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KHDA reveal Best Schools for Wellbeing in Dubai. Is your school featured? Official. Updated…

Best School for promoting wellbeing in Dubai published in full as wellbeing of children and teachers is placed centre stage in School Inspections

The KHDA has today released the complete set of school reports for all 199 private schools in Dubai inspected during 2022-2023 – and the focus is on Dubai’s very best schools for promoting wellbeing. The reports are now published in full, and build on the summary reports made available to families earlier this year. The key new focus for the KHDA, the Dubai Inspectorate of Schools, is wellbeing – and reporting to parents the systems in place for achieving wellbeing Dubai private schools. It is a testament to the quality of Dubai schools that almost three quarters of all private schools are now providing a “High” or “Very High” level of wellbeing provision to students and teachers.

We have now added infographics explaining exactly what the KHDA look for, and measure, at the end of the article (June 2023).

What is wellbeing

The KHDA have provided some useful infographics to explain this:



The KHDA refer to the OECD definition of wellbeing as “the psychological, cognitive, social and physical functioning and capabilities that students need to live a happy and fulfilling life.’ The rankings include an element of how happy schools are, but the primary focus is on the systems schools have in place to promote wellbeing – and for both teachers and children. To this extent, the Top Schools Award for Best School for Child Happiness has a very different approach, this award being concerned directly with the happiness of children in school. In the KHDA rankings, for example, you might find a school that struggles with child happiness because of the particular intake of the school (which may, for example, be highly competitive, or results driven), but that same school may score very highly because the systems are in place to manage wellbeing for these students as best as possible within the constraints of the school. There is also a strong focus on monitoring of wellbeing so that schools can adapt policies and interventions over time to improve wellbeing. In theory you could also have a school that sets up all the mechanisms a child needs to have a “happy and fulfilling life” – but that does not mean that this will in fact take place. Another example is that wellbeing includes broader areas than happiness including its opposite – grief and failure are a normal part of a lived life. To this end, many schools focus on resilience rather than happiness.

Parents will have their own views on what is most important to them in choosing schools.

This absolutely does not mean that the KHDA is not fundamentally concerned about the happiness of children – it deeply cares about this. It is just that wellbeing encompasses a stronger focus on systems and what is both tangible and measurable – and the KHDA’s reporting also, creditably, includes a focus on the systems in place to deliver the wellbeing of teachers.

You can understand more about the complexity of wellbeing here.

Wellbeing in Schools


Leadership in Wellbeing

Fatma Belrehif, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau

Pictured above: Fatma Belrehif, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, on the day that Child Happiness and the Wellbeing of Children in Dubai Schools was placed Centre Stage in what parents can expect from all schools operating in the Emirate.

Fatma Belrehif, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, explained the new focus on wellbeing and child happiness:

“Various studies indicate that there is a strong correlation between student wellbeing and academic achievement. We are pleased to see consistently high wellbeing levels across schools in Dubai.

School leaders are committed to providing a positive and supportive environment that supports student wellbeing, and we encourage them to continue using data to evaluate and improve the wellbeing provision in their schools.”

The move of the KHDA to include wellbeing as a central pillar in the inspection of schools follows the instrumental intervention of Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), pictured below, who has been pioneering the focus on child welfare and wellbeing in schools for more than a decade.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)

Best Schools for Wellbeing and Child Happiness – the A to Z List of Happiest Schools

The Top Schools – Very Highly Ranked

Best schools for happiness in Dubai - KHDA official

The Top Schools – Highly Ranked

Happiest Schools in Dubai - Highly Ranked

Full PDF of all school rankings [High resolution – please wait to load…]

Schools Wellbeing rating Best Schools for Happiness in Dubai


Full PDF of all school rankings [Low resolution – for mobile]

Schools Wellbeing rating Best Schools for Happiness in Dubai-compressed

Other findings

Other key metrics from the new reports include:

  • 77 per cent of students in Dubai attend schools rated Good or better.
  • Six schools were inspected for the first time this year
  • 25 schools improved their rating since the last full inspection cycle.

Learn about your school

Parents can research their school and the KHDA findings here.

What does the KHDA look for and measure? Official infographics explain all…


(1) In an earlier version of this article Horizon English School was erroneously marked as a High Performing School for Wellbeing. In fact, it achieved a rank of “Very High Performing School for Wellbeing and Child happiness” – the top rank awarded by KHDA inspectors this year.

(2) In an earlier version of this article we focused on child happiness as the key component of how wellbeing is demonstrated. The KHDA has asked us to better reflect its focus on wellbeing and systems because systems for wellbeing cannot directly relate to a measurement of how happy children are in a school.

In this way, the Top Schools Award for Best School for Child Happiness, which focuses on the subjective, lived experience of parents and children and all that stem from children being happy within a school, better reflects the aims of our original article and parents focused on finding happy schools. Wellbeing, in the KHDA context, is as much about the quality of systems for delivering wellbeing, and related experiences, schools have in place – which may well be relative, as outcomes, between schools.

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023 – 2024. 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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