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The secret’s out! Arbor, Arcadia, Brighton, Dubai Heights, DIA Al Barsha, Dunecrest, Fairgreen, GEMS Founders AM, Mermoz and South View secure Top Ratings from KHDA for First Inspection. SchoolsCompared Ranked Outstanding New Schools Excel in First wave of new Inspections Post Covid.
Good for Sport

The KHDA has published its first school inspections for 2022-23 – and it has focused on new schools due for first inspection, many of which had been postponed as a result of Covid-19. All the schools ranked outstanding by SchoolsCompared, including many recipients of the Top Schools Awards, received Good School ratings – the highest grading ever achieved by a new school on its first inspection. Reading through these schools, it is hard not to imagine that, looking back, these years will be considered a Golden Age for education in the UAE. The sheer scale of outstanding new school launches during this period is beyond equal – and it is parents that have benefitted.

Standout inspections for us include those for:

The Arbor School Dubai – An absolutely wow school for the UAE, which, with Fairgreen International School Dubai, delivers a cutting-edge education in the Environmental Sciences for students unequalled in the UAE and, arguably, globally. The philosophical underpinnings of an Arbor education are beyond impressive, and the life children enjoy here – one rich in exploration and innovation – is a testament to the courage and convictions of its founders and school leadership. One of our favourite schools in the UAE and certainly top-10. If you ever have the chance to visit one of the school’s biodomes, grab hold of it with open arms: you are in for a treat.

Arcadia Secondary School, an extraordinarily loved school by its families – with exceptional investment in teachers and happy school dynamics. Read our reviews here and here. Arcadia was the recipient of The Top Schools Award for Best New School in the UAE at our 2021-22 Awards.

Brighton College Dubai, a phenomenally strong Tier 1 premium British school, which stands out for its values and whole-child provision. The Brighton Schools, as a whole, across the UAE, are in our list of the top 10 British schools for children in the emirates.

Dubai Heights Academy, a school that stands out for its huge warmth and family dynamics, DHA is a showcase in how major investment in facilities and architecture designed around the needs of children repays itself in the quality of education received by children. Investment in children of all abilities and talents is second-to-none. Another Top Schools Awards winning school and very highly recommended.

Dubai International Academy Al Barsha, yet another of Innoventures’ stand-out schools – and one that has established itself in the top-tier of IB schools in the UAE in such a short space of time. We visited the school first during its opening preparations and were blown away by the thoughtfulness of the curriculum and investment in outstanding faculty. Poonam Bhojani, Group Chief Executive Officer, is one of the stand-out leaders in the emirates, a passionate educationalist, hugely inspirational and her schools are a testament to her drive to deliver the very best education for children at all her schools.

Dunecrest American School, a school that has grown on us over the years and another school we were engaged with long before its opening. Today Dunecrest delivers an extraordinarily rich US curriculum for its students.


Fairgreen International School Dubai – with The Arbor School Dubai, a school that operates at the very cutting edge of visionary curriculum and subjects delivery in the ecological and environmental science space. Absolutely stand-out school – and another multiple Top Schools Award winner. This is a school that absolutely “wows!”

GEMS Founders Al Mizhar– GEMS Education Founders Schools (including its Al Mizhar’s brother in Al Barsha) rank as the most successful and popular British school launches in history. The extraordinarily well calibrated balance of very good-value fees with bankable GEMS investment in qualification, career and subject pathways today sets the benchmark for how to deliver an outstanding education for children where it matters – at fees that democratise education for families seeking a top-tier British school on a budget. In this school GEMS Education again highlights just how significant its impact is and has been in UAE education in transforming the life chances of so many children and young men and women.

Lycée Français Jean Mermoz Dubai – at one point we thought the school would not open – with such regret. And then suddenly a French School that delivers so exceptionally delivered when we least expected it – and in spades. Yet another outstanding French curriculum school – one of so many in the UAE, Mermoz is one that finds its own voice and richly rewards investment by families in its rich and thoughtful provision for children.

And, last but by no means least, South View School Dubai– one of our most loved schools, leadership here is stellar in the shape of David Flint. Hugely warm, kind, inspirational and an educationalist to his bones, Mr Flint has brought extraordinarily happy school dynamics and a focus on the whole child to South View that sees children here alive with a passion for learning that is pretty much unequalled. Together with the in our view outstanding Victory Heights Primary School, the Kothari family have proven themselves to be visionary and serious investors in UAE education with a very strong focus on delivering for children before profit.

The full list of inspections announced follow:
School name Curriculum  Rating
Al Mawakeb School Al Khawaneej American Good
Al Salam Community School British Good
Ambassador International Academy British/International Baccalaureate Good
Arcadia Secondary School British Good
Brighton College Dubai British Good
Dubai Heights Academy British Good
Dubai International Academy Al Barsha International Baccalaureate Good
Dunecrest American School American/International Baccalaureate Good
Fairgreen International School International Baccalaureate Good
GEMS Founders Al Mizhar British Good
Global Indian International School CBSE Good
Lycee Francais Jean Mermoz French Good
South View School British Good
The Aquila School British Good
The Arbor School British Good
Bright Riders School CBSE Acceptable
Dwight School Dubai* International Baccalaureate Acceptable
Ignite School American Acceptable
Renaissance School American Acceptable

* Note that the Dwight Dubai School Inspection does not represent the final shape of the school as it moves to a new campus under the management of Dwight NY.

In the next wave of inspection reports due, the ones to watch are Arcadia Primary School, Swiss International Scientific School and Kent College Dubai – all of these schools we anticipate securing very strong credit from the KHDA for their achievements.

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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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