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The English College Dubai, Al Safa 1. The Review 2023.
Good for Sport

Note from the Editor. As of 25 August 2023, The English College Dubai has been acquired by International Schools Partnership. We are currently waiting for clarification on the impacts of this. In the interim you can find out more here.


The English College. Extraordinary new school investment, facilities and architecture, KHDA Very Good with Outstanding Features ranking 2023, outstanding school leadership and bottom line verdict 2023.

“We want The English College to be the first-choice school for families in Dubai.”

Mark Ford, Principal, The English College

“As a parent it makes me feel very proud when I see both of my boys growing in different areas.

I have learned a lot about them since they have been at The English College.

They have so many talents I didn’t know that they had, which obviously, as a parent, makes me feel very proud.”


Sharon Adams, Parent, The English College

“The teachers come over and tell me that I can do it just as long as I try and never give up. We are just like a big family.”

Joel, Year 6, The English College. As told to



The English College Dubai - ISP acquisition 2023. International Schools Partnership.

Opened in 1992, The English College Dubai is one of the most established and loved schools in Dubai with close to three decade’s history at the heart of Dubai schooling behind it. It’s worth saying at the outset that this is one of Dubai’s few heritage schools. With the completion of the architecturally ambitious and facility-rich new Secondary School Building, The English College Dubai has now made more than a passing shot at the future. More on this below. Today, The English College Dubai is, deservedly, and creditably, ranked a KHDA Very Good School with Outstanding Features.

The English College has a very good reputation amongst families and teaching faculty which have proven themselves hugely affectionate about their school and very protective of its reputation.

The English College too was one of only 5 schools to be rated by in our 2019 Awards for the Best Schools in Dubai for the quality of its child progress and value-add. The English College achieves at an extraordinary level for its children against expected benchmarks.

The English College is also a school, however, that has had a unique, sometimes difficult history as it has, like many schools, grappled with the issue of whether Primary provision should be delivered separately in an independent Primary school, or brought into the fold of the English College and celebrated as part of a distinct, but better integrated, phase of a child’s whole school journey.

As of October 2021, and with its new (and extraordinary) Secondary School campus and Sports Complex now opened for the 2021/22 academic year, The English College has made that decision by placing Primary provision firmly within the heart of the school.  Today the English College provides an all-through British education offering a seamless, Tier 1 premium English National Curriculum British education from EYFS through to GCSE, A’ Level and BTEC for children from FS1 through to Year 13.

The merger of the former Manor Primary School and The English College into a single all-through school today offers a seamless pathway from the Primary Phase to the Senior Phase, removing the stress that is often caused for parents having to seek out new schools to educate children from Year 7. The move also ensures a future for dedicated The English College primary provision – a feature of the school historically valued very highly by parents.

“By linking Primary and later education, The English College now gains a new and powerful whole school spirit and ethos.

Educationally and holistically this has a very positive impact on our students.

Research shows that there is up to a 6 month loss in learning from children moving from Primary to Secondary schools, something that will not be the case for The English College students as they now move between phases of learning seamlessly on a single campus.”

Mark Ford. Principal. The English College Dubai.

Joining the school in 2019, David Wilcock, Head of Primary, The English College Dubai, has had a transformational impact on Early Years education – this particularly resulting from his opening up of the school’s Tier 1 Secondary and Sixth Form facilities to younger children.

The absence of any staff turnover in the last two years (almost unheard of in UAE schools) and growing student numbers, highlight both the school’s new found confidence in this approach – and its appreciation by parents and children. As one parent told us: “it works beautifully.”

The English College is situated in the heart of Al Safa with simple access from the Sheikh Zayed Road. The school is a particular favourite of families in both Jumeirah and Al Safa given its location.

