16 Most Asked Dubai School Questions: An FAQ

The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com team receives thousands of questions each year, many of which tend to fit into one of the following questions... If you still have a question that we have not answered here, either add in the comments section below, or email us at editor@whichschooladvisor.com.
16 Most Asked Dubai School Questions: An FAQ
By David Westley
Do your children attend a UAE school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
LET'S GO

The following are the questions the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com team are frequently asked about schools in Dubai, so we have  compiled them all and added them below. If you have any additional questions you think we should have this frequently asked questions list, please let us know!

Question 1: Are schools good in Dubai?

Answer: Yes, Dubai has some of the best in the world. It has a huge variety of schools and unlike most markets, all are inspected annually. The Dubai schools inspection bureau (DSIB) rates schools as Outstanding, Very Good,Good, Acceptable and Poor. 17 schools are currently considered Outstanding.

While it is hard to measure things like value added (this kind of data is largely unpublished and often not comparable in any case), in terms of raw output Dubai schools perform exceedingly well in terms of exam results, and in university placements. You can check Dubai's A Level results here, and Dubai's IB results here. The emirate's most successful A Level school, Dubai College, would be a Top 50 UK independent school in terms of its results in most years. JESS Arabian Ranches, with an IB DP average of 39.12, would be considered a high performing school in pretty much any country in the world. Both send a considerable number of students to Oxbridge, Red Bricks and Ivy League institutions - as do many of their peers.

Going to school in Dubai is not, for 99.99% of newcomers, a step backwards, quite the reverse, and the quite fierce level of competition between schools stops them from becoming complacent.

Question 2: When does the academic year start in Dubai?

Answer: For all curricula except Indian, Pakistani and Japanese, school schools begin in September (or last week in August) and ends in June or July. For Indian, Pakistani and Japanese curriculum schools, the academic year is from April to March.

Question 3: What is the best school in Dubai?

Answer: It is the question we are most often asked and everyone wants to know. However, the answer is kind of unsatisfying. The right answer is that depends upon your child's needs. It is understandable that many parents, and even students, would like a simple answer to the question because it would save a lot of time and research (and give some parents and students serious bragging rights!), but that does not mean there is one. Ask yourself:

  • Does child like sport?
  • Is your child academic?
  • Is your child an extrovert or an introvert?
  • Does he/she make friends easily?
  • Is he/she more likely to find friends in a smaller, or larger school?
  • Will your child need additional attention in the classroom?
  • Is your child gifted in the classroom, or at a sport?
  • Which curriculum are you interested in?
  • Where do you plan to go after Dubai?
  • What's your budget?

The answers to these, and other questions like them, that may be unique to your situation, will help you identify the characteristics of the school that will be a fit for your child.

Please note, that does not mean that some schools are not performing better than others. In Dubai the KHDA provides a rating for all schools that will help you understand which schools the regulator thinks are currently Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable or Weak. Abu Dhabi has a similar rating, and Sharjah is in the process of implementing one. In all cases reports need to be read in the context of what the regulator is looking for. It may not be what you are looking for.

Parents also have a view of the best schools in Dubai which can diverge from what regulators, and indeed educators think of as "best". You can read the forums to get a view of this, or, in a much simpler format, take a look at our parent rated Best Schools in Dubai list. We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com have tried to capture the wisdom of the crowds in our quantitive ranking - the Best Schools in Dubai by parents. The data comes from our parent surveys.

In terms of desk based research the other resources to look at includes our sister site, SchoolsCompared.com, and if you are looking at UK schools, the BSME reports. The latter are very much optional so only a handful of schools have been inspected this way.

Nothing however beats visiting schools, so our final recommendation - once you have made your shortlist - is to visit the schools themselves. On a school visit, here is what to look for.

Question 4: Which curriculum is the best in Dubai?

Answer: You can ask which is the most popular - British with the GCSE (109,000 students) and then Indian with the CBSE (79,000), but to ask which is the best, depends very much on it being fit for purpose for you as a family. Click here for the latest Dubai school statistics.

Most families choose a curriculum that either a) aligns with their national curriculum or b) is a truly international curriculum that 'travels'. 

Option (a) is especially important for international families that plan to 'return home'; while option (b) is important for those parents that do not see themselves returning home, but perhaps moving between countries. Option (b) is also important for parents targeting a tertiary education for their child(ren) outside their country of origin.

