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10, 9, 8, 7 … Best Schools in the UAE To be Decided. UAE Education’s Top Schools Awards 2021 “Oscars” Set for Lift off. Flood of announcements follow…
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Background: UAE Education Oscars Set for Lift off. Top Schools Awards 2021 to take place in November at Glittering Awards Ceremony in Dubai and All 26 Award Categories Revealed Today. 

Top Schools Awards at the Rajmahal Theatre in Dubai

Which Media, the publishers of and, have today revealed all 26 Categories of the SchoolsCompared Top Schools Awards 2021 – the “Education Oscars” of UAE education.

The glittering event, which plays host to the “who’s who” in education, will take place in November 2021, subject to the agreement of the Dubai Health Authority, with a single aim – the biggest celebration of the achievements of outstanding teachers and schools in UAE history and their transformational impact on the lives of UAE children.

For the first time, Awards will be presented to:

  • Nursery, Primary and Secondary school teachers to recognise their vital role in educating children.
  • A single school that has achieved the “beyond-extraordinary” in tackling the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.
  • The Happiest School in the UAE – an award recognising the many ways schools have fought to ensure the happiness and mental health of children despite the ravages of Covid 19.
  • A school for its outstanding investment in beautiful architecture and sustainability to both inspire children and respond to the challenges of climate change.

Tp Schools Awards Stage and Theatre Setting

Now in its fifth year, the Top Schools Awards was established in 2017 and each year recognises and celebrates the powerful impact of schools, teachers, school leaders and educationalists on the lives of children in the UAE.

The 2019-20 event was held in an Oscars style, glittering ceremony at the Rajmahal Theatre in Dubai. Highlights of those who were recognised at the 2019-20 SchoolsCompared Top Schools Awards included:


H.E. Dr. Abdulla Al Karam Recipeint of the Top Schools Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education

  • H.E. Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, recipient of the Top Schools Award for his Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE.


  • A Joint Award for Dubai English Speaking College and Dubai English Speaking School for the “Best School” in the UAE Award.
  • The American School of Dubai for “Best American Curriculum School in the UAE”.
  • Raha International School in Abu Dhabi for the “International Baccalaureate School of the Year” Award
  • GEMS Modern Academy for the “Best Indian Curriculum School in the UAE”.


Sasha Crabb, Recioent of the Top Schools Award Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Sasha Crabb, Principal of Victory Heights Primary School, for the Best Principal in the UAE Award.


The Awards are recognised by schools for their vital role in celebrating education in the UAE each year.

Zara Harrington, Principal of Safa British School, commenting on the importance of the Awards for schools said:

“From the moment the Top Schools Awards were open for submissions we felt like movies stars preparing for the ‘Oscars.’ It is essential the education industry is recognised in this way as they do shape the children of the future. The application process was straight forward with clear guidance to what the criteria for each category. The shortlisting announcement created excitement and the build up to the actual event further embedded this excitement. The organisation was faultless from the team and the main event itself was breath-taking. This is a true education Oscar’s for the UAE.”

Dubai Heights Academy confirmed:

“The Schools Compared Top School Awards brings together the education community where for one night we all get to celebrate each other’s successes and hard work.

In the most glamorous of settings, Principals, teachers and support staff get to share ideas, listen to each other’s stories, build relationships, celebrate achievements and come together to ensure the best for the students of the UAE going forward.

We look forward to the awards this year and hopefully to we can celebrate some of our own achievements as a school!”

 GEMS Education February 2021 responded:

“As the UAE’s leading provider of quality education to the nation’s future generations, GEMS Education is once again looking forward to this annual opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work of schools in the UAE and the teachers who are true heroes of our times.”

Graeme Scott, Director of Fairgreen International School Dubai, supported:

“Teaching has never been a profession that seeks out praise and compliments.  We all just like to get on with things, and never has this been better illustrated than this year.

