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Post 16 Education – Dubai’s Best Sixth Forms, High Schools

Post 16 Education – Dubai’s Best Sixth Forms, High Schools

by Jon WestleyMay 17, 2017

Part 9:

Our Best new schools with the potential to shine …

Prospective parents should note that whilst all these schools have achieved at least a Good rating from the KHDA in 2017, this is currently the highest rating ever achieved by any new school rated by the KHDA on first inspection.

The following school recommendations should be read in conjunction with our Guide to getting into top universities, here, and our 16 – 18 Education Guide, here.

Our top new schools for 16-18 education in Dubai for 2017-18, each of which we see as having all the potential to make an outstanding contribution to educational provision in Dubai as they bed-in and develop their provision, are:

  • Nord Anglia International School
  • Safa Community School
  • Sunmarke
  • Kings School Al Barsha
  • GEMS Firstpoint


Nord Anglia International School

Our View: “Rigorously selective (although it is not just about the academics), Nord Anglia International School Dubai is swiftly establishing its reputation as a high performing school within the UAE premier league of elite schools. A school on target to establish itself firmly within the elite schools group, Nord Anglia has a recognized history in supporting academically gifted children. The Juilliard performing arts programme has the potential to lead performing arts provision within the UAE and provide a natural home for the gifted child in music, drama and dance. A hugely impressive school offering prospective parents the rare chance to be part of shaping the first Nord Anglia school in Dubai.”

KHDA 2017 Rating: Good


Safa Community School

Our View: “It is simply too early for us to provide a certain recommendation for Safa Community. Schools need time to bed in, and the school is mid-way through its phased launch. What we can say, is that everything thus far we have seen shows a school at the top of its game with all the pieces in place. Mooted eventual subject breadth at both IGCSE, International A Level and IB is outstanding. A Levels in outlier subjects, for example, like Philosophy, Psychology and Media Studies, generally only provided in Tier 1s looking to provide the most extensive academic reach, are telling of the school’s commitment to meeting the gifts and talents of all children. A very exciting, forward-looking community school in an excellent location, Safa has a lovely welcoming feel with highly motivated and enthusiastic staff throughout. Highly Recommended.”

KHDA 2017 Rating: Good


Sunmarke School

Our View: “On the basis of its current advertised plans, Sunmarke will offer the broadest choice of curriculum of any school in the Emirates. The school will offer IGCSE, A Level, the broadest range of BTEC technical stream options available in any school – and the choice of IB Diploma (IB DP), IB Career-related (IB CP) programmes and Individual IB courses. The IB component is subject to acceptance by the IB following the school’s application this year for accreditation. This breadth of choice, if achieved, will be ground-breaking for the Emirates – and is likely to result in welcome pressures on other Tier 1 schools to up their game. School transparency and the richness of information provided to existing and prospective parents is exceptional. The benefits though that come from a large school – here in (planned exceptional) breadth of curriculum, very high calibre school leadership, experienced faculty and fee proposition, are very powerful draws. This is a very convincing school.”

KHDA 2017 Rating: Good


Kings School Al Barsha

Our View: “In terms of an overall view of the school it is still too early. Kings’ Barsha remains in the process of its full phase opening and, importantly for a considered verdict, prior to its critical opening of post 16 Sixth Form EBacc provision.

Prospective parents cannot automatically extrapolate from Kings’ Dubai outstanding provision to Year 6 that the same will hold true for all-through provision at Al Barsha.

However, albeit through circumstance rather than design, Kings’ is absorbing very powerful slipstreams from its feeders, with students immersed in the Kings’ approach on joining. In conjunction with outstanding school leadership, steadfast, genuine and passionate support from the school’s founders, an extremely rich, unique (and radical) whole child centred RSA backed framework – and absolutely stellar facilities, the picture is highly suggestive of a school that is going to deliver.”

KHDA 2017 Rating: Good


GEMS Firstpoint

Our View: “GEMS FirstPoint is a very interesting school in a multitude of areas – and it is also, importantly, a very good one. FirstPoint clearly provides a lower cost of entry to a genuine Tier 1 GEMS option. We also like it that fees rise gradually as a child moves through the school – GEMS has not set up honey trap with low fees on entrance and exponentially increasing fees later one once a family is “locked in.” FirstPoint has also been set up as a specialist technology school with very significant investment in the full breadth of technology curricular and required infrastructure across facilities, labs, faculty and equipment. GEMS is making the point that FirstPoint, despite the high value fees, is definitively not a compromise school.”

KHDA 2017 Rating: Good

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]
  • Natalie
    February 28, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    The School of Research Science is, in my opinion, nothing like as good a school as you suggest. Its student population lacks manners and obedience. I would not recommend this school despite its outward appearance. It looks extravagant on the outside due all the money they spend on it; however that actual educational system and atmosphere is poor.

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