Best International Schools In Dubai UAE for Expat Families

best international schools in Dubai UAE

Dubai is an exciting place for expat families, and with over 140 international schools, you’ll have a wide range of options to choose from for your child’s education. Dubai provides an abundance of schooling choices for parents who are relocating to the city. By selecting a private or one of the best international schools in Dubai, recognized by KHDA, you can ensure that your child receives a high-quality education.

Although Dubai offers numerous schooling options, it can be overwhelming for parents to find the perfect fit for their child. As a parent, it’s vital to guarantee that your child receives a top-notch education that equips them for their future. Selecting the appropriate school is paramount for their academic and personal development. 

In this post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to finding the best schools in Dubai. We’ll cover everything from school curricula, fees and KHDA ratings to the top schools in the region. Whether you’re moving to Dubai or have been living here for some time, this post will help you navigate the education system and find the perfect school for your child.

Insight into Dubai’s Education System: An Overview

A. Overview of the education system in Dubai

Dubai is a vibrant and growing city, with a diverse and multicultural population. As such, it is no surprise that there is a wide range of schools available in the city to cater to the needs of families of different nationalities and backgrounds. Dubai has become a top destination for expat families seeking high-quality education for their children. According to the law in UAE, children must start schooling at the age of 5 and remain in school until they complete Grade 12 or reach the age of 18, whichever occurs first.

UAE education is divided into 4 stages

Kindergarten – 3 to 5 years old 
Primary school – 6 to 11 years old 
Preparatory stage – 12 to 14 years old
Secondary schools -15 to 17 years old 

B. Types of schools in Dubai: Public and Private.

Public schools

Public schools In Dubai are government-funded and provide education to Emirati students free of charge up to the university level. The Ministry of Education oversees these schools, and they usually follow the national curriculum, with Arabic as the primary language of instruction with English as a secondary language.

Private schools

Private schools in Dubai, on the other hand, are independently owned and operated, and they charge tuition fees. Private schools in Dubai offer 17 different curricula. It comprises mainly British, American and Indian curricula that meet the educational needs of different nationalities residing in the emirate.

Dubai’s student population stands at 265,299, with about two-thirds of them being Emiratis. They are preferred by many expat families in Dubai due to their higher quality of education and modern facilities.

C. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority(KHDA)- Its role in regulating schools in Dubai

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority is responsible for regulating schools in Dubai. The organization conducts inspections of schools to ensure that they meet the required standards and provide a high-quality education for students. It also provides ratings for schools based on their performance and overall quality.  Its ratings provide valuable insight into the overall performance and quality of a school.

The KHDA ratings are graded on a scale of Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, and Weak, with Outstanding being the highest rating a school can achieve. The rating system provides parents and students with an easy-to-understand way of comparing schools and making informed decisions about which school to choose. Schools are evaluated on a range of factors, including academic performance, facilities, teaching quality, and overall student experience.

Top Considerations for Best International Schools In Dubai as an Expat?

Best Schools In Dubai for Expat

A. Key factors to consider when choosing the best school in Dubai

When you are relocating to Dubai with children, finding the right school for them is crucial. Dubai has a diverse range of international schools, but with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Some of the key factors to consider while choosing the school are accreditation, curricula, facilities, school fees, extracurricular activities, and student diversity. Taking these key factors into account when choosing a school can help ensure that your child receives a quality education and an environment that will support their growth and development.

B. Brief explanation of each factor


One of the first things to look for when choosing a school is its accreditation. Accreditation is a way of assessing a school’s quality and ensuring that the school meets certain standards. Schools in the UAE must be licensed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, which is the regulatory authority for private education in Dubai. Accreditation and licensing also play a crucial role in determining the validity of a student’s degree or diploma. Accredited schools in the UAE are recognized internationally, making it easier for students to continue their education or pursue career opportunities in other countries.


Another key factor to consider is the curriculum offered by the school. Dubai has schools that follow various curricula, such as the British, American, or International Baccalaureate (IB), Indian and many more curriculums to choose from. Consider what type of curriculum would best suit your child’s needs and plans.


The facilities at a school can have a significant impact on your child’s learning experience. Look for schools with modern facilities such as science labs, libraries, sports facilities, and technology resources. Also, consider the school’s location and transportation options.

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities can enhance your child’s education and provide opportunities for them to develop their interests and talents. Look for schools that offer a diverse range of extracurricular activities such as sports teams, music programs, art clubs, and community service opportunities.

Student diversity

Dubai is home to a diverse community of expats, and this is reflected in the student population of many international schools. Look for schools that have a diverse student body as this can provide your child with a rich cultural experience and broaden their perspectives.

School fees

Dubai school fees can vary significantly between schools, so it’s essential to consider your budget when choosing a school. Keep in mind that school fees are typically one of the most significant expenses for families in Dubai. Look for schools that offer scholarships or financial assistance if needed.