The most international curricula are the UK (I/GCSE and A' Level) and the IB. We define international simply as the curricula most frequently used by international private schools around the world, and the qualifications accepted most readily/easily by universities globally.

Note and fascinating factoid: With the addition of the Chinese School for 2020/2021 Dubai now offers 18 different curricula!

Question 5: What is the most expensive school in Dubai?

Answer: Our Dubai school database lists by default schools in order of average fees. North London Collegiate School (UK, IB) currently tops the list with fees of 106.000 AED per annum (USD $28,859.64), closely followed by two IB Continuum schools, GEMS World Academy Dubai (90,500 AED) and then Swiss International Scientific School (89,500 AED). You should note that these are the official fees, approved by the Dubai education regulator, the KHDA. In reality, there are often discounts - some of which are published, and some of which you have to ask for. The size of a discount (and whether there is one at all) depends on how much pressure the school has on school places.

Table of the most expensive schools in Dubai

School Curriculum Fee
North London Collegiate School Dubai  IB 90,500
GEMS World Academy Dubai IB 89,500
Swiss International Scientific School Dubai IB 86,000
Dubai College UK UK 82,500
GEMS Dubai American Academy US 81,500
Dwight School Dubai US, IB 81,500
Nord Anglia International School Duba UK, IB 81,500
Jumeirah College UK 81,000
Dubai English Speaking College UK 79,500

Click here for the full directory of Dubai schools, listed by price.

Question 6: What are the cheapest schools in Dubai?

The most affordable, cheapest or lowest cost schools can be found in the table below. Note these are either Iranian, or Indian curriculum (CBSE) schools.

Table of the least expensive schools in Dubai

School Curriculum Fee
Iranian Salman Farsi Boys School Iranian 2500
Little Flowers English School CBSE 3500
Crescent English High School CBSE 3500
Iranian Khadije Kobra School for Girls  Iranian 4000
Gulf Indian High School CBSE 4500
Gulf Model School  CBSE 4500
The Central School Dubai CBSE 4500
The Model (New Indian) Private School Abu Dhabi CBSE 4500
New  Indian Model School CBSE 5000

Click here for our Dubai schools directory, ordered by fee, lowest at the top.

The lowest cost UK school (GCSE based) would be the Grammar School Dubai that offers both A Levels and GCSEs and has average fees across age groups of AED 5,500. It is rated Acceptable by the KHDA. The lowest priced UK school rated Good or better is St Mary's Catholic High School, with average annual fees of AED 8,500.

The lowest priced IB continuum school (IB PYP, MYP and DP) in Dubai is considerably more expensive. The honour goes to Emirates International School Meadows or Jumeirah, with average fees of 51,500 AED across year groups.

Last, but not least, the most inexpensive US based school (offering the High School Diploma based on Common Core standards) is the New Academy School, based in Al Raffa.

Question 7: How many schools are in Dubai?

Four new schools opened for the 2020/2021 academic year in Dubai bringing the total number of schools in the emirate to 207 by our calculation. Please let us know if we have missed any.

Here's a table, with their ratings, curriculum, and fees.

