Best Schools in Dubai - And Why

What are the best schools in Dubai? In this guide we tell you not only which schools are the highest performing overall, but how to break that down so that a ranking can be made meaningful for your child.
Best Schools in Dubai - And Why
By David Westley
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WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.

The best schools in Dubai? Good news, the list is growing - albeit more modestly than in previous years. In the latest (2017/18) reports from Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) the number of ‘Outstanding’ schools in Dubai has actually fallen by two to 14, but 27 schools are now rated Very Good, up a significant thirteen schools from 2016/17.

According to the emirate's education regulator 30 percent of Dubai's 281,432 students now attend Very Good or Outstanding schools, while a further 36 percent attend schools deemed to be Good. That means two-thirds of students are now in schools rated Good or better, up from 64% last year.

The volume of good schools in the emirate should be of great comfort to existing residents, as well as those moving in. There is choice, and an increasing amount of it.

Read: Dubai School Fees 2016/17 - the complete list, by Year Group

And: 2017 Inspection Overview of Dubai's Outstanding & Very Good Schools

And: The Best Indian Schools in Dubai, 2017

And: The 2017 Biggest Inspection Surprises

And: What's Happening to Dubai's School Fees in 2017/18

And: Good Affordable British Schools in Dubai

This year, 166 schools were inspected. Of these, 14 were rated Outstanding, 27 were rated Very Good, 68 have been rated Good, 51 schools are deemed Acceptable, and 6 schools are said to be Weak. Currently no schools are considered Very Weak.

The highest first time rating for any school this year (and last) is Good. The three Good rated schools inspected for the first time were Dubai British School Jumeirah ParkHartland International School, and Ranches Primary School.

That leaves Amled SchoolDovecote Green Primary , St. Mary’s Catholic High School – Muhaisnah and Swiss International Scientific School rated as Acceptable for their first report. 

Performance levels for Dubai schools are defined as follows:

Outstanding schools Quality of performance substantially exceeds the expectation of the UAE
Very Good schools Quality of performance exceeds the expectation of the UAE
Good schools Quality of performance meets the expectation of the UAE (This is the expected level for every school in the UAE)
Acceptable schools Quality of performance meets the minimum level of quality required in the UAE (This is the minimum level for every school in the UAE)
Weak schools Quality of performance is below the expectation of the UAE
Very Weak schools Quality of performance is significantly below the expectation of the UAE


The Best Schools in Dubai 

Schools that score an overall Outstanding rating are undoubtedly some of the most sought-after school places in Dubai. Here are the 14 outstanding performing private schools in Dubai, as of May 2018

School Name Curriculum Overall 2017/2018 Rating Overall     2016/2017 Rating Current School Fees Minmum (AED) Current School Fees Maximum (AED)
Dubai British School UK Outstanding Very Good 46,096 69145
Dubai College UK Outstanding Outstanding 80,810 91,505
Dubai English Speaking private college - branch UK Outstanding Outstanding 77,782 83,601
Gems Dubai American Academy US/IB Outstanding Outstanding 22,826 84,511
Gems Jumeirah Primary School UK Outstanding Outstanding 40,036 50,466
Gems Modern Academy Indian Outstanding Outstanding 34,643 51,364
Gems Royal Dubai School UK Outstanding Outstanding 37,554 47,351
Gems Wellington International School UK/IB Outstanding Outstanding 43,050 93,658
Jumeirah College UK Outstanding Outstanding 71,508 89,385
Jumeirah English Speaking School UK Outstanding Outstanding 39,030 48,234
Kings School Dubai UK Outstanding Outstanding 42,734 65,037
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou Primary Oud Metha French Outstanding Outstanding 29,066 29,066
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou School (Dubai Branch) French Outstanding Outstanding 35,021 48,093
Repton School FZ-LLC UK/IB Outstanding Outstanding 60,072 120,145

The three schools to have fallen from Outstanding are JESS Arabian Ranches, Dubai International Academy and the Indian High School. Note, these remain three of Dubai's very best schools, and their fall has to be understood within the context of changes to the KHDA criteria - which may, or may not, be relevant to you as a parent. More on this below.

There are 27 schools in Dubai rated Very Good - a massive increase of 13 schools from 2016/17.

These schools all show strong inclination to reach an Outstanding rating. More importantly, they may already be an outstanding school for your child. All will have many outstanding features, and will have fallen short of Outstanding status because of one one or two key criteria. This could be Arabic/Social Studies, SEN support, Value Added Performance testing and so on. Your choice of school will be significantly enhanced should you understand these criteria and be able to weigh them in importance to the needs of your child.

School Name Curriculum Overall 2018 Rating Overall 2016/2017 Rating Current School Fees Minmum (AED) Current School Fees Maximum (AED)
Ambassador Kindergarten Indian/UK Very Good Good 18,600 20,700
Deira International School UK/IB Very Good Very Good 39,938 80,465
Delhi Private School Indian Very Good Very Good 10,089 14,124
Dubai English Speaking School UK Very Good Very Good 34,000 42,078
Dubai International Academy IB Very Good Outstanding 40157 71152
Foremarke School UK Very Good Good 58500 83000
Gems Our Own English High School Indian Very Good Very Good 7,090 15,002
Gems Wellington Academy (Branch) UK Very Good Very Good 36,540 82,511
Gems Wellington Primary School UK Very Good Very Good 42,508 53,582
Horizon English School UK Very Good Very Good 28,249 39,564
Jebel Ali School - Previously Jebel Ali Primary School UK Very Good Very Good 44,960 83,000
Jumeirah Baccalaureate School IB Very Good Good 56,131 84197
JESS Arabian Ranches UK/IB Very Good Outstanding 39030 91950
Kings' School Al Barsha UK Very Good Good 50200 94400
Lycee Francaise International French Very Good Good 26376 55781
Lycee Libanais Francophone Prive-Dubai French Very Good Very Good 24,123 51,694
Nord Anglia Dubai UK/IB Very Good Good 62120 94000
Raffles World Academy UK/IB Very Good Good 30384 85075
Safa Community School UK Very Good Good 48692 72000
The Indian High School Indian Very Good Outstanding 5413 10,253
The Millennium School Indian Very Good Very Good 16,555 24,345
The School of Research Science UK Very Good Very Good 34,359 73,769
The Winchester School UK Very Good Very Good 13,542 30,210
Universal American School US Very Good Good 37330 76760
Uptown School IB Very Good Very Good 57,001 87,374
Victory Heights UK Very Good Good 35834 48865

