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The Best Online School in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 Revealed. Top Schools Award Winner. Official.
The Top Schools Award for Best Online School and Home Learning Community in the UAE is awarded to King's Interhigh for the outstanding education it provides for children
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The Best Online School in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 Revealed. Top Schools Award Winner. Official.

by Jon WestleyNovember 9, 2023

The Winner

The Top Schools Awards for

The Best Online School and Home Learning Community in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024

is awarded to:

King’s Interhigh School

The Best Schools in Dubai. The Best Schools in Abu Dhabi. The Best Schools in the UAE. Official. The Top Schools Awards 2023 - 2024 Revealed.

Our view of King’s Interhigh








Top Schools Awards 2023 Best Online School. The Award for Best On-line School in the UAE including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Pictured: King’s Interhigh students Beau and Bruno have seen their education transformed inspirationally as they have the freedom to travel and explore the world with their parents.

In September 2022, King’s Interhigh became the first, and then only, school in the world to offer the IB Diploma Programme completely online. Its impact on online education from this innovation alone, in breaking down one supposedly unbridgeable advantage of bricks and mortar schooling over its Online counterparts, is significant. But it’s not only here that King’s Interhigh sparkles for students. King’s Interhigh delivers one of the highest impact, and most successful, British education programmes in the world today with an all-through education stretching through GCSE to gold standard A Levels.

Broader subject options including Psychology, a key bridging subject between Mathematics, Science and the Social Sciences, add breadth to the curriculum and Business Studies and a MFL option in Spanish are both popular options in the UAE. Timetabling is excellent – and no obviously linked subjects cannot be studied together. Language options are strong and include Arabic too.

What makes King’s Interhigh so extraordinarily successful for students is the simple, but sophisticated, way that it delivers an outstanding education around the needs, and lives, of each student. It has proved a first option, on that basis, for several well-known celebrities in the Film, Sport and broader Entertainment sector.

The quality of lessons and their delivery is exceptional. Investment in (very) high quality teachers, and ensuring that no second of any live lesson is wasted, means that the average return on lessons is significant. Because they are filmed, the resource can be revisited to develop understanding and used as a lifeline in revision.

All subject expertise is in-house and learning materials self-generated. Bricks and mortar schools could learn a lot from this approach, and it is interesting that, despite the impacts of Covid on bricks and mortar schools and their resulting rapid deployment of online learning, many of the benefits of recorded lessons that could today have been implemented on the return to school, have fallen by the wayside.

A fantastic King’s Interhigh global Summer Camp Programme builds bridges with students from around the world, and ECA provision, online and in-person, is outstanding. Add to the mix a scholarships programme, a defined and performing Russell Group University slipstream, VR learning, and the greatest flexibility of study we have seen from any online school to date, and the result is a school that delivers for students and families to an outstanding plus level across-the-board and every conceivable child and family situation. King’s Interhigh is, ultimately, a school that is built around the needs of children to the nth – and that is an exceptional quality that bricks and mortar schools cannot, and will never be able to, match.

In many ways this Award is the most interesting of all the Awards this year because it points to, and raises questions about, the future shape of education. Every single one our finalists was to a greater extent given shape and, in nearly every case, made viable, by the Covid Years which saw the world shift to on-line education. Whilst these are fundamentally all stand-alone online schools (some do have a related campuses, but these are founded on online learning), the issues here relate as much to bricks and mortar schools as they do their virtual counterparts. In future years (and not so far off ones) we are likely to see all these schools at the cutting-edge testing grounds of what AI-driven learning will look like as AI teachers deliver one-to-one genuinely personalised learning simply not possible in bricks and mortar schools – unless, that is, traditional bricks and mortar schools start blending teaching and learning online with traditional existing ways of teaching within the classroom. The stakes are high in the pioneering, hugely creditable spirit and investment of King’s Interhigh at work here.

In our research for these Awards we looked at example lessons (how children would actually be taught), looked at the level of investment in the UAE (relative to when they launched), interviewed students and families, and had discussions with key figures within the community. Because as an organisation our focus is on parents and children, rather than vested interests of any kind, we also looked finally, with quality thresholds met, at the potential impact of the Award on the school, and the likelihood of its inspiring further investment in the UAE to welcome more families and children for whom online learning is the right choice, or in many cases the only possible choice. You can read the results of our interview with one King’s Interhigh student below:

Why and How the Best Online schools remove the peer pressure to conform

King’s Interhigh is the fastest growing online school in the region, has the best digital learning platform in our tests, is focused on delivering core subjects well in a way that supports each student individually (the nearest competition was more scattergun) – and feedback is uniformly positive in our surveys (this was the only school operating in the region that had no negative feedback in any of our surveys).

It’s worth noting that for many students who are gifted in any number of areas, and who have extended needs to ensure that their potential is met, simply cannot secure an education that fits, without some compromises, from bricks and mortar schools. During our research we discussed this at length with students gifted in all sorts of areas, from Sport and the Performing Arts to those building their own business,  that thrived being able to build learning around their passions. Online schools buy these students valuable time that is lost in attending rigidly timetabled traditional schools.

The point here is that too often online schools are seen as a choice for parents seeking education on a budget. This may be true in some cases – but a minority. Parents choose outstanding online schools because they are right for their child(ren), deliver a world-class education for the right child – and on that basis we should be supporting them. King’s Interhigh meets the very highest standards of education, has hugely warm feedback from its Home Learning Community in the UAE – and is here for the distance. For many families today, and many more to come, King’s Interhigh is the perfect school and a lifeline to a future brimming with every possible opportunity.