School Name Main Curriculum 2019-2020 overall rating 2018-2019 overall rating 2017-2018 overall rating KHDA Approved Fees 2019-20
Dubai British School UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 49026 - 73920
Dubai College UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 82463 - 93399
Dubai English Speaking College UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 79392 - 85332
Dubai English Speaking School UK Outstanding Outstanding Very good 37334 - 46204
GEMS Dubai American Academy US/IB Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 61190 - 86260
GEMS Jumeirah Primary School UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 40865 - 51511
GEMS Modern Academy CISCE/IB Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 28646 - 60635 
GEMS Royal Dubai School UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 38331 - 48331
GEMS Wellington International School UK/IB Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 43941 - 95597
Horizon English School UK Outstanding Outstanding Very good 29126 - 40792
Jumeirah College UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 72988 - 91235
Jumeirah English Speaking School UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 39838 - 49232
Jumeirah English Speaking School Arabian Ranches UK/IB Outstanding Outstanding Very good 40242 - 94805
Kings School Al Barsha UK/IB Outstanding Outstanding Very good 56322 - 106404
Kings School Dubai UK Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 43619 - 66383
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou Primary  French Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 26922 - 26922
Repton School UK/IB Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 52863 - 92000
Ambassador Kindergarten CISCE Very good Very good Very good 20108 - 26808
Ambassador School CISCE Very good Good Good 20904 - 42298
Deira International School UK/IB Very good Very good Very good 40657 - 81913
Delhi Private School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 10298 - 14416
Dubai British School Jumeirah Park UK  Very Good Good Good 76553 - 100000
Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills IB Very good Very good Very good 40988 - 72625
Emirates International School Meadows IB Very Good Good Good 26802 - 79488
Foremarke School UK Very good Very good Very good 58500 - 83000
GEMS New Millennium School CBSE Very good Good Good 21397 - 31025
GEMS Our Own English High School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 7527 - 15313
GEMS Wellington Academy- Al Khail UK  Very Good Good Good 57635 - 101515
GEMS Wellington Academy DSO UK/IB Very good Very good Very good 37296 - 84219
GEMS Wellington Primary School UK Very good Very good Very good 43398 - 54691
GEMS World Academy IB Very good Very good Very good 65747 - 114128
Hartland International School UK/IB  Very Good Good Good 49750 - 87000
Jebel Ali School UK Very good Very good Very good 45891 - 83000
JSS International School CISCE Very good Good Good 15483 - 40401
JSS Private School CBSE Very good Good Good 11228 - 24384
Jumeira Baccalaureate School IB Very good Very good Very good 59356 - 89034
Kings School Nad Al Sheba UK Very good Very good Good 53891 - 79478
Lycee Francais International (AFLEC) French Very good Very good Very good 26922 - 56936 
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou School (Dubai Academic City) French Very good Very good Outstanding 35021 - 48093
Lycee Libanais Francophone French Very good Very good Very good 24622 - 52764
MSB (Al Ameen) Private School UK Very Good Good Good 9411 - 10667
Nord Anglia International School UK Very good Very good Very good 63447 - 95946
Raffles International School UK Very good Very good Good 31485 - 81248
Raffles World Academy UK/IB Very good Very good Very good 31013 - 86836
Ranches Primary School UK Very good Very good Good 46630 - 56992
Regent International School UK Very good Very good Good 45373 - 95811
Safa British School UK Very Good Good Good 27389 - 46315
Safa Community School UK Very good Very good Very good 49700 - 81656
Sunmarke School UK Very good Very good Good 56992 - 98441
The Indian High School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 5525 - 10465
The Millenium School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 16898 - 24849
The Winchester School UK Very good Very good Very good 13822 - 30835
Universal American School  US/IB Very good Very good Very good 37330 - 75659
Uptown School IB Very good Very good Very good 58181 - 89183
Victory Heights Primary School UK Very good Very good Very good 36576 - 49877
Al Adab Iranian School for Boys Iranian  Good Acceptable Acceptable 8,960 -19,197 
Al Basateen Nursery  MOE Good Good Good 5,754
Al Basateen Nursery Hatta  MOE Good Good Good 5,400
Al Diyafah High School UK Good Good Good 8,789 - 18,930 
Al Ittihad School Al Mamzar US Good Good Acceptable 18,599 - 39,232 
Al Ittihad School Jumeirah US Good Good Good 21,432 - 40,007 
Al Mawakeb School - Al Barsha US Good Good Good 14,540 - 23,570 
Al Mawakeb School - Al Garhoud US Good Good Good 14,540 - 23,570 
Al Mizhar American Academy School US Not inspected Good Good 42,177 - 64,757
Al Rashid Al Saleh Private School MOE Good Good Good 8527 - 18928
Al Salam Primary School UK Good Good Good 13199 - 29501
American School of Dubai US Good Good Good 60144 - 82580
Amled School CBSE Good Good Acceptable 10414 - 18000
Apple International School UK Good Good Good 6465 - 15310
Bilva Indian School CBSE Good Good Acceptable 12000 - 22000