Map highlighting the location in Dubai of The English College


School Leadership at The English College Dubai

Photograph of the Headmaster of the English College in Dubai Mark Ford taken in October 2021

Mark Ford joined The English College in August 2019. A proud Yorkshireman, Mr Ford brings with him experience drawn from more than three decades in education. Educated in Harrogate, Mr Ford graduated in Mathematics from Nottingham, before completing his PGCE at York University. His early years in education were in the UK state sector, sector, followed by his first international posting at Hillcrest School in Kenya. After a brief return to UK, Mark then joined International School of Paris, as Head of the Mathematics department for 5 years.

This was followed by nine years at the independent Yarm School in North Yorkshire. The Yarm School is a school that celebrates its uniqueness as both an independent but also a school rooted in the ideals and ethos of the Grammar School.

Mr Ford’s first post in the Middle East was in the UAE, at Abu Dhabi’s ADEK Outstanding School of The British School Al Khubairat, as their inaugural Head of Sixth Form. This was followed with postings in Hong Kong and, later, Dubai British School “for eight very happy and exciting years” between 2008 and 2016.  Prior to joining The English College, Mr Ford was Head of the prestigious Garden International School between 2016 and 2019, a 2200 capacity British curriculum school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Mr Ford’s experience across educational systems in the UK and internationally has strengthened his belief in inclusive education and, with his background in Mathematics, the critical importance of STEAM in schools. Schools should offer an appropriate balance of traditional and vocational pathways. Its curriculum should be dynamic and responsive, to meet the needs of its learners and ensure they have the skills, attributes and qualifications to thrive and be successful.

Mr Ford told

“Given the choice between leading a selective or inclusive school, I have no hesitation in choosing a school like The English College, a school that commits to meeting the needs of a diverse range of learners.”

“I believe that every single child has something to offer – academic, musical, sporting, engineering, cultural ….. every child is different and equally special and important.

The most rewarding part of school leadership is to ensure that every child is looked after, is cared for – and their passions and abilities are nurtured.

The English College has a remarkable history of inclusive education in the UAE that is second to no other school. We have an excellent, broad and balanced curriculum across the school, from Early Years through to Post-16. For example, at A’ Level we offer Law, Government and Politics, Psychology, BTEC Vocational courses, as well as the more common traditional A Levels. We also have an extensive ECA programme to enrich and supplement our children’s educational experience. The programmes are delivered by outstanding, high calibre teaching faculty and a school leadership team passionate about ensuring every child has a rich, positive and rewarding experience at the school.

Our results are remarkable, particularly given the inclusive nature of the school. Our GCSE and A level results stack up with the top international schools across the world, but it is our ‘value added’ data of which we are most proud. The progress every child makes during their time with us at The English College is outstanding.”

Mark Ford, Principal, The English College

We rank Mr Ford’s leadership of The English College Dubai outstanding.

The Future Arrives – Completion of New Sixth Form and Secondary Buildings 2020.

Care of students is stand-out with thoughtfulness everywhere including these illustrated shading sails to keep children protected from the strong Summer sun at the English College Dubai


“The English College offers simply the best value, gold standard British curriculum education in Dubai.

The quality of facilities, strength of British Curriculum, calibre of leadership – taken together – are unmatched in a school of this history, culture, fee structure and scale.

This is my personal, utterly candid opinion of The English College today.

The English College offers so much to children because of the quality and breadth of education on offer.

Relationships and people at The English College come first and are centre stage. Our shared philosophy is that every aspect of school life is focused around the needs of our students, collectively and individually.

We ask the question, first and foremost: “What can we do to help our students learn.” That is the key question.

The “big picture” is that it is always about the students.

Children first. Innovative and constantly evolving. Connecting minds. Creating the future.

There is an extraordinary new school before us but these will remain the core elements of each and every child’s education at The English College which drive every one of us moving forward.”

David Wilcock. Head of Primary. The English College Dubai.