Award Presentation



The Top Schools Award for Best Online School and Home Learning Community in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 will be presented to King’s Interhigh school at a special Breakfast Celebration at The Emirates Golf Club on the morning of 16th November 2023. At the event the recipient of The Top Schools Awards 2023 – 2024 for Outstanding Contribution to Education will be revealed.

Top School Awards Postponed

Historic winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE Award include H.E. Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, recognised for his era defining leadership of Education in Dubai as a force for good; and the Varkey Family, for their instrumental role in shaping education in the UAE, and ensuring the life chances for generations of children, following the founding of GEMS Education in 1959.

Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education, receiving the Top Schools Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education on behalf of the Varkey Family

Our Finalists.

Our extraordinary Finalists and those schools which have achieved outstandingly in so many ways for children in the Best British Curriculum School category follow.  Each of the following schools are recognised for their profound contribution to online education in the UAE:

Crimson Global Academy




“Crimson more than lives up to its role as a pioneer in a sector that many believe offers a glimpse into the future of all education and an the increasingly definitive first choice for many families. The greatest gift of an online education is its ability to deliver an education based on ability and where each child is on their journey, rather than forcing students into an educational tunnel that looks only to their age. It’s an approach that is central to Crimson with an impact that removes any possibility, that any child, can, ever, be left behind. Bricks and mortar counterparts cannot do this, or generally refuse to, because switching age-groups in a physical school is nigh on impossible and generally not good for students without their moving school. Once you take the age orthodoxy out of education, the impacts flood in. It opens every door to building a genuinely inclusive education built around the individual needs of each child. Graduating pathways lead from GCSE through to a choice of British gold standard A Levels and its world class US equivalent Advanced Placement and the American HSD. UAE students enjoy small classes that open onto a world of shared experiences with students drawn from a huge international base. Developed relationship with some of the world’s leading employers, and a well-established internships programme, are the icing on the cake.”

iCademy Middle East


KHDA: Accredited/Not inspected



“The only KHDA accredited online school provider, and the most established in the UAE. NEASC accreditation and a pure-play US curriculum education culminates in both High School Diploma and Advanced Placement pathways. The richness of highly developed out-of-school bi-monthly social meet-ups and its blended programmes of study mixing classroom-based learning with online study set the school apart from its less well established international competition, this based around its current role of some 1250 students. Whilst out-of-house, breadth of subject options better those of bricks and mortar counterpart schools by a canyon – it’s breath-taking in its richness and quite extraordinary reach. From Cinema to the Culinary Arts, from Palaeontology to specialist electives in Nursing, iCademy opens windows on to the world and legion opportunities for students to explore their passions and career aspirations. Work expectations are demanding and rigorous, but results pay dividends. For the right students, set on a US education, it’s pretty much unbeatable.”

Minerva’s Virtual Academy





“The first school in the world to offer BTEC technical stream online learning – and in a subject area, esports, at the heart of a burgeoning US $4 billion-dollar industry, is unable to offer the course to UAE students because of issues surrounding a need for bricks and mortar learning at six week periods. It’s so frustrating as the delivery of British technical stream education is the probably the last of the supposedly unbridgeable limits of an online education compared with bricks and mortar counterparts. It is even more frustrating when

it is a subject that is available at only a single school currently in the UAE. Significant credit, this notwithstanding, must go to Minerva, for working through how it can deliver a technical stream education for students – this, after all, one of the stand-out features of a British education with a BTEC qualification that in almost every case hubs the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme. If this issue can be solved – the impacts will be significant, not only on British education, but also that of the IB.

Putting the “so near but so far” issue aside, the offer here is a very strong one for those seeking a British online education through GCSE to gold standard A level. Reach is provided by options in Psychology, Economics and Business, and the ROI is strong with a relatively affordable fee structure that still maintains an outstanding delivery of lessons and self-managed learning. A key innovation is in its delivery through flipped learning, an innovation we are seeing increasingly standard in outstanding bricks and mortar

schools. This sees significant learning take place online with lessons then used for debate between students – a proven way to secure learning and create inspirational learning outside the traditional teacher-student model of lesson delivery that has remained pretty much the norm since Victorian times.”

Sophia High School





“Co-founded in 2018 by former Headteacher Melissa McBride, Sophia High School provides a British education to students to GCSE (2023 – 2024). GCSE electives include Mandarin Chinese, Global Citizenship, Art, Music, Triple Science and Latin. Subject breadth extends from core subjects in Science (Double), English Language, English Literature and Mathematics to traditional options in History, Geography and Modern Foreign Languages. The school stands out for its integration of VR in its teaching of key subjects and Sophia High School is both CIS accredited and is one of four online schools in the UK working with the government’s Department of Education and regulator Ofsted on the Pilot Online Education Provider Accreditation Scheme (OEAS) for UK online education providers. The school also specialises in teaching younger children with school openings from FS2. Class sizes are capped at six students for English, Mathematics and Science and lessons are delivered daily by UK educated teachers in real time.”

A final note.

The Top Schools Awards takes over a year to produce. It engages with parents, students educators and educationalists over countless months, and the work invested in these Awards is the stuff of sleepless nights and deeply felt responsibility. We produce these Awards to celebrate our amazing schools, our magnificent teachers – who are the centre of the universe, our school leaders, whose lives will be judged by their impact on children, and the amazing students that they build a future for. These Awards are only about recognising this – in a world in which our schools and educators have far, far too little recognition. If on exploring these Awards you do one single thing, it should be to reach out to each and every one and thank them for all they do, each and every one of our schools, teachers and school leaders. You have absolutely no idea how much that would mean.

© 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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