The Best English Speaking Schools in the UAE

Upon moving to Dubai, you’ll want to find the best schools for your children. That means doing a lot of research, talking to other parents, and weighing up a decision that is extremely important and high pressure. 

Of course, as a parent you want to get that decision right. You don’t want to choose a school that isn’t going to give your child the opportunities they deserve. You also need to know that you’re choosing a school that will feel comfortable to your child. When you move to another county and you’re surrounded by another language entirely, it can be difficult to feel settled. That’s why many parents choose to send their children to schools that are English speaking, but also with Arabic spoken too, so they can be immersed in both languages and feel equally comfortable. 

The good news is that many schools in Dubai cater for international students and offer curriculums that are based on the English and US educational systems. There are also A level and BTEC options widely available. It’s simply the case of finding a school which gives your child the best opportunities, according to their needs and future plans. Many students from these schools also go on to graduate and attend top universities around the world, including in the US and UK. 

If you’re in this situation currently and you’re not sure which schools to focus on, let’s take a look at some of the best English speaking schools in the UAE. We’ll focus on primary and secondary schools here, so you can identify the options to explore further. 

American School of Dubai 

The American School of Dubai has been in existence since 1966 and that should tell you a lot about its quality and popularity. The curriculum is adapted from the American High School Diploma and the school accepts children from ages 3 to 18 years. It is a co-ed school that has around 1890 students currently. That means relatively small class sizes across the board. 

The majority of students are American and the school is located in the Al Barsha region of Dubai. Most students head to universities in the USA after graduation. 

Dubai English Speaking School 

The Dubai English Speaking School, or DESS for short, is a co-ed day school for children between the ages of 4 to 11 years. The school focuses on the English National Curriculum and has around 995 students. Again, this means small class sizes. 

The school was founded in 1963 and is located in Oud Metha. This is a very popular school which is often oversubscribed. As the name suggests, students are mostly UK passport holders. 

Dubai College 

Dubai College is a popular secondary school for English speaking students. Following the British National Curriculum, students attending this school are expected to achieve excellent academic results; with almost 90% of students achieving a grade A star or A for their GCSEs. Half of the students at this school are British and the school is registered with the COBIS.  

Dubai College was founded in 1978 and has around 950 co-ed students, from ages 11 to 18 years. 

Jebel Ali School 

Jebel Ali School is a co-ed day school for children between the ages of 3 to 15 years, with around 1170 students currently enrolled. The school was established in 1977 and has long been popular choice with British and American families. The school is set on Emirates Road, giving it a central and prominent location. 

The school education is based on the British National Curriculum, with English spoken primarily, however students will also learn Arabic as one of their compulsory subjects. Both GCSEs and A Levels are taught. 

Repton Al Barsha

Repton Al Barsha is a primary co-ed school that has just 520 students and is privately owned. The school prides itself on small class sizes and quality of education. It is also only the second school in the world to be granted the Independent Association of Preparatory School World Hub School accreditation. 

The school opened in 2020 and most students are from the UK, although there is a presence of students from other western countries too. Repton Al Barsha covers the English National Curriculum and students are expected to excel academically. 

Jumeirah English Speaking School 

Located in the central region of Jumeirah, Jumeirah English Speaking School is a co-ed school for children aged between 5 to 18 years. The school has around 700 students, with small class sizes, and opened in 1975. The school was originally founded to help British families in the area and while most students are UK passport holders, there is an international presence too. 

The school follows the English National Curriculum offering GCSE, BTEC, and IB Diploma studies, with impressive results across the board. The school is also an accredited member of the Council of British International Schools. 

GEMS Jumeirah Primary School

The GEMS Jumeirah Primary School is another centrally located English speaking school. This time, the school is a co-ed, primary school, catering for children from 3 to 11 years of age. The school has around 1470 students and is owned by the GEMS Educational Group. It is part of the same aground as the GEMS Jumeirah College, which most students go on to study at. 

The school follows the English National Curriculum and is often an over-subscribed option, thanks to its quality, location, and popularity. Most students at this school are UK passport holders but there are other nationalities in attendance also. 

Kings’ School Dubai 

The Kings’ School Dubai used to be called the Kings’ College Dubai and British International School in Dubai, but it was recently change and renovated. The school followed the English National Curriculum and is a co-ed primary school, for children between 3 to 11 years of age. The school has around 940 students on its books, meaning small class sizes. It’s advisable to register your interest in this school as early as possible, thanks to its popularity. 

This school is part of a group of three, with the others being the Al Barsha and Nad Al Sheba location. Most children who study at this particular primary school go on to the Al Barsha campus which encompasses secondary education as well as A Levels. Many students then go to UK universities or even in the US. 

GEMS Wellington International School  

Another school owned by the GEMS partnership is the GEMS Wellington International School. This school is primary and secondary rolled into one, catering for children from ages 3 to 18 years. It is a co-ed day school and has around 2690 students enrolled. This is another very popular option for English speaking families in the Dubai area. Another claim to fame is that the school’s patron is Prince Michael of Kent. 

This school followed the English National Curriculum as well as options for International Baccalaureate in years 12 & 13. Students attending this school generally do very well, with many students achieving A or A star grades at A level. 

GEMS World Academy Dubai

This particular English speaking school was formerly known as the GEMS World School but changed its name recently. It is a co-ed day school for children between the ages of 5 to 18 years, offering an English National Curriculum education, along with IB Diploma and BTEC options in the secondary portion. There are around 1550 students enrolled and it is another very popular choice for international families in the area. 

The school was founded in 2008 and is part of the GEMS group. Located in Al Bashra South, the location is ideal for families and the campus is very large, with a pool of olympic size and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including rock climbing. Students are encouraged to take on plenty of extra-curricular activities and most go on to register with top UK or US universities following graduation. 

Dubai British School

Dubai British School is an extremely popular choice for UK families moving to Dubai. It is a primary and secondary school, catering for children between the ages of 3 to 18 years, on a co-ed basis. The school is privately owned and has around 1140 students enrolled. 

The school covers the English National Curriculum and also offers GCSEs, A Levels and BTEc studies. Having been in existence since 2004, the school is partly owned by Dubai’s Government.

Dubai British School has a large campus and is located on Emirates Hills. Students can take part in the popular Duke of Edinburgh International Award and most students go on to enrol with top universities in both the US and UK following graduation. 

This is another very popular option which is best to register your interest in early. It is often oversubscribed. 

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