13th Place: DESS (91% would recommend)
DESS has incredibly passionate parents who support a school that has always given the impression of being a little different, and a bit more arts based than the UAE's general predilection for sciences, certainly in the move up to sister school to DESC.
It is one of the most established schools in the UAE, opening its doors in 1963 - the school is over 50 years old, which for Dubai means it is something of an institution.
Its latest KHDA report notes strengths in the new Head Teacher and the new Principal, the progress children make in English and mathematics, pupil learning skills and their excellent personal and social skills. It also notes "excellent facilities, and these had recently been upgraded".
The school is nothing if not consistent, with a KHDA ranking of Good, the Dubai education regulator’s second highest grade, since inspections began. What prevents an Outstanding rating is Islamic and Arabic studies - an Achilles heel of many schools in the UAE. If, as a parent, you do not consider these as a priority for your children, DESS is Outstanding. Maths, English and Science are rated as such across the board (2014/15) - save Science in Primary (Good). Learning skills, personal responsibility, and the curriculum are also all rated Outstanding.
It is no wonder its parents, the single largest grouping of which come from the UK, give it such an overwhelming endorsement. The fact that there is a seamless transition from Primary (DESS) to Secondary (DESC) also means that for families expecting to remain in Dubai for some time, once their child is accepted at DESS, any concerns about a Secondary place are removed.
Full review here.