Ongoing investment in the school and children at the English College is high. As of October 2021, The English College has now completed an ambitious three-year major rebuilding and refurbishment programme that has seen the addition of:

  • The English College Dubai Sixth Form Centre including Study Rooms and Sixth Form Common Room
  • 8 multi-discipline specialised STEM Labs across Chemistry, Physics, extended Sciences and Biology
  • Prep Rooms
  • Graphics Studio
  • Art Studio
  • Music Class Room
  • Individual Music Practice Rooms
  • Group Music Practice Room
  • Black Box Theatre
  • Drama Studio Theatre
  • Landmark Library
  • Media Studies Room
  • Learning Commons
  • Dining Hall with Terrace

The new purpose-built English College Sports Complex adds to these further with

  • Fitness Studio
  • Separate Changing Rooms for boys and girls
  • Modern, fully equipped medical Clinic staffed  by a nurse and part-time Doctor
  • Activity/PE Classroom
  • Landmark Sports Hall
  • Turfed, Tier 1 sports fields

In Summer 2021, significant investment was made in the Primary School, including exterior and interior painting and upgrading. The former Secondary wing of the school saw upgrades to doors and windows aligned with the ethical and curriculum commitment of the school to evolving energy efficiency investment over time.

Extraordinary clever new architecture and investment in facilities at The English College in Dubai is seeing a plethora of new spaces opening uop to engage students. Here we see students learning on the steps of the new auditorium space.

The context to the new campus is of a school today that has a hugely warm feel capturing the strong traditions of the established British school with extensive new landmark facilities designed to take the school into the 21st century. Architectural attention to detail (and significant flair) is matched with powerful investment in the stretched opportunities for children. We rate the new facilities and serious level of investment in children as some of the most impressive made by any school in Dubai.

Proven ongoing investment is a key measure of a school because it demonstrates, in the most substantial way, a commitment by school leadership to children above profit.

Design flair and colour has been used to create inspirational place around every corner within the new English College Dubai buildings. Here we see flashes of red light one of the wide school corridors creating the perception of a time tunnel to the future.

“Community” is a term often bandied around by schools, but, in our view, it is a genuinely meaningful description when applied to The English College. You get a sense of history here today. The Primary School building is a case in point, telling its story through colourways and murals that seem to us, and many parents, an imperative part of the school’s warmth, feel and culture. As the new campus develops – and the investment is thoughtful, welcome and inspiring – the magic of the history of the school has been protected and celebrated. There is something special here that comes from the energy of pupils given freedom to explore and showcase their work, and buildings that carry the continuity of a vision to celebrate that spirit, that could, if not carefully managed, lose something in the development of bells and whistles.

The new English College Secondary School and Sports complex opened its doors to students on 30th August 2020.

With the new campus in place, the value proposition here for parents is very strong given the equation of fees, history, reputation/cache and small school dynamics. The English College is a school that has academic inclusion built into its DNA with the small school numbers to meet that DNA with exceptional levels of care of students and individual attention. In our view, with the new campus now complete, facilities provide a depth of academic and whole child provision unmatched at this price point by any other school in Dubai.

Steel, glass, oak and floding light from every angle are the hallmarks of the landmark architecture at the heart of the new English College buildings.


The English College – Academic Attainment and Examination Results

“Every child has a learning flight path.

We enable every child to grow and every child to succeed and reach their full potential; and, equally as important, ensure that they believe that they can succeed.

The school is growing; The English College is evolving and moving forward. The school has fabulous new buildings and rich new facilities – and that’s going to make us even better.

It’s a place where everyone can thrive and everyone to grow on their learning journey.

It’s about the child, it’s about the staff, it’s about belonging, it’s about being a community which is The English College.”

Emily Hopkinson, Head of Secondary, The English College 

Examination results at The English College are Tier 1.

A Level Results 2021:



GCSE Results 2020



The English College has an Oxbridge slipstream.

Parents should view these (impressive) results in the context of the inclusive welcome of the school to children of all abilities.


Sport, Fitness and Health at The English College Dubai

Top tier league competition is a key feature of sporting life at the English College Dubai. Here a young man trains for the First Football Team.


“The English College has always been a focal point in Dubai’s schooling system. I am incredibly proud about our students; on a daily basis they compete with the very best schools – and on every single level.