Lycee Francais International Private SchoolGEMS World AcademyUniversal American SchoolRaffles World AcademyJumeirah Baccalaureate SchoolAmbassador KindergartenVictory Heights Primary SchoolForemarke SchoolKings' School Al BarshaNord Anglia International School, and Safa Community School all rose to Very Good from Good in 2018.

In the case of  Nord Anglia International, Safa, and Kings' Al Barsha the rise to Very Good has been very swiftAll three were rated for the very first time in 2016/17.


Schools rated Good by the KHDA

If you are currently researching a school for your child, note that Dubai's Outstanding and Very Good schools have traditionally been run at or near capacity (although with increasing competition this is less the case than at any time in the past).

Very Good and Good Dubai schools will also be targeted by parents and you should broaden your search to schools on this list. This is NOT about second or third best. Again, quite often the KHDA will mark down schools for criteria that may not be relevant to you. It is important to read beyond the overall KHDA ranking.

There are 68 schools considered Good by the KHDA, however they are not all the same.

Some schools have been rated Good for years, and a lower fee structure can impede the improvement of their facilities or campus. However, if you're looking for a school strong academically but without the sparkling facilities, these schools can often be a good option. (See here for more information.)

Some schools have been steadily improving their inspection indicators over time and have recently turned their long standing Acceptable rating into a Good one.

Springdales SchoolMirdif Private SchoolStar International School, Al Basateen Private Nursery, Al Khaleej National SchoolThe City School InternationalThe Indian Academy and Credence High School all moved to Good from Acceptable in 2018.


It is Not All About The KHDA: Other Inspections & Affiliations

Although KHDA inspection is mandatory for private schools in Dubai, schools can also choose 'voluntary' accreditation and inspections linked to their curricula home country. These inspections often emphasise different indicators and analyse different aspects of the school, including cultural orientation, which parents can use in addition to the KHDA inspection reports. 

British schools can choose accreditation and inspection from the British Schools Overseas, which sends OFSTED like inspectors from the UK to check the school every three years. To find out more about the BSO process see here and for UAE schools most recent BSO inspection summaries see here.

All French schools must apply to become affiliated with the French Ministry of Education. The process involves a thorough audit on application, and once licensed they are inspected annually by the French government. This process is NOT optional, however given all the French schools' KHDA ratings, this would certainly appear to be no bad thing.  

Recently US curriculum schools were requested by the KHDA to be affiliated with an approved US affiliation body. The preferred choice is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, (NEASC), however some schools already have long standing accreditations with other bodies.


Comparing Dubai schools internationally

The best Dubai schools are very good, with the likes of Dubai College, DESC, Jumeirah College, JESS Arabian Ranches and so on comparing favourably with some of the best private schools in the UK - at least in terms of academic results. As a whole however, the UAE has some way to go on international benchmarks like the PISA test. This is changing however with particularly Dubai schools beginning to make some serious head way. There is however a gulf between the best performing and worst performing schools, and this level of detail - i.e. which are the schools delivering - is not released to the public.

We do know however that IB and UK curriculum schools scoring significantly higher than their peers and are already closing in on the benchmarks set in the UAE for 2021. Higher performance in these tests is reflected in the ratings of schools in the UAE by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau. Two thirds of Outstanding schools in the emirate are either UK or IB schools.

Note however, that this is not necessarily to do with the curriculum. UK and IB schools tend to be the most expensive, charge the highest fees, and therefore are the most well funded schools in Dubai.


Exam Results

The other way to benchmark the UAE's schools - domestically and internationally - is of course to look at results in external examinations. This works well for UK schools, and the IB - although the IB organisation frowns on using the Diploma for international comparison. For Indian schools CBSE results have never reached the level of importance that peer qualifications elsewhere have. This we believe is because Indian universities do not use the CBSE to assess the competence of a student for entrance. The same applies for US universities which offer places before exams are taken.

For GCSE, A Level, and IB parents also need to draw a distinction between selective and inclusive schools. In Dubai, Dubai College is the only true selective school academically, and its results reflect this. If you recruit academically oriented students, you will get strong academic results.

Many inclusive schools say that Value added is the most important metric. This is the difference between the projected score of a student upon entrance, and what he or she gets because (at least partially) of the work put in by the school.

Unfortunately, this kind of data is complex and difficult to compare across schools.

That leaves exam results as, arguably, the worst way to compare schools, except for all the others...

So, if you agree,:
Jump here for the UAE's A' Level results
Jump here for the UAE's GCSE results
Jump here for the UAE's IB Diploma results


Parent Opinion

To find out what parents think, click on the Parent Opinion tab, or the Overall Parent Rating - both highlighted above.

What do parents of children actually going to schools in Dubai think..? We have the answer for that too. 

If you click on any school review you will find a tab for Parent Opinion. Click on it to see how a school does for a range of metrics - discipline, academics, how much children look forward to going to school, the quality of feedback - and so on.

To give context, each metric is compared against a UAE average....


