All Through
Now Reading
Uptown International School, Mirdif – The Review

Uptown International School, Mirdif – The Review

by February 26, 2022

Uptown School KHDA, all-through opening, revised school fees, verdict


Background and location

A school that deserves to be on parents’ list of schools to shortlist, we rate Uptown School Dubai extremely highly.

Uptown School is a circa 1500 capacity all-through International Baccalaureate originating from the move of separate Uptown primary, middle and secondary schools to a single Uptown 300,000 square foot campus set within 14 acres of (beautifully) landscaped grounds adjacent to Mirdif Park in 2012.

Map showing the location of Uptown School in Dubai

Taaleem’s Uptown School [UPS] has now completed its phased launch and completed all-through International Baccalaureate structured education from FS1 to Year 12 provision. The school was awarded “Very Good with Outstanding Features” school status by the Dubai Inspectorate of Schools in its last three inspection years. These are significant accolades for a relatively young school only in its ninth year since founding in 2013. Today Uptown School has a fully embedded MYP and Diploma programme that has secured strong results for its graduating classes since 2017, these recording a 100% pass rate and an International Baccalaureate Diploma Average score of 31 points plus.

Total enrolment is 1440 plus students out of a total school capacity of around 2200 students – and the result is a perfect sense of space and vibrancy. An impressively diverse 81 nationalities are represented in the student body, and the single largest grouping of students at the school is Emirati, accounting for around one fifth of students. This demonstrates Uptown’s considerable investment in English as an Additional Language [EAL], something that incurs considerable costs for a school and starts to make its premium level fees look considerably good value.



Facilities and resources

Facilities are Tier 1 – and excellent. They include zoned areas for Early Years, Primary School and Secondary School phases; Early Years, Primary and Secondary libraries with Wi-Fi study rooms; a fully digital campus with wireless connectivity and integrated ICT; three fully equipped labs; two on-campus catering restaurants; performance theatre; multiple practice rooms for individual instruments; visual arts studios by phase;  DT studios for primary and secondary phases; dance facilities with fully sprung flooring; a 25-metre, eight-lane pool; separate gym; Early Years pool; two international standard football pitches; indoor basketball courts; outdoor tennis courts, track and field facilities for long jump and javelin; prayer rooms, clinic; SEN Centre; a 120-meter running track and multi-purpose sport activity spaces.

Faculty and staff number 176 (up from 120 in 2013/14) with 111 teachers (up from 109 in 2017 and 89 in 2016). The school also requires all teachers who do not hold education degrees to have university level teaching certifications in addition to their university degrees.


Curriculum, Sport , the Arts and ECAs

Photograph of an accomplished Art student at Uptown School in Dubai working with acrylic portraiture

The primary section follows the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). The secondary section follows the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP). The school opened its complete Year 12 International Diploma Programme (IB DP) provision in September 2016 and first results were reported were impressive (see above).

Students from Grades 6 to 10 at Uptown follow the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) including subject provision in Arabic Language and Literature or Arabic Language Acquisition; English Language and Literature or English Language Acquisition; French Language Acquisition; Mathematics; Sciences; Individuals and Societies; Physical and Health Education; Design (Product Design and Digital Design); and the Arts (Music and Visual Arts). Muslim students also undertake Islamic Studies (although this does not form part of the MYP Programme.)

In addition, MYP study includes The Personal Project completed in Grades 9 and 10 and the Service as Action [SAA] programme requiring students to take an active part in the communities in which they live including an array of environmental projects and charity initiatives.

Uptown’s Arts program includes a violin ensemble; junior and senior choirs; a competitive dance team; percussion band; and MYP rock band ensemble. Students also participate in the World Scholars competition and Model UN academic teams.

