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Schooling in Dubai

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​Each year, Dubai attracts thousands of expats who move to the city in pursuit of a better quality of life for their families. Not only this, but the opportunities for talented teachers here are pretty fabulous. In turn, as Dubai's growth continues, the number of educational opportunities for children correspondingly rises.

The city offers an impressive array of high-quality, secure schools, featuring globally-recognized curricula and amenities, all at varying price points.

However, locating a school that is budget-friendly, international, and open to new enrollments can be a difficult task for parents.

How it works

Dubai’s education structure comprises both public and private institutions, with private schools delivering 90% of the education.

Many of these private institutions offer curricula from countries like the USA, UK, France, Russia and India among others.

In the UAE, public education is free and mandatory for Emirati children up to secondary level. Equally important to know, state schools are gender-segregated.

Although expat children can now attend state schools for a fee, they mostly teach in Arabic, leading many expats to choose private schools for their kids.

Pre-school / Nurseries

  • Available from ages 3 months up until turning 4 years old, but is recommended from 12 months onwards.

  • You can choose a nursery with your national curriculum.

  • Usually open 4-5 hours per day but some offer early morning/late evenings too.

  • May have waitlists, up to 2 years for the most popular, so it's a good idea to start researching early.

Top rated & prices

  • Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS)

  • Kangaroo Kids Nursery

  • Great Minds Early Childhood Centre

  • British Orchard Nursery

  • Learning Ladder Nursery

  • Green Grass Nursery

  • Tiny Town

FS1 - age 3 - AED33,658 / $9,163 / £7,073

KG1 - age 4 - AED27,640 / $7,525 / £5,808

KG2 - age 5 - AED29,872 / $8,133 / £6,277

Special educational needs

The UAE has schools dedicated to students with special educational needs, reflecting the government's commitment to inclusive education. Some schools integrate special needs education within conventional classrooms, while others exclusively serve special needs students early.

While some schools are better equipped than others, it is mandatory that all schools in Dubai are able to cater for special education needs, in some capacity.

Primary school

  • Globally recognized curricula including UK, Canadian, Swiss, Italian, USA, Iran and more.

  • Fantastic facilities including high-quality science labs, music rooms, art rooms, swimming pools, astroturfs, auditoriums and more.

  • Extracurricular activities including dancing, all types of sports, arts, crafts, painting, drama and more.

  • Starting from age 6.

  • Usually, primary and secondary schools are on the same premises.

  • Primary is classed as Grade 1-6 until child reaches 11.

Top rated & prices

  • Victory Heights Primary School

  • GEMS Jumeriah School

  • Repton

  • Dubai British School

  • Jebel Ali School

  • American School of Dubai

Fees range from:

AED 7-55K (depending on quality of school) per year.

Middle & secondary school

  • Private middle/secondary schools in the UAE host more than 720,000 of the country’s students with nationalities from across the globe.

  • You will find international schools that follow British, Irish, Indian, Canadian, French and German educational models, among others.

  • Covers the ages 11-16/17.

  • Including the Advanced Placement, SAT, IB Diploma, GCSE, GCE Advanced level and CBSE.

  • Many secondary schools in Dubai are renowned for their comprehensive approach to nurturing their students' development.

Top rated & prices

  • Dubai British School

  • Dubai English Speaking School & College

  • GEMS Dubai American Academy

  • Jumeriah Collage

  • The Indian High School

  • Pristine Private School

Fees range from:

AED 14-65K per year (depending on quality of school).


  • Some schools offer discounts so it’s always worth checking

  • Location & transport, is there a school bus?

  • Has the school won awards, been recognised for excellence?

  • Values and ethos of the school, does it align with yours?

  • Is the school known for its facilities / extra curricular?

  • Ratings and Reviews - the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is responsible for regulating and inspecting all private schools in Dubai.

  • Ever thought about homeschooling? You can find quality homeschooling alternatives ranging from $1,000 (Dh3,672) to $3,000 (Dh11,000) annually, also contingent on the curriculum.

How to apply

You have found a school, been on a tour and are ready to proceed with the application. What’s next?

  • Fill out the online application form.

  • Submit the necessary documents as specified by the school, schedule an evaluation and settle any application charges.

  • Post-assessment, you should get an offer letter. Sign the letter and make the necessary deposit, typically within five days of receipt. Until payment is made, the spot might not be guaranteed. Some may find themselves on a waiting list, but these spots tend to open up quickly.

(Assessments are often prerequisites for elite schools and vary depending on age. Some carry a non-refundable fee of up to Dh1,000.)

You will need - UAE visa pages, Emirates ID, passport-size photographs, copy of the child's birth certificate, their school records for the last two years, immunisation records and a school transfer certificate.

If you need help with relocation or are looking for a tech/digital role in Dubai please get in touch with us today.

We would love to help you!

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