Getting into one of the best schools in Dubai

If you are currently researching schools, you want to read our guide to getting into a good school in the UAE.


How school inspections are done

In this article we have leaned heavily on the DSIB reports, so it is important to understand how they are done.

Internationally qualified school inspectors pay on site visits to every private school in Dubai (after a settling in period for new schools) to rate it on key questions such as:

  1. How good are the students’ attainment and progress in key subjects? (Key subjects focus on Maths, Science, Arabic, Islamic Studies and English)
  2. How good is the students’ personal and social development? 
  3. How good is the teaching, learning and assessment methods?
  4. How well does the curriculum meet the educational needs of all students? 
  5. How well does the school protect and support its students?
  6. How good are the leadership and management of the school?
  7. How well does the school perform overall?

Following each inspection, the school gets a full written report with details of the school’s performance and shortfalls. Parents considering specific schools should be able to access the latest school inspection report through the KHDA website.

The school is expected to prepare an action plan addressing any recommendations for further development, which is then used as a benchmark for the next year’s inspections.


Why you should filter reports

The KHDA rates schools based on its own weighting system. In 2014/15 guide  for example it noted its next round of reports will focus on Special Educational Needs provision, and core subjects Maths and English. With tough PISA and TIMMS targets, the KHDA's reports in 2016/17 placed more emphasis than ever before on academic results in external examinations. For the 2017/18 reports Value Added benchmark testing has come to the fore. More information here on the current KHDA focus.

The inspection team will of course continue to look at MoE requirements for Islamic and social studies, Arabic as a first and second language - and so on.

As a parent not everything the KHDA uses in its overview rating, you will consider important - for non-Muslims the weighting given to Islamic Studies for example, may not be considered so vital.

If you do only look at the top line rating, you could be excluding schools delivering outstanding education in those areas you consider important...

Further reading: 


83 Archived Comments
Archived 26th Oct 2016, 23:38

My daughter has slit down syndrome, she is in al Muna school in Abu Dhabi British, we are moving to Dubai, looking for British or ok schools with an inclusion department, my budget aed 35000.
Kindly assist.
Thank you

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 30th Oct 2016, 14:44

Hi Hind,

Can you let me know your daughter's date of birth and which year group she is currently studying in? I will then aim to guide you further.

Archived 24th Oct 2016, 14:36

Hi, My son is attending GWPS in FS2. We are wondering if there is a better school for him amongst all the UK curriculum schools. Please advise

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 26th Oct 2016, 16:43

Hi Sachin,

I am curious to know why you are looking for a different school. GEMS Wellington Primary is a relatively small school in a central location with an average fee level. There are many other UK curriculum schools that may well be suitable for your child, but this depends on what it is you are looking for or feel is lacking at the current school. The school is rated Very Good by the KHDA - one place below the Outstanding rating - and therefore makes it among the best primary schools in Dubai. Only JESS (Primary and Arabian Ranches), Kings Umm Suqeim and GEMS Jumeirah Primary School and GEMS Wellington International offer UK curriculum Primary among the Outstanding schools and are notoriously difficult to get into. Since 2 of the top 6 schools are GEMS schools, this suggests that they know what is required to enable GEMS Wellington Primary to achieve that extra grade, but in my opinion, if your son is happy where he is in a school that is evidently doing the right things educationally, then why move him?

Vivek Verma
Archived 20th Oct 2016, 12:22


My kid will be turning to 4 years on August 16, 2017, I want to know if he will be eligible to get admission for academic year 2017-18.

Since his age will be short by 15 days for July 31 cut off, is there any way or any school where he can get admission.

Vivek Verma

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 26th Oct 2016, 14:58

HI Vivek,

The KHDA applies fairly strict rules around admissions dates and as your son will not have turned 4 until mid-August, I do not believe that you will be able to place him for April 2017. You may wish to contact some of the Indian curriculum schools to confirm this, but my understanding is that there is little if any flexibility.

Archived 19th Oct 2016, 08:44

Hi I'm going to join my Son to School for next academic year 2017-2018. I'm in a Big confusion to join him in Uk curriculum or CBSE curriculum. Please suggest some ideas.
In Uk curriculum Schools , i have chosen Gems Winchester, The Winchester School Jabel Ali, the Westminister School, Pristine private School,Apple international School and Oxford School.

In Cbse Curriculum i have Chosen Indian High School(applied),Delhi private school, GEMS Heritage Indian School,Gems our own Indian School,Gems Our Own English high School,Rajagiri International School.

Which would be the better option?

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 20th Oct 2016, 11:36

Dear Juhee,

This is a problem faced by many parents. My suggestion would be that you consider your long term plans. Do you intend to remain in Dubai or return to India at some stage before your child finishes school? Do you expect your son to go onto college? If so, is that likely to be in India or elsewhere? I know this is a long way into the future, but these are questions that may help your decision.
You don't mention your son's age. Is he old enough to join the Indian curriculum schools in April? He will need to be 4 before 31st July to be able to do so. For UK curriculum, he can join many schools at the age of 3 years in September in FS1.
You are probably also aware that many of the Indian curriculum schools are oversubscribed and this situation is likely to worsen with the announcement recently of the closure of one school.
My suggestion would be that you perhaps apply to one UK curriculum school in addition to the Indian curriculum schools as a back up.
The UK curriculum is structured differently to the Indian in that children are able to study across both Commerce and Science streams - there is not the division which takes place in the CBSE curriculum. There is probably also more emphasis on independent learning and research in the UK curriculum and much of the learning in the early years is through a play-based approach. However, the CBSE curriculum is also evolving.
Once you have taken all of the factors into account, my main advice would be to ensure that you spread the applications so that you are assured of a place for your son.

Archived 4th Oct 2016, 12:27

Is it just me or you guys also think the outstanding and good schools have 2 major issues:
1: capacity
2: overly priced.

