Top ten secondary schools in the UAE

Indira Kasaeva walks you through the best secondary schools in the country
Brainstorm By Indira Kasaeva
Published on March 4, 2015
top schools in uae

Secondary schools determine how smoothly you will transition from school into college.  From education to extra-curricular activities, every aspect of school plays an important role in the formation of a smart child. UAE offers a wide variety of curriculums and international schools.  The UAE Knowledge and Human Development Authority for 2013-2014 posted the results of their inspections based on their findings, parents’ feedback and students’ satisfaction.  There are twelve schools rated as ‘outstanding’ and most of them teach UK curriculum. We’ve picked the top secondary schools in three systems; UK, US and Indian. Be aware that demand for places in these schools is huge, so it is strongly advised you start the application process as early as possible. For transfer students from other countries, school transcripts must be attested by the Ministry of Education of the UAE.

GEMS Wellington International School Dubai
KHDA has rated WISD as one of the top schools. The education is carried out in UK curriculum in state of the art facilities.
Admission requirements
Parents need to fill out the online registration form and the child must take an age based placement test for the school to access the basic education levels. There is also a list of required documents which include the Original Transfer Certificate from the previous school, passport size photos, UAE National ID copies and other certificated required for admission. For more information go to
In the event that your child is accepted, a fee of Dh10, 000 must be paid to secure a place. The annual tuition fee for grade seven to nine is Dh63,337. After grade nine the price hikes up to Dh79, 343 for grade 13. Other expenses such as books and uniforms come at a separate cost.

Jumeirah College Dubai
JCD is a secondary school aimed solely at preparing students for university. Stage four students prepare for the GSCE exam, while stage five aims for Advanced Level courses. All students prepare for all Key Stage SATs, GCSE examinations, AS and A2 levels. Moreover, the school registered with Department for Education and Skills in London, serves as a registered centre for all U.K. examination boards.
Admission Requirements
The basic entry requirement for grade 7 is that a student must score well on the school’s Cognitive Ability Test and demonstrate a strong academic standing with interests in extra-curricular activities. Applying to the Sixth Form is tougher; the minimum required scores in the GSCE exams are four B grades and two C grades. Due to the huge amount of enrolled students the number of available seats is very limited, so the competition is very high. For all the details visit
As part of the GEMS group, there is a Dh500 application fee and Dh10, 000 deposit fee to secure in case of acceptance. From grade seven to grade 13 the tuition fees slowly accumulate from Dh60, 579 to Dh75, 724. Other fees for educational visits, uniform and other requirements are paid separately.

Dubai College
A British secondary school established in 1978, the school teaches children from age 11 to 16. The KHDA ranks the Dubai College as one of the best in its rankings.
There is an assessment test for all applying students.  Grade seven entry requirements are basic; the documents required are the application form, passport and visa copies, and a fifth grade school report. For grades 8 to 10, the same documents along with the latest school report, but only if places are available. There is no admission to year 11 and year 13 due to the fact that year 11 is the second year of the GSCE course, and grade 13 is the second year of the A levels.  For year 12 admission you need a completed application form along with the four preferred A level subjects. The applicant’s school will be contacted for GSCE grade predictions.
Each term costs Dh23, 947 and the school year consists of three terms totalling in Dh71, 841. There are extra charges as deposits for loss and damage of school property and extra music classes.

Dubai English Speaking College
One of the oldest British schools in Dubai, DESC is located at Academic city.  Students in grades 7 to 9 study all subjects, while in year 10 and 11 students pick subjects for their GSCE examinations. The last two years of school students engage in the AS and A level GCE examinations.
DESC has three separate application groups. The first application is for year seven to be filled out and submitted along with required documents mentioned in the application. The second category is applications for grades 8 to 10, keep in mind that each grade has its own application pack. All the documents can be found on the school’s website.  There is no admission for year 11. And the third category is the Sixth Form application which is applying for grades 12 and 13. There is a list of entry requirements for grade 12, stating from the minimum grade students need to obtain in each subject. For all references visit
From grade 7 to grade 11 the annual tuition fee is Dh69,364, while grades 12 and 13 will cost Dh74,553. There is a payment structure in place stating payment deadlines.

