The UAE's Best IB Through Schools: 2021-2022

How did the UAE's all-through continuum IB schools fare in their most recent Diploma results and inspections by ADEK and the KHDA? And what do parents think? takes a look at the Emirates' 'pure', 'continuum' IB schools...
The UAE's Best IB Through Schools: 2021-2022
By C Hoppe
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Best IB schools

Historically, the IB curriculum was something of a rarity on the UAE's school scene - with UK, US and Indian curricula at the forefront - but this is changing. 

Whilst initially, growth in interest in the IB tended to be among Dubai-based UK curriculum schools such as Deira International School,  JESS, GEMS Wellington International School and Repton School Dubai who offer the IB Diploma only after completing the UK curriculum's GCSE or IGCSE exams, there is an increasing number of schools of other curricula who are now offering this hybrid model.

In an effort to open doors to universities globally, US curriculum GEMS Dubai American Academy, Dunecrest American School and Universal American School have also adopted the IB Diploma programme for their school leaving qualification.  Even the highly-regarded CISCE curriculum GEMS Modern Academy has jumped aboard the IB Diploma train.

In Abu Dhabi, take up of the IB curriculum has been rather more limited with most schools offering the IB Diploma programme only, including the Abu Dhabi International School MBZAl Bateen AcademyAmerican Community SchoolAmerican International School, the British International School Abu Dhabi (BISAD), Emirates National School MBZ, and GEMS American Academy.

Outside Abu Dhabi and Dubai, only two Sharjah-based schools, the Australian International School Sharjah, and Victoria International School, and RAK Academy offer the IB Diploma programme - there are no full IB continuum schools.

What is more striking, however, is the number of schools which offer the IB curriculum right though, from KG to Post-16 study. Four years ago, there were nine full IB curriculum schools in the Emirates.  Today, in 2021, that number has grown by over 100% to 19.

With the ever-growing range of nationalities adopting the UAE for their home, its transient population appears to seek a school curriculum that is not only international in outlook, but also transferable to many countries around the world. Highly regarded by universities, as the IB programmes have grown in reputation internationally, so this seems to have been reflected in the interest for IB World Schools in Dubai - and to a lesser extent in Abu Dhabi, which currently boasts only three full IB schools. 

Globally, the Swiss-based International Baccalaureate Organisation has seen its curricula - originally designed in the 1950's for children of United Nations staff - adopted by 5,500 schools in 159 countries with close to 2 million students studying the programmes at the current time.  

Click here for the full 2021 IB Results in the UAE
Click here for a parent's view of the best IB schools in Dubai.

The schools offering all-through IB (PYP, MYP and IB Diploma, and in an increasing number of cases, the Career-related Programme) are: Ambassador International Academy, Dar Al Marefa School, Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills, Dubai International Academy Al Barsha, Dwight School Dubai, Emirates International School-Jumeirah, Emirates International School-Meadows, Fairgreen International School, GEMS International School-Al Khail, GEMS World Academy, Greenfield International School, Jumeira Baccalaureate School, North London Collegiate School, Raffles World Academy, Swiss International Scientific School and Uptown International School

In Abu Dhabi, Raha International School has been at the forefront of the IB schools, and alongside GEMS World Academy Abu Dhabi (an Elementary only school currently but expanding to a full IB continuum school from 2022) and the Australian School of Abu Dhabi, represents the largest and most academically successful in the city.  

With no school inspections taking place in the 2020-21 academic year, and the cancellation of many in 2019-20, many schools have not changed their ratings since the 2018-19 academic year, though schools that had been rated Very Good or Outstanding retained their rating for 2019-20. The most highly rated IB curriculum schools were Raha International School - rated Outstanding - and Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills, Emirates International School - Meadows (which achieved the rating for the first time), GEMS World Academy, Jumeira Baccalaureate School, Raffles World Academy and Uptown International School, all of whom were rated Very Good.

Emirates International School - Jumeirah, GEMS International School, Greenfield International School and North London Collegiate School (at its first inspection where it achieved the highest possible rating) were all rated Good. Schools that did not receive an inspection in 2019-20 and who retained their Good rating from 2018-19 included Collegiate International School, Dar Al Marefa and Swiss International Scientific School.   Ambassador International Academy, Dubai International Academy Al Barsha, Dwight International School and Fairgeen International School have not yet been inspected by the KHDA's DSIB inspection teams.

Read on for IB Diploma results, facilities, fees, and all the results from the ADEK and KHDA inspection teams...

Click on next page for in-depth school profiles!

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