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Ambassador International Academy, Al Khail Gate – The First Review 2020
Photograph of the main school buildings of Ambassador International Academy school in Dubai
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Ambassador International Academy, Al Khail Gate – The First Review 2020

by Jon WestleyOctober 28, 2020

Background – Ambassador International School, Al Khail Gate.

Artists impression of Ambassador International Academy school in Dubai

“The curriculum at Ambassador International Academy is extraordinarily exciting.

This comes on top of truly outstanding, incredible facilities across Sport, the Performing Arts, Technology, Innovation and Science – and a 600 seat auditorium that many schools can only aspire to have for their children.”

So, yes the facilities and curriculum opportunities are amazing. The curriculum is extraordinary in its breadth of pathways. But the most amazing thing are our teachers. 90% of our teachers are expat. 10% are drawn from India. All have between 4 and 10 years experience and all have undergone intensive training by the IB Organisation. Our Arabic teaching faculty too are of the very highest quality.

During Distance Learning, we were one of a very elite number of schools in Dubai that secured all 13 themes rated “Completely Developed” by the KHDA. This proves the quality and calibre of our teaching faculty and focus on outstanding teacher recruitment.

This is an international school with a deeply international mix of students. It is this international mix of students that goes to the heart of what the IB stands for.

Ambassador International Academy is a school in which children, above all, are happy and feel safe. These are the two core foundations of ensuring engaged children who make rapid academic and whole child progress.


Centrally located, we are accessible to parents across Dubai.

As it stands today too, this is Dubai’s only affordable IB school.”

James Lynch. Founding Principal. Ambassador International School Dubai. 

A new school, currently open to Grade 7, Ambassador International Academy is a very difficult school to pigeon hole.  IB school? British curriculum school? Premium School? Value School? In many ways it is arguably all of these things.

What we shall attempt to do in this review is to provide parents with an understanding of the unique structure of education at Ambassador International Academy and what makes its offer different and valuable for families.

At first look, Ambassador International Academy is an International Baccalaureate School offering the full IB programme:

  • International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP)
  • International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IB CP), founded on British BTEC.

However, it sets itself apart by also offering its students a choice, at age 14, to switch into a British, English National Curriculum education to study for

  • IGCSE; and then, at age 16,
  • A’ Levels

For Sixth Form, students can remain in the British stream to study A’ Levels or the IB Stream to study either the Diploma or Career-related programme. However, they can also switch out of the British curriculum into study for the Diploma or switch out of the IB system to study A’ Levels. BTEC is available, but only through the International Career-related Programme.

There are some further complexities, which we explore under “Curriculum” below, together with an analysis of why the ambition here is significant (as well as rare). Bottom line, however, is that if fees for Sixth Form study fall under AED 60,000, as we expect to be the case based on the current fee structure, Ambassador International Academy will be by far the least expensive school offering the full IB with a British GCSE and A’ Level pathway in the UAE.

When the fee structure for Ambassador International Academy was first mooted, many believed what it promised would simply not be deliverable at the proposed level of fees. The school has, however, proved its critics wrong by opening on time, with a significant founding role and with hugely positive reports from the IB Organisation, the KHDA and parents. So how has it achieved this prima facie extraordinary ROI – and what, if one, is the catch?

To start at the  beginning, Ambassador International Academy occupies a 4 acre site at Al Khail Gate and, on completion of its phased opening, will offer an all-through education for students between age 3 and age 19.

Currently the school educates 600 children with a capacity role on full opening of 2000.

Centrally located,  just off the Al Khail Road, its catchment area stretches from Downtown Dubai, Arabian Ranches and Jumeirah to DSO, Deira, Al Barsha and Al Garhoud. The transport network ensures that the school is easily accessible from across Dubai. Business Bay, for example, is only 12 minutes away by road.

Map showing directions to and the location of Ambassador International Academy school in Dubai


School Timing 


Age of Admission

School Ownership

Photograph of Kamal Kalwani, Co-founder and Vice-Chairperson of Ambassador International Academy - the first IB continuum school in the UAE established to offer an affordable IB Diploma education to families in Dubai

“Dr. Siva Kumari, the Director General of the International Baccalaureate stated in 2019 that “tuition fees charged by private schools in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) are very high, unlike elsewhere in the world.

