When it comes to choosing a school, these are the things you should consider:
  • Curriculum: This will be based on your nationality and your future plans.
  • KHDA rankings: This government organisation inspects and regulates all schools and ranks them accordingly.
  • School fees: These can vary considerably.
  • School transport: Dubai traffic can turn a short journey into a tedious everyday trek - check for the availability of school transport.
Local schools are restricted primarily to Arabic speaking Emiratis, so you will need to enrol your child into a private school. Although prices can be high, your child will learn Arabic and other languages from a young age, the facilities are world-class, and classes are a melting pot of nationalities.

Having selected a school, you will need to register your child on the waiting list as soon as possible. There's usually a non-refundable Dhs.500 deposit. If places are available, your child will be assessed and then either offered a place or placed on a waiting list. Assessments are usually held at the child’s nursery or at the school, and tend to just ‘observe’ the child at play. It’s a stressful time for parents, especially as schools’ registration procedures happen at different times of the year; apply to three or four schools and you are more than likely to get a place. Your chances increase with siblings, who get priority, or if your child is in an affiliated nursery. 

In August 2014, Dubai's governing education board, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), announced that a total of 11 private schools would be opening during the 2014-2015 academic year.

The new establishments will provide an additional 23,000 school places in the emirate and boost the overall number of schools in Dubai to 169. Eight will offer a UK curriculum, two will combine a UK and IB programme, and a further two schools will follow the Indian curriculum. The first Canadian school in Dubai is also set to open in September.

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