Ahead of us lies such a unique opportunity. Our new all-thorough school, new buildings, sports facilities and campus are all coming on stream. Teaching goes from strength-to-strength.

The English College empowers our students to grow within themselves.

The creativity of our students – and the innovation at our school, never ceases to amaze and inspire me.”

Ryan Beasant. Head of Whole School Physical Education. The English College.

“My favourite lesson is Physical Education.

You learn a lot about different sports like gymnastics and dancing which I have never ever done before.

It makes me feel really great because we have a lot of sports to choose from.

Our school is like one big family ….. and family supports you no matter what.’’

Tyger. Year 6. The English College.

Sporting provision at The English College includes Football, Softball, Netball, Swimming, Basketball, Rounders, Badminton, Cricket, Running, Functional Fitness, Girls Rippa Rugby, Table Tennis, Boys Rugby and Girls Rugby. For young sports men and women everything is in place.

However, importantly, for those who do not enjoy Sport, the range of alternative activities is outstanding including a

Coding Club, Choir; Origami, Robotics, Eco Warriors, Talk like a Tedxter, Bronze DofE, Safehouse, Art, Mindfulness, GeogSoc, AfroBeats, Debate Club, History Film Club, UKMT Maths , Band Practice, Yoga & Meditation, Knitting, Spanish, Maths Puzzle, Expo Club, Batik Design, Lamda Exams, Islamic Cinema, Uni Prep & Interview Skills, News Team, Book Club, Art & Craft Club, Junior Duke, Hama Bead Art, and STEAM Club.

The emphasis is firmly on meeting the needs of all children with a focus on health and fitness.

ECAs are always telling of a school’s genuine commitment to the whole child and we rate provision outstanding. It is not that Sport is not an important and powerfully resourced part of school life – it is, but it is one part of a bigger picture that extends too across music, the Arts and any number of activities that, if they do not exist, are created to meet the needs of children.

The English College has never been about pushing children into boxes, rather about making, and escaping, them whether that is academically or in any number of the many ways that children are gifted and can excel and flourish.

Investment in genuine, turfed playing fields is increasingly rare in Dubai and the commitment of The English College to top tier sporting facilities is evident in the new Sporting Complex and its newly seeded adjacent grass pitches (October 2020).

In the UAE, investment in real lawns are indicative of tier 1 premium British schools. Here we see the newly laid lawns at The English College in Dubai.

Sport, is aligned closely by the school with its commitment to the traditions of a British education and plays a key role in school life.


English College Alumni

“The teachers at The English College insist you have the best environment and resources needed to study. There is always help if you require it so that you have an outstanding start to your future beyond Sixth Form.

The support for getting students into University makes The English College stand out. Importantly too, I learned a huge number of skills which were not graded at the time – but have proved invaluable to me now.”

Alisha Fernandez, Alumni of The English College and Entrepreneur

Alumni of The English College include Akhil Kapoor, the famous Bollywood Actor. There is an established alumni network and a Facebook page on which they connect which can be found here.


KHDA 2020 – 21

In 2016-17, the KHDA wrote:

“Although a variety of new resources, including staffing, have been provided to enhance learning, the governing board has identified the need for significant additions to the premises: a separate Sixth Form complex combined with enhanced sports facilities; the refurbishment of the science laboratories, and accessibility and safety. “

These have now been delivered – and in full.

What is important to take from this is the way the school has responded. Investment is serious, measured and ongoing. The English College is, today, a school firing on all cylinders…. and investing heavily in children and the areas they need to learn.