Today, the fees at IB Schools in Dubai average AED 52,800 at Kindergarten(KG); AED 65,000 at Primary phase (Grades 1-5); AED 83,000 for Middle School (Grades 6-10); and AED 95,000 for Sixth Form (Grades 11 & 12).

These high fees make the world-class IB education program inaccessible to most residents of our emirate.

Being true to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and the United Arab Emirates’ values of international mindedness, tolerance and inclusion, Ambassador International Academy addresses this gap.

We endeavour to make an IB education accessible to a much greater number of families in Dubai.”

Kamal Kalwani, Co-founder and Vice-Chairperson of Ambassador International Academy, Dubai; Ambassador School, Dubai; Ambassador Kindergarten (Dubai); and, Ambassador School (Sharjah).


School Leadership

Photograph of James Lynch, Founding Principal of the new Ambassador International Academy in Dubai. The school offers a dual IB and British English National Curriculum education culminating in the IB Diploa and A Levels respectively. founded

“I am very proud of our teachers, our teaching assistants, our parents and students in the way we have all joined together to deal with the complexities of the Covid 19 pandemic. Despite these challenges we have secured an outstanding first report from the IB organisation. I am confident that when we have our first KHDA Inspection next year the achievements we have made will be recognised. Of course we aim for Outstanding School status, but it is not a tick box. It is a journey. I genuinely believe we could not have achieved any more than we have to date – and the future is tremendously exciting.

I have many heroes and heroines that have inspired me. Some sporting, some political, some inventors. But the one individual that stands out as an influence in both my personal and in my professional life is Barack Obama. His emotional intelligence, his political skills, his influence on the world, he achieved so much. He inspired and changed the world for the better. He left a legacy to people across the world that we can all achieve our dreams – that if you are passionate about something, and if it is honourable and morally right, it should and can happen. He is someone for me that is very special. I sincerely hope that parents and children will feel some of his extraordinary spirit in my school.”

James Lynch. Founding Principal. Ambassador International School. 

Founding Principal of Ambassador International Academy, James Lynch, brings to the school more than two decade’s experience in education drawn from schools across the UK and Middle East. Mr Lynch is a pure educationalist by training and conviction, securing his Bachelors in Education and his Master in Educational Leadership from the Graduate School of Education at the Russell Group University of Exeter.

He comes to Ambassador International Academy following his Headship of Innoventures’ Dubai International Academy and his leading Secondary provision at Raffles World Academy, both of which secured KHDA Very Good with Outstanding features accreditation under his leadership.

At Raffles World Academy, Mr Lynch played a pivotal role in introducing technical streams for BTEC and the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme to enhance pathways for students.

In the UK, Mr Lynch’s role in school leadership saw his school securing top 2% in value-add scoring of any school in the UK and attaining OFSTED Outstanding School status.

We met Mr Lynch at Ambassador International Academy first in 2019 as he established the school and on occasions later throughout 2019 and 2020 as he has bedded in provision. Sincere, warm, genuine and inspirational, his commitment to children and to deliver an outstanding education at the school is defined and strategic. His ambition and bigger picture thinking is hugely compassionate and engaging. There is absolutely no doubt that Mr Lynch is deeply committed to the school and the success of the children for whom he is ultimately responsible. He is also absolutely insistent that he is delivering a Tier 1 IB education for children.

We rate the calibre of leadership at Ambassador International Academy as outstanding. Recognition of this led to Mr Lynch being shortlisted as one of the Best Principals in the UAE by independent judges in our Top School Awards 2019-20.


Teaching Faculty

“The affordable school fees at Ambassador International Academy are not the result of any compromise on quality and standards.  The average teaching experience of our faculty is 10.9 years – and we are very proud to have retained all our teaching staff.

The teacher–student ratio at AIA Dubai is limited to 1:8 in the Kindergarten and 1 :14 in the Primary School. These result in personalised attention and greater rates of progress for all our students.”

James Lynch. Founding Principal. Ambassador International School Dubai.









Quotes from parents

“My daughter moved from a very highly rated British school in Dubai.

She was a little nervous but I’m very happy to say she had a great first day at school and has not looked back.

