As the expat population in Dubai continues to grow rapidly, the demand for quality education for expat children is increasing as well. Recognizing the high percentage of expats that make up the population of Dubai, more and more international schools are popping up in Dubai, but as a parent how do you choose the best school for your child?
Recent polls suggest that parents look at many different aspects before selecting a school. Surprisingly, ratings are not the primary factor in determining an educational institute for the majority of parents who prefer recommendations from friends and family. Most parents admit that a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation carries more weight than a formal school rating although they also take rankings into account when selecting a school. Other factors that parents review before making their final selection include proximity to their home or work, extra-curricular activities offered by the school and affordable fees.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), under the umbrella of the Government of Dubai is the primary regulatory authority in overseeing the growth, quality of education and learning for Dubai’s private schools. Every year, the KHDA carries out inspections on over 140 of Dubai’s private educational institutions and publishes reports on its website which can be accessed by schools and parents. These reports highlight the strengths and areas of improvements for each school and are a helpful tool in narrowing down schooling options for parents. Other sources such as the WhichSchoolAdvisor website also provide useful information including the latest updates on the educational system and schools in Dubai and the UAE.
Listed below are the top 6 private international schools in Dubai, selected for their quality of education, consistently outstanding KHDA ratings, strong parent and teacher support community as well as the variety of extra-curricular activities (ECAs) available to students.
Kings School, Dubai
A private school located in the Umm Suqeim area, Kings School Dubai has enjoyed an ‘Outstanding’ KHDA school rating for the last six years. Kings provides education for girls and boys aged 3 to 13 years from the Foundation Stage up to Year 8 in accordance with the English National Curriculum. At the heart of its teaching philosophy is the belief that real-life contexts and exploration is the key to engaging students to develop their critical thinking skills, promote leadership and help students to take responsibility for their own learning journey. The purpose-built school is well designed to enhance learning and to provide a high quality learning environment in which students can develop and excel. The school also provides a wide range of after school activities and ECAs led by teachers, support staff as well as external providers. These include activities related to sport, music, science, arts and ICT.
GEMS Wellington International School
Located in the Al Sufouh district, GEMS Wellington International School provides education for boys and girls aged 3 to 18 from FS1 through to Year 13. Children in the foundation stage follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum while older students follow the English National Curriculum. The school has maintained an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the KHDA since 2009 and prides itself on its vast eight acre complex that provides an exciting learning environment for its students. One of the key strengths of this school is their accurate assessment methods designed to assess and continually challenge students in the classroom. The outstanding curriculum design is supported by the latest technology-driven resources with classrooms featuring WiFi connectivity, interactive whiteboards, and audio-visual and multimedia projectors designed to deliver the latest information with speed and efficiency.
Maintaining a consistent ‘Outstanding’ rating from the KHDA over the last four years, Jumeirah College is a GEMS school offering education to young boys and girls aged 11 to 18 years in Years 7 through 13. The school delivers the English National Curriculum with students in Key Stage 4 preparing for their GCSE examinations and those in Sixth-form or Key Stage 5 preparing for their Advanced-Level examinations as a part of their studies. Jumeirah College offers an extensive variety of subjects at both GCSE and A-level and the school has consistently obtained excellent results in external examinations. Students can enrich their school experience through participation in a host of ECAs on offer; these activities offer the opportunity for individual enhancement or team building activities.
Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS)
JESS, located in Al Safa provides education for students aged 3 to 11 years after which students can transfer to the partner school JESS Arabian Ranches which offers primary, secondary and sixth-form education (IB curriculum). JESS has an active parent-teacher community with parents actively supporting learning at home. The exceptionally designed curriculum makes special use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) that prepares students for today’s fast paced technology driven world. Students receive extraordinary support from their teachers, support staff and parents contributing to their social wellbeing as well as their academic success.
Located in the Al Sufouh district, Dubai College delivers the English National Curriculum to children aged 11 to 18 in Years 7 to 13. The school has enjoyed an ‘Outstanding’ KHDA rating for the past four years and strives to provide its students with much more than just an academic education. The co-curriculum stresses on overall development of students who have the opportunity of participating in a host of enrichment activities including community projects, study of history or science, music, drama or stage performance.
GEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Established in 1996, JPS is one of the most sought after primary schools in the region and teaches the English National Curriculum to students from the Foundation Stage through Year 6. With over 70 nationalities represented on the premises, the school echoes the cosmopolitan nature of its host city. The school also caters to several special needs students with Learning Support Assistants who often work one to one with them to help them learn and develop within the classroom environment. The school has received an ‘Outstanding’ KHDA rating since 2010, in part due to its creative curriculum design which has contributed greatly to the academic achievements as well as the overall development of its students.