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 20,000…

Al Ameen Private School

MSB Private School (formerly Al Ameen)
Curriculum: UK
Ages: 3 to 16 years
Fees: AED 9,411 to AED 10,667
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Al Nahda

The Buzz:  A whole lot of school for VERY affordable fees! Rated ‘Good’ by the KHDA for the past eight inspections this school boasts a 12:1 student teacher ratio and primary and secondary provision which is clearly considered Very Good by DSIB inspectors.

What the KHDA Says: Much of Al Ameen is rated Very Good with health and safety considered Outstanding.

The school is maintaining high levels of student attainment in external examinations particularly in mathematics and science. It is also maintaining the improvements achieved last year, in attainment in the FS and in both students’ attainment and progress in mathematics and science in the primary phase.

The curriculum is planned very effectively ensuring smooth transitions as students move through the school. Innovative projects are increasingly being developed, particularly at the upper primary and secondary phases.

Exam Results: Al Ameen School 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: A fairly limited 16 IGCSE options and no A Level study option

Extracurricular: Six options ranging from robotics to swimming

Facilities: IT in classrooms, Foundation activity room, ICT lab, library, science lab, art and design studio, Taleem al Quran room, multi-purpose hall.

The Pay-Off: Limited GCSE options, and no A’ Level pathway. Sandwiched between Al Diyafah and Central School in an older more congested area of Dubai is likely to make drop off and pick-up a thing of nightmares. An older building, facilities.

What the School Says: "At Al Ameen, we encourage every student to develop the need, and the desire ‘to seek’, ‘to constantly modernize’ and ‘reach newer heights’, every day, every moment. We prepare our students to be ‘future ready’, honing the skills they should have to face the challenges that tomorrow would bring, whilst living in the present, greeting each day with a smile and a go-getter attitude."

Read the full school review: here

To request more information, click here.


Al Diyafah High School

Al Diyafah

Curriculum: UK
Years: Foundation to Year 13
Fees: AED 8,611 to AED 18,546
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Al Qusais

The Buzz: A perennial favourite amongst Dubai’s parents. Al Diyafah manages to balance affordability with parental satisfaction and top exam results!

What the KHDA says: An impressive 15 indicators up in 2017/18 for Al Diyafah. This improvement has seen the Foundation section finally score Good ratings throughout.

In Secondary and post-16 study, the indicators are now all either Very Good or better except for one Weak rating in attainment for Arabic as a second language in Secondary.

Inspectors noted, “children make an effective start and achieve good outcomes in the Foundation Stage in all subjects. This good achievement continues in the primary phase in English, mathematics and science. Students’ progress accelerates as they move through the school.”

Exam Results: This year, forty-nine percent of Al Diyafah’s 2018 student cohort achieved an A* to B score in their A Levels, while 76 percent achieved the same score in their IGCSE 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: 18 IGCSE options with 12 A Level programmes

Extracurricular: Various environmental and community out-reach projects

Facilities: Library, science labs, computer lab, music and art rooms, clinic, canteen playground.

The Pay-Off: Located in an older more congested area of Dubai, beside two other schools.  An older school with limited facilities, space. A fairly limited range of GCSEs.

The WSA Parent Survey: Parents at Al Diyafah remain positive about almost all aspects of the school, with expectations, and confidence high. However, what does remain a concern, is that 50 percent of parents say they are concerned about bullying. To read what parents at Al Diyafah think about the school, see here. 

What the School Says: " Al Diyafah School is a place where you will find students honing multifaceted talents and abilities... superheroes, book worms, tech-savvy geeks, sport enthusiasts,political debaters, multi-media specialists, academicians, scientists, roboticians, up-and-coming musicians, dramatists… draped in compassion, global citizenship and integrity of values."

Read the full school review: here

To request more information, click here 


GEMS Westminster School

Curriculum: UK
Years: Foundation 2 to Year 13
Fees: AED 7,558 to AED 14,693
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Al Qusais

The Buzz:  A huge school with 5000+ students offering 'Very Good' post-16 education - all the more impressive given GEMS Education had once wanted to close the school because of financing.

 What the KHDA Says: A respectable improvement in seven indicators this year, highlights that Westminster is clearly a school able to make important changes and improvements.

Teaching and assessment are generally strong, with teaching being Very Good at post-16. The implementation of assessment strategies to inform the personalisation of teaching and learning is not consistent enough. Teachers generally know their students well.

The governors, local advisory board and school leaders increased capacity to deliver on what is a clear vision for high-quality education that prepares young people for a successful future.

Exam Results: GEMS Westminster School does not publish its 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: 15+ IGCSE options with 11 A Level options

Extracurricular: In total 16 options including; drama, debating, team sports and trekking

Facilities: Play area, activity room, library, 6 science labs, music and art rooms, 5 ICT rooms, canteen, various courts and pitches.