Indian High School Dubai- Oud Metha
The Indian High School was established in 1961 and has three branches within the UAE. IHS provides an ideal platform and high standards for those seeking an Indian education.  The schools follow the CBSE curriculum. It was marked as outstanding by the KHDA for the past three years.
The school is open for admission only to students residing in Dubai. Students must pass the eligibility test and a personal interview. There are different requirements, depending on which school you transfer from. Best advice is to visit the school for more details. For registration and online application  visit
The fees rise from grade 7 to 12, starting off with Dh4, 752 and ending with Dh7, 426. The following tuition prices are very low compared to other schools ranked as outstanding by the KHDA.

GEMS Dubai American Academy
DAA is the only US curriculum school rated as outstanding by the KHDA.  One of the school’s best features is the special International Baccalaureate Diploma program which allows students to enrol into top universities around the world.
Students are evaluated based on three integral parts which are the application, past school transcripts and the entrance assessment test. For mathematics, students must take a High School Math Placement test, as for those applying to grades 11 and 12 they must take the International Baccalaureate Maths Test. The second assessment is comprised of a student essay and the Stanford Test of Basic Skills.
The annual fee in DAA is Dh71, 594 including text books that are loaned for a year. If admission is approved, to secure a seat you’ll need to deposit Dh 10,000 as well as additional registration fees.

American School of Dubai
ASD is an independent community school following the US curriculum that prepares students for college, offering subjects and AP courses. The school has been ranked as ‘Good’ in overall performance each year since 2008.
You can easily e-mail an application through the school’s website. The list of documents required for the general applications is there, including links for application packages for high school years. There is a packet of documents to be gathered and numerous forms to be filled out. You can find all the required information at
Annual fees are the same from grade 7 to 9 which are Dh27, 987 and slightly higher — Dh34, 581 for the last three grades.

Al Ittihad Private School Jumeirah
The school has a strong US curriculum, with a solid focus on Arabic language and Islamic studies.
Beside placements tests in math and English like in other schools, students also need to pass a test in Arabic.  New students for the first five weeks are on probation period.  Plus, there are numerous forms to fill out for the registration. All details can be found here!admissions/c10ux
The tuition annual fee is the same from grade seven to grade nine — Dh27, 985. The price for grades 10 to 12 is Dh34, 580. There are also other costs to be considered for books and other activities.

Al Mizhar American Academy School
Located in Mirdif, Al Mizhar offers a truly American education for girls. The school has been rated with good overall performance since 2008.
You must first gather all required documents and fill out the online application form. Early application is encouraged. When your application has gone through, the school will set a date for an English and math assessment test. If you are admitted, then you will be requested to deposit a fee to secure your child’s place.  For all the admission information go visit
The tuition is split into two categories; from grade 5 to 8 the cost is Dh50,397 per year and from grade 9 to 12 it’s Dh56,831. Additional costs include transportation, uniforms and books. If you get accepted, you must deposit Dh7,000 to secure your place (the money will be counted towards the tuition fees).

Dubai International Private School
A US curriculum school upholding Arabic traditions and values while providing an international education. The curriculum is based on guidelines of the US Common Core Standards in core subjects. Students are taught in English language, while Arabic language and Islamic Studies are mandatory courses for Arabs.
You have to visit the school and fill out the application form, if places are available, the school will contact you and instruct you on next actions. There is admission priority for already enrolled students’ siblings, students transferring from a sister school and for students with highest entrance exam results.
The schools fee structure is as follows: Grade 7 and 8 – Dh15,011; grades 9 and 10 – Dh16,468; grade 11 – Dh18,071 and grade 12 is Dh19, 676. There are additional costs for French language, computer courses, books and uniforms.


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One comment on “Top ten secondary schools in the UAE”

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