Stand out features reported by the KHDA in 2020-21 include:

  • Very Good and Outstanding levels of attainment in English, Mathematics at Science at both Primary and Secondary phases with particular strength in Mathematics and Science;
  • Students are highly skilled in the use of Information Technology;
  • Stand-out assessment of children in Secondary school and Sixth Form with effective individualised learning that focuses on individual child needs
  • Impressive and innovative thematic approach to learning that provides an inspirational environment for children that engages them academically
  • Hugely supportive parents committed to the school;
  • Strong governance with high levels of school and child resourcing;
  • Outstanding levels of student personal development. In rare words of praise the KHDA recognise “outstanding personal development and the exemplary behaviour of all students” as “a significant strength of the school”;
  • Outstandingly creative teaching strategies for Primary children in which teachers have a “rich” knowledge of every child;
  • Outstanding levels of social responsibility and innovation at Secondary School and Sixth Form;
  • Outstanding care and support of every child;
  • A caring school with developed empathy and kindness. The KHDA recognise that “care, compassion and support for the other learners” runs deep in the school and that “student leaders support younger students in their academic and social lives”; and,
  • A hugely imaginative curriculum.

Significant work has been undertaken including new provision for specialist facilities for Music, Drama, Media and Art; new investment in Sixth Form provision including a Common Room and study areas and demolition of buildings that were accepted to be beyond their usable life.

It is worth noting too that the school’s web site, here, now provides an inspirational window onto the school with examination results celebrated and published in full – and we really appreciate the way that every member of staff is showcased and celebrated too. Too many schools (the vast majority) only showcase their school leadership which tells you only part of the story. A school that does not think their teaching faculty worthy of being publicly celebrated says a lot about the school – as does the converse.

Where the KHDA does provide critique it is in Arabic language learning, an area in which all international schools struggle. More on why this area is so difficult for schools and children can be found here. The English College is rated a Good School with Very Good and Outstanding features. This accreditation was awarded prior to the school’s significant investment and opening of its new Secondary School building, Sixth Form facilities and Sporting Complex. In our view the school today is operating at a Very Good school level with many Outstanding features.

In 2023, The English College Dubai was ranked by the KHDA as a Very Good school with Outstanding Features.

Breadth of Subject Choice 

A Level subject choice in particular is outstanding, offering a breadth of choice to students that competes, and in some cases overtakes, many Tier 1 ultra-premiums – and The English College includes BTEC provision to maximise the school’s ability to match its offer to the needs of each individual child.

GCSE provision is almost as expansive, although we question why key subjects offered at A Level are not offered at IGCSE. We know that there is a call for the introduction of BTEC Music at the school from parents and it will be interesting to see whether The English College responds to the expressed needs of its children and parents. Current subject choice at A Level and BTEC (2020) include:

Arabic and Islamic Studies, Art and Design, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Drama and Theatre Studies, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Law, Mathematics, Media Studies, Physical Education, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, BTEC Business, BTEC Travel and Tourism.

Study in science is one of the many all-round strengths of the school with a creditable focus on both young men and women taking up subjects traditionally seem as stronger for boys.

Attracting young women into the study of Science is a strength of the English College Dubai curriculum

All subjects and ECAs are open to boys and girls:

“Debate rages on the educational landscape today that must prepare children for jobs that do not exist and the  21st century skills our future generation must be equipped with.

Technical and vocational education plays a fundamental part of this.

We are an inclusive school. And that is in every way – including ensuring that boys and girls have equal opportunities. We enable girls to play rugby just as we enable boys to learn to dance. The point is not gender, but to encourage children to develop whatever passions and gifts they have.

I want to see far more young women going into engineering, just as I believe that we need to encourage young men to pursue more options in the Performing Arts.”

Mark Ford, Principal, The English College
















A family with three or more siblings in school receives a 10% discount for the youngest sibling. This discount also applies to a fourth child in school.

As above, given the level of investment and school improvement, we rate the overall ROI here as pretty much unmatched elsewhere. We now need the KHDA rating to catch up with the reality on the ground.

We rate the value proposition here outstanding.


Bottom line? The verdict 2021-22 on The English College Dubai.

Sixth Form students at The English College in Dubai

“The English College is and will always be a family British school. Even on completion of our landmark new campus in August 2020, we will have a maximum role of just 1300 students.

Being an intimate family school is central to our ethos and philosophy of student care. Only in this way can we ensure the extraordinarily high standard of education and care for each of our children.

