyone new to Dubai goes through. Places are incredibly competitive, especially in the most established schools. For a JESS place, if you have just arrived, and expect to get in the same year, rethink those plans - it will not happen. If you're planning early, and we're talking a couple of years early, you have more chance, but you should try to get your names down as early as possible. Remember though a significant number of places go to employees of a company that has taken out a debenture.
See the chart on Interest/Demand here. Schools rated 1/2 in terms of Availability will be very difficult to get into, and those 500 AED fees you pay for applications will most probably be going to waste.
If you are new you do need to cast your net more widely. Again, this article - How to Find, and Shortlist a School in Dubai - provides insight as to how you should go about the selection process. Top tips: Newer schools (less than 6 years) have more availability, schools ranked Good by the KHDA have significantly more availability than Outstanding Schools, and while you may want a school on your doorstep, you have significantly more options if you're willing to travel.
None of this may be ideal, but it is just a fact that it is unlikely you are going to find a tier one, low-cost, high performing school right next to your apartment.
Finally, if you're reading this article, the chances are you have set your mind on a British curriculum, but one of the most interesting things about the UAE for expatriates is that this is probably the first opportunity you have had to consider other curricula. There are a range on offer - from Australian (via a specific state) to a U.S. education, expanding your horizon could also help you find a school more suited to your child.
Table - Primary Schools
|School||Type||Satisfaction- comms||Location||Fees, Primary||Attainment Primary||Availability|
|Kings Dubai||K-7||62.50%||Um Suqeim||45073||100%||1|
|Sharjah English School*||K-12||100%||Sharjah||3.5|
|GEMS Jumeirah Primary School||K-6||67%||Al Safa||41,315||89%||1|
|Horizon English School||K-6||81%||Jumeirah||29,319||89%||2|
|Jumeirah English Speaking School||K-6||83%||Jumeirah||38252||100%||1|
|GEMS Wellington International School||K-13||33%||Al Sufouh||44,319||100%||2|
|Jumeirah English Speaking School - Arabian Ranches||K-13||100%||Arabian Ranches||38,252||100%||1|
|Deira International School||K-13||Insufficient Response||Al Garhoud||41,893||67%||4|
|Emirates International School - Jumeirah||K-13||83%||Um Suqeim||40,194||56%||2.5|
|Emirates International School - Meadows||K-13||Insufficient Response||Meadows||39,608||67%||1|
|Jumeira Baccalaureate School||K-12||50%||Jumeirah||65000||44%||2.5|
|Raffles World Academy||K-12||66%||Um Suqeim||46392||67%||2|
|Repton School Dubai||K-13||50%||Nad Al Sheba||55159||67%||4|
|Al Ameen Private School||K-10||Insufficient Response||Al Nahda||5016||67%||2|
|Al Diyafah High School||K-13||Insufficient Response||Al Qusais||7660||67%||2|
|Al Safa Private School||K-8||Insufficient Response||Al Quoz||31324||67%||3|
|Al Salam Private School||K-12||Insufficient Response||Al Nahda||12504||55%||2|
|Cambridge International School||K-13||75%||Al Garhoud||17481||78%||2|
|Dubai British School||K-13||50%||Emirates Hills||40,518||67%||3|
|Dubai English Speaking School||K2-6||100%||Oud Metha||34360||100%||1|
|Dubai Gem Private School||K-13||Insufficient Response||Oud Metha||10912||67%||2|
|Dubai Scholars Private School||K-12||Insufficient Response||Al Qusais||13448||89%||2|
|GEMS Royal Dubai School||K-6||66%||Mirdiff||39639||78%||5|
|GEMS Wellington Academy - DSO||K-10||60%||Silicon Oasis||38500||50%||4|
|GEMS Wellington Primary School||K-6||75%||Satwa||45458||67%||2.5|
|Jebel Ali Primary School||K-6||100%||Jebel Ali||36296||100%||2|
|Pristine Private School||K-13||Insufficient Response||Al Nahda||9857||44%||2.5|
|Raffles International School South Campus||K-10||Insufficient Response||Um Suqeim||44726||67%||3|
|Regent International School||K-12||16%||The Greens||39867||56%||3|
|St. Mary's Catholic High School||Yr 1-12||Insufficient Response||Oud Metha||5099||56%||1.5|
|Star International School - Umm Al Sheif||K-8||50%||Umm Al Sheif||39205||56%||3.5|
|The English College - Dubai||K-13||Insufficient Response||Um Suqeim||27578||89%||2|
|The School of Research Science||K-12||50%||Al Qusais||27691||67%||3|
|The Winchester School||K-13||50%||Jebel Ali||12542||56%||3.5|
|Al Sadiq Islamic English School||K-11||Insufficient Response||Al Qusais||4302||33%||4|
|Apple International School||K-8||Insufficient Response||Al Qusais||7094||33%||3.5|
|Arab Unity School||K-12||50%||Al Mizhar||5820||33%||3|
|Deira Private School||K-6||Insufficient Response||Al Twar||24663||67%||3|
|Dubai Carmel School||K-12||Insufficient Response||Al Qusais||8056||33%||3|
|GEMS Winchester School||K-9||Insufficient Response||Oud Metha||11851||33%||3.5|
|Queen International School||K-12||Insufficient Response||Hor Al Hanz||14047||44%||3.5|
|Star International School - Al Twar||K-9||Insufficient Response||Al Twar||24720||44%||3.5|
|Star International School - Mirdif||K-6||Insufficient Response||Mirdiff||38642||44%||3.5|
|The City School International||K-11||Insufficient Response||Nad al Hamar||13846||33%||3.5|
|The Oxford School||K-12||Insufficient Response||Al Muhaisnah||11511||44%||3.5|
|The Sheffield Private School||K-13||Insufficient Response||Al Nahda||22701||33%||3.5|
|The Westminster School||K-13||Insufficient Response||Al Qusais||6661||56%||3.5|
* Satisfaction with communications based on feedback in the WSA School survey
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