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Best schools in Dubai UAE

A snapshot overview of schools in Dubai that are considered (although not necessarily chosen) by English-speaking expat parents.

If there is no ribbon, pending or otherwise, it means we are aware of the school but have elected not to review it at this time. This could be for a number of reasons, but we continually update information and add or remove reviews as deemed appropriate.

Schools selected for full GSGI review are noted with next to their names. "Pending" means that we are planning to review that school.

By full GSGI review, we mean the school write-ups that are completely selected, researched, visited and written by our own editors. Our final write-ups take the good with the bad, warts and all, but we look for a preponderance of good before we drill down for in-depth details descend on the school for an exhaustive visit.


Schools in Dubai reviewed by The Good Schools Guide International

American School of Dubai  (pending)

School developed curriculum/AP; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,800 pupils

Founded in 1966 for the education of children of families working in the oil industry, currently approximately 65-75 per cent of students carry North American passports and very few non-westerners. Located on a large, modern (2010) campus at Al Barsha in Dubai. The vast majority (nearly 90 per cent) of graduates move on to North American universities. Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS).

Dubai College  (pending)

Adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/A-Levels; ages 11-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 950 pupils

Founded in 1978 by a determined English teacher and now supplying students to almost all the leading universities in the UK and several Ivies in the US. Exam results are consistently amongst the highest in global schools following the British curriculum. In 2018 over 88 per cent achieved A*-A at GCSE and 60 per cent gained the same grades at A-Level. Approximately 50 per cent are British nationals and the school is accredited by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).

Dubai English Speaking School (DESS)  (pending)

Adapted National Curriculum for England; ages 3-11; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 900 pupils

The original half of the Dubai English Speaking pair of schools, founded in 1963 and located in Oud Metha, Dubai. An elementary school following the British educational system. The majority of students continue their education at its sister school and, as of 2019, both schools were full for the next academic year.

Jebel Ali School (formerly Jebel Ali Primary School)  (pending) 

Adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/A-Levels; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,170 pupils

Founded in 1977 as a primary school for expat workers and now evolved (years 12 and 13 opening 2019) into an all-through international school providing a British education but retaining Arabic as a core subject. On a new, startlingly colourful campus on Emirates Road in Dubai. Approximately, 50 per cent of students hold British passports.

Jumeirah College  (pending)

Adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/A-Levels/BTECs; ages 11-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,100 pupils

Founded in 1999, a secondary school following the British curriculum with instruction in English. Owned by the GEMS Education group, a serious player on the Dubai education scene with 55 schools across the Middle East. 95 per cent of entrants come from the neighbouring Jumeirah Primary School. GEMS has stopped publishing performance in external exams but previously results were impressive.

Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS)  (pending)

Adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/ IB Diploma/BTECs; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 2.000 pupils

Original school in Jumeirah founded in 1975 to meet the needs of British families in Dubai. The Arabian Ranches campus opened in 2005 together with a sixth form added in 2009. Students follow the British curriculum followed by either the IB Diploma or the vocational BTEC programme (first cohort graduated in 2019). Accredited by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS). A mightily impressive average score of nearly 38 points for the IB Diploma.

Jumeirah Primary School  (pending)

Adapted National Curriculum for England; ages 5-11; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,400 pupils

Owned by GEMS Education group (one of the big educational players in Dubai) along with its senior school Jumeirah College. The vast majority of pupils move up to the senior school, Jumeirah College, made easier by the collaboration over the curriculum taught in the junior school.

Kings' School Dubai (formerly Kings' College Dubai and British International School in Dubai)  (pending)

Adapted EYFS/ Adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/A-Levels; ages 3-11; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 950 pupils

Founded in 2004, a group of three Dubai Kings’ schools, one in Dubai and the others in Al Barsha (1,660 pupils) and Nad Al Sheba (340 pupils). The Dubai and Nad Al Sheba campuses are primary schools and the Al Barsha school is all-through. All three teach the British curriculum and the Al Barsha campus offers GCSEs and A-Levels as well as a bespoke Kings’ Diploma to help in applying to UK and US universities.

Repton School  (pending)

Adapted National Curriculum for England/IGCSEs/IB Diploma/IB Careers Programme/BTEC; ages 3-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; privately owned; 1,770 pupils

Established in 2007 in Nad Al Sheba. Divided into junior and senior schools with approximately 1,000 pupils in the former and 700 in the latter. Nearly 45 per cent of the students are UK passport holders with ten per cent from India and the remainder from over 70 other nationalities. The boarding side, introduced to reflect the composition of its sister school in the UK,has been slow to grow and still only numbers around 60-70 students. The average IB Diploma score in 2019 was a more than satisfactory 34 points.

GEMS Wellington International  (pending)

Adapted British curriculum/(I)GCSEs/IB Diploma/IB Careers Programme; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 2,500 pupils

One of the international schools opened by Wellington in partnership with other providers. Offering a British based education with International Baccalaureate options in years 12 and 13. Good exam results in 2018 with an IB Diploma average of 34 and 60 per cent of A-Level students achieving A-A*. Aiming to re-produce the Wellington UK approach and has Prince Michael of Kent as its patron.

 


The schools below have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.


Cambridge International School (formerly Cambridge High School)

Adapted National Curriculum for England/IGCSEs/A-Levels; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 2,500 pupils

Founded in 1983 and part of the GEMS Education group, now operating 55 schools across the Middle East. British curriculum throughout and strong in sports and debating. Graduates achieve places at a huge range of leading global universities including Oxbridge and Russell Group in the UK and Ivies in the US.