Her teacher has done everything in his capacity to ensure a great and comfortable start for every child.

The care for children and the way the school is managing Covid 19 is absolutely amazing.

Very impressed.”

Dia Ballani. Parent. Ambassador International Academy Dubai. 

“I highly recommend Ambassador International Academy.

It is the best affordable IB school in Dubai.

AIA has wonderful staff and professional, helpful teachers.

AIA really promotes the academic achievement of children.

Hats off to AIA.”

Arfa Queshi. Parent. Ambassador International Academy Dubai. 

“AIA provides schooling that not only promotes academic growth but also helps children develop their creativity, social skills, and critical thinking.

Our school nurtures their strengths and their whole child development.

They are hugely supportive of parents too giving us a voice in the development of the school.”

Rakhi Raghavan. Parent. Ambassador International Academy Dubai. 


Quotes from Students

“What do I think that AIA succeeds at above all? For me it is having good teachers who encourage students to develop academically and challenge themselves.

Students have positive relationships with the teachers and their is a strong sense of shared school identity too between the students.

Our school is very new and everyone can relate to each other.

There are students from all over the world at AIA and everybody shares their experiences with one another.”

Maximilian Opitz. Grade 6. IB MYP Student. Ambassador International Academy Dubai.

“I am new to this school and what I’ve found so far is that the learning is very effective. Whatever I learn, I learn it in a fun way.

I love just how many skills I acquire in just one single school day!

The outdoor spaces are fabulous, and I love spending time with the new people I have met since joining Ambassador International Academy.”

Mukilan Karikalan. Grade 5.  IB PYP Student.  Ambassador International Academy.



Facilities are extensive and Tier 1.

We rate the level of provision outstanding. Full details follow:

1. KG and Primary

  • Fully independent Early Learning Years environment
  • Independent KG Library
  • Independent Primary Library
  • Dance Studio
  • Light, spacious and well equipped classrooms
  • Independent physics lab
  • Beautiful, shaded Learners Pool

Beautiful mosaic dedicated KG swimming pool at Dubai International Academy school in Dubai highlighting its shaded setting to protect younger children from the sun

  • Independent chemistry lab
  • Independent biology lab
  • Independent mathematics lab
  • STEAM Centre (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths).
  • Mobile IT lab
  • Independent IT lab for Primary students
  • Gaming design and coding lab
  • Multiple Play Centres


Dedicated play and learning areas for Primary age children are a feature of Dubai International Academy school in Dubai

2. Main School

  • MATLab (STEAM) – MATLAB is a programming and numeric computing environment used by millions of engineers and scientists to analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models. Add-on toolboxes extend MATLAB for a wide range of tasks and applications. MATLAB Primary and Secondary School Suite includes the same tools used in higher education and by professional engineers and scientists worldwide.
  • Middle School Library
  • Senior School Library
  • Fine Arts studio
  • Music Centre
  • Recording Studio
  • Dance Studio
  • Exhibition Space
  • 650 Capacity Auditorium for Live Performance

  • Tennis courts
  • Football pitch

Photograph of the main sporting fields at Dubai International Academy school in Dubai

  • Cricket nets
  • Athletics track.
  • 25 metre outdoor shaded pool
  • Multipurpose Hall for indoor sports


School Prospectus

Ambassador International Academy School Prospectus 2020


Fees 2020-21

The average fees at AIA Dubai are the following:

  • AED 30,400 in the Kindergarten
  • AED 35,800 in the Primary School (Grades 1-5)
  • AED 40,500 in the Middle School (Grades 6 &7).

On this basis the school calculates that parents at Ambassador International Academy Dubai save AED 22,800 in the Kindergarten, AED 29,000 in the Primary School and AED 40,000 in the Middle School against those fees charged by competing IB schools in Dubai.

