Now Reading
UAE School Fees: Parents celebrate as School Fees Decrease at Dubai Heights Academy: Will Other UAE Schools now Follow?

Background – School Fees Decrease at Top British Curriculum School

As parents across the UAE grapple with increasing school fees, there’s a glimmer of hope from Dubai Heights Academy in Al Barsha. The school has announced a reduction in student tuition fees for the 2024/25 academic year, applying to both new and existing families. This decision comes hot on the heels of the school achieving a ‘Very Good’ rating in recent KHDA inspections.

Dubai Heights Academy Fee Reduction – How Much are Fees being Lowered?

School Fees. Photograph of Dubai Heights Academy in Dubai, a Tier 1 British curriculum school designed by the ladmark architects Seven Tides International.

Fees at Dubai Heights Academy are being lowered in all Year Groups by up to a massive 37%. The aim too is that these fees are being permanently reduced; this is not a one time, short-lived discount but a serious intervention by a Tier 1 school to support families and be meaningfully inclusive. Speaking exclusively to, Dubai heights Academy explained:

“While many other schools will be raising their fees, our bold step to reduce ours aligns with our core mission of ensuring that a top-tier education is within reach for all families.

“Our revised fee structure, which now ranges from just AED 30,000 to AED 60,000 across the year groups, reflects our unwavering dedication to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive in our nurturing environment.”

You can see the scale of discounts below – and these are being extended to all families:














FS1 47,570 36.9% 17,570 30,000
FS2 54,261 35.5% 19,261 35,000
YEAR 1 54,261 26.3% 14,261 40,000
YEAR 2 55,098 27.4% 15,098 40,000
YEAR 3 55,098 18.3% 10,098 45,000
YEAR 4 57,189 21.3% 12,189 45,000
YEAR 5 59,594 19.5% 11,594 48,000
YEAR 6 62,835 23.6% 14,835 48,000
YEAR 7 68,794 27.3% 18,794 50,000
YEAR 8 72,035 30.6% 22,035 50,000
YEAR 9 77,367 28.9% 22,367 55,000
YEAR 10 88,658 32.3% 28,658 60,000
YEAR 11 88,658 32.3% 28,658 60,000
* subject to final KHDA approval.

The news of a fee decrease at Dubai Heights Academy (DHA) stands out amidst the backdrop of rising fees in many other schools. While many of the UAE’s private schools are increasing fees, DHA’s move to lower fees raises the question: why not others?

The DHA announcement is striking for more than one reason.

First, with so many schools increasing their fees again this year, DHA has become a market outlier, going against sector wide trends for fee increases.

Second, having achieved their first ‘Very Good’ rating from the KHDA, the school had, in fact, been given official sanction to increase their fees by up to 1.75 the Education Cost Index (ECI)*, (4.55%).

The KHDA inspection report for Dubai Heights Academy recognises both the school’s “[v]ery strong academic achievement with excellent teaching regularly seen in all phases of the school” and its “united and dedicated staff across all parts of the school” which “ensure outstanding day-to-day management, establishing a safe, welcoming, and happy community in this very well-resourced school.”

Photograph of Principal, Alison Lamb, of Dubai Heights Academy

Pictured: Alison Lamb, Principal, Dubai High Academy. New fee reductions rise to 37% and scholarships are also being made available as the school moves to a Very Good with Outstanding Features rating from the KHDA

Speaking about the latest rating by the KHDA Alison Lamb, Principal of Dubai Heights Academy, told

“This remarkable achievement is a testament to our dedicated faculty, supportive community and unbeatable spirit of our students.

“We take immense pride in our child-centred approach and the outstanding pastoral care and support we provide.

“Our small class sizes foster a close-knit community where each student receives the individual attention they deserve, enabling them to flourish both academically and personally.”

Scholarships – Another Way to Support Some Families

Dubai Heights Academy has not only reduced fees, but has also introduced scholarships:

“Our efforts to support our families and recognise student excellence extend beyond our newly reduced fees.