Each and every student at The English College is treated as an individual.

No student is ever lost in large classes or year groups running into the hundreds of children, as in so many schools in the UAE.

We celebrate every child’s unique personality and character traits. No child at The English College has ever, or will ever, be just a number.

A beautiful aspect of The English College as a result is that teachers know and value students who they do not teach.

Everyone knows everyone.

Everyone is special.

Everyone is a fundamental, absolutely integral, valued – and cared for part of our shared community.”

Britta Buche, Marketing & Communications Manager, The English College

After more than two decades a very loved school faces an extraordinarily exciting future.

Of course, there are inevitably logistical challenges ahead as The English College embeds its major new investment and establishes its vision of outstanding all-through inclusive schooling. That vision drives the owners, parents, students and school leadership in equal measure.

But this is a community school that works together to be more than the sum of its parts. Mark Ford, Principal, has managed the transformation of the school that has come with the ambitious new investment in Secondary, Sixth Form and Sporting facilities with gentleness and conviction, bringing the school and parents with him whilst maintaining the intangible magic of the much loved historic school. The bells and whistles of the new development are the icing on the cake. We rate the calibre of his leadership very highly. Thoughtfulness shines through the evolution of the school at every turn.

In our last review we said that The English College needed significant investment if it is to quell the nerves of parents and avoid the new year being another case of plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. They met that challenge – and doubled on even the most ambitious expectations. With the new investment in place there is room – and justification – to celebrate the school’s success.

One of Dubai’s most loved heritage schools now has the buildings, infrastructure and investment it so richly deserves.

The English College, for us, has always stood out in the breadth of subject choice it provides its students across IGCSE, A Level and BTEC. Given its fees, and despite them, the value proposition at the English College has always been exceptional.

But it is the intangibles that light up the corridors that make the school. It comes from a single word – family. This school is an outspoken, shining light for the power of smaller schools to know, cherish and nurture the gifts of all their children.

Mark Ford told us:

“I want to secure an Outstanding rating for The English College. I expect us to be Outstanding. But this will occur naturally with our investment and values over time.

As a school so much of what we do simply is outstanding. But our teachers and students deserve the credit and affirmation that an Outstanding rating will bring.

Our five-year strategic plan is designed around this. Academically, pastorally, across History and Music, Drama and the Arts, Mathematics and the whole child –  across every aspect of our school, the achievements of our children positively sparkle.

I believe that every child has the absolute right to come to school, be happy and excel.

I have two children and I would want and expect them to come to school and be cared for and achieve to their fullest potential ambition. The English College has a very, very strong pastoral support programme – our children know that they are cared for and every child has a mentor or confidante that they can speak with and confide in. Every child at The English College knows that they are invested in as individuals across their academic, cultural and whole child lives at our school.

This, ultimately, is what really, in practice, defines what an outstanding school is, and must be, for its students.”

Mark Ford, Principal, The English College

For us, The English College has never been comparable to a behemoth, giant corporate group school with all the risks those schools carry of losing children in a giant blurred crowd of numbers. It is an absolute credit to The English College that it has now so substantially not to grow the school to attract more children, but, rather, to make the school even more outstanding for the children it has.

Of course, we would like the school to do more, particularly in expanding subject provision at BTEC and providing bursaries. But this is a small school offering more curriculum breadth and choice for students than schools twice as big and expensive.

Our demands for even more are trifles in a bigger picture of a very special school that builds its magic by celebrating the endeavours of every child.  Forget the sterile walls of new schools with their whitewashed facades dotted by a few pictures here and there to try and break up the reality of a history to come. Here, at The English College Dubai, the walls are absolutely festooned with art, textual and emotional excursions and academic insights that capture the innovation and creativity of children on fire with a delight in learning.

Extraordinary creativity through the study of Asrt at the English College in Dubai. This photograph shows one of many walls adorned with the art produced by children that utterley captivates your attention on visiting the school.