Current fees follow:



Pre – KG


International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme

Early Years


KG-1 30,400

International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme

Early Years


KG-2 32,400

International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme

Early Years


Grade 1 34,600

International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme


Grade 2 34,600

International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme


Grade 3 36,600

International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme


Grade 4 36,600

International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme


Grade 5


International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme


Grade 6


International Baccalaureate

Middle Year Programme


Grade 7


International Baccalaureate

Middle Year Programme


Grade 8

Phased Launch

International Baccalaureate

Middle Year Programme


Grade 9

Phased Launch

International Baccalaureate

Middle Year Programme


Grade 10

Phased Launch

International Baccalaureate

Middle Year Programme


Grade 11 Sixth Form

Phased Launch

Blended pathways:

A’ Level and International Baccalaureate

Grade 12 Sixth Form

Phased Launch

Blended pathways:

A’ Level and International Baccalaureate

Further discounts are offered where children have siblings at the school as follows:



To offer a full IB continuum education, one including the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme, at this fee level is ambitious. Rightly parents have asked how this financially stacks up. It becomes an even more pressing question when the school further offers both British, English National Curriculum based IGCSE and A’ Level pathways.

The way that the majority of schools deliver low or lower fees is by recruiting teachers from countries like India. Wages for Indian teachers can be AED 2000 per month. The best British teachers in tier 1 schools can earn ten times this. The single biggest cost faced by schools is the salaries of teachers and school leadership. This accounts for over 90% of the cost of running a school.

We have interrogated Ambassador International Academy on how they are making the fees stack up – understandably parents do need to know what the trade off is for them to be able to deliver what looks like an impossible equation to stack up. So how does it achieve low fees?

  • First, the school does recruit Indian and other second language teachers including those also from Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Arab nations. However, these make up only 25% of total recruitment.  75% of teachers are recruited from Great Britain, South Africa Ireland or other Western ex pat countries. Teachers from expat countries too come on a sliding scale of salary expectations with British faculty commanding the highest salaries.
  • Second, the British, English National Curriculum founded IGCSE and A’ Level pathways will be limited. There will only be two streams offered, the first in Business and the second in Science. Within these subject choice too will be limited.
  • Third, the school offsets the perceived weakness of recruiting non-British teachers (rightly or wrongly who are perceived to be innately less able teachers) by investing very heavily in teacher recruitment that only accepts outstanding teachers to teach in the school, quite regardless of where teachers are recruited from. Every teacher must have a minimum of four years experience and many bring with them up to a decade’s experience. Every teacher at the school is trained by the IB organisation. The school invests further very heavily in an outstanding, exceptionally experienced British Principal and a very experienced (and expensive) leadership team. What is also unstated is that every teacher is expected to have first rate English language skills.
  • The curriculum pathways are not blended. Students must choice either the IB MYP programme at 14 or IGCSE. At Sixth Form, students must choice either the IB DP, or IB CP or A’ Levels. Courses from each pathways cannot be mixed/blended. There is no independent BTEC option, or an opportunity to blend individual IB courses with A’ Levels.
  • The number of IB subject options has not yet been confirmed. When provision does launch, we would be looking for students to be given a choice of 20+ IB subjects.

What does this mean for parents, in practice, weighing up this school?

First, curriculum.

As an IB school, the value proposition here is unarguably exceptional. The commitment here is deep, genuine and comprehensive with both the Diploma and Career-related programme on offer at Sixth Form. The devil will be in the detail with the IB CP and parents will need to look at the subject breadth at BTEC eventually on offer, but these are early days.

There is, of course, a level of trust at play. Parents need to meet with teachers at the school and make up their own minds about their calibre. We are, however, as of November 2020, convinced by the school’s serious commitment to only recruit outstanding, experienced, qualified and passionate teachers. This investment needs to be sustained and ongoing. Parents who want only British or European teaching faculty will, however, need to look elsewhere – and pay over the lifetime of their child’s education up to double the fees for securing this. There is no guarantee if they do seek pure British schools that the teaching will be any better, but for many parents the importance of all teachers being native English speakers is non negotiable.

Ans a British curriculum school, the offer is less convincing. The school recognises this and it is resolutely not trying to be something it is not. Simply, we do not think that the British curriculum pathway should be considered by most parents in weighing up the offer of the school. We believe that Ambassador International Academy must be seen as fundamentally an IB school. It may well also in years to come be an outstanding IB continuum school. It cannot however, as it accepts readily and openly, ever be an outstanding British, English National Curriculum school. Breadth of subject choice at IGCSE and A Level to business and science subjects is just too restricted.