Having said that, my son is currently in Emirates International School and i am paying 34k a year. Which is now out of my budget. he is in EY2. Can anybody suggest to me any UK curriculum schools near Marina are but in the range of 20-25 k ?
I searched every where but there is no good school in this price range near this area except Winchester which is full in capacity.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 10th Oct 2016, 10:44

HI Yusra,

It is probably difficult to generalise - some curricula have much higher resource requirements both in terms of materials and staff and some schools also offer much more in terms of infrastructure for instance. These things do not necessarily ensure an outstanding or good education, but they should clearly contribute to it. The KHDA reports and our reviews also provide a much deeper insight into the day to day at the schools - our advice would always be not to focus on the overall rating but to look at the detail.
If you are seeking a less costly school, you may be interested in 2 recently opened schools that are closer to your budget. These are GEMS Founders at Al Barsha South (just off Hessa Street) or Smart Vision School in Al Barsha 1 (near Mall of the Emirates). Both are UK curriculum and offer lower fees.

Archived 28th Sep 2016, 14:26

hi, my both kids grade 4&5 studied in Choueifat school and my plan to shift them to another school either IB or USA curriculum. Any advice to which suitable school within the same budget but less strict/intensive study and more fun to learn?

Archived 28th Sep 2016, 15:10

in dxb

Archived 22nd Sep 2016, 12:19

Hi my son is shifting to Dubai...... He is looking for an IGCSE school..... I'm looking for a school in which the fees are below 45000 dirhams...... And he's currently studying in Indian Circulim so he isn't that great in studies.... He's an average student. Therefore requesting some guidance

Archived 19th Sep 2016, 20:29

Will it be hard to manage in UK curriculum if you studied in Indian curriculum?
Which Board is easier cbse or Igcse ?

I'm really confused, please reply


Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 21st Sep 2016, 18:03

Hi Hamza,

The UK curriculum places more emphasis on research, application of knowledge and personal learning than the Indian curriculum where students tend to be provided with information and required to learn it and deliver it. Switching from an Indian curriculum to IGCSE can be a challenge for this reason. There is no simple right and wrong answer as the questions are more complex and often made up of several elements. Students do successfully transfer from CBSE to IGCSE but generally they need to be extremely self-motivated and able to learn independently. Switching in grade 9 (year 10) would certainly be a real challenge and it is unlikely that a grade 11 (year 12) place would be offered as (I)GCSE results are almost always a requirement. Students are not usually permitted to join in grades 10 (year 11) and 12 (year 13) equivalent.

Archived 18th Sep 2016, 20:29

Hello everyone. My 5yo son is in wesgreen currently but i am planning to change his school next year from grade 1. Any suggestion for good school in Sharjah with british/australian curriculum with affordable fees. I am currently paying almost 24k oer year.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 21st Sep 2016, 17:56

Hi Aiesha,

Check out the following article: You can also consider Victoria International School for Australian curriculum.

Archived 18th Sep 2016, 12:18

My son is turning 3 in January 2016 , I want to know when I can start school for him. And which are the good schools in /near Al Rigga Deira for UK curriculum.


Archived 31st Aug 2016, 17:05

Hey, I'm searching for a American curriculum school for grade 11 next year 2016/2017. She's now at almawakeb garhood and i would like to change her. So i need school suggestions

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 3rd Sep 2016, 11:57

Hi Selien,

There are many US curriculum schools in the Deira - Mirdif area, but it is very important that you check two key pieces of information - 1) is the school accredited in the US? - This is important since any diploma issued by a non-accredited school will not automatically be accepted by US colleges and 2) does the school offer an alternative to the HSD? Increasingly schools are offering the International Baccalaureate programme. This is a very demanding course academically and does not suit all students. I would suggest that you also check the latest KHDA reports on US curriculum schools which you can find on under the reviews, or on the KHDA website. This will provide you with the regulators' view on how well the schools are teaching. You don't mention why you want to change from Al Mawakeb which generally has a good reputation and is one of the schools rated Good by the regulator.

Archived 27th Aug 2016, 02:46

I am relocating to Dubai in October 2016. My 14 y.o. daughter attended year 9 in Italy (Liceo scientifico: Italian, English, maths, physics, science, art history, history, geography, IT, sport). Speaks fluent English, excellent English comprehension and reading, fair writing. Which school with IB curricula will better support her @ year ten making her a happy, not stressed student? She does not know what will be her future profession ( archaeology, psychology, medicine, business?)

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 3rd Sep 2016, 12:05

HI Fabrizio, congratulations on your move to Dubai. There are a number of IB curriculum schools in Dubai and depending on where you plan to live, you may well have several choices. Those offering the MYP programme include Uptown School in Mirdif, Dar Al Marefa also in Mirdif and then the remaining schools are located to the south of the city. These include Dubai International Academy, GEMS World Academy, GEMS International School, Swiss International School, Jumeira Baccalaureate School, Emirates International School (two branches) and Greenfield Community School. Of these, GEMS International School and the Swiss International School are the newest and probably have the largest range of nationalities. Since they are new, they are still expanding and are well used to accommodating new students. Emirates International School Umm Suqeim is also expanding and is an established school in a popular location. My advice would be to check the reviews of the schools on, the regulator's (KHDA) reports where available (new schools are not inspected in the first two years) and to contact the schools directly that are in suitable locations for you.

