Top Affordable UK Schools in Dubai, 2018-2019

Who says there's no such thing as great affordable British schools in Dubai? Whoever they are, they are wrong. Here we count 17 of them - almost all of which are actually getting better!
Top Affordable UK Schools in Dubai, 2018-2019
By David Westley
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Schools under 25,000 AED… 

The City School Dubai

The City School International Dubai

Curriculum: UK
Years: FS1 to Year 11
Fees: AED 13,666 to AED 24,227
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Nad Al Hamar

The Buzz: With 13 indicators up on last year, the KHDA inspection team has finally awarded City School an overall rating of Good.

Although the Foundation saw several indicators rise, it is still the secondary at City which offers, in the main, a Very Good education at a very affordable price. 

City School International has not only created a comprehensive improvement plan, but also made it public. That is what you call transparency!

In PISA and TIMMS the school not only significantly improved its scores from the 2011 testing but outperformed the Dubai Private School average in every single indicator.

What the KHDA says: Most of the core subjects at Foundation are still rated only Acceptable, however much of the curriculum, teaching, learning skills and assessment have now risen to Good.

Primary provision is considered Good across the board while secondary is Good to Very Good.

SEND provision is considered Good as is the newly appointed principal and the leadership team.

Exam Results: IGCSE Exam results for 2017 show students performed exceptionally well. While the school only offers eight IGCSEs, results were extremely high. In English 63% scored A* to A, maths 61.9% and chemistry 60% at A* to A. The lowest scoring subject was Business Studies with 30% A* to A. That is still well above the national average.

For an updated list of schools which have published their IGCSE results go here, and for those who have published their A Level results, go here

IGCSE and A Level Options: 22 IGCSEs (No A Level/Year 12 and 13 courses are currently offered)

Extracurricular: Sports, the arts, plus additional classes with an Islamic and Arabic language focus

Facilities: Covered swimming pool, shaded play areas, medical room, science labs, library, computer lab.

The Pay-Off: No A Level provision, very limited GCSEs, older buildings, facilities, located in an older more congested area of Dubai.

What Parents Say: Highly limited response to our survey.

What the School Says: "The progress and achievements we see in the classrooms are only part of the experience at The City School International. We believe in providing consistent support in all aspects of school life – academic, co-curricular and extracurricular – to encourage a genuine love for learning. We are dedicated to helping our students achieve the abilities and personal qualities that will prepare them for a rewarding and productive life."

Read the full school review: here

To request information, click here


Cambridge International School

Cambridge International School Dubai

Curriculum: UK
Years: Foundation to Year 13
Fees: AED 17,825 to AED 24,202
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Garhoud

The Buzz: This value fee range, GEMS Education school has a lot more going for it than just the price. Consistently rated good since 2008 by the KHDA, this year the school saw an impressive 13 indicators improve.

Cambridge is one of the few ‘affordable’ UK curriculum schools (together with The Westminster School, also GEMS) to offer comprehensive programming for post-16 study. The school offers five level 3 BTEC diploma courses, plus an impressive 21 A Level courses.

Cambridge International was the highest placed school in the 2015 'Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards' with one student placed in the 2015 world rankings for top Cambridge exam achievement, a further four were recognised in the 'High Achievement Award' category, while six more were placed in the UAE top 50 rankings for its 2015 exam results... That’s a bit of a wow.

What the KHDA Says: The school made significant improvements in the 2017/18 inspections with 10 primary phase indicators now up to Good. The school performs better however in the Foundation, Secondary and Post-16 phases.

Exam Results: This year’s IGCSE cohort achieved 45.5 % at A*/A and 67 % at A*/B and in A Levels 31.1 % of students obtained A* to A.

For an updated list of schools which have published their IGCSE results go here, and for those who have published their A Level results, go here

Extra-curricular activities: 12 different sports, plus drama, art, music and dance

GCSE and A Level Provision: 23 IGCSE options, 5 BTECS and 21 A Level subjects. This is an impressive level of choice at this price point.

Facilities: 5 ICT labs, art and music facilities, 2 libraries, covered swimming pool, cricket nets and playing fields, indoor sports arena, multi-purpose hall, playing area for students from Kindergarten to Year 2, astro-turf playing field, integrated technology in classrooms and canteen.

The Pay-Off: This is a large school with 2,500+ students. There is limited outdoor space. It is an older school and buildings and facilities naturally reflect this. It is located in an older more congested area of Dubai.

The WSA Parent Survey: Parents at Cambridge remain positive on all indicators in the survey, given the size of the school (2,500 students), the survey results are strong.

Highlights include:

  • 96% of parents are satisfied with academic performance
  • 97% are to some degree confident the school meets their child’s learning needs
  • 83% say their child’s confidence has increased
  • 89% say the expectations for students at the school are moderately high or higher

What the School Says: "We offer outstanding learning opportunities where our students attain results that are regularly better than international standards. We are committed to continually reviewing our progress in order to find ways to further improve."

Read the full school review: here

To request information, click here  


Dubai Gem Private School

dubai gem private school

Curriculum: UK
Years: Foundation to Year 13
Fees: AED 12,246 to AED 25,142
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Oud Metha

The Buzz:  Now in its eighth-year rated Good, Dubai Gem School’s really comes into its own in the Secondary and post-16 phases.

What the KHDA Says:  An impressive ten indicators up in the 2017/18 inspection cycle, eight of which are across Secondary and Post-16 provision. While the Primary and Foundation remain solidly Good, the Secondary and Post-16 offerings at the school are now clearly considered Very Good.

Exam Results: Dubai Gem School unfortunately does not publish its exam results.

For an updated list of schools which have published their IGCSE results go here, and for those who have published their A Level results, go here

IGCSE and A Level Options: Dubai Gem offers an impressive 22 GCSE/IGCSE subjects and 14 A Level subjects

Extracurricular Activities: the school offers an Environmental Awareness Programme, Duke of Edinburgh Awards and an in-house scout troop.

Facilities: Four Computer laboratories,  E-learning centre for use by primary and secondary school students, physics, chemistry and biology labs, two libraries, multi-purpose hall,  three art rooms, sports centre, libraries and medical rooms.

The Pay-Off: Based on a small site with limited facilities, the school ‘rents’ all recreational facilities from the Iranian club next-door – quite an innovative solution. The school is located in an older, more congested area of Dubai.

The WSA Parent Survey: Parents at the school are really very happy with almost everything at the school, with an impressive 63 percent of parents saying they would recommend the school to others and a staggering 86 percent stating that the level of education received is on a par with, or better than that received in their home country. To read the full report, see here.

What the School Says: (message from the principal):  “My vision for Dubai Gem Private School will be to continue the predominant culture that encourages continuous improvement for teachers and students, with most critically, the culture of recognition and a positive ‘can do’ attitude enhancing the happy, positive environment where staff and students are achieving at their best. The recent results bear testimony to the culture of high expectations and attainment.”

Read the full school review: here

To request information, click here 

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