The Pay-Off: A small site for a large (5000+ student) school, fairly limited GCSE and A Level subject choice given the size of the school. Located in an older more congested area of Dubai.

What parents say: Our WSA parent survey has not had enough respondents to collate accurate data.

What the School Says: The Westminster School is dedicated to making that difference in Education as the GEMS core values permeates every aspect of School life. We believe in GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP by celebrating  diversity and building communities; We believe that GROWING BY LEARNING and continuous learning is the fuel for continual growth; We believe that by PERSUING EXCELLENCE great isn’t just good enough; We believe that LEADING THROUGH INNOVATION is what would lead our youth to a brilliant future!”

Read the full school review: here

To request information, click here.


Oxford School

The Oxford School

Curriculum: UK
Years: FS2 to Year 13
Fees: AED 11,216 to AED 17,782
KHDA Rating: Acceptable
Location: Al Muhaisanah

The Buzz: While the Oxford School might only have received an Acceptable rating overall, the school's Secondary and Post-16 provision is actually considered Good to Very Good by the KHDA.

What the KHDA says: With 16 indicators up in 2017/18, Oxford is clearly working hard on improvements.

Careful curricular planning ensures continuity in learning across phases. A range of IGCSE and AS level subjects cater well for students’ academic and career aspirations.

The use of data to track progress and inform future planning for teaching is considerably improved. In the upper secondary and Post-16, this has improved the quality of teaching, learning and achievement.

The leadership with its clear vision of school improvement, is overseeing improvements in a range of performance indicators. Self -evaluation processes are developing, but inconsistencies exist in the rigour of teacher monitoring. The school is well supported by its parental and governing bodies. Resources to support student learning are adequate.

Exam Results: The Oxford School does not publish its 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: 13 IGCSE options and 10 A Level options

Extracurricular: Children are encouraged from Year 3 to participate in after-school activities, of which there are 8 options, including; robotics, cricket and public speaking

Facilities: Outside learning area, kinder-club, football pitch, cricket field, badminton and basketball courts, ICT lab, physics, chemistry and biology labs, library

The Pay-Off: A relatively large school located on a smaller plot, with only one large outdoor sports field. Older buildings, facilities. Fairly limited GCSE and A’ Level subject choice.

What our parent survey says: Parents who responded to the WSA parent survey, are in general happy with the school. However, some exceptions include;

  • 67% believe the school does not represent value for money
  • 67% have thought about moving schools
  • 50% are unsure if they would recommend the school to others

What the School says: "The School is an accredited Cambridge International Examination and Edexcel Center and prepares students for the Cambridge IGCSE’s and AS/A2 . Students up to Grade Eight follow a broad and balanced curriculum, which includes all major subjects, extra-curricular activities and sports. In Grade nine, students select subjects to study at IGCSE level. The Board Examinations are taken at the end of Year 11. Students who have achieved good grades in the IGCSE examinations may continue to study for the GCE ‘AS’ and ‘A2′ qualifications to gain British ‘A’ levels."

Read the full review: here

To request information, click here.  


Apple International School

Apple International School

Curriculum: UK
Years: FS2 to Year 8
Fees: AED 6,562 to AED 12,052
KHDA Rating: Good
Location:  Al Qusais

The Buzz: Apple has maintained its Good rating and edged up on 23 indicators since its last inspection. The new principal has made an immediate impact.

What the KHDA says:  Leaders, at all levels, have a strong and strategic vision for the school.

Attainment and progress are at least good in Islamic education, English, mathematics and science. Progress is very good in English in the Foundation Stage and mathematics in the secondary school. Attainment and progress is very good in science in the primary phase.

The quality of teaching is good across the school because of teachers’ strong subject knowledge, careful planning, high expectations and strong relationships.

The curriculum is effectively planned to ensure maximum engagement and challenge for students.

Exam Results: The Apple School does not publish its 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: 11 subjects at IGCSE

Extracurricular: 7 clubs

Facilities: Library, ICT labs, play area, outside learning area, reading area.

The Pay-Off: A large school located in a somewhat congested older area of Dubai. No A’ Level offering. Fairly limited GCSE provision.

What our parent survey says: Parents who responded to the WSA parent survey, are in general happy with the school.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • 87% of parents say their children feel a positive sense of belonging
  • 75% say their children enjoy going to school
  • 88% would recommend their school to others.

However, significantly, 100% of parents say they are concerned about bullying at Apple to a lesser or greater extent.

According to the KHDA survey, parents say they are satisfied with the quality of education provided by the school. Almost all say that their children are happy and feel safe in the school and on school transport. A very large majority of parents believe that the school is well led, and that school leaders and staff are approachable and listen to their concerns.