Archived 23rd Aug 2016, 19:39


I'm looking for a good school with IB curriculum for my 5 year old son. Please suggest any good school which gives equal importance to sports and arts.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 25th Aug 2016, 08:03

Hi Krishnan,

The number of IB curriculum schools in Dubai is still quite limited. They include Raffles World Academy, Jumeira Baccalaureate School, Greenfield Community School, Uptown School, Dubai International Academy, GEMS International School, The Swiss International School and Dar Al Marefa. The IB curriculum is a very well rounded and broad curriculum. I would suggest you contact the schools to find out more about their arts and sports focus and facilities.

malika lala
Archived 22nd Aug 2016, 14:06

I need help to decide, which is a better option for my 14year old daughter for grade 9, AL DIYAFAH or DUBAI GEM PRIVATE. as she is brilliant student and needs guidance to be able to pursue her further studies in UK or US. Can someone please help. Thanks.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 23rd Aug 2016, 11:54

HI Malika,

Can I suggest that you check the KHDA inspection reports for each school - (Dubai Gem) and (Al Diyafah). Both schools are rated Good and have been so consistently for a number of years. The schools are really very similar in terms of their support for students at all levels. My advice would be that you try to visit both schools and specifically ask about their recent exam results (IGCSE and A level) as well as find out more about where students go to study and what experience the school has in assisting students to apply to the UK or US universities. Often the personal impression you receive when you visit a school is the deciding factor. Good Luck.

otila osborne
Archived 23rd Jul 2016, 22:03

Hello there, we are looking at enrolling our daughter into a high school in Dubai in 2018 - she will be NZ year 10-11. When is the beginning of the school year? In NZ it starts in Feb and ends in December. Also there is a huge discrepancy in lowest to highest fees per school is that a reflection of the school year ie highschool year 12 is higher etc or what constitutes the range? Also is there any schools that are better known for their Maths and Science programmes? She wants to be a Marine Biologist.Thanks Otila

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 24th Jul 2016, 10:51

Hi Otila,

The school year commences in September and ends in late June/early July. Most NZ students choose the UK curriculum although the IB (International Baccalaureate) may also be an option. The fee ranges are from KG level to year 13 (UK system) or grade 12 (International curricula). Since your daughter has such a clear focus, enrolling her in a UK curriculum school where she would be able to narrow her focus for A Levels in the final two school years may well make sense. If you use the search function for Secondary or Through UK curriculum schools and also check our reports on the latest round of inspections by the regulator (the KHDA) on WhichSchoolAdvisor you will be able to find details of schools offering A levels. Please be aware that if your daughter is entering year 10 in a 13 year school, it is very important that she is in Dubai for the start of the academic year in September. Students follow a two year programme (GCSE) for UK public examinations (a precursor to the A Level programme) and it is not possible to enter part way through the academic year. Your daughter would need to be 14 years old by 31st August to be able to join this year group.

Archived 23rd May 2016, 21:42


I am moving to Dubai in a month's time. My son is 5.5 years old and currently studying in class I .Can you help me with information regarding good Indian schools (CBSE board) to shortlist and start communication?

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 24th Jul 2016, 10:40

Dear Ashish,

Please search the articles on the latest KHDA reports on our site. The articles provide you with information about the CBSE schools and their performance based on the inspections carried by the Schools regulator in Dubai. There are many good schools, but demand for CBSE is high and you may find that you will need to approach the newer schools such as Springdales, Credence, AMLED and GEMS New Millennium. Each school website will provide you with further information.

Archived 23rd Jul 2016, 01:22

Hi,I would definitely recommend Delhi Private School Dubai(DPS).

Archived 16th May 2016, 04:19

I am looking for school preferably IB stream for my daughter who now studies in grade 9 (year 13) and we come from land of mountain Nepal.
We are planning to shift to Dubai and looking for best school for our daughter offering IB stream to continue her further studies.
Can you guide us which schools are to be shortlisted for visit?
Will she be subject to examination, or her previous academic records will substantiate for her admission?
Pls guide us.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 18th May 2016, 14:39

Hello Raj,

There are a number of IB curriculum schools in Dubai who would probably be able to assist your daughter. You can find out more by searching for the following on -

Dubai International Academy,
GEMS International School
Uptown School
Greenfield Community School
Jumeira Baccalaureate School
GEMS World Academy
Dar Al Marefa
Swiss International Scientific School

The Admissions policies vary between schools, but I would expect that your daughter will need to sit an entrance test. In some cases this may be possible at her current school in Nepal. The Admissions staff at each school will be able to inform you about the process.

Good Luck with your daughter's admission and move to Dubai.

Archived 25th Apr 2016, 02:07

i want to know more abaout MOE curriculum, cant you give me more explanation about it or link. if can please show me the syllabus

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 28th Apr 2016, 11:39

Hi Zahwa, the Ministry of Education curriculum is followed by all government funded (public) schools in the UAE. It is taught in Arabic with English taught as a second language - - this article tells you a little more. The Ministry of Education website contains details of the curriculum and development plans but in Arabic only - Public schools do not usually accept non-Emirati students. Many private schools follow the Ministry of Education curriculum for Arabic. 40% of Emirati students study in private schools.

Bibi R
Archived 21st Apr 2016, 19:08

Excellent informative web site .... any help with a challenging issue? Two girls - aged 10 and 11 years - British nationality, native English speakers but educated in international schools in Asia and completely fluent in Mandarin. Ideal educational environment would cater for a continuation in Mandarin studies and also offer IB curriculum. Would such exist in Dubai?

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 22nd Apr 2016, 08:49

In addition, Dubai International Academy (an IB World School) will offer Chinese for both native and non-native speakers from September 2016.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 22nd Apr 2016, 08:47

Hi Bibi

There are a number of schools that offer Mandarin including Nord Anglia (which is a testing centre for HSK tests), Safa Community School, Raffles International School and Repton. Generally, this is only offered to Secondary students - so 11 plus - and is aimed at beginners. However, the schools may be able to assist you with appropriate learning for your daughters and I would suggest that you contact each directly. These schools are all UK curriculum but Nord Anglia and Repton offer the IB Diploma programme in years 12 and 13. You can also contact to find out about the programmes they offer.