Another photograph of art adorned walls at the English College in Dubai

A photograph of mixed media art works at The English College in Dubai


This is a school, rightly, loved by parents and children. It is hard to think of another school that could inspire such adoration from parents historically for its Primary School to see those parents offering to pay double the fees to save it from its planned closure.

It may now have them, and in spades, but bells and whistles do not make a school. The quality of teaching, breadth of subject offer, care for children – and links with parents are much more important. There is no doubt though that the serious new investment in the Senior School, and merger with its lovely historic Primary school, is impressive and to be applauded. On performance over the last three years we think there is so much to be optimistic about.

We have been rooting for the school for so long now because it does so much, so well. Teachers are the absolute lifeblood of a school – and they have historically proven themselves loved by parents and children in the midst of eternal change. The balance here is a genuinely wonderful education that endures as a beacon at the heart of the school and its community life. All the makings of an outstanding school are here in spades if the bigger picture can, finally, be made real and take its rightful role behind the scenes.

Samantha Rowberry, Head of Drama, said: ”The English College is a school where our students [have the confidence to] take risks, it’s a place where they can break out of their comfort zone; being able to have empathy, being able to create, being able to innovate.”

In 2021, we could not capture any better the opportunities and wonder of a school committed to keeping its community, small school dynamics, and a guiding ethos that see its staff caring for, and educating, children without question or qualification. Each and every one of them.

The English College Dubai, if it was not obvious reading this review, is one of our absolutely favourite schools in the UAE.

Very highly recommended.

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023 – 2024. All rights reserved.

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Details to consider
2018/19 Overall ADEK / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

2017/18 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Good with Very Good and Outstanding features

Rating FS


Rating Primary / Elementary


Rating Secondary / Middle

Very Good-Outstanding

Rating Post 16 / High

Very Good

Type of school

Private, for profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

FS1: 47,150. [2021-22: Discounted 33,500 / 2022-23 36,000]
FS2: 47,150 [2021-22: Discounted 33,500 / 2022-23 41,000]
YEAR 1: 49,450: [2021-22 Discounted 43,400 / 2022-23 46,880]
YEAR 2: 49,450 [2021-22 Discounted 43,400 / 2022-23 46,880]
YEAR 3: 51,750 [2021-22 Discounted 43,400 / 2022-23 46,880]
YEAR 4: 51,750 [2021-22 Discounted 43,400 / 2022-23 46,880]
YEAR 5: 51,750 [2021-22 Discounted 51,000 / 2022-23 51,250]
YEAR 6: 51,750 [2021-22 Discounted 51,000 / 2022-23 51,250]
YEAR 7: 51,556 [2021-22 Discounted 51,556 / 2022-23 51,556]
YEAR 8: 51,556 [2021-22 Discounted 51,556 / 2022-23 51,556]
YEAR 9: 51,556 [2021-22 Discounted 51,556 / 2022-23 51,556]
YEAR 10: 55,931 [2021-22 Discounted 55,931 / 2022-23 55,931]
YEAR 11: 55,931 [2021-22 Discounted 55,931 / 2022-23 55,931]
YEAR 12: 61,765 [2021-22 Discounted 61,765 / 2022-23 61,765]
YEAR 13: 61,765 [2021-22 Discounted 61,765 / 2022-23 61,765]
Note: Fees have not risen since 2019/20 as part of the school's commitment to meeting the needs of parents following the impacts of the pandemic.


National Curriculum for England
(2) A Level
(3) BTEC

External Exam Boards


Number of A Levels offered

21 A Level, 2 BTEC Level 3 , Arabic/Islamic and Extended Project qualification (EPQ).
English College Diploma

A Levels offered

Art & Design
Business Studies
Drama & Theatre Studies
English Language & Literature
English Literature
Media Studies
Physical Education
BTEC Business
BTEC Travel and Tourism

A Level A* to A

A*: 28% (2021)
A*A: 54%

22% (2018)
22% (2017)

A Level A* to C

94% (2021)

83% (2017)
85% (2018)


91% (2017)
93% (2018)


