UAE Best Schools Revealed by Education Oscars

The SchoolsCompared.com Top School Awards have been announced, with the biggest prizes being taken by the the Varkey family, the American School of Dubai, and Zara Harrington, principal at Safa British School...
UAE Best Schools Revealed by Education Oscars
By David Westley
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The Varkey family, the American School of Dubai, and Zara Harrington, principal of Safa British School came away with the biggest awards at this SchoolsCompared.com Top School Awards, the Oscars of the UAE's education sector.

The curriculum focused school awards have traditionally been some of the most contested. This year Dubai College won the Best UK School Award, the American School of Dubai took Best US School, the The Indian High School (Senior Campus) landed the coveted best Indian Curriculum School, while Taaleem’s Greenfield International School won the Best IB continuum award. For the blended curriculum awards, JESS Arabian Ranches (IB) and the Sheikh Zayed Private School for Boys (Arabic blended) took away the prizes.

The biggest award however, the best school overall, was won by the American School of Dubai. 

The most prestigious prize, the Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE, was won by the Varkey family for their Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE (see video). The only previous winner has been Abdulla Al Karam, the head of Dubai's education regulator, the KHDA.

With 29 awards in total, there were many new categories this year - including three teacher awards. Award for Secondary School Teacher of the Year was taken by Charlotte Abbott, English teacher and director of English at Dubai English Speaking College. The Award for Primary School Teacher of the Year: Troy Ellison, head of ICT and computing at Regent International School Dubai. The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Award for Early Childhood Teacher of the Year 2021-22 was won by Clare Nagle, of Home Grown Nursery.


Using the algorithms of up and coming new data insights platform, EdStatica.com

This year the awards also used data for from the surveys running on this site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, with analysis undertaken by new data intelligence platform, EdStatica.com. The two Awards were for the Happiest School in the UAE, which was won by Horizon English School, and the Most Loved by its Parents Award, which was won by Hartland International School. If you want to influence future awards, take the survey here.

The Award for Value Add and "Leaving No Child Behind" was taken by Safa Community School.

Dubai Heights Academy and The English College were recognised for their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, while The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai won for its focus on architecture, environment, design and sustainability. Sustainability clearly also featured in the most Innovative School award, won jointly by Fairgreen international School and The Arbor School



The Best New School in the UAE, was Arcadia School, which opened in 2016.

2021-2022 also the first tertiary award, with the Best University in the UAE going to the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

Winners in the arts space were British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi, which won best school in the UAE for fine art and creative studio work while Nord Anglia International School Dubai was recognised as the top school for music. Brighton College Abu Dhabi was named The Best School in the UAE for Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts.

James Mullan, co-founder of the SchoolsCompared Top Schools Awards 2021 said: “The awards are about recognising the talents and achievements of schools and educators in the UAE – and their vital, centrifugal impact on the lives of children.

“In the simplest terms, they are about celebrating those who are often not seen or celebrated nearly enough.

"With all the extraordinary challenges of Covid-19, professionals across the sector have ceaselessly, tirelessly – and often at great personal cost and no small amount of courage, worked to ensure continuity of an outstanding education for our children."

David Westley, co-founder of the Top Schools Awards, said: "Flooded with nominations, there has been an outpouring of appreciation for what has been achieved for children during a pandemic that has placed almost impossible demands on teachers and school leaders to ensure that the education of our children has been protected."

"Top Schools Awards have the single purpose of recognising our amazing, schools, principals and teachers – and the educational community around them.”

SchoolsCompared.com received more than 7,000 nominations from parents, pupils, teachers and educators in the country across 29 categories. The nominations were reviewed in collaboration with 25 education experts, with the final winners being voted for by a panel of seven.

The 2021-2022 awards were the largest in the prize's history. There were winners in 29 categories, from the best primary school and best school for music to the the top early childhood centre and happiest school in the country.

Top Schools Awards Winners 2021-2022



The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards for:

Early Childhood Teacher of the Year 2021-22 in Proud Association with WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Winner: Clare Nagle, Home Grown Nursery

Best Early Childhood Centre in the UAE 2021-22 in Proud Association with WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
Winner: Little Land Nursery and Montessori Centre

Primary School Teacher of the Year 2021-22
Winner: Troy Ellison. Head of ICT and Computing. Regent International School Dubai.

Best Primary School in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: Victory Heights Primary School

Secondary School Teacher of the Year 2021-22
Winner: Charlotte Abbott. English Teacher. Director of English. Dubai English Speaking College

Best School for Post-16 Education in the UAE 2021-22
Winners – Joint Award: Dubai English Speaking College [DESC] and The British School Al Khubairat

Best School for Technical and Vocational Stream Education in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa

Best Mainstream School for Children of Determination 2021-22
Winners – Joint Award: Raffles World Academy and GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa 

Value Add and Leaving No Child Behind 2021-22
Winner: Safa Community School

Happiest School in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: Horizon English School

Best Indian Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: The Indian High School (Senior Campus)

Best American Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: The American School of Dubai

Best International Baccalaureate Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: Taaleem’s Greenfield International School

Best Blended Arabic Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: Sheikh Zayed Private School for Boys

International Baccalaureate Curriculum School in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: Jumeirah English Speaking School [JESS] – Arabian Ranches

Best British Curriculum School in the UAE 2021
Winner: Dubai College [DC]

Best School in the UAE for Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts 2021-22
Winner: Brighton College Abu Dhabi

Best School in the UAE for Music 2021-22
Winner: Nord Anglia International School Dubai

Best School in the UAE for Fine Art and Creative Studio Work 2021-22
Winner: The British School Al Khubairat

Best School for Sport in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: The American School of Dubai

Most Innovative School in the UAE 2021-22
Winners- Joint Award: Fairgreen international School in Dubai and The Arbor School

Best New School in the UAE 2015-21
Winner: Arcadia School (Opened 2016)

Best University in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: Manipal Academy of Higher Education

Best Architecture Environment, Design and Sustainability in a UAE School 2021-22
Winner: The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai

Most Outstanding Response to COVID-19 by a School in the UAE 2021-22
Winners – Joint Award: Dubai Heights Academy, The English College Dubai

“School Most Loved by Parents” in proud association with EdstaticaTM 2021-
Winner: Hartland International School

Special Award for Best Principal in the UAE 2021-22
Winner: Zara Harrington, Principal, Safa British School.

Overall Best School in the UAE 2021-22.
Winner: The American School of Dubai

Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE
Winner: The Varkey Family [GEMS education]

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