KHDA rating 

For expat parents in Dubai, selecting a school with a high rating can provide reassurance and confidence in the quality of education and support offered. Schools with high ratings may have a more diverse student body and a stronger focus on inclusion and community, which can help expat children feel more welcomed and integrated.

Best Schools in Dubai with Curriculum, Fees and KHDA ratings 

Education is often referred to as the best gift you can give your child. It is an investment that will pay dividends throughout their lifetime. Education provides children with the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to succeed in life. It helps children develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a lifelong love of learning. It prepares them for success in a rapidly changing world and equips them with the skills they need to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

With a wide range of curricula, facilities, and extracurricular activities, Dubai’s schools cater to the diverse needs of students from different nationalities. We have compiled a list of the schools in Dubai that offer the best education to pupils.

1. Dubai American Academy

Rating: Outstanding

Dubai American Academy is a highly reputable school in Dubai offering the American curriculum to students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. The school has state-of-the-art facilities including a 600-seat theatre, a spacious library, a gymnasium, and a swimming pool. The annual tuition fees for the school range from approximately AED 61,000 to AED 90,000 depending on the grade level.

2. Swiss International Scientific School

Rating: Very Good

As one of the few schools in Dubai offering the full International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum, the Swiss International Scientific School provides students with a unique and highly regarded education. It offers facilities such as a multi-purpose hall, a 25-meter swimming pool, a theatre, and a modern library. Annual fees from approximately AED 53,000 to AED 99,000.

3. Nord Anglia International School

Rating: Outstanding

It is a British curriculum school, which provides students with a highly personalized education with a strong focus on extracurricular activities. The school has excellent facilities such as a 600-seat auditorium, a swimming pool, and a fully equipped gymnasium. Annual tuition fees range from approximately AED 63500 to AED 96,000.

4. Gems Dubai American Academy

Rating: Very Good

GEMS Dubai American Academy offers the American curriculum to students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. The school has a wide range of facilities such as a performing arts centre, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and a modern library. Annual tuition fees range from AED 50,000 to AED 99,000.

5. Hartland International School

Rating: Very Good

This British curriculum school provides students with a balanced education with a focus on creativity and innovation. The school has modern facilities including a performing arts centre, a science laboratory, and a swimming pool. Annual tuition fees range from AED 58,000 to AED 96,000.

6. Dubai British School

Rating: Outstanding

This  School is an established school that has been providing British education for over 15 years. The school follows the British National Curriculum and offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. The school’s facilities include state-of-the-art classrooms, science and computer labs, a performing arts centre, and a sports complex. The annual fee is from approximately AED 50,000 to AED 74,000, depending on the grade level.

7. Kings’ School Dubai

Rating: Outstanding

Kings’ School Dubai is a prestigious school that offers the National Curriculum of England from Foundation Stage to Key Stage 3. The school is renowned for its academic excellence and has consistently received Outstanding ratings from KHDA. The annual fee is from approximately AED 45,000 to AED 67,000, depending on the grade level.

8. Dubai College

Rating: Outstanding

Dubai College is one of the oldest and most respected schools in Dubai. The school offers a rigorous academic program based on the British National Curriculum and provides students with an excellent all-around education. The school also offers the IB Diploma Programme. The annual fee ranges from approximately AED 87,000 to AED 98,500, depending on the grade level.

9. American School of Dubai (ASD) 

Rating: Outstanding

ASD is a private, independent, non-profit K-12 school that has been serving the expat community since 1966. The school offers an American-based curriculum, which is complemented by a variety of extracurricular activities such as athletics, music, and drama. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Tuition fees for ASD range from AED 56000 to AED 82000 per year, depending on the grade level.

10. GEMS Modern Academy

Rating: Outstanding

GEMS Modern Academy is an Indian school that offers the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum to its students. The school has a KHDA rating of Outstanding, which is the highest rating given by the Dubai government. The fees for GEMS Modern Academy range from AED 29,000 to AED 53,000 per year, depending on the grade level.

11. JSS International School 

Rating: Very Good

JSS International School is another Indian school that offers the CBSE curriculum. The school has a KHDA rating of Very Good and offers a range of facilities, including a library, science labs, and a music room. The fees for JSS International School range from AED 14,000 to AED 38,000 per year.

12. Delhi Private School Dubai 

Rating: Very Good

Delhi Private School Dubai is an Indian school that offers the CBSE curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The school has a KHDA rating of Very Good and offers a range of facilities, including a library, a sports complex, and a swimming pool. The fees range from AED 11,000 to AED 17,000 per year.

These are just a few examples of the many excellent schools in Dubai. Dubai’s education system is known for its diversity, innovation, and high standards, making it a popular choice for families seeking a top-quality education for their children.

Best International Schools In Dubai for Expat

Explanation of the process of enrolling a child in a school in Dubai

Enrolling a child in a school in Dubai can be an overwhelming process for parents. However, with proper research and planning, it can become a smooth and stress-free experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to enrol your child in a school in Dubai.