Archived 17th May 2016, 10:30

Nord Anglia provides mandarin for beginner, intermediate & advanced starting from pre-school.

panayota alexopoulos
Archived 1st Apr 2016, 02:13

I am moving my 6 year old daughter to dubai, she speaks no english( we are Greek) .should that be a problem? do schools have support classes for non english speaking children?

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 5th Apr 2016, 09:20

Dear Panayota,

Many schools in Dubai provide assistance for children who are not native English speakers. Usually they will assess the child and determine how much support is required. Initially she may be taught on a one-to-one basis and then in a smaller group. Children at this age learn very quickly. The main issue is to ensure that you start researching and applying to schools that offer ESL or EAL support as soon as possible, as places are limited. There are some UK curriculum schools that require children to be able to speak English on entry, but many of the newer schools in particular do offer support and are actively seeking students to join them.

Archived 26th Mar 2016, 13:38

I will be coming to Dubai in August. Can you suggest a good schools for cbsc?

Archived 23rd Mar 2016, 19:27

My daughter is going into grade 9 in Sept 2016. We are Canadian. Are there any Canadian schools in Dubai?

Archived 10th Apr 2016, 15:14

Actually there is a Canadian school in Mirdif. Ontario International School

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 11th Apr 2016, 12:34

HI Yasmine,

You are correct, but the school is only Elementary at this point and the children involved are in High School.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 23rd Mar 2016, 21:00

Dear Sonia,

Unfortunately, there is no Canadian curriculum school in Dubai offering Secondary school. Most Canadian families favour the US curriculum as an alternative, although some feel that the UK curriculum is more rigourous. Your other option is the IB curriculum which is now recognised globally and the only truly transferable curriculum. More information is available at

Archived 12th Feb 2016, 20:18

This is Suzanne
I transferred with my son from Canada to Dubai, I am looking for a good equivalent curriculum to Canada's one
My son is going to grade 7 and I need your advise to the best school that has outstanding certificate specially in math , English and science
Is it good to join a UK curriculum then transfer him into US one when he is in grade 10, since I am looking to teach him in Canada after grade 12
Please adivice me

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 25th Feb 2016, 11:47

Hi Suzanne, you can find details of all the schools and their ratings on the KHDA website However, we think it is important to look beyond just the KHDA rating and look at all the keys areas of performance of the school. You will find that there are many more UK curriculum schools in Dubai than US (and it would be very important to check on the accreditation of the US curriculum schools that you investigate). Your son would gain admission to university in Canada with qualifications from a UK curriculum school, but as you probably know, the number of subjects taught in the final two years of the British curriculum are much narrower than in the US or Canadian (usually 3 or 4 subjects only). It would make sense to switch from the UK curriculum to the US for grade 9 (year 10 in the UK system) so that your son completes the full 4 years in High School. The other option would be to keep your son in the UK system through to year 11 and then ensure that he follows the IB Diploma programme for years 12 and 13. This qualification is extremely well regarded globally and provides the broader range of subjects. An increasing number of UK curriculum schools now offer the IB Diploma instead of the traditional A Level programme.

Archived 31st Jan 2016, 11:03

If you have the choice to choose between two schools which one you will go with: Kings or Nord Anglia.

Any recommendation? Thanks for your help

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 2nd Feb 2016, 11:31

HI Javier,

We would not recommend any particular school to you as this is such a personal decision. It is not just about the academic performance of the school, but so much more also about the atmosphere, ethos, facilities, teaching style, policies related to homework, Extra curricular activities, focus of the school on academic and non-academic activities etc. Our only recommendation would be that you visit both schools and see for yourself, ask as many questions as possible and then take a view on which school is right for you and your child. Often you will know within minutes of visiting a school whether it is right for you. Both the schools you have mentioned appear to have excellent reputations, so it is likely to be your personal impression that will be the deciding factor.

Archived 29th Jan 2016, 00:44

Since arriving in Dubai with my search on schools for my kids, I have had horrific experiences. Don't get me wrong, school standards are high and it was an eye opener to see what is being offered.

I was looking for a good international school, and the only standard I knew was British. However, at a certain school offering that curriculum, my perfectly fine child was told he was special needs because English was his second language.

DIA however had the open mind to test my child for who he is and his abilities. He is currently a happy normal Year 5, speaking English as first language and excelling every term in his marks (which was good from the start given the circumstances).

My 4 yr old daughter was accepted in KG2 there without formal schooling before and is currently above the average in her class (Yr 1).

Again, DIA pulled through and helped my child as an individual. It might get only a GOOD from the KHDA, but so did the school which did not know a normal boy from a special needs one...

I would rather have my kids at DIA any day. Every school has its hiccups, but I find that some outstanding schools do not teach the empathy in life that opens doors. I am grateful that my kids are being taught the same values at school that I teach at home.

Karim Bhanji
Archived 19th Apr 2016, 15:24

Archived 31st May 2016, 10:10

Yes it is Karim.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 2nd Feb 2016, 11:33

Hi Ine,

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It is great to know that your children are now settled and happy at your chosen school.

Archived 14th Jan 2016, 19:22

I have 2 daughters that attend American schools, one in in Grade 10 but I am not fully convinced regarding the quality of education she receives. I am looking for a school that has good teaching, and has diverse nationalities within the school. Any recommendations?

Archived 30th Dec 2015, 12:41

Hi, I was wondering if anyone knew which is a good IB school in Dubai for my child who is going to go to year 11.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 6th Jan 2016, 21:46

Hi AN,

The number of IB curriculum schools is still quite limited, but the following offer year 11 (grade 10) - Uptown Mirdif, Dar Al Marefa, Dubai International Academy, Jumeira Baccalaureate School, Greenfield Community School, GEMS World Academy and Emirates International Schools are the best known.