The limited exception to this is likely to be a number of those Indian nationality families who culturally tend to encourage their children to only study subjects in Science and Business. For these Indian families, who believe that their children should only study Medicine or Business related subjects at university, the opportunity to have an alternative A Level based pathway in these subjects will be extremely welcome. For British and European families, the restrictive subject choice at A Level will make this pathway wholly redundant.

The above are the only ways that Ambassador International Academy could be said to “compromise.” Elsewhere the offer is quite exceptional. Facilities are Tier 1 and a real strength of school provision. The whole child ECA focused programme too is outstanding. We particularly like the integration of dedicated support in Mathematics, English and Arabic subjects for children to cover any gaps in knowledge that come as standard without any of the costs face by parents in other schools for private tutors. These are balanced with a Tier 1 enrichment programme, including STEM programmes with MIT, for gifted and talented children in any one of an extensive array of subjects from Dance, Drama and Music to Sport and Programming.


What Makes Ambassador International Academy Special?

The ambition is simple:

  • World class IB programme offering all four IB pathways
  • Outstanding teaching
  • Genuinely international role to meet the ambitions of the IB
  • Happy school dynamics
  • Tier 1 facilities
  • Relatively small school dynamics with a school capacity of 2000 children with independent schooling for young children.
  • Outstanding school leadership.
  • A secondary British, English National Curriculum pathway offering IGCSE and A’ Level Business and Science subjects which we believe will be of primary interest to Indian families.
  • Outstanding whole child provision supported by an integrated ECA programme covering academic subjects and enrichment programmes in areas across the Performing Arts, TEM and Sport in which children are gifted.
  • Affordable fees so that families across the UAE can access a Tier 1 IB education.

It is the last of these that is the fundamental driver of the school. What is being attempted, very genuinely, is a school that can bring an outstanding IB education in reach of families who have been blocked out of an IB education by the fees that this curriculum demands elsewhere. Whilst this is not a not-for-profit school, there is a recognition by Ambassador Education that there is a strong element of “giving back” built into the DNA of the school and that profit will always be limited and placed second place to the needs of parents and students.

Mr Lynch is passionate that there is and will never be any compromise on the school’s promise to recruit only outstanding teaching faculty. We find his case plausible not least because he argues that the recruitment of outstanding teachers is the single most important responsibility of an outstanding school Principal. Mr Lynch knows that he will be judged on this – but he also believes passionately that it is the calibre of teachers that really matters in delivering an outstanding education for children. Facilities and curriculum, for Mr Lynch, are the icing on the cake and no more. It is teachers that really matter.

However, parents seeking only British or European teachers will not find their ambitions met here. These parents may well argue that in this area the school does compromise. Mr Lynch will argue that it is not the nationality of teaching faculty that matters, but their calibre. For many parents this will mean testing their language skills in English.

We do know that many teachers at Ambassador International Academy have been recruited from KHDA Very Good and Outstanding schools and many speak English as their first language.

Mr Lynch is also very clear on his professional view that the IB, overall, and for the vast majority of students, offers a significantly better quality of education than its British GCSE, A’ Level and BTEC founded alternative. Mr Lynch believes in the IB Diploma and Career-related Programmes in powerful ways not matched by his commitment to the alternative British A’ Level.

This is grounded in two decade’s experience in education, much of this leading IB schools – but also in his personal experience with his own children of both British and IB education. It is for this reason that the investment at Ambassador International Academy is IB and not British curriculum focused.

Mr Lynch is open that options for IGCSE and A’ Level will be limited. They are there to meet the needs of a limited number of children – and he is right that the school deserves credit for offering these. 99% of schools don’t. It’s expensive to even offer limited alternative pathway provision – and we have always argued that breadth of pathway and (more importantly) subject provision is one of the most important ways parents should be judging a school. The more options for children provided by any school, the more it will meet the needs of children.

Again, we are also very impressed by the deep commitment to, and investment in, providing catch-up classes to all children in core subjects to help them resolve any gaps or struggles with learning. In most schools, parents have to incur the heavy costs of private tutors. Broader investment in partnerships with MIT and MATLabs only strengthens the school’s case that its investment in Tier 1 enrichment programmes has not been compromised – in fact, it competes with the best (and most expensive) schools in Dubai.

