Top International Schools in UAE: The Ultimate Guide

UAETop International Schools in UAE: The Ultimate Guide

Top International Schools in UAE


I. Introduction

II. The State of International Education in UAE
III. Diverse Curriculum Choices in International Schools


IV. Deep Dive into Top International Schools in UAE
V. Evaluating School Facilities and Extracurricular Activities
VI. Cost Analysis: Understanding Fee Structures

VIII. Conclusion

Education is a foundational pillar of a prosperous society, and nowhere is this more evident than in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With a burgeoning population of expatriates from diverse backgrounds, the demand for quality international education has grown exponentially over the past few decades. For expat families, particularly, finding a school to provide their children with a globally recognized education is paramount.

The State of International Education in UAE

Since the early 2000s, the UAE has seen a significant increase in the number of international schools, with the count surpassing 600 as of 2023. This rapid growth can be largely attributed to the UAE’s strategy of positioning itself as a hub for private education, attracting students from around the globe.

Such strategic positioning, world-class infrastructure, and the embracement of cutting-edge teaching methodologies have fostered an environment conducive to high-quality education. This rising significance of the UAE in global private education has made it an attractive destination for expat families seeking quality education for their children.

Diverse Curriculum Choices in International Schools

A unique feature of the UAE’s international education landscape is the vast array of curriculum choices available to students. These include the UK curriculum, the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, and the Swiss curriculum. These curricula allow students to gain a diverse academic experience and a broader perspective on global issues.

A diverse range of curriculums helps prepare students for an increasingly globalized world. It instills in them the capacity to think critically and approach problems from many perspectives. Furthermore, it paves the way for easier transitions to universities worldwide.

Deep Dive into Top International Schools in UAE

A. The British International School Abu Dhabi

Top International Schools in UAE
The British International School Abu Dhabi, established in 2009, is a part of the Nord Anglia Education Group, which provides British education to over 50,000 students in 55 international schools worldwide. Located in Abu Dhabi, the school has over 1700 students from more than 70 nationalities. It is rated as a Band A, Very Good High Performing School by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).

The school offers the English National Curriculum for FS1 – Year 11 students and the IB Diploma Programme for Year 12 and Year 13. With a “Be Ambitious” motto, the school fosters a high expectations and excellence culture, preparing students for global citizenship and success in the 21st century​​.

B. Swiss International School Dubai

Top International Schools in UAE
Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD), located in Dubai Healthcare City, Phase 2, Al Jaddaf, Dubai, is an international school founded by Omar Danial in 2012. The school was established with the help of personal investments, a local bank, and the backing of the prominent Seddiqi family.

SISD caters to over 1,200 students of more than 70 nationalities. The school provides a multilingual curriculum in the form of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, including the IB Primary Years Programme, IB Middle Years Programme, IB Diploma Programme, and Career-related Programme for Pre-KG to Grade 12. In addition, SISD is Dubai’s first private school to offer multilingual education in French, English, German, and Arabic.

The school offers three different study streams: English+ with additional languages (Arabic and French or German) and a personalized STEAM program from Pre-KG to Grade 5; bilingual English-French; and English-German. The English+ program integrates transdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics education into the curriculum, conforming to the IB curriculum and technology education standards such as the Next Generation Science Standards, International Standards for Technology Education, and UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development.

Facilities at SISD include Innovation Labs that support STEM education and contain programming, robotics, app development, 3D printing, and design equipment. There are also music and dance studios and art and design rooms. The school provides access to sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, an Olympic swimming pool, soccer fields, and a gym. The school also includes boarding houses for ages 11-17, offering full-time, weekly, and flexi-boarding options.

C. Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi

Top International Schools in UAE

At Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi, there is truly no limit to what a child can achieve. Slated to open its doors on Al Reem Island in August 2023, this purpose-built campus is set to inspire children with its world-class teaching, exceptional facilities, and unique learning experiences. It’s meticulously planned to foster students’ personal, social, and academic growth, making every part of the campus a conducive learning environment.

At NAS Abu Dhabi, the students are on a journey of success, traversing a carefully crafted curriculum pathway from the early years to the sixth form. This learning experience is enhanced by the guidance of exceptional British and international teachers, setting the stage for impressive academic results that pave the way to higher education opportunities worldwide.

Every second student from Nord Anglia moves on to study at one of the world’s top 100 universities. Prestigious institutions like Cambridge, Stanford, and Imperial College London feature prominently in the list of destinations for Nord Anglia graduates.