“Our scholarships for 2024/2025 are now available in 3 categories (Academic; Sport; and, Music and the Performing Arts) and offer up to 75% off KHDA approved fees for students from Year 3 and above.”

Understanding School Fees in the UAE

As DHA parents breathe a sigh of relief, parents with children in one of the UAE’s many other private schools will be preparing to tighten their belts once again. Why then the differing approach to fees from school to school?

The KHDA’s School Fees Framework links tuition fee changes to a school’s inspection rating, which ranges from Outstanding to Weak. Simply put, this means that:

  • Schools maintaining the same rating as the previous year can increase fees by up to 2.6%
  • Schools improving from Weak to Acceptable or from Acceptable to Good can increase fees by up to double the Education Cost Index (ECI), or 5.2%
  • Schools moving from Good to Very Good (like Dubai Heights Academy) can opt for an increase of up to 1.75 times the ECI (equivalent to 4.55%)
  • Schools advancing from Very Good to Outstanding are eligible for an increase of up to 1.5 times the ECI (3.9%)

However, this framework does not compel schools to implement approved fee increases. Dubai Heights Academy, for instance, chose to lower its fees despite being eligible for an increase. In a statement to, the school emphasised its commitment to making top-tier education accessible to all families. Their spokesperson also hinted at consideration for cost of living pressures in Dubai as a factor in their decision.

Not-for-Profit, Still Pricey?

According to a recent survey by, school fees represent one of the largest outlays for many Dubai families, with 19% of parents saying they invest between 25% to more than 50% of their household income on their child’s education. With school fees having such huge impact on household budgets, parents with children at for-profit schools [a majority of private schools in the UAE are for-profit entities] may take some comfort in the fact that school fee frameworks not only place a ‘cap’ on fee increases, it also allows for some degree of predictability as to future price hikes.

The situation is different at not-for-profit schools. Often founded as community initiatives, such schools are structured so that any ‘profit’ is reinvested into the operation of the school. This places not- for-profit schools like JESS (Jumeirah English Speaking School, with branches in Jumeirah and Arabian Ranches), Dubai English Speaking School (DESS) and secondary counterpart Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) outside of the remit of the KHDA School Fee Framework.

Despite maintaining their previous KHDA rating, both DESS and DESC have announced that tuition fees will rise by 3% next year.

The letter sent to DESS and DESC parents, detailing fee increases for the 24/25 academic year

At JESS, another not-for-profit school which has maintained their KHDA rating this year, many parents have expressed their dismay as primary school fees are set to rise by an eye watering 9%. JESS secondary parents can now expect to pay 3% more for their children’s education in 2024/25. This year’s increase means that, overall, JESS parents will be paying around 20% more for their child’s education as they were just three years ago.

In a letter to parents, seen by, the JESS senior leadership team suggest that fees are being increased to ensure that the school’s ‘ability to reinvest in school improvement matches our ambition’.

Future Trends: will DHA set a Precedent?

As Dubai Heights Academy leads the way, parents across the UAE will be hoping that other schools might be compelled to review their fee policies, potentially easing the financial burden on families. For DHA parents, this decision offers a welcome respite.

While it seems unlikely that this move by DHA will set a precedent for school fees in the UAE, it underscores the school’s commitment to accessibility. Dubai Heights Academy’s decision challenges the notion that UAE school fees are on an ever-increasing, upward trajectory.

Further information

You can visit the official Dubai Heights Academy web site here.


*The Education Cost Index is calculated by the Dubai Digital Authority and based upon the financial statements of private schools in Dubai.

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2024 – 2025. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Editorial Team
Live news, features and in-depth reviews reporting from the Global Editorial and News Desk teams in the UK and the UAE. The SchoolsCompared Editorial Team combines more than a century of global experience in journalism. To contact us with news in confidence please email [email protected].

Leave a Response