When pressed on what makes Ambassador International Academy special, Mr Lynch told us:

“Bottom line: AIA is a place that Students can dream big.

At the core of everything we do to ensure they can do this – and for it to mean something, is our recruitment of the very best teachers. No compromise. Many are from very good and outstanding schools. Many come from the UK, South Africa, Ireland and Northern Ireland. And what do I mean by the very best teachers? These are the teachers that ensure children succeed. Every single teacher at Ambassador international School is trained by the IB Organisation. The investment in CPD is significant and ongoing.”

Mr Lynch continued:

“So what makes an outstanding school? Six things. Outstanding teachers. Outstanding Professional Development. An outstanding curriculum. Outstanding ECAs and whole child development. Outstanding school leadership. Happy, inspired children. We have and deliver all six.”

Full details of the current IB PYP and MYP programme at Ambassador International School follow:

International Baccalaureate Primary Year Programme (IB PYP) at AIA Dubai

PYP curriculum brochure


International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) at AIA Dubai

MYP Curriculum Brochure


ECA programme

The Ambassador International Academy ECA Programme includes:

  • 20+ Sports
  • Century Tech
  • Arabic and Islamic
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Dance
  • Yoga
  • Visual and Creative
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Broadcast and radio (AIA Radio)


Covid 19

Ambassador International Academy in its first year of operation achieved the “Developed” rating in all 13 of the 13 themes inspected by the Dubai School Inspections Bureau (DSIB) Distance Learning Evaluation (DLE). Overall, only 15 schools out of 207 in Dubai achieved this. Ambassador International Academy, a school only in its first year of operation, was both the only new school and the only International Baccalaureate curriculum school to achieve this accolade:

“We achieved this with the entire learning community – parents, teachers, staff, and governors, collaborating together, to safeguard our students’ learning and well-being.”

James Lynch. Founding Principal. Ambassador International Academy Dubai.


Bottom line? The Verdict 2020-21

“We are very proud to offer an IB education at an affordable price. We have achieved this by significant investment in teachers, facilities, the world’s best curricular – and meeting the needs of every student. There is no compromise in these areas whatsoever.

Moreover, Ambassador School Group expertise in, first, operating Very Good Rated schools in the U.A.E. and, second, helping college and university bound high school students achieve in SAT, ACT and SAT2’s to achieve entrance into top tier universities worldwide through Score Plus – The Princeton Review Middle East, will ensure strong academic outcomes and successful university placement for every Ambassador International Academy student.”

James Lynch. Founding Principal. Ambassador International Academy Dubai.

Mr Lynch asked us to emphasise that his school is here to be different. Ambassador International Academy is offering an affordable education – but he does not want people to question the trade offs that many argue must come with affordable fees. The devil, critics say, is always in the small print. Mr Lynch genuinely, and passionately believes, that “there has been absolutely no compromises on delivering an outstanding education for our children.”

It cannot be overstated how important the leadership of a school is, in practice. An outstanding school leader can deliver schools that achieve well beyond the sum of their parts. Mr Lynch is right. If recruitment is managed effectively so a school only accepts outstanding teachers, the issue of nationalities and salaries becomes utterly irrelevant. His achievements with the IB Organisation and KHDA to date (we have seen both reports) strongly suggest he has achieved just that level of outstanding teacher recruitment.

Measuring the efficacy of teachers over the long term requires time. The school is in phased launch and an absolute verdict is simply not possible.

In other areas of provision however, it is possible to be definite. Facilities are outstanding. They do compete with many schools with twice the fees. The ECA programme too we rate as outstanding. Notwithstanding the limited subject choice of the IGCSE and A Level pathways, it is, too, very creditable that these are being offered at all, let alone at this fee level. They will support the needs of some children.

Finally, school leadership here is genuinely outstanding – and supported by Ambassador Education. To secure Mr Lynch, they did need to meet his demands not to compromise. Ambassador Education does deserve credit on two fronts. First, they have put the needs of students before profit – there is a genuine ambition to give back to the UAE here. Second, this commitment to invest in children on this scale carries high reputational risk – they are putting their name to a promise – and to delivering on that promise. Parents are not interested in get-out clauses – they will measure a school, and Ambassador Education, on how it delivers for their child, and no less.

