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Awards Day Fifteen! The Top Schools Award for Best New School in the UAE 2015 – 2021. Official Entry Form now LIVE.

Awards Day Fifteen! The Top Schools Award for Best New School in the UAE 2015 – 2021. Official Entry Form now LIVE.

by Jon WestleyApril 28, 2021

The Top Schools Awards, the UAE’s definitive School Awards, recognising the region’s most outstanding schools, teachers and educationalists, today publishes full information for entering the fifteenth of this year’s Awards: The Top Schools Award for the Best New School in the UAE 2015 – 2021.

Entry for each of the remaining individual Awards are being published daily between now and the 8th May 2021. For details of the Awards published to date, click here.

This Award recognises new schools, defined as schools currently operating in up to their first full sixth year of operation, and which opened in 2015, or later, that have delivered at an outstanding level for their students, this based on their intake policies, ambition and commitments to parents on opening. We have extended our definition of a new school from that of our previous year’s Awards, to reflect the impact of Covid 19 on the development of schools, and to recognise that measuring the success of a new school requires both the evidence that comes with bedding in provision and, ideally, the opening of and/or defined preparation for, key phases of provision.  We would expect that all schools entering for this Award will be, at the least, in their third full year of operation. While not an absolute restriction, it is advised that no school with under one full year of operation behind them to support their case enter for this Award.


First Steps

Please complete this application form to enter your school for The Top Schools Award for the Best New School in the UAE 2017 – 2021. A PDF of the form can be downloaded at the end of this article.

Please only enter for those Awards in which you believe you have a very powerful case to be considered by judges. It is far better to enter for a single Award – and complete the application for this with passion and depth of insight, than apply for multiple awards, and stretch your ability to make your case too thin.

Not entering for an Award, does not preclude any school from being considered. All schools in the UAE are considered within the judging process, drawing on expertise and data across Which Media. Entering for an Award, however, does ensure that we have access to accurate, up-to-date information on your school – and information strengthened by your decisions on how to answer the following questions.

Please use the questions as a guide; you may wish to draw out other strengths to support your case.

Formal entry for this award must be submitted with the agreement of the Headteacher of the school.



Aim for 1000 – 2000 Words

Support the case that your school provides an outstanding quality of planned for/actual curriculum and qualification pathways for students to ensure that every child at your school can meet his or her individual ambitions, potential, and ability in full. Provide paragraphs answering the following: (1) How our facilities develop an outstanding education for students at our school; (2) Our outstanding teachers; (3) Our curriculum and support focus and how it specifically meets the needs of our intake policy; (4) What makes us different and where we excel; (5) Our learning curve since opening – key challenges, key successes; (6) Our financial investment in our teachers and students; (7) Our ethics and values framework; (9) Our approach to parents and the community within which we operate (10) Why we set up our school and what we aim to achieve within the first ten years of operation.



Aim for 200 – 500 Words plus relevant statistical tables

Support the case that your school provides value added achievement to ensure that every student leaves your school meeting or exceeding their baseline (1) learning and (2) whole child expectations on joining your school.



Aim for 250 – 500 words.

Support the case that your school ploughs back a percentage of investment into facilities and/or teacher salaries and/or resources and/or school improvements and/or specific initiatives to financially support parents/families, year-on-year, to improve and/or sustain education for children. Please detail your approach and investments, both on launch, and following. Please include a paragraph on how your school has sought to assist families and students impacted by Covid 19. Discus where you have focused the resources of your school during the last two years and the rationale for doing so. You may wish to provide context through discussion of planned future investment over the next five years, and particularly those responding to specific challenges and learning following the school’s opening.



Aim for 500 words to 2000 words.

Describe the story of how your school came to be established. Draw on the motivations of Owners and Founding Principal to describe the positioning of the school and how it responded to an identified need in UAE education. Consider how you responded to the needs of families when opening the school and describe both how founding families and children have evolved with your school since launch, and how they have contributed to the eventual shaping of provision. Finally, consider the view that: “[o]ur school is uniquely placed to leverage the unique benefits and opportunities of opening a school in the UAE.” You may wish to describe here the role of the schools regulator in establishing your school and the cultural context of international schooling.



Aim for 500 Words

Focused on achievements this year, and in the last full pre-Covid year, provide information that is not included above that supports your application to be considered the benchmark new school opening in the UAE within the last six years “against the odds.” Discuss how Covid 19 has impacted on the development of your school and the experiences of students and parents – and how your school has responded.



Aim for 1000 – 2000 words.

Collate a document with evidence supporting the above, together with all areas of provision, investment, innovation and achievement that supports your school being considered the benchmark new school opening since 2015. This should include at least 2 quotations each from current students and parents at your school.  A quotation should be included from longstanding members of your leadership team and teaching faculty who have remained with the school since its launch.  Finally, a contextualising quote should be included from the School Principal highlighting in precis the ethics, history, achievements of the school and its contribution to education, historic, current and planned, in the UAE. We are looking for passion, inspiration, meaningfulness and clear investment in the school’s sense of purpose, values and deep-seated commitment to creating an outstanding new school in the UAE – one that stands out as a beacon of achievement for students amongst its peers.


As part of the following application, you will strengthen your case considerably by sending the following survey links to your students, teachers and parents, asking them to independently provide feedback on your school as part of your entry to the Top Schools Awards 2021.


Teachers should complete the survey here:


Parents should complete the survey here:


Older students (Grade 10-12/Year 11-13 ONLY) should complete the survey here: 


The statistical results of these surveys are valued, shared with judges and used in our decision making.

In addition we use data provided to us under your school profile on the Which Media database. This can be accessed through our sister site

In particular please complete the following sections from the Admin:


  • Facilities
  • Sports offering
  • Scholarships and Bursaries
  • Details
  • Demographics
  • Memberships and accreditations
  • General info
  • Fees


It is critical that the data relied on by judges is accurate and up-to-date. If you do not have a school account on our sister site,, please request one so you can update your review and admissions data here:


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



Please collate the above information in a Word document. High resolution (inspirational) photography, relevant film, PDF(s), together with any audio files, should be submitted separately with the Word file. Please also include a School Prospectus if that has been produced. 

When your application is completed, these should be sent, in a single email, titled SCTSA21 NEW with your School Name, to:

[email protected]

Please note: unless you specifically identify information that is confidential and sensitive and not for publication, any information sent to us may be published and become a statement of public record. It is vital therefor that information provided is accurate.



To download the complete official entry form for the Top Schools Awards 2021 – Best New School in the UAE 2015 – 2021, click here.


Completed entries must be received no later than 7th July 2021.

#sctsa21 © 2021. All rights reserved.

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

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