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Top Schools in the UAE – The Awards Official Shortlist 2019
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Top Schools in the UAE – The Awards Official Shortlist 2019

by Jon WestleyFebruary 14, 2019


Top School Awards 2019

As we build up to the Judges’ verdict, to be announced at a glittering event at the Rajmahal Theatre Dubai on March 7th 2019, today we publish our shortlist of the very best schools in the UAE in the running for the top awards.

Over the last six months, in what must be one of the biggest shortlisting exercises of its kind undertaken in the UAE, we have finally arrived at our shortlist of schools in the running for this year’s Top School Awards. 

The Awards recognise the schools that have made the biggest impact with parents, students and our readers over the year, schools which have scored exceptionally on our visits – and those schools that have achieved highly, where applicable, with government school inspectorates.

These schools will now be considered in a final stage by an independent judging panel. Their decision, to decide the top 5-6 schools in each category, and then the eventual winner in each category, will be revealed at a glittering event to be held on March 7th 2019 at the Rajmahal Theatre hosted by Dubai Parks and Resorts.  

2017 was the year we first announced our Top Schools Awards.

The awards made an immediate impact, picked up not just by schools and parents, but also media across the United Arab Emirates. Newspapers and radio complemented our digital reach to help us share the great things happening in schools across the country.
As editors working in the education sector, we come across schools, ideas, leaders and practices that deserve recognition.
Too often however, they do not get it.
Educationalists in general do not need or seek praise in order to do what they do so well – but that does not mean they do not deserve it. In fact, we would argue that showcasing the best helps others and raises standards, giving us all stars and goals to reach for. 
As a result the Awards for 2019 are a little different, and will result in an awards event that will bring together schools, for a single very special night, to celebrate – and give back to – schools for all they have achieved for our children.

Last year we had a single list of Top Schools.

While that made a very interesting list, we felt it meant there were many aspects of education in the Emirates we wanted to shout about, but the format did not offer the opportunity to do so. That’s why this year we have expanded the awards so we can discuss, in detail, every aspect of education.


The aim, this year, has been to provide parents with the most comprehensive guide to the best in education across the board ever produced in the UAE. 

This is what we believe that you can take from this shortlist of our view of the very best performing schools in the UAE.

First, all of the shortlisted schools featured in the following categories, we believe, have something very special to offer the right child. In one or more ways each of the following schools offers something exceptional and innovative.

We believe that every school featured here lights the imagination – and reaches for the stars.

Second, evident in all our schools is a fundamental care for children, a rejection of a blind focus purely on exam statistics and a recognition of the whole child. The focus of all our schools in each category is to see the child as an individual with his or her own gifts, potential, ambition and needs. In subject area awards this means schools will have gone above and beyond to help each child be the very best that they can be. 

Third, you can expect some surprises here too: in key ways a number of the schools featured here re-write the rule book on many of the assumptions that have underpinned education in the Emirates for many years. This is, not least, because of the genuinely extraordinary transformation of education here in recent years, and it must be said that both ADEK and the KHDA, in particular, have played an instrumental role in this story. There are many schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi today that compete on a world stage.

Finally, whilst no single school will ever be perfect for every child, the Top School Awards in the UAE 2019 has been designed to enable you, as parents, to draw up a shortlist of schools from which, through visits to schools, it will become much easier to find for the best education for your child(ren).


The Awards Shortlists 

Category 1: Best Curriculum, Phase and Progress

In our first set of 2019 awards we shortlist the best schools in the UAE across major curriculum families, and schools that stand out for their outstanding provision at key phases of a child’s education. Finally we recognise schools that stand out for their inclusion, welcome to all children and the progress they help their children make beyond expectation.

  • British school of the year
  • International Baccalaureate school of the year
  • American school of the year
  • Indian school of the year
  • Blended Arabic curriculum school of the year
  • Blended IB curriculum school of the year
  • Best primary school
  • Best nursery
  • Best post 16 education
  • Best new school
  • Best for progress and value add


Category 2: Best Subject Expertise

In our second set of 2019 awards, we shortlist beacon schools in specialist subjects. Finalist schools here provide benchmarks in areas that develop the whole child beyond academics in areas such as sports, dance, theatre, fine arts, in engineering, technology, and so on. 

  • Best school for sports
  • Best school for music
  • Best school for theatre and the performing arts
  • Best school for technical education (inc. BTEC, IBCP)
  • Best school for art


Category 3: Best innovators

In our third class of just two awards, we celebrate the best school innovators and the power of global partnerships and technology. These are schools that provide benchmarks in the way subjects are taught and how children see and interact with the world around them.

  • Award for outstanding use of technology
  • Best international initiative


Category 4: Extraordinary achievement

Our final awards capture the extraordinary. We look to the absolute pinnacle of achievement: individuals who have transformed education; schools that have made an impact beyond their own walls and transformational journeys that tell us all a story about what can be achieved and where the future lies…


  • School principal of the year, 2019
  • Outstanding contribution to education in the UAE
  • Best school in the UAE, 2019


NEXT Page: Best British School Shortlist revealed.

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]