Outstanding private schools in Dubai, according to KHDA

A closer look at some of the city’s best learning institutions
Outstanding private schools in Dubai, according to KHDA
Students enjoy top-class learning experiences in Dubai

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is pivotal in enhancing private education in Dubai. Their vision? To make it a world-class education city. Proving Dubai’s private schools’ attractiveness, the city witnessed a record enrollment increase of 12 percent, reaching 365,000 students for the academic year 2023-24. This is the highest since KHDA’s establishment in 2007.

To maintain the quality of education the city offers, the agency inspects private schools annually. Here are some of the most outstanding schools in Dubai, according to KHDA. 

What is a KHDA inspection in Dubai?

The KHDA has been conducting annual school inspections since 2008 to enhance the overall quality of schools in Dubai. During a KHDA inspection, they evaluate various aspects such as lesson effectiveness, student work, school management and learning environment. They then rate schools on a scale ranging from “outstanding” to “weak.”

In 2022-2023, out of around 200 schools inspected covering 319,137 students, 72 percent were rated “good” or better, significantly improving from 68 percent in 2018-19. Meanwhile, the number of schools rated “outstanding” increased to 20 from 17 in the same period. The 2022-23 inspections also marked the first year of well-being evaluations, revealing that 74 percent of schools provided a high or very high level of well-being provision. 

Outstanding private schools in Dubai

With more schools improving and students enrolling, Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, director-general of the KHDA, is optimistic about Dubai’s educational landscape.

“If we could glimpse into the future, we would see a private school community whose growth is driven by the vision of Dubai’s leadership…We would see education in Dubai take its place among the best in the world,” he noted.

Are you planning to enroll your child in a private school in the city? Here are some of the most outstanding schools in Dubai according to the latest KHDA inspections.

GEMS Modern Academy

outstanding schools in Dubai KHDA

Curriculum: Indian, IB

Average fees: AED40,537

GEMS Modern Academy, founded on October 18, 1986, is an exceptional educational institution offering a unique blend of Indian and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculums. It offers the IB Diploma Program (IBDP) and Primary Years Program and is a candidate for the Middle Years Program, providing a comprehensive IB World School experience. It’s the only “outstanding” school in Dubai that follows an Indian/IBDP curriculum.

GEMS Modern Academy excels through its leadership’s commitment to continuous improvement and a school-wide culture of innovation — alongside students known for their confidence and positive approach to learning. The school is part of the esteemed GEMS Education family, a leading private education provider in the Middle East and North Africa Region. Boasting 44 schools in UAE and Qatar, their goal is “to put a quality education within the reach of every learner no matter where they are.”

Kings’ School Dubai 

outstanding schools in Dubai KHDA

Curriculum: UK

Average fees: AED55,001

Kings’ School Dubai, established in 2004 and situated near Burj Al Arab, is a British primary school renowned for its consistent “outstanding” ratings from the KDHA every year since inspections began. It focuses on nurturing well-rounded, globally aware citizens by emphasizing collaboration, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and leadership.

The original among the three Kings schools in the city, the institution follows the National Curriculum for England. The school further enriches itself with best practices worldwide, including Finnish pastoral care, Shanghai’s maths pedagogy and American sports direction. It also boasts state-of-the-art facilities, advanced technology, and various sports amenities like a 25-meter swimming pool and a 50-meter running track.

Victory Heights Primary School 

outstanding schools in Dubai KHDA

Curriculum: UK

Average fees: AED43,227

Victory Heights Primary School in Sports City epitomizes British education. It blends a curriculum based on the National Curriculum for England with an enriching International Primary Curriculum, including Arabic and Spanish studies. Celebrating individual talents — whether in arts, sports, sciences or languages — the school strives hard to nurture each child’s unique potential. They employ summative assessments, creative topic planning, and various teaching methods to foster academic excellence.