Teena sikka
Archived 25th Dec 2015, 21:01

Hello. Can anyone tell .How's the english college dubai more concern is with it's academics (secondary level).

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 30th Dec 2015, 12:36

Hi Teena,

The English College is one of the oldest Secondary schools in Dubai and has consistently been rated by "Good" by the KHDA. Secondary standards for Maths and English are rated as Outstanding whilst Science is rated Good; post 16 standards are rated as Good across all 3 subjects. The main area of improvement focuses around Arabic and Islamic Studies. You can read the full report here -

Archived 7th Dec 2015, 19:39

Ok.. so i am 9 grader student .. i go to a US curriculum...its not that good and i am hearing that my school is not accredited... i want to shift to CIS (cambridge international school) so is it right to shift school in grade 10 to another curriculum and to take in consideration that grade 10 marks are needed for university .. so will shifting curriculum actually affect my studies ? Bcz this is what i heard

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 9th Dec 2015, 11:26

Dear Annonymous,

I am sorry to learn about your concerns. Moving to a different curriculum school in grade 10 is not going to be easy. CIS is a UK curriculum school and grade 10 (year 11) is part way through the two year IGCSE programme. I think it is very unlikely that they would accept you and the same is true all UK and Indian curriculum schools. In all likelihood you would need to repeat a year in order to complete the two year programme.

Your best option is probably to stay within the US curriculum but to seek a school that is either already accredited or at least part way through the accreditation process (which usually takes 2-3 years). This would mean that they would be accredited by the time you complete grade 12. Good Luck in your search.

Archived 28th Nov 2015, 10:41

Hello everyone ..
My two kids 5,8 studying in grade 1 and 4 are currently studying in viss Sharjah .. But as il be shifting to dubai .. Could anyone suggest schools in dubai .equivalent to viss curriculum (Australian curriculum ) . Thanks

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 9th Dec 2015, 11:28

Hi Maryam,

There is currently no Australian curriculum school in Dubai. Many Australian families choose either the UK curriculum (as it is similar to the Australian) or the IB (which is becoming increasingly popular in Australia). Your children are relatively young, and for this reason, a change of curriculum is not likely to affect their studies.

Archived 9th May 2015, 16:45

Could you comment on the US curriculum and UK curriculum in primary stage? kindly note we are Asian and no prefer to any one.

Second question: both of Jebel Ali Primary School(FS2, 2016) and GEMS Wellington(FS1, 2015) offer a place to my daughter? What is the key difference between them and which one we should accept? For my daughter's education, we try to let her to be a happy girl and has hobbies and interests, not successful person! Which school use less award and punishment methods between GWI and JAPS in primary stage?
The award and punishment methods are very good to control people, but will destroy focus and interest.

Lyn Soppelsa
Archived 11th May 2015, 17:33

Hi Lee, the main difference is that the UK curriculum starts when children reach the age of 3 turning 4 (although there are a few UK schools that do not offer this grade). All other international curricula (including the US curriculum) take children into a formal school environment when they are 4 turning 5. Although the FS1 classes tend to be very much nursery classes, children will be in larger groups than they would usually find at nursery, wear a school uniform and be subject to a certain amount of school discipline, which may not suit all 3 year olds.

In terms of the schools that have offered you places, I would strongly advise you to visit the schools. You don't mention which GEMS Wellington, but all the GEMS schools are newer, generally larger and "through-schools" (to age 18), unless you are referring to Wellington Primary (behind the Shangri-la Hotel). The GEMS schools are very different in nature to JAPS which is an older, smaller and more traditional school. However, JAPS is due to relocate to a new site on the Emirates Road next September, so you may want to bear this in mind in terms of the logistics. If you feel that your child is ready for school and you are happy with GEMS Wellington when you have visited it, then it would probably make sense to take that place. If you feel that you prefer the JAPS environment and would prefer to wait a further year, then this is the option open to you.

Archived 12th May 2015, 00:11

Thanks for your comments. GEMS Wellington International School and Jebel Ali Primary School offer a place separately, WIS is FS1 2015 and JAPS is FS2 2016. Many friends recommend JAPS because it is smaller, closer and has a very good reputation. However JAPS will relocate to Emirates road and will open middle school and or high school. That means JAPS will be bigger to as large as 1600 students. So I do not how they can manage these changes. GEMS WIS is big and popular, which is outstanding for many years. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages. I had visited both of them. In 2012(when my daughter was four months old) I visited JAPS and 2014, 2015 also. I do like it. However GEMS WIS is good also when I visited in 2014 and few days ago. So I need professional comments and suggestions. Which one should I choose? Thanks

HI Lee, only you can make this decision as you know your daughter and your own personal situation best. Which school atmosphere did you prefer? What were the class sizes and mix of children? What impression did you have of the teachers (age, experience)? Which school do you think would suit your daughter in 2 years time or 5 years based on your impressions? Wellington is rated "Outstanding" by the KHDA, JAPS is rated "Good" - check the KHDA inspection reports on their website - - and see what they perceive the differences to be. Consider the location - is JAPS' new location going to be an inconvenience for you? Would you prefer to place your daughter in an established school environment or are you happy to be involved in the building up of a new school, which JAPS will be? All schools in Dubai need to succeed academically in order to attract new families to the school, so there will inevitably be an academic focus, but certainly for the Foundation years, the UK curriculum is all about learning through play, so neither school should be placing any academic pressure or strict code of conduct on your daughter. Good luck with your decision.

Archived 7th Mar 2015, 10:42

The fact that the American School of Dubai isn't one of the top 10 schools in Dubai shows how ridiculous this list is. The only thing holding them back is that they are not strong in Arabic and Islamic studies. Too bad. They're one of the top schools not just in Dubai but in the UAE.