  1. Research: Start by researching different schools in Dubai that meet your child’s educational needs, budget, and preferences. Look for the schools’ accreditation, curriculum, facilities, extracurricular activities, and most importantly, admission requirements.
  2. Visit the schools: After shortlisting potential schools, visit them to get a better feel of the campus and meet with the staff. Ask questions about the curriculum, teaching methods, extracurricular activities, and any other concerns you may have.
  3. Apply for admission: Once you have decided on a school, you can begin the application process. This usually involves filling out an online application form and submitting required documents, such as the child’s passport and residency visa, previous school transcripts, and any standardized test scores.
  4. Application fees: It is a common practice among schools in Dubai, and parents should be prepared to pay a non-refundable amount to initiate the admission process for their children. It is essential to research the fees charged by different schools and inquire about any additional fees or financial assistance options that may be available.
  5. Entrance exams: Depending on the school and grade level, your child may be required to take an entrance exam to assess their academic abilities.
  6. Interview: Schools may also interview the child and parents to get to know them better and assess their fit for the school.
  7. Acceptance and payment: If your child is accepted into the school, you will receive an acceptance letter along with information on fees and payment options. You will need to submit the required fees to secure your child’s spot.
  8. Orientation: Before the school year begins, most schools will have an orientation program for new students and parents to familiarize them with the school’s policies, procedures, and expectations.

Enrolling a child in a school involves researching and shortlisting potential schools, applying for admission, taking entrance exams and attending an interview, accepting the admission offer and paying the required fees, and attending an orientation program. With careful planning and preparation, the process can be a positive experience for both parents and their children.

Common Questions and Answers for Dubai Schools

How much are the school fees in Dubai for expats?

The school fees for expats in Dubai vary depending on the school and the level of education. The fees can range from AED 15,000 to AED 75,000 or more per year.  The fees typically cover tuition, textbooks, and other academic expenses, but may not include additional costs such as uniforms, transportation, and extracurricular activities. Some schools may also charge a non-refundable registration fee and a deposit. It is vital to research and compares different schools and their fees before making a decision. Many schools also offer scholarships or financial aid to students based on academic or other criteria.

Is schooling free in Dubai for expats?

In Dubai, schooling is not free for expats. However, the government of Dubai provides significant support towards the education system, making it more accessible for expats. Dubai has a variety of schools with different curricula such as International Baccalaureate, British, Indian, and American. These schools have different fees ranging from moderate to high, depending on the curriculum and amenities provided. The government also provides education grants to low-income expat families, ensuring their children receive a quality education. Therefore, expats in Dubai have various options when it comes to choosing a suitable school for their children, but they will have to pay for schooling.

Can expats go to public schools in Dubai for free?

Expats in Dubai are allowed to send their children to public schools, but they are not entitled to free education. The government of Dubai offers free education only to Emirati nationals. However, expats can still enrol their children in public schools by paying tuition fees which are significantly lower than the fees of private schools. Expats who choose to send their children to public schools should obtain a residency visa, which is required for all foreign residents in Dubai. The education system in Dubai is well-maintained, and public schools follow the same curriculum as private schools; hence, expats can expect a high quality of education. The decision to enrol children in public or private ultimately depends on the parent’s financial situation and preferences.

What is the typical curriculum followed by international schools in Dubai?

Most international schools in Dubai follow either the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the British Curriculum, depending on the school’s accreditation and affiliation. However, some schools may also offer American, French, or German curricula.

Do international schools in Dubai offer extracurricular activities?

Yes, most international schools in Dubai offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, music, drama, and community service programs. These activities can help students develop their talents, social skills, and leadership qualities outside the classroom.

Can expat families apply for scholarships or financial aid in international schools in Dubai?

While some international schools in Dubai may offer scholarships or financial aid programs for exceptional students or families facing financial difficulties, these opportunities are limited and highly competitive. It’s essential to check with the schools directly for any available options and application procedures.

Conclusion: Choose the Best International School in Dubai

In conclusion, choosing the right international school in Dubai is crucial for expat families to ensure their children receive a quality education in a multicultural environment. The city has an excellent selection of international schools that cater to the needs of expat families, providing world-class education, state-of-the-art facilities, and a diverse student body.

When selecting a school for their children, families should consider various factors such as the curriculum, facilities, fees, location, and extracurricular activities. It’s essential to research and visit the schools in person to get a better understanding of the school’s culture and community.

The right international school can make a significant difference in a child’s academic and personal development, and it’s a decision that should not be taken lightly. It’s essential to find a school that offers a welcoming and supportive environment that nurtures the child’s growth and development.

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Aeliya Fatima

I am Aeliya Fatima co-founder of, and my mission is to connect top talent with amazing job opportunities in Dubai and beyond. With a strong background in recruitment and HR, I bring a wealth of expertise in identifying the perfect candidates for a wide range of roles. From entry-level positions to executive leadership, I have the insight to make the right matches. Let's connect on LinkedIn and unlock your career potential!


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