Sports teams include boys and girls U16 basketball, U12, U14, U16 and U18 swimming (with junior and senior swim squads); Desert Dance; U12, U14, U16 and U18 “Aquathon” (Boys and Girls Teams); U12, U14 and U16 Boys Football teams; U12 and U14 Girls Football teams; U12, U14 and U16 Girls Netball; U12, U14, U16 and U18 Athletics (Boys and Girls Teams); U12 and U14 Girls Rounders; U12 and U14 Basketball (Boys and Girls Teams); and U13 and U15 Boys Cricket. Teams compete in Dubai Affiliated Schools Sports Association (DASSA) competition.

Music is heavily integrated within the curriculum with further stretch through Extra Curricular Activities [ECAs]. Students learn the ocarina in KG, the recorder in Grade 2, the violin in Grade 3 and guitar in Grade 6 as part of their music curriculum. Music continues in the Secondary School in classroom and senior ensemble studies. A 90-student choir; 35-student percussion band and lessons in an array of other instruments add to the diversity of the programme.

Other ECAs cover the gamut of academics, sports, Performing Arts, culture, music, crafts. media and general hobbies including Mother Tongue Club; Origami; German Foreign Language; Quran Reciting; Movement to Music; Public Speaking; Chess Club; Football; Badminton; Table Tennis; Basketball; Reading Club; Cursive Writing; Creative Writing; and a Construction Club.

Prospective parents should note that Uptown has an extremely strictly enforced nut-free school policy to protect children who have severe not allergies. No nut products are permitted in school, including includes Nutella chocolate spread and peanut butter. This will clearly be appreciated by the significant number of parents with children who have nut allergies.


Uptown School Leadership

“Uptown School has a magnificent campus with wonderful facilities.

We have a world-class curriculum with the genuine ambition of changing lives and changing the world in which we live.

We have an inspirational and truly education-centred parent company in Taaleem, committed to the UAE National Agenda.

However, what makes Uptown School, a genuinely special place is the people.

A visit to our campus will leave you marvelling at our students.

They exude the right sort of confidence and are bursting to tell visitors about all the amazing learning experiences that they enjoy every day.

They are risk takers who understand that they learn from their mistakes and know that through perseverance and resilience they can achieve their dreams.

They purposely strive to embody the IB Learner Profile in all that they do.

Rob Commons, Principal, Uptown School

Uptown School Principal, Rob Commons, is highly regarded and moved to UIS from Dubai International Academy Al Barsha, where he held the position of Senior School Principal from its opening in 2018. He is well known in the UAE for his achievements over a five year period at Aldar Education’s Al Yasmina Academy in Abu Dhabi where he played a key role as Vice Principal.

Feedback to our sister site,, from parents, teachers and students for Mr Commons is outstanding. On that note, feedback for Primary school and Post -16 phases in particular stand-out for for the use of the word “happy” by parents, teachers and students.

The school runs BEAUTIFULLY. For us, beyond all the technical speak, what matters is that Uptown School clearly has a Head that loves his school, cares deeply for the children and is deeply committed to both inclusion and that no child should be left behind.


Bottom Line? The Verdict

Photograph of young girl at Uptown School in the labs with a microscope looking happy and inspired

Taaleem’s (in our view very well-deserved) reputation, feedback to both ourselves and from teachers, parents and students, the breadth and quality of facility provision, KHDA reporting of outstanding child progress (what really does matter in an inclusive school), capacity for improvement, class leading low levels of teacher turnover (this is a school that has bedded in outstanding teaching faculty who want to teach at the school and are committed to children) is enough for us to recommend that Uptown should make it to the a shortlist of any prospective parents seeking a through IB education for their children.

In 2018 we had a single, but important issue with a school performing in almost every respect operating at an extremely high level – and that is Uptown School’s choice to not offer the International Baccalaureate Career-Related programme (IB CP). In our view this should be offered as a matter of course at all IB schools, and particularly, as is the case here, by (impressively) academically inclusive schools.

By 2019, Uptown School has made progress in securing its candidacy for the International Career related Programme, founded on Sport through (in our view excellent) Level 3 BTEC.  This was the final piece of the jigsaw in building one seriously game-changing school for inclusion, child care and student attainment.

