Editor’s note: this feature is updated LIVE with current availability….
The UAE’s 2022/2023 academic year might have kicked off already, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to sign your child up to a brilliant new school or nursery – a number of top schools still have availability of school places.
In the transient expat environment of the UAE, schools are used to being agile and flexible with enrolments and are often able to welcome new students at multiple points throughout the academic year.
However, there are certain restrictions and deadlines for when students of different stages can start at a new UAE school – so you might need to act quickly.
In the following article, we list all top schools in the UAE which have current places available for new starters – and the expertise to welcome students who are either arriving to the UAE for the first time, or who need to change schools quickly.
Why move your child’s school?
There are many reasons why parents might choose to enroll their child at a school or nursery after the academic term has already started – whether it’s due to the logistics and timing of a family’s move to the UAE from abroad, or because of dissatisfaction with where their child is currently studying. Sometimes a child is finding it very hard to settle into their current school environment, or perhaps the parents feel that the reality of the current school’s offering falls short of their expectations.
Either way, moving school is never a decision to be taken lightly. Many children will take weeks or even months to feel comfortable in a new educational environment, so a few weeks of morning tears or school reluctance at the beginning of the academic year is not necessarily a red flag – and there’s no guarantee that shifting to another new school will solve the problem. However, if you know something isn’t right, and you think that a fresh start could be the answer, it’s time to start looking at your options.
When can your child move schools throughout the year?
If you’re moving from a country outside of the emirates to the UAE, your child may be admitted to a UAE school at any point throughout the academic year.
However, if you’re planning an internal school move – from one UAE school to another UAE school – there are some restrictions on exactly when you can transfer, depending on your child’s academic year and the curriculum being studied.
The following table from the Dubai school regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), explains when in the academic year students at different ages can transfer schools, and any additional documentation that is required:
Read more in our analysis of what to do when you need to move schools quickly.
Which UAE schools and nurseries still have availability?
Although many UAE schools will have filled up all their available spaces at the beginning of the academic year, sometimes spots become available when families’ plans change last-minute, or if it’s a newer school, or one going through a period of expansion.
But how can you find out which schools have spots and which ones don’t?
To save you the trouble of ringing round every school and asking whether they have availability this year, we’ve done the hard work for you.
If you’re looking to sign your child up to a new school in the UAE, here is our pick of the best UAE schools and nurseries with available places for the 2022/23 academic year. Each of these schools has one or more qualities that have proved a good fit with families seeking schooling in the relevant Emirate. We have identified stand-out Top Schools Award Winning Schools below, although it should be noted that a number of the following school ranked as TSA finalists in one or more years – a considerable achievement in itself. Read more about “Memory Lane” and the founding of the The Top Schools Awards here.
In the following pages you will find full availability of places information for these schools:
Jebel Ali School – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
The English College Dubai – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Durham School Dubai – New flagship, Tier 1 British premier brand school opened in 2022
Raffles World Academy Dubai
Bloom World Academy Dubai
Uptown International School Dubai – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Arcadia School Dubai – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Brighton College Dubai
Dove Green Private School
Fairgreen International School – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
GEMS International School – Al Khail
GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail
GEMS FirstPoint School Dubai – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
GEMS Royal Dubai School
GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis
GEMS World Academy Dubai
Horizon English School – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Victory Heights Primary School – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Safa Community School – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Dubai British School – Emirates Hills
Nibras International School
Repton Al Barsha – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school (Foremarke)
Repton School Dubai – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
American Academy for Girls
Dubai International Academy – Al Barsha
Raffles International School – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Universal American School
Deira International School
Jumeirah Baccalaureate School
Dwight School Dubai
Nord Anglia International school – Dubai – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Collegiate International School
Star International School – Al Twar
Star International School – Mirdif
Greenfield International School Dubai – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
The Aquila School Dubai
Brighton College Abu Dhabi – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Al Bateen Academy – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Al Yasmina British Academy
The Pearl Academy Abu Dhabi
Al Muna Academy Abu Dhabi – Best in Emirates Top Schools Awards winning school
Al Forsan Nursery
Al Mamoura Academy
GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi
GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi
Reach British School
Repton School Abu Dhabi
Al Ain Academy
Brighton College – Al Ain
Scholars International Academy Sharjah
[Note: Schools in Abu Dhabi begin on Page 40, Schools in Al Ain on Page 52 and schools in Sharjah begin on Page 54]
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