35% (2017)
36% (2018)

Number of I/GCSEs Offered


I/GCSEs offered

English Language (Core)
English Literature (Core for most students)
Mathematics (Core)
Science (Core)
Physical Education (Core – Non Examination)
Arabic (Suitable for second language Arabic students) (Option)
Art and Design (Option)
Business Studies (Option)
Computer Science (Option)
Drama (Option)
Economics (Option)
French (Option)
Further Pure Mathematics (Option)
Geography (Option)
History (Option)
Leisure and Tourism
Media Studies (Option)
Music (Option)
Physical Education (Option)
Physics (Separate Science) (Option)
Spanish (Option)


(1) The English College is a school for English Speaking students. It does not teach English as a second language.
(2) Students are eligible for admission if it is believed that the school can meet their particular needs.
(3) Admission decisions are made on the basis of the previous educational record.
(4) If necessary students may need to sit a placement assessment, an interview and/or a letter of recommendation from the present school.
(5) The English College has a limited number of places for students with specific learning difficulties.
(6) Sixth form entry requires at least five passes in GCSEs at A* to C, and A* to B grading in their proposed subjects of A Level study.

Waiting list

Yes in some years

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

Original capacity: 1075 (635 in Year 7 - Year 13, 440 in FS1 - Year 6)
New capacity on completion of all-through school in April 2020: 1300
Current capacity in interim phase: 900
Current role (September 2021): 1043 (331 Primary 712 Secondary)
From September 2019:
Primary School: FS1 - Year 6
Secondary School: Years 7 - 13

Teacher to Student Ratio

2021: 1:10

2019: 1:10
2018: 1:10
2016: 1:10
2015: 1:9
Years 7 - 11 class size: 22 or less
Years 12 - 13 class size: 1:15 or less

Largest nationality teachers


Teacher turnover

33% (2019)
37% (2018)

Year opened



The English College Dubai, Al Safa 1, Dubai

Student composition

British (largest nationality): 26%
Emirati: 13
Nationalities: 67 (most from English speaking countries)
Special Educational Needs [SEN]: 77
Note: The English College does not teach English as an Additional Language [EAL]


Mixed, co-educational

School canteen



His Highness Sheikh Butti Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 394 3465

Web Address

Attainment Nur SEM


Attainment Pri SEM


Attainment Sec SEM


Attainment Post-16 SEM


Progress Nur SEM


Progress Pri SEM


Progress Sec SEM


Progress Post-16 SEM


Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)


Arabic Secondary Results (Native)


Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)


Arabic Primary Results (Add.)


Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)


Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)


Islamic St. Primary Results


Islamic St. Secondary Results


Islamic St. Post-16 Results








Quality of teaching


Student personal responsibility


Quality of curriculum


School Governance


SEN Provision



• One of Dubai's top tier heritage schools
• Outstanding teaching faculty
• Small school dynamics with absolutely outstanding care of children and individualised learning - rare at this level in the UAE
• top 5 school in the UAE for child progress and value-add
• Pioneering new Head with a reputation for making things happen
• Outstanding level of facilities with extraordinary new Sixth Form, Secondary and Sporting investment
• Significantly loved school by generations of students and parents
• Extremely positive independent feedback to both ourselves and our sister site
• Outstanding choice at A Level/BTEC
• Outstanding school communication
• Strong heritage and alumni network
• Community and parent engagement stand-out
• A school that celebrates each and every child


• Arabic language remains a struggle - but the English College is not alone in this; it comes pretty much with territory for all British/international schools in the UAE.

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The English College, in its commitment to remaining a small intimate family school, its culture of child attention and kindness, community ethic and deep seated commitment to child development offers a hugely attractive and powerful proposition for parents. There is not a school with which it easily compares in the UAE. The move to an all-through school and development of new campus finally gives The English College the facilities and integrated schooling worthy of its reputation and long called-for by its adoring parents. This is a school alive with the care for and celebration of its children. Very highly recommended.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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Arts & Drama
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