Uptown School is a powerhouse of happiness, innovation, a culture of kindness and remarkable achievements for each child’s progress. As importantly, this is a school that goes from strength-to-strength each year – and we do not think Outstanding school status is, or should be, out of reach at the time of Uptown School’s next inspection.

A fabulous school.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers from in association with our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.

Request School Information

Details to consider
2018/19 Overall ADEK / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features

2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features

2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Good with Very Good features

Rating FS

Very Good

Rating Primary / Elementary

Very Good

Rating Secondary / Middle

Good with Very Good features

Rating Post 16 / High

Good with Outstanding features

Type of school

Private, for profit

WSA Good School

Under review 2019-20

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

Pre-KG: 40,500
KG1: 46,500
KG2: 48,500
YEAR 1: 57,500
YEAR 2: 57,500
YEAR 3: 57,500
YEAR 4: 57,500
YEAR 5: 57,500
YEAR 6: 67,500
YEAR 7: 67,500
YEAR 8: 67,500
YEAR 9: 67,500
YEAR 10: 67,500
YEAR 11: 72,500
YEAR 12: 72,500


International Baccalaureate:
Primary Years Programme [IB PYP]
Middle Years Programme [IB MYP]
Diploma [IB DP]

External Exam Boards

International Baccalaureate Organisation [IBO]

IB DipM Pass Rate

100% (2018 including re-mark)
100% (2017)
(1) A relatively small number of children sit for the IB DP given its academic stretch)

IB DipM Average Grade

34 Points (2018)
31 Points (2017)
(1) A relatively small number of children sit for the IB DP given its academic stretch)


(1) "All students applying to Uptown School are required to be assessed, regardless of age, grade, school or the country they are from."
(2) "Acceptance to Uptown School is contingent upon the results of the placement assessment, student interview and former school reports."
(3) "There will however be a limit to the number of children that we can admit with EAL needs at any one time."

Waiting list


Value Added

Not published rating: High

Number of Students

1410 (2018)
(1) Capacity: 2100

Teacher to Student Ratio

Pre KG/FS0: maximum of 20 per class
KG1 & KG2: maximum of 22 per class
Grades 1-10: maximum 26 per class
Grade 11: "variable depending on subject demand."

Largest nationality teachers


Teacher turnover


Year opened

(1) Originating schools 2005


Mirdif, Dubai

Student composition

Emirati (largest nationality) but broad mix of nationalities from 85 countries
Emirati: 385
Special Educational Needs [SEN]: 127


Mixed, co-educational

School canteen




Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 251 5001

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM


Attainment Pri SEM


Attainment Sec SEM


Attainment Post-16 SEM

73.3% (outstanding in English)

Progress Nur SEM


Progress Pri SEM


Progress Sec SEM


Progress Post-16 SEM

80% (Outstanding in English)

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)


Arabic Secondary Results (Native)


Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)


Arabic Primary Results (Add.)


Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)


Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)


Islamic St. Primary Results


Islamic St. Secondary Results


Islamic St. Post-16 Results








Quality of teaching


Student personal responsibility


Quality of curriculum


School Governance


SEN Provision



• Taaleem reputation
• Tier 1 facilities
• Premium fees offer good value in the context of a very high level of provision
• Outstanding PYP programme
• Significant investment in school leadership with capacity to drive improvements as the school beds in provision
• High investment in Special Educational Needs and English as an Additional Language provision
• Very low, best in class, teacher turnover at 2%, some 26% under the UAE average, offering students consistency and certainty
• High parental engagement and appreciation of the school for the care of its students and their attainment
• Outstanding school leadership
• IB CP grounded in the discipline of Sport

Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Arts & Drama
SEND Provision
Scl Community
Scl Facilities

• A genuinely very impressive school with all the foundations in place to achieve Outstanding school status. This is a wonderfully inclusive school that with the IB CP in place has the subject breadth to meet the needs and aspirations of the broadest range of children. Highly recommended.

Our Rating
User Rating
You have rated this
Is this school on your shortlist?
Top of shortlist
In my Top 5
A possibility
No way
About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

Leave a Reply