New to the UAE, Looking for a School? Start Here

Choosing where to live, choosing the right schools for your children, probably the two most important considerations any family fresh to Dubai will face...
This article is part of an editorial series on Moving to the UAE
Moving to the UAE
Do your children attend a UAE school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
Moving to the UAE
This article is part of an editorial series on Moving to the UAE

As the academic year for most schools does not start until early September, it is likely that the school administration is also closed until late August further compounding the challenge of finding places in a limited and oversubscribed market.

How do I get through this?

Don’t panic, just be prepared for a lot of ‘legwork’ as the school admissions staff are now returning and reopening their sections.

Which School Advisor cannot find school places for you, but there is a wealth of information and advice on this site that can inform you. There are informative School Reviews that offer extensive coverage of English medium schools plus, when available, offer links to school inspection reports. 

Location of a school is important and schools that are conveniently located to where you will be living can be easily identified on the UAE Map of Schools. But remember that close proximity to your residence is not always essential for the older students as many schools offer transport to and from school.

The Guides bring together a great deal of useful advice as well as information. There is general advice on what to look for and how to go about the search for an appropriate school; more specific information on, for example, different early years curricula and, as you now have choice, comment on the differences between the IB Diploma and the GCE A levels at the post-sixteen stage.

As many schools are now oversubscribed in the UAE, waiting list information is a valuable resource.

We used to collate this information on one page - however we now add it as a specific tab on each review, and you can search for schools with admissions availability. Note however we require schools to log in and update their information. If they do not our reviews will say there is no availability. For this reason we always recommend calling a school that you are interested in for the very latest information. 

If you are looking for places in the early years of schooling, you must accept that this will present the biggest challenge of all. Ideally, a school with a KG or Foundation section would offer you a seamless entry in the same school to the first years of primary schooling. However, this will prove hard to achieve at this late stage and so do consider the nurseries, especially those who have well considered learning programmes. Again, check out our Guides to see what to look for and the difference between different curricula on offer.

Finally, you would have come from a particular school system and it is likely that you would wish the same for your youngster. Do, however, recognise that you have choice in the UAE with a range of school curricula operating in a range of fee structures. It may just be that, although you have come from, say, the UK, an IB (International Baccalaureate), international or American style school becomes an option.

The focal point of relevant and pertinent school information on will take some of the stress out of the process by helping to inform your shortlist of schools. Making contact and visiting the schools or nurseries as they reopen for the new academic year will give you the final answers that you need.


Latest UAE articles

Inspiring Women in Education, Mary Donnelly

At, we actively seek out those in the education sector driving posi…

Choosing A School

Inside Brighton College Dubai's Foundation Stage Senior Editor, Susan Roberts, spent a morning in the Early Years se…

School Performance

Sharjah School Inspection Results - Complete List

Earlier in the week we were able to provide details of the outcomes of the first published…


Have US Universities Lost Their Appeal in the UAE?

As the world has returned to a post-pandemic 'normal' , so too have many university destin…

School Performance

SPEA Announces School Inspection Results

Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) has published details of the Itqan inspection r…

School Performance

PIRLS: Dubai's Schools Make the Top 10 Globally

The KHDA announced today that Grade 5/Year 6 students at private schools in Dubai have ran…

School Performance

UAE CBSE Grade 10 Exam Results Live

The day Grade 10 CBSE students have been waiting for has arrived. a…

School Performance

UAE CBSE Grade 12 Exam Results Live

The day Grade 12 CBSE students have been waiting for has arrived. h…

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All