Cambridge International School UK Good Good Good 18194 - 24703
Clarion School US/IB Good Good Not inspected 40000 - 90000
Collegiate American School US/IB Not inspected Good Good 40900 - 73850
Credence High School CBSE Good Good Good 15311 - 25518
Dar Al Marefa School IB Not inspected Good Good 33346 - 75754
Dove Green School UK Good Good Acceptable 42000 - 55000
Dubai Gem School UK Good Good Good 12499 - 25662
Dubai National School Al Twar US Good Good Good 22349 - 36672
Dubai National School Al Barsha US Good Good Good 18373 - 35905
Dubai Scholars School UK Good Good Good 14638 - 30111
Emirates International School Jumeira IB Good Good Good 35054 - 74283
GEMS Al Khaleej National School US  Good Good Good 16,546 - 31,661
GEMS FirstPoint School UK Good Good Good 40183 - 68734
GEMS Founders School Al Barsha UK Good Good Not inspected 22455 - 33683
GEMS Heritage  Indian School CBSE Good Good Not inspected 14290 - 22455
GEMS International School- Al Khail IB Good Good Good 48460 - 73490
GEMS Our Own Indian School CBSE Good Good Good 6360 - 12965
GEMS United School US Good Good Good 33092 - 80899
German International School Dubai German Not inspected Good Good 37631 - 71094
Greenfield International School IB Good Good Good 43822 - 80699
Greenwood International School US Good Good Good 18606 - 28531
Horizon International School UK Good Good Good 35232 - 66346
International School of Arts & Sciences US Good Good Good 23540 - 32958
International School of Creative Science UK Good Good Not inspected 33500 - 52500
Iranian Towheed Boys School Iranian Good Good Good 14290 - 18883
Japanese School Japanese Good Good Good 25200 - 19200
Kent College Dubai UK Not inspected Good Not inspected 54000 - 98000
Mirdif American School  US Good Good Good 23986 - 35512
North American International School US  Good Acceptable Acceptable 29087 - 46539
North London Collegiate School  IB Good not inspected not inspected 83000 - 130000
Our Own High School CBSE Good Good Good 8734 - 14569
Primus Private School  CBSE Good Good Good 11339 - 22731
Pristine Private School UK Good Good Good 10054 - 18835
Russian International School Russian Good Good Good 14536 - 22352
Sharjah American International School US Good Good Acceptable 16619 - 41547
Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Islamic Institute MOE Good Good Good n/a
Springdales School CBSE Good Good Good 18814 - 32000
St. Mary Catholic High School-Dubai UK Good Good Good 6243 - 13410
Star International School Al Twar UK Good Acceptable Acceptable 20365 - 52630
Star International School Mirdif UK Good Good Good 32372 - 53000
Swiss International Scientific School IB Not inspected Good Acceptable 62484 - 124968
The Arcadia School UK Not inspected Good Not inspected 61242 - 75000*
The City School International  UK Good Good Good 13949 - 24728
The English College Dubai UK Good Good Good 47150 - 61765
The Indian Academy CBSE Good Good Good 11102 - 20414
The Indian High School Al Garhoud CBSE Good Good Good 5276 - 5525
The Kindergarten Starters CBSE Good Good Good 7711 - 10292
The School of Research Science UK Not inspected Good Very good 34359 - 73769
The Sheffield Private School UK Good Good Good 21848 - 41201
The Westminster School UK Good Good Good 7860 - 15281
Al Adab Iranian School for Girls Iranian Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 8,778 - 18,808
Al Arqm Private School MOE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 7,952 -16,982 
Al Eman Private School  MOE Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 5,825 - 8,679
Al Maaref Private School US Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 10,597 - 30,492
Al Nibras International School US Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 22827 - 45375
Al Sadiq Islamic English School UK Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 4333 - 8783
Al Shurooq Private School MOE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 7302 - 11694
Alpha School UK Acceptable not inspected not inspected 19750 - 28500
American International School US Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 12097 -19505
American School of Creative Science US Acceptable Acceptable Not inspected 35000 - 58000
Amity School Dubai CBSE Acceptable not inspected not inspected 15000 - 28000
Arab Unity Private School UK Acceptable Acceptable  Acceptable 5975 - 9992
Buds Public School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 7907 - 14118
Capital School UK Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 38000 - 58000
Crescent English School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Weak 2643 - 9591
Deira Private School UK Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 21142 - 30042
Dubai Arabian American School US Not inspected Acceptable Weak 13845 - 30864
Dubai Carmel School UK Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 8433 - 14312
Dubai International School - Al Qouz US  Acceptable Good Good 14404 - 22615
Dubai International School Garhoud US Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 13915 -21846 
Dubai Modern Education School US/MOE Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 11053 - 17218
Elite English School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 4480 - 9889
English Language Private School UK Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 4186 - 10991
GEMS Al Barsha National School For Girls UK Acceptable Good Not inspected 42869 - 63283
GEMS Metropole School UK Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 34491 - 45989