Beyond academic learning, the school emphasizes character development, leadership and teamwork, preparing students to be responsible global citizens. Parents are also integral to the learning journey as they are involved through regular feedback, workshops and class activities. Catering to all students, including those with special educational needs, Victory Heights exudes a family-like atmosphere.

Dubai British School Emirates Hills

outstanding schools in Dubai KHDA

Curriculum: UK

Average fees: AED63,121

Since its establishment in 2005, the Dubai British School Emirates Hills (DBS-EH) has been one of the leading British international schools in the city, It’s been recognized for its outstanding KHDA status since 2017. It is located in The Springs and Meadows and serves over a thousand students aged 3 to 18. 

The school’s vision (“Enjoy, Aspire, Achieve”) emphasizes positive education and celebrates individual achievements in academics, arts or sports. DBS-EH also cultivates “6C learners” — critical thinkers, communicators, cooperative, caring, creative and courageous. Adhering to the National Curriculum of England, DBS-EH offers a high-quality, globally transferable education. 

Jumeirah English Speaking School, Arabian Ranches

outstanding schools in Dubai KHDA

Curriculum: UK

Average fees: AED66,845

Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) in Dubai is a prominent British school. Their goal is to inculcate critical and creative thinking into their students, recognizing that both are key to preparing individuals for a future that demands innovation and intuition. With a culture centered around aspiration, JESS ensures each child reaches their fullest potential, from primary to secondary. 

JESS stands out for its commitment to the UAE National Agenda, promoting inclusivity and welcoming a diverse community of over 70 nationalities. Emphasizing academic success, compassion, empathy and civic-mindedness, Apart from academics, JESS encourages holistic development through sports, arts and community involvement.

Nord Anglia International School 

outstanding schools in Dubai KHDA

Curriculum: UK

Average fees: AED79,697

Nord Anglia International School Dubai (NAS Dubai) delivers the English National Curriculum with options for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme or A Levels for post-16 education. Renowned for its personalized learning with a global perspective, NAS Dubai prepares students to impact the world.

As a Nord Anglia group member, NAS Dubai benefits from global educational partnerships. It substantially enhances learning experiences for students, teachers and staff. Additionally, Parents and the school community are deeply invested in realizing NAS Dubai’s mission and vision. This creates a close-knit community that helps hone students for global challenges. 

Dubai International Academy

outstanding schools in Dubai KHDA

Curriculum: IB

Average fees: AED56,807

Dubai International Academy was founded in 2005 and has since been excelling in making students fully prepared for the competitive global landscape. Following a comprehensive curriculum based on the International Baccalaureate’s primary, middle years, and diploma programs, the school equips students with a passion for lifelong learning.

The academy has grown significantly since its inception, hosting over 2,000 students from 77 nationalities. This diverse environment underpins its status as a sought-after international school in the city. Both teachers and parents encourage students to excel in their studies while engaging in several extracurricular activities. Located in Emirates Hills, Dubai, the academy’s campus has state-of-the-art facilities, supporting a rich and engaging educational experience.

Read: Top international schools in Qatar

Based on KHDA’s latest inspections, these other 13 private schools earned an “outstanding” rating.

  • Kings’ School Al Barsha
  • GEMS Dubai American Academy – Dubai Branch
  • GEMS Wellington International School – Dubai Branch
  • GEMS Jumeirah Primary School – Dubai Branch
  • Dubai English Speaking College
  • Dubai College
  • Repton School
  • Jumeirah College
  • Jumeirah English Speaking School — Jumeirah
  • Horizons English School
  • Deira International School
  • Lycée Français International Georges Pompidou School Oud Metha
  • Dubai English Speaking School

Final thoughts

Dubai is committed to positioning itself as a leading education city in the region and even beyond. This ambition is highlighted by the annual KHDA inspections, which have identified 20 outstanding schools in Dubai in its 2022-23 inspection cycle.

However, when choosing the best private school for your child, it’s important not just to take KHDA ratings into account. Consider the school’s location and the alignment of its curriculum, culture and extracurricular offerings with your child’s interests and learning preferences.

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