But it’s not just about academics. At NAS Abu Dhabi, students are offered a broad spectrum of global learning experiences that nurture their creativity and resilience while cultivating their unique passions and talents. It includes collaborations with prestigious institutions like Apple, The Juilliard School, UNICEF, and MIT. And that’s not all – students also embark on life-changing trips, participate in expeditions, and engage in various enrichment activities, making their learning journey truly extraordinary.

D. Shining Star International School

Shining Star International School, based in Abu Dhabi, takes pride in being a top-tier International School that holds full accreditation with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). CBSE is the largest examination-conducting entity worldwide. It’s worth noting that beyond the 20,000+ CBSE-accredited schools in India, there are over 200 more such fully accredited schools spanning 28 countries. Shining Star provides an excellent educational environment for international students.

At Shining Star, the students are provided with a well-rounded education covering various subjects and supplemented with various extracurricular activities. This approach aids in developing and refining a broad spectrum of skills for the students.

The curriculum at Shining Star is grounded in research and crafted to challenge students of differing abilities. The focus is on fostering critical thinking and encouraging creative expression, which is crucial in helping the students excel in academic and social domains. The aim is to nurture children who grow up to be responsible citizens armed with a wealth of knowledge and a heart full of kindness.

The school boasts a team of professionally qualified teachers who work closely with students in small groups, guaranteeing that each child receives ample time and attention. These teachers wholeheartedly work to provide students with all the necessary tools to flourish as global citizens of distinction.

After school, Shining Star offers a variety of activities such as Yoga, Martial arts, Football, Cricket, Abacus, Robotics, Gardening, Nature clubs, Book clubs, Art and Craft camps, Drama, Music, and Dance.

E. Virginia International Private school

Virginia International Private School stands out because its American-based curriculum strongly emphasizes Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) subjects. The school boasts a diverse teaching staff from the United States, the UK, Ireland, and Canada. These teachers range in experience levels from junior to senior, ensuring a comprehensive blend of teaching methods and expertise.

The school maintains a healthy student-to-teacher ratio, with an average class size of 22 students and a maximum of 24 students per classroom. This approach allows for personalized attention and an enhanced learning environment for each student.

A notable feature of Virginia International Private School is its cutting-edge technological infrastructure. The school offers an advanced IT environment that supports high-level academic program delivery. Every classroom has Promethean boards, an interactive technology that enriches the learning experience and makes lessons more engaging.

This school represents a significant addition to the Abu Dhabi educational landscape, providing a valuable solution for families seeking high-quality, American-style education. Virginia International Private School fills an important niche with a limited number of such schools currently in the region.

A set of core goals guides the school. These include nurturing the national identity of students and promoting inclusivity. Creating a safe, stimulating environment is also a top priority, as is fostering the holistic development of each student’s character. Further emphasis is on instilling essential values such as character building, leadership, academic excellence, and social skills. The school’s approach aims to educate and shape well-rounded individuals prepared for future challenges.

Evaluating School Facilities and Extracurricular Activities

In addition to a strong academic curriculum, facilities, and extracurricular activities play a crucial role in the overall development of students. They nurture creativity, enhance physical health, foster teamwork, and build leadership skills.

Top International Schools in UAE like the British International School Abu Dhabi and the Swiss International School Dubai have state-of-the-art facilities. These facilities include well-equipped laboratories, libraries, music rooms, and sports facilities. These institutions understand that extracurricular activities significantly develop well-rounded students. Therefore the schools offer various clubs and societies to cater to different interests.

Cost Analysis: Understanding Fee Structures

The cost of education in the UAE varies significantly depending on the school choice. The fees range from AED 5,000 to AED 130,000 per annum. Parents need to understand the breakdown of these fees to plan effectively. Tuition makes up most of the cost. Other fees may include application fees, registration fees, and charges for extracurricular activities.


A. What curriculum do most international schools in UAE follow?

Most Top International Schools in UAE follow the British or American curriculum, though several offer IB and Swiss curriculums.

B. How does the quality of education in the UAE compare with other countries?

Regarding quality, education in the UAE is comparable to that in other developed nations. It has schools that are consistently achieving high scores in international assessments.

C. Are there scholarships or financial aid available in these schools?

Financial aids and scholarships vary by school but are generally available, particularly for students demonstrating exceptional academic or athletic abilities.

D. What is the process of admission to these schools?

The admission process typically involves an application form, an entrance exam or assessment, and an interview. Schools generally have dedicated staff to support international students and their families through this process.


The UAE offers many high-quality international education options tailored to suit the diverse needs of its expatriate population. The country’s emphasis on providing world-class education reflects its commitment to nurturing the next generation of global citizens. Therefore, selecting the right school is a crucial decision. With the variety and quality of schools available in the UAE, parents can rest assured their children will receive an exceptional education.

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