Now Reading
New Schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Revealed. 9 New UAE schools Launch, 5 Planned and 6 More in the Pipeline, But Are More Needed? Full List Here.

New Schools have Arrived…

It’s Back to School season for academic term 2023-24 and eight brand-new schools across the country have opened their doors to students for the very first time.

These schools have been built to cater to the demand of a mushrooming population, which has increased by almost 90,000 people over the past year to cross the 3.6 million mark in Dubai alone, according to June 2023 data from the Dubai Statistics Centre.

While demand has grown across the board, the premium schools segment has seen a particular uplift in popularity. This represents a change from the norm, Dino Varkey, Group CEO of GEMS Education group told SchoolsCompared.

Photograph of Dino Varkey in interview with Jon Westyley April 2021 in Dubai

Pictured: Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer of GEMS Education, interviewed by

While GEMS’ most affordable schools have always traditionally been oversubscribed, the group’s higher price point schools are seeing utilisation rates that have not been seen for a decade or more, as, for Mr Varkey, “The UAE has benefitted from what I would consider a relocation of wealth from both the East and West.”

The UAE has the largest private-school market in the world – boasting the world’s highest number of students enrolled in international schools at 689,000 (ahead of China with 419,000 and India with 316,000 students) – and this shows no sign of changing.

Dubai Media Centre today reported that Dubai’s private school sector continues to see robust growth, with five new private schools opening this year, representing an additional 12,000 seats.

Here is our roundup of all the schools opened in 2023-2024 and the schools slated for 2024-2025 and beyond…

Nine new schools opened in UAE 2023-2024  

 Opening date School Curriculum Location Capacity
August 2023-2024 Arcadia Global School UK Dubai 4,200
August  2023-2024 Cranleigh Abu Dhabi Prep UK Abu Dhabi 800
April 2023-2024 Dewvale School CBSE Dubai N/A, currently has 500 students
August 2023-2024 GEMS Metropole Al Waha British Dubai 3,500
August 2023-2024 Glendale School British Dubai 3,000
April 2023-2024 Highgate International School Indian Dubai N/A
August 2023-2024 Noya British School British Abu Dhabi 2,300
August 2023-2024 Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi British Abu Dhabi 2,500
August 2023-2024 Dubai International Academy Al Barsha Nursery School and Early Learning Centre British Dubai TBC

You can read the full story on the opening of the remarkable new GEMS Metropole Al Waha here and apply for places here.

You can apply for places at the new Dubai International Academy (DIA) Nursery School here.

New UAE Schools Slated to Open in 2024-2025 Onwards

Opening date School Curriculum Location Capacity
2024-2025 Rashid Latifah School reopening UK and MOE Dubai 2,000
2024-2025 Dubai British School, Jumeira UK Dubai 2,000
2024-2025 GEMS Founders School, Masdar N/A Abu Dhabi N/A
2025-2026 Dubai British School, Mira UK Dubai 2,000
2025-2026 Saadiyat British Academy UK Abu Dhabi 2,600

Other schools in the pipeline

There are sure to be more schools in the works, but these have not been confirmed or officially announced yet.

What do we know?

Two schools are planned by Interstar Education, as exclusively revealed by One is an Indian curriculum school, and one a premium British all-girls’ boarding school, both with an opening date of 2026 or earlier, subject to approvals. Read more about these here.

There have been murmurings about two more premium and historic British private school brands opening outposts in the UAE, although we are unable to name these as yet.

Finally, according to, reporting on data from, two of Dubai’s most respected Not For Profits also plan new schools – one certain, one less so.

Too Few, Too Late? New Schools are Here, and in the Pipeline – but Are More Needed?’

Currently, Dubai is home to a total of 220 private schools, which enrolled over 326,000 students in the 2022-23 academic year, according the KHDA data. In recent years, the emirate’s education landscape has seen rapid expansion and diversification with the launch of new schools representing a wide range of curricula from across the world. The last four years alone have seen the establishment of 27 new private schools, further adding to the breadth of the sector.

Best Schools In Dubai revealed by new KHDA rankings 2023

Pictured: His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), who has been instrumental in driving investment in education in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said:

“The increase in the number of private schools further supports the leadership’s vision to create one of the world’s leading private education sectors. The addition of five new schools in the 2023-24 academic year is testament to the dynamism of the sector and the solid investment environment offered in Dubai. KHDA is keen to work closely with the education community to meet the needs of Dubai’s growing population and expand the capacity of the private school sector. We are also committed to ensuring that the world-class education provided in Dubai enhances its status as one of the world’s best cities to live, work and invest in.”

Dubai’s private schools currently offer a total of 17: British curricula account for the highest share of syllabi with 36% followed by India with 25%, US with 15% and International Baccalaureate (IB) with 7%. Dubai is also home to private schools that offer Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Australian, Spanish and Filipino curricula, among others.

Poonam Bhojani on IB Results Day 2023 - celebrating Innoventures Schools in Dubai and their amazing students

However, Poonam Bhojani, Chief Executive Officer, Innoventures Education, confirmed the growing pressure on places:

“Student enrolment across Innoventures Education schools has gone up by 16 per cent, as compared to the same time last year, with an increase of 20 to 40 per cent across certain class groups.

And this is the tip of the ice burg. The rapid rate of population expansion, combined with the economic goals of Dubai’s D33 agenda, whereby the emirate plans to double the size of its economy within 10 years, means that many now argue that further school openings are needed – and urgently. As Dino Varkey, GEMS CEO told

“Even if we only achieve one third of the D33 ambition, we’re going to need to double the size of the private school market. In 10 years. We are currently serving just over 300,000 students. We are going to need schools for 600,000.”

You can read much more about the need for new schools in Dubai due to population expansion in the following:

  • Our sister site,, in a masterful deconstruction of the impacts of population growth and the need for investment, discusses the challenges of a booming economy and the need for new schools here
  •, reports on GEMS Education rapid new investment in the UAE to meet the Challenge and ensure that the emirates can meet demand  here.
  •, in something of a call to action, reports on investment by both GEMS Education and Innoventures Education in new schools and increasing capacity, but highlights how already the choice for parents is constricting as the region’s best schools fill to capacity. The author questions whether the lessons of history mean that we need much more investment yesterday if we are not to leave children without schools to go to here.

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023 – 2024. 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.

Leave a Response