GEMS Winchester School Oud Metha UK Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 11494 - 24845
Grammar School UK Acceptable Weak Acceptable 4686 - 6509
Gulf Indian High School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 3520 - 6656
H. H. Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistani School (English Lang) Pakistani Acceptable Acceptable Weak 3260 - 6518
International Academic School US Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 13861 - 25991
International Concept for Education  French/IB Not inspected Acceptable Good 45000 - 77000
Iranian Khadije Kobra School for Girls Iranian Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 3402- 4593
Iranian Salman Farsi Boys School Iranian Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 2472 - 3733
Iranian Towheed Girls School Iranian Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 8721 - 9258
Islamic School for Training & Education MOE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 8500 - 12500
Little Flowers English School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 3548 - 3823
Modern Skills School US Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 16171 - 27341
National Charity School-Boys and Girls MOE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 4366 - 8003
New Academy School US Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 7945 - 21180
New Indian Model School Indian(CBSE) Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 3915 - 6811
New World School  MOE Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 11922 - 19530
Newlands School  UK Acceptable not inspected not inspected 19200 - 28800
Next Generation School US Not inspected Acceptable Not inspected 26500 - 38500
Oaktree Primary School UK Not inspected Acceptable Not inspected 35000 - 50000
Oxford School UK Not inspected Acceptable Acceptable 11448 - 18150
Philadelphia Private School US Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 18514 - 31704
Queen International School UK Acceptable Acceptable Good 14381 - 26969
Sabari Indian School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 14463 - 16307 
Smart Vision School UK Not inspected Acceptable Not inspected 29900 - 69900
St. Mary Catholic High School Dubai - Al Muhaisnah UK Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 11228 - 15311
The Central School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 3718 - 6545
The Indian International School CBSE Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 9679 - 14290
The International School of Choueifat SABIS Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 20244 - 38744
The International School of Choueifat DIP SABIS Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable 24314 - 45359
The Philippine School Philippine Acceptable Weak Weak 5956 - 15065
United International School Philippine  Acceptable Good Good 5164 - 11346
Gulf Model School CBSE Weak Weak Weak 3563 - 6478
Pakistan Educational Academy Pakistani Weak Weak Acceptable 5985 - 8210
Dubai Heights Academy UK Not inspected due to Covid 19 not inspected not inspected 44200 - 58400
GEMS Al Barsha National School For Boys UK Not inspected due to Covid 19 not inspected  not inspected 42000 - 62000
Global Indian International School CBSE/IB Not inspected due to Covid 19 not inspected not inspected 27000 -32941
Lycee Francais Jean Mermoz French Not inspected due to Covid 19 not inspected not inspected 36000 - 50000
Rising School US Not inspected due to Covid 19 not inspected not inspected 31500 - 61500
Al Mawakeb School Al Khawaneej  US first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   33450 - 64350
Al Salam Community School UK first inspection 2021-22 not inspected   22000 - 38000
Ambassador International Academy IB first inspection 2021-22 not inspected   45850 -  59600
Apple International School (Secondary) UK first inspection 2021-22 not inspected   10394 - 17000
Bright Riders School CBSE first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   19000 - 26500
Brighton College Dubai UK first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   64000 - 107000
Dubai International Academy Al Barsha IB first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   48188 - 87382
Dunecrest American School US/IB first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   46000 - 89000
Dwight School Dubai IB first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   85000 - 130000
Fairgreen International School  IB first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   50000 - 78000
GEMS Founders School Al Mizhar UK first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   23000 - 35000
Ignite School US first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   28000 - 38000
Renaissance School US first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   35000 - 45000
Riverston School  UK first inspection 2021-22 not inspected   67500 - 70500
South View School UK first inspection 2021-22 not inspected   43000 - 56500
The Aquila School  UK first inspection 2021-22 not inspected   45000 - 60000
The Arbor School UK first inspection 2020-21 not inspected   56000 - 85000
iCademy Middle East  US not inspected not inspected not inspected 18332 - 25672
Al Ghaf Primary School  UK Opening 2020     29750 - 40800
Bright Learners School  US Opening 2020     21000 - 26000
Pearl Wisdom School  CBSE Opening 2020     14500 - 16000
The Arcadia Secondary School  UK Opening 2020     75000 - 90000
Vernus International School  US Opening 2020     34000 - 39500