The 2019 Schools Compared Top Schools Awards event was one of the last opportunities we all had to reflect on the wonderful work that all schools in the UAE do.  The event itself was superbly organised and resembled the Oscars minus the egos.

It was an opportunity to celebrate the fact that although our schools are all subtly different, we all have the same overall mission – to provide our students with a range of memorable learning experiences.

The Schools Compared team continue to support us all in this mission and the Top Schools Awards was a fantastic way to emphasise that then, as now, we are all in this together.

In my view, all schools this year are worthy of an award.”

Finally, Nord Anglia International School Dubai, explained:

“The Schools Compared Top Awards was a brilliant evening where all the schools came together to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our private school education in the UAE.

NAS Dubai was not only proud to win their awards, but also delighted to be considered with other wonderful schools.

We look forward to this annual tradition and applaud our fellow colleagues for continuously striving to improve education.”


The 2021 Awards Revealed Exclusively – in Full


The complete list of this year’s Top Schools Awards 2021 Awards, revealed for the first time today, are:

Subject Awards

Best School in the UAE for the Performing Arts 2021

Best School in the UAE for Music 2021

Best School in the UAE for Fine Art and Creative Studio Work 2021

Best School for Sport in the UAE 2021


Early Years

Best Nursery School in the UAE 2021

Best Primary School in the UAE 2021


Curriculum Awards  

Best British Curriculum School in the UAE 2021

Best Indian Curriculum School in the UAE 2021

Best American Curriculum School in the UAE 2021

Best Blended Arabic Curriculum School in the UAE

Best IB Curriculum School in the UAE 2021

Best Blended IB Curriculum School 2021

Best School for Technical and Vocational Stream Education 2021


New Schools

Best New School in the UAE 2021


Individual Awards

Nursery Teacher of the Year 2021

Primary Teacher of the Year 2021

Secondary Teacher of the Year 2021

Best Principal in the UAE 2021



Best University in the UAE 2021


Special Awards 2021  

The Special Award for Architecture, Environment, Design and Sustainability 2021

The Award for Most Innovative School in the UAE 2021

The Special Award for Value Add 2021

The Special Award for Happiest School in the UAE

The Special Award for the Most Outstanding Response to COVID-19 by a School in the UAE 2021


Outstanding Achievement 2021  

The Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE

Best School in the UAE 2021


In the year the UAE Space Mission orbits Mars, the Top Schools Awards 2021 launches to celebrate schools and innovation in the UAE

Commenting, James Mullan, Co-founder of Which Media and the Top Schools Awards, said:

“This year, more than any other, we all need to pull together and recognise just how impressive and important our schools are across the UAE.

In the face of a cruel pandemic that has wreaked havoc on all our lives, the achievement of schools, teachers, school leaders, students and parents, towers above the UAE as a beacon of hope.

These Awards do one thing – they say thank you to — and passionately celebrate — all those in education who have given UAE children nothing less than a world class, outstanding education against impossible odds.

They deserve to be celebrated.

Mr Mullan continued:

“These are extremely rigorous awards. This year that rigour must be, and will be, infused with a spirit of generosity and kindness by our Judges, this to recognise the adversity they have faced educating children during a pandemic.”

David Westley, Co-founder of Co-founder of Which Media and the Top Schools Awards, clarified:

“Last year, Covid 19 forced us to cancel the Top Schools Awards. It was a heart-breaking decision to make.

In 2021, it is now time to draw a line and say clearly that this pandemic will not stop us celebrating the absolutely extraordinary achievements of all those who work so tirelessly to educate our children.

Our schools have shown extraordinary courage and resilience in ensuring the continuity of education for students across the UAE.

In November 2021 we will recognise that in the most inspirational celebration we can at this year’s Top School Awards.

Schools deserve nothing less – and considerably more.”

Details for schools, teachers, Principals and Parents on how to take part in the Top Schools Awards 2021 will be released in March 2021. #sctsa21.

© All rights reserved. 2021.

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

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