What the School says: "Life at The Apple International School is not only about education, it is about the ‘upbringing of our children’. It is not only about holistic education but about holistic educators too. Here we don’t just teach what to think, but how to think as well.

At The Apple International School Dubai, education is a joyful experience where the students’ learning is not confined to their exercise books alone. It reflects in the class room on the walls, in the hallways on display boards and it also remains recorded in the form of audio, video presentations, student blogs and in the bimonthly Student Led Conferences which are equally authentic evidences of their assimilation."

Read the full review: here

For request information, click here.


Pristine Private School

Curriculum: UK
Years: Foundation to Years 12/13
Fees: AED 9,508 to AED 17,812
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Al Nahda

The Buzz: With happy parents and a happy KHDA inspection team, Pristine is certainly doing something right. Another 'oldie, but goodie,' the school has received a 'Good' for the past six inspections.  Over the years, WSA has received many positive reviews from parents at the school, all rating parent/student satisfaction high.

Back in 2015, a Pristine student was placed in the top world rankings for Cambridge exam scores while a further two students made the UAE top 50 rankings.

What the KHDA says: The principal, senior management team and governors are strongly committed to improvement. They share this vision with staff, students and parents. Parents play an important role in supporting the school. Staffing levels are well managed. Senior leaders’ accurate identification of priorities for development is leading to improvements in students’ achievement and aspects of provision.

Children continue to achieve at high levels in Foundation Stage and are making excellent progress in mathematics and science. Students in the lower three phases attain very well in English and in science in the post-16, secondary phases and the Foundation Stage.

Teaching and learning are stronger in Foundation Stage and post-16, where teachers’ knowledge of how students learn best supports approaches, which motivate students and encourage creativity.

Exam Results: Pristine Private School does not publish its 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: A creditable 17 IGCSE subject choices and 14 at A Level

Extracurricular Activities: Information not available

Facilities: Tech in classrooms, ICT labs, science labs, library, art room, swimming pool, play area, auditorium, canteen clinic.

The Pay-Off: Very limited outdoor space, and located in an older more congested area of Dubai.

WSA Parent Survey: According to our survey, Pristine has one of the strongest parent satisfaction ratings for an affordable school to date.

Highlights include:

  • 87% of parents are confident the school meets the learning needs of their child
  • 89% say the school has helped improve their child’s confidence
  • 78% would recommend the school to other parents
  • 100% are positive about the fees they pay against the value of education received

 What the School Says:

"Our teachers are highly qualified professionals committed to take on this challenge confidently. Our staff takes great pride in providing a safe and secure learning environment and is committed to establishing a school atmosphere that allows students to flourish and grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially."

Read the full school review: here

To request information, click here.  


St Mary’s Catholic School

St Mary's

Curriculum: UK
Years: Foundation to Year 12
Fees: AED 6,116 to AED 13,138
KHDA Ranking: Good
Location: Umm Hurair

The Buzz: Considered a 'hidden gem' St Mary's has been offering Not-for-profit education since 1968. The school achieved higher PISA and TIMMS scores for all subjects when compared with the Dubai Private school average.

What the KHDA says: St Mary's doesn't focus on Islamic or Arabic, but put this aside and the rest of the indicators are all rated Good to Very Good, with the majority of the core subjects considered Very Good.

The quality of leadership is very good overall. Leaders share a vision for the school's future and are committed to realising it. They demonstrate a robust understanding of curricula, teaching, learning and assessment.

The students make good or better progress in learning across all the key subjects, except for Arabic in the primary years. Students are generally motivated in their lessons.

Most lessons are well planned and often take into consideration the needs of different groups of learners. The quality of teaching is improving in post-16.

The school's UK curriculum is of good quality overall, providing students with choices in learning and interesting activities.

Exam Results: Although St Mary’s does not publish its exam results, the website does note, In the Pearson outstanding learner awards 11 students at St Mary’s achieved ‘Highest Mark in the World,’ while another two students were recognised for their ‘Best in the Middle East.’

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: 15 IGCSEs

Extracurricular: 10 options including needle-work, cookery, drama and music

Facilities: music room, library, shaded play areas.

The Pay-Off: located in an older more congested area of Dubai. Older buildings, facilities. Limited space. No A’ Level provision.

The WSA Parent Survey: We have yet to receive sufficient parental responses for accurate analysis.

What the School Says: "At St. Mary’s Catholic High School, Dubai we firmly believe in the maxim, ‘Unity among Diversity.’ It is these values we hope the students will cherish as citizens of the future. Our multinational staff , along with parents, aim to create a microcosm of the co-operative, tolerant world we want our children to inherit."

Read the full school review: here

To request information, click here

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