Question 8: When can my children start school in Dubai?

Answer: The KHDA rule is that children need to be 3 years by 31st December to start school in the September, many UK curriculum schools with strong links to the UK still follow the UK cut-off date which is 31st August.

As a rule, it is better for children to be among the oldest in the class rather than the youngest, as the level of maturity (and therefore the ability to settle in school) varies enormously at this age.

You should be guided by the Admissions team at the school in choosing what is the best for your child when that time comes.

For Indian, Pakistani and Japanese schools, children need to be four years of age by 31st July to commence school.

Question 9: Are there any free schools in Dubai?

Short answer, no if you are an expatriate, but yes if you are an Emirati. That said, even for international families there are very low cost schools in the emirate. At the time of writing the Iranian Salman Farsi Boys School was the school with the lowest annual fees (2,500 AED, or USD $681).

Question 10: If there are no free schools in Dubai, what happens if I lose my job and cannot pay fees? Can a school expel or suspend my child for non-payment?

Answer: Schools are not permitted to suspend or expel students without authorisation from KHDA, so within a school year it is unlikely you would need to take your child from school.

Some schools may withhold certain documents, such as a transfer certificate or school reports, until they have been paid, however.

It is always a good idea to be honest with your school and keep them informed of your situation.

Question 11: How easy is it to switch schools in Dubai if I am not happy?

Answer: Easy enough. If you are transferring within Dubai, you will need a transfer certificate. If you are leaving Dubai, you may need a ‘student leaving certificate’ to prove the years of study in school in Dubai.

Your child’s school can provide you with these certificates. You may want to ensure they are verified by KHDA.

The difficulty you may have is switching schools mid year, especially between schools of different curricula. You may find your child needs to repeat a year - especially as end of academic years may not coincide...

Question 12: How much are schools in Dubai?

Answer: School fees vary significantly are cater to every segment of society. While everyone always wants fees to be cheaper, the truth is that all price points are pretty much covered with fees currently ranging from 2,500 AED to 106,000 AED.

Note the cheapest school is not necessarily the best value, and the most expensive school is not necessarily the most overpriced. Any parent doing their due diligence needs to ask: Will I be getting what I'm paying for?

Question 13: How much can school fees increase each year?

Answer: This is based on the Educational Cost Index, an inflation rate specifically for schools, that is calculated by the Dubai Statistics Office.

Rating Increase
Very Weak to Weak 2x ECI
Weak Acceptable 2x ECI
Acceptable to Good 2x ECI
Good to  Very Good 1.75x ECI
Very Good to Outstanding 1.5x ECU
Schools maintaining a rating 1 x ECI
Schools dropping a rating No increase allowed

Note, just because a school CAN increase its fees does not mean it will do. In the last few years, schools have actually been lowering fees as a result of increasing competition for students.

The ECI is, moreover, sometimes held at zero, as it has been for the 2020 academic year.

Not for profit schools in Dubai do not have to follow the fees framework as detailed above, but can set their own fees so long as there is board approval, and there is demonstrable, and broad parental support for any fee increases.

Schools can also bypass the ECI if they can show their fees have somehow been left behind. The mechanism they can use to prove this is to compare to a Fair Rate of Return. Details can be found in the Schools Fee Framework, published by the KHDA.

Question 14: Does Dubai have public schools?

Answer: Dubai has government owned and run schools (operated by the Ministry of Education) and it has private independent schools. The UAE also has schools which are government owned, but run by private school groups. None of these are in Dubai.

Question 15: Which is the best IB school in Dubai?

Answer: This would fall into the same category as the answer as the best school in Dubai - it depends very much on what you are looking for.

The highest rated IB school by parents currently in Dubai is North London Collegiate School - although it has received a limited number of surveys from parents so far. It is also the most expensive.

The most successful in terms of IB results is Jumeirah English Speaking School Arabian Ranches, and has been since we began keeping records, over five years ago.

Currently, the following IB Diploma schools are rated outstanding by the KHDA: GEMS Dubai American Academy (US and IB), GEMS Wellington International School (UK and IB), JESS Arabian Ranches (UK, and IB), Repton School Dubai (UK, and IB) and GEMS Modern Academy (CISCE and IB).

Click here to find the 30 IB DP schools in Dubai.

Click here for the full list of the Best IB Schools in Dubai  by Parent Rating.

Question 16: I am not happy. Where can I complain about school in Dubai?

Answer: The KHDA should be your first port of call. It is a wonderfully open organisation. You can literally walk in to its offices at Block 8, Academic City, from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM Sunday to Wednesday and 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM Thursday.

For complaints, suggestions or enquiries specifically, use its e-Feedback system.

You can also contact the Ministry of Education which has a toll free hotline: 800 51115.

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