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Horizon English School Dubai lives up to its name as the ‘Happiest School in the UAE’ with warm, wacky and wonderful Back-to-School welcome for children and parents
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Children across the UAE are heading back to school this week after the long summer break, but while the holiday might be over, the fun is only just beginning for students at Horizon English School in Al Safa, Dubai. Today parents and children were greeted with an exciting carnival welcome, with party music, jugglers, circus performers and stilt walkers.

Horizon English School won the coveted SchoolsCompared Top Schools Award for the ‘Happiest School in the UAE’ 2021-2022, and today’s joyful performance showed just how much the school is living up to the accolade. Heather Pippia, Marketing Manager at Horizon English School, told SchoolsCompared:

“As the ‘Happiest School in the UAE’, we wanted to provide a fun and exciting surprise for our students on the first day back at school!”

“A carnival theme with music, balloons and circus entertainers meant that we had huge smiles from children and parents alike as they eagerly entered the school gates this morning.”

Horizon English School 2022 - Happiest School for children Top Schools Award winner celebrates Back to School 2022 with balloons, Jugglers and Happiness

So what makes the happiest school in the UAE? On the announcement of Horizon English School as the winners of the Top Schools Award for ‘Happiest School in the UAE’, the judges said:

“One of the most loved schools in the UAE, Horizon English tops feedback from parents year-on-year on both and WhichschoolAdvisor for the happiness of its children.”


“Visiting the school is an exercise in understanding how a highly structured British school education can deliver for children in an environment where recognition of the other translates into children and faculty that actively celebrate each other. This is the key we think in understanding the happy school dynamics at play here.”

“Primary school provision in the UAE is outstanding – and Horizon English school holds a much deserved place with the very best schools in the sector. It’s almost impossible to find a criticism of the delivery here – but its the happiness of children in the way that that is achieved that is stand-out.”

“This is another Award in which the decision of judges was unanimous. And the promise for the school moving forward under education group Cognita suggests that the best is still yet to come…”

The bigger picture here is, of course, that outstanding schools are increasingly recognising the many stresses for parents and children of the first day back at school each year, and particularly for those parents and children joining a school for the very first time. Imaginative investments in children and families, like those at Horizon English School, make the first day back at school one filled with happiness and joy, creating a bridge between home and school that is shared by the whole school community. An unforgettable first day – for all the right reasons.

Check out some lovely photos from the day below.

What are the Top Schools Awards?

Established in 2016, The Top Schools Awards have established themselves as the definitive awards for schools, leaders, teachers and educationalists in the region.

Do you think your school deserves the ‘Happiest School in the UAE’ awards for the 2023/24 SchoolsCompared Top Schools Awards? Let us know why! Nominations for the Awards open in October 2022  – stay tuned for more information.

Official Top Schools Awards 2018 with list of winners

Read “Memory Lane” – the story of the very first Top Schools Awards in the UAE and the first Top Schools Award won by Horizon English School

Back to School Gallery

Wow! Where normal schools face tears and worries on Back to School Day, Horizon English School launches off with a giant circus to brings smiles and joy

Balloons and elephants greet children and parents as Horizon English School students and parents return to school for the new academic year

Horizon English School HES Dubai fills children with delight on fiurst day Back to School 2022 as children greeted by Jugglers and Performers spreading happiness and excitement

Did your school have a fantastic Back-to-school welcome? Do you have an emotional back-to school story? Was it moving to see your little one starting primary school or secondary school for the first time? Share your stories and pictures with us by sending them to [email protected].

More information

Read our review of Horizon English School in Dubai here

Visit the official Horizon English School web site here

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2022. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and Parents United's WHICHPlaydates - a regular meeting place for UAE parents to discuss the issues that matter to them, make friends and network with others. You can often find Tabitha too on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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