Bottom line? This is an ambitious, exciting and hugely inspirational school that shines in its ambition and integrity of articulating what it both can and cannot do for children. This is not a school built on marketing fluff, but a strategic vision. The level of ambition means that its success will need to be measured over time – but there is more than enough here to give parents confidence. We are impressed – and for a new school at this stage of its journey that is really saying something.


© 2020.


Details to consider
2018/19 Overall ADEK / KHDA Rating

Expected 2022.

2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

NA - New school in Phased Launch

2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

NA - New school in Phased Launch

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

NA - New school in Phased Launch

Type of school

Private, for-profit

Average Cost Per Year

Pre-KG: AED 28,400
KG1: AED 30,400
KG2: AED 32,400
Grade 1: AED 34,600
Grade 2: AED 34,600
Grade 3: AED 36,600
Grade 4: AED 36,600
Grade 5: AED 36,600
Grade 6: AED 39,000
Grade 7: AED 42,000
Grade 8: AED Phased launch TBC
Grade 9: AED Phased launch TBC
Grade 10: AED Phased launch TBC
Grade 11: AED Phased launch TBC
Grade 12: AED Phased launch TBC


International Baccalaureate:
* International Baccalaureate PYP
* International Baccalaureate MYP
* International Baccalaureate Diploma
* International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme
* A' Level
* BTEC (only through IB CP)

External Exam Boards

International Baccalaureate
Cambridge International

Number of A Levels offered


A Levels offered

Business subjects and Science subjects ONLY

Number of I/GCSEs Offered


I/GCSEs offered

but will include:
Information Technology (ICT)


Fully, unambiguously inclusive

Waiting list


Value Added

Not published.

Number of Students

601 (November 2020)
(1) Capacity 2000

Teacher to Student Ratio

KG class size: capped maximum 10 students
Primary and Secondary class size: capped maximum class sizes 24 children
Teacher:Student Ratio KG -1:10 (KG)
Teacher:Student Ratio Primary and Secondary - 1:12 (PYP and MYP)

Largest nationality teachers

Expat: 75% (British, Irish, South African)
Indian: 25% Indian, Russian, Pakistani, Filipino and Arab

Year opened

September 2019


Al Khail Gate, Dubai

Student composition

(1) 61 nationalities (November 2020)


Mixed, co-educational

School canteen



Ambassador Education
(1) Hukumat Kalwani, Founder and Chairman
(2) Kamal Kalwani, Vice-Chairman

Admissions Telephone

+971 50 846 4899

Web Address

• Outstanding school leadership
• Commitment to outstanding IB education
• Full IB Continuum schooling including the technical stream Career-related Programme
• Outstanding facilities – Tier 1
• Outstanding ECA programme with balance between academic support and whole child enrichment
• MATLabs
• MIT STEM partnership
• Independent early Years Learning and facilities to protect childhood
• Positive and complimentary feedback from KHDA and IB organisation
• Supportive school ownership putting child welfare and student outcomes before profit
• British curriculum alternative pathway for Business and Science
• Significant investment in high calibre teaching faculty
• Affordable fees with very high ROI


• British curriculum pathways have restricted subject choice
• Not all teaching faculty are British/European
• Final measure of offer will depend on breadth of subject choice within the Diploma course options and breadth of BTEC choice within the CP pathway
• New school – all the opportunities and teething issues that come with the territory

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Huge ambition and credible, outstanding school leadership combine with Tier 1 facilities and a commitment to children make Ambassador International Academy one of the most interesting new school launches in the UAE over the last five years. There is more than enough here for us to be very impressed. Recommended.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]
  • Fahem Al Musa
    February 17, 2022 at 11:57 am

    AIA is an excellent school, nice environment and pleasant teachers

  • Poonam
    February 21, 2022 at 10:12 am

    Highly recommend the school , teachers and management takes personal efforts to ensure each and every children growth ..

  • Marjana
    February 23, 2022 at 11:31 am

    Great school, very nice inspiring teachers, my kids love this school and grew academically even within few months in this school.

  • Thomas Dabbah
    October 19, 2022 at 8:58 am

    Friendly, welcoming and happy environment for kids. As per my experience, in KG level they do care about kids behavior in the class,and they do care about parents feedbacks and they take action to solve it

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