Dubai British School

EYFS/Adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/A-Levels/BTECs; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned;

Part of Taaleem, a school provider in the UAE since 2004, offering a variety of international curricula and partially owned by the Government of Dubai. Located on a campus, proudly now solar, in Emirates Hills, Dubai. Duke of Edinburgh International awards and LAMDA exams as well as vocational BTEC programmes. Graduates often leave for universities in the US and the UK (a few to Russell Group).

Dubai English Speaking College (DESC)

Adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/A-Levels; ages 11-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,100 pupils

Founded in 2005 and moved to its present site in Academic City in 2007, officially opened by Princess Haya of Jordan. A secondary school, sister to the Dubai English Speaking School (DESS) and now under the same principal but with its own headteacher. Roughly 150 students graduate annually and mainly head to universities in the UK (including most Russell Group) and the US.

Dubai International Academy

PYP/MYP/IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 2,200 pupils

Established in 2005 and the first school in the UAE to offer the three stages of the IB programme. Owned by the Innoventures Education group, a specialist manager of international schools and nurseries in Dubai. Indian students are the largest cohort amongst the over 80 nationalities represented. In 2018, the average IB Diploma score was 34 (against the global figure of 29.8) and students gained places at some of the top global universities including Yale, Stanford, Cambridge and the LSE.

GEMS Founders School

Adapted National Curriculum for England/IGCSEs/A-Levels; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 3,200 pupils

Opened in 2016 as the newest GEMS Education group school in Dubai. Originally offering a British education for children aged three to twelve, they have expanded, the latest opening being a year 10 in 2018. Academics as yet unproven but an accredited member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and inspected by British Schools Overseas (BSO).

Emirates International School (EIS-Jumeirah)

PYP/MYP/IB Diploma/IB Careers Programme; ages 3-18; co-ed; independent; privately owned; 2,200 pupils

Owned by the Al Habtoor Group, one of the region’s largest conglomerates, involved in hospitality, automotive, real estate, education and publishing. One of the few schools offering the vocational IB Careers Programme. Scoring an average 32 at the IB Diploma, the majority of graduates continue their education at universities in the UK or North America.

Emirates International School (EIS-Meadows)

PYP/MYP/IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,650 pupils

Opened in 2005, initially for children from 4-14, they now offer the full IB programme, although without the vocational element, IBCP, that their sister school in Jumeirah delivers. Owned by the Al Habtoor Group, one of the region’s largest conglomerates, involved in hospitality, automotive, real estate, education and publishing. In 2017, two students achieved the perfect score of 45 for the IB Diploma and the average points were 33.

GEMS World Academy (formerly GEMS World School)

PYP/MYP/IB Diploma/ IB Careers Programme; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,900 pupils

Started operations in 2008 as part of the GEMS Education group’s Dubai stable of schools. Located in Al Bashra South on a site boasting an Olympic-sized pool and sports ranging from riding to rock climbing. Graduates leave for a range of leading universities in the UK and the US including Ivies. Recognised by, but not necessarily accredited by, a number of internationally acclaimed organisations.

International School of Arts and Sciences

Adapted American curriculum/UAE curricula/School diploma/AP; ages 6-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 700 pupils

Managed by Academic Management Solutions International (AMSI) who run schools in Dubai and Lebanon. Bilingual, English-Arabic programme in kindergarten followed by English as primary language of instruction. In 2018, 70 per cent of AP students scored 3 or above and 37 per cent of graduates were admitted to universities outside the UAE. According to their website, they are the first school in the world to issue Blockchain-based digital academic diplomas. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Pristine Private School

Adapted EYFS/adapted National Curriculum for England/IGCSEs/A-Levels; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,500 pupils

Founded in 1992 and based on a campus in the Al Nahda 2 area of Dubai. A school which follows the British curriculum but has close ties to the local government and does not publicise itself as an international school.

Raffles International School

Adapted Montessori/EYFS/Cambridge curricula/IGCSEs/A-Levels/BTEC; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,325 pupils

Originally a joint venture with Raffles Education, Singapore and now one of the schools in Dubai owned and run by the Innoventures Education group, specialist manages of schools and nurseries in the UAE. Located in Umm Suquein, the school has expanded and opened a year 13 class in September 2018 (first graduates in the summer of 2019, so no results available) as well as offering a BTEC in Business.

Regent International School

Adapted EYFS/adapted National Curriculum for England; ages 3-11; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 950 pupils

Established by Fortes Education in 1993 in Jumeirah before relocating to The Greens as an all-through school. Now returned to a primary school with ‘automatic entry’ to the new Sunmarke secondary school (owned by the same group) from year 7. Over 80 nationalities but predominantly from the UK or India with a significant influx, recently, from South Korea.

The Dubai American Academy

Adapted American curriculum/IB Diploma; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 2,750 pupils

Huge school as a result of the merger between Dubai American Academy and GEMS Nations Academy in 2017, now on a 23 acre campus in Al Barsha. Owned and run by the GEMS Education group, a heavy hitter with 55 schools in the region. Over 75 per cent of the graduating class elected to take the IB Diploma achieving an average score of 34 as opposed to the global figure of 30 and graduates moved on to leading universities, predominantly in the US but also the UK, Europe and Asia.

The English College

Adapted EYFS/adapted National Curriculum for England/GCSEs/A-Levels/BTEC; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 600 pupils

Originally established in 1992 in Umm Suqeim with the neighbouring Manor Primary, under the same ownership, integrated into the college in 2019. The first (2016) and apparently successful step was made here (into the global education market) by LVS Ascot who manage three non-selective co-ed independent schools in the UK but the agreement was terminated in 2018 and the school handed back to the board. The currently discounted fees on offer may tell a story. In 2018, 78 per cent of students achieved A*-B at GCSE and A-Level results were just over 50 per cent A*-B.

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