Archived 7th Mar 2015, 11:46

A key to both the ADEC and KHDA reports is to read them properly and understand why a school is rated as it is. A school may be high performing in those areas that you personally feel are valuable. The devil is always in the details - but both ADEC and the KHDA allow you very easily to see what they have rated and how they have rated it on purpose to allow you to do this...

Archived 8th Mar 2015, 16:19

Yes, but...

"What stops the American School of Dubai attaining an Outstanding ranking is perhaps because it does not require students to take Arabic beyond grade 5, nor does it currently provide Islamic Studies as part of its curriculum thereby not complying fully with MoE curriculum."

Considering the target audience of the school, I don't think these are major issues which concern the parents. Which makes one wonder, should that issue really carry such weight when ranking a non-Arabic language private school that caters to a mostly non-Arab student body? One has to wonder if there would be slight shifts in the rankings if the issues Arabic and Islamic studies did not carry so much weight.

Archived 8th Mar 2015, 16:59

Well it really depends upon the parent Jane - some parents at ASD will consider it important despite it being an American curriculum.

We also do need to factor in the school is in the UAE, an Arabic speaking, Islamic country, and therefore it is understandable if the national regulator makes these key considerations in its overall rating. As a parent however, it is up to you what you factor into your personal conclusions on inspection findings

Archived 4th Feb 2015, 17:43

I have twin boys (7years) with different academic abilities and interests. They were accepted in both Kings and DAA. Both are outstanding schools, but seeing your comments above, shall i deduct that UK curriculum is better than the American one? Any advice or recommendation is welcomed. Thank you

Archived 8th Mar 2015, 21:04

The UK curriculum is not better than the US - just different. There are however a lot more UK schools than US schools, and the list above reflects that fact. As the comments above show, there are some very good US curriculum schools passionately supported by parents. I would look at those rated Good, and then read the reports to make your own conclusions.

For the choice between curricula I would also consider where your child will continue schooling when you leave the UAE. If you are a US citizen, and plan to return to the US one day, then clearly that would suggest a US school...

Most people considering a US curriculum would normally evaluate it against IB. For that we did have a question in our Q and A site here -

onutza kindrish
Archived 26th Jun 2014, 13:14

Middle East countries have been duped into employing only native speaking UK , USA, CANADA, Australian etc specialists disregarding the tremendously poor quality of the respective countries' education and universities.In many European countries these " native speakers"-poor specialists are sent home.

Archived 14th Jul 2014, 15:57

As a matter of fact, there was not much of transparency in terms of data, school displays, teachers' performance or parents' council in some schools . Preparations were made in advance, for the accreditation purpose, and such schools got highly effective although it has never been one of their systems or school procedures to keep records or have parents' council or even have displays in the school! MOE accreditation should consider all these.
Thank you for your good realistic point Onutza.

Archived 28th May 2014, 07:38

If Star international School in Mirdiff offers a superb educational environment with specialist facilities that include an art room, music room, science laboratory, cookery room and specialized teaching rooms for French, Arabic, Islamic Studies and support programmes for Literacy, Numeracy and they claim....then it makes you wonder why they keep getting Acceptable Rating for the past few years...Rating for the School for 2014 was again Acceptable.

Nadira Jaffar
Archived 18th Apr 2014, 19:04

My son is facing mild dyslexia, but he is good in studies and would like to do commerce in Plus one. Kindly assist please.

Archived 20th Apr 2014, 11:46

We're in the process of writing a comprehensive guide to SEN in the UAE. We aim to have it on the site within the next 4-8 weeks.

Archived 31st Jul 2014, 14:44

The full SEN report is now online -

Archived 7th Feb 2014, 16:00

How come all of the 10 best schools are UK or similar based curriculum! Does this has anything to do with visiting teams background! Or it is marketing concept back ground? Visiting teams ignore or devaluate certain aspects or give it less weight than other standards so that results will reflect better level of performance in Uk based curriculum schools. Some schools are accreditted by CIS and NEASC yet they hardly recognized good!?

Archived 3rd Jun 2014, 15:10

Hi Samih, look also at the PISA report - this is an international benchmark that tests maths, science... and critical reasoning skills... This has nothing to do with the KHDA. We can see IB and UK curriculum schools performing relatively better than other curricula in the UAE...

Point of view
Archived 29th Mar 2014, 14:05

Beware of schools run like a supermarket! Oversized schools are good for economy but not for children. Beware of labels. CIS etc. accreditation has its place but has become a meaningless, money spinner, sounds good, adds prestige, but look into how the status is achieved and what it really means.

At Primary level, small classes are conductive to good learning, the teacher can know your child as an individual, not as a number or statistic. Problems in the later school years spring from what has been overlooked and not dealt with at the early stages.

Big is not best, as far as schools are concerned although it is a trend in business.

Archived 9th Feb 2014, 15:50

It is an interesting point Samih as to why UK curriculum schools do well, however note it is the most widely adopted curriculum so therefore just in terms of brute numbers, you would expect to see proportionally more at the top of the list.

It is also worth noting that while the KHDA is at pains to point out higher fees do not equal better quality (and that's true - if you do the research you will see there is no direct correlation) there is no doubt schools with more funding, should they spend their money well, can have better/more support structures in place. The majority of schools here are mid to premium range schools in terms of pricing.

The KHDA is very transparent in terms of what it looks for in its reports. If you're interested, its handbook may be found here:

Khan Bibi
Archived 25th Nov 2013, 12:52

Please add the below criterion too:
1. What is the staff turn over and the reasons for it
2. How much is being invested into staff development and benefits to reduce the staff turn over
3. The quality of IT labs/staff
4. Library
5. Sports and extra curricular activities

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