Some predate the UAE. Others are futuristic schools preparing pupils for jobs that don't exist yet.
In total, 17 private schools in the emirate make it to the top rank.
Dubai is home to 217 private schools offering 18 different curriculums and attended by more than 300,000 pupils, but only 17 of these institutions are ranked outstanding by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
Schools are assessed on pupil's learning outcomes and attainment, provisions for learners, and leadership and management. Schools were last inspected in person by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) in 2019, due to the coronavirus situation. Only a handful of new schools, due to be rated, were inspected in 2022 by DSIB.
This year, Dubai's private school population increased to more than 300,000 for the first time after growing by more than 14,000 since the start of the academic year.
The National has mapped out Dubai's top schools:
Dubai College: up to Dh98,000 per year
The UK curriculum not-for-profit school in Al Sufouh is one of the oldest in the city and often touted as one of the best in the emirate.
Founding headmaster Tim Charlton set up the institution in 1978, so British secondary school pupils would not have to return home to the UK.
The teachers have been known to maintain high standards and the school has some members of staff who have worked there since the 1980s.
Dubai College's fees for years seven to 11 are Dh28,869 per term in the new academic year starting in August. Fees for years 12 and 13 are Dh32,690 per term in the 2022-23 academic year. There are three terms in a school year.
Jumeirah College: up to Dh91,235 per year
Jumeirah College is a UK curriculum school in Al Safa 1.
The school has 1,125 pupils from more than 59 countries.
The school has been ranked outstanding for 10 consecutive years from 2010-2021.
In 2021, pupils at the school landed offers from prestigious universities, including Imperial College London, London School of Economics, University of Oxford and University of Melbourne.
Fees at the school range from Dh72,988 for year seven to Dh91,235 in year 13.
Jumeirah English Speaking School — Al Safa 1 and Arabian Ranches: up to Dh94,805 per year
Jumeirah English Speaking (JESS) follows the UK curriculum and is one of the oldest schools in the emirate.
The school has two branches — one in Al Safa 1 and a second in Arabian Ranches.
The non-profit school was started in an apartment in Deira in 1975 with just 17 pupils. Now the school more than 1,400 pupils in Arabian Ranches and just over 2,000 pupils in Al Safa 1.
The schools place great focus on culture, curricular activities and on ensuring pupils are future-ready.
In August, JESS will raise its primary school fees by 5 per cent but fees at the secondary school will not be changed.
Fees at the school start at Dh39,837 for Foundation 1 grade, rising to Dh94,805 for Grade 13.
Gems Modern Academy: up to Dh68,302 per year
Gems Modern Academy, in Nad Al Sheba, was founded in 1986 and is the only Indian curriculum school in Dubai to be ranked as outstanding by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
The school has offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme since 2014.
The school's vision is to inspire children to be positive change-makers.
Tuition fees start at Dh28,646 in pre-kindergarten and go up to Dh52,427 in grade 12.
Fees for the International Baccalaureate diploma at the same school are Dh68,302 in grades 11 and 12.
Dubai British School: up to Dh73,540 per year
Located in Emirates Hills, Dubai British School has 1,171 pupils and is sought-after by families.
The school has been rated outstanding three years in a row, from 2017 to 2020.
The school is ranked highly for teaching, learning, and meeting the education requirements of pupils.
Fees at the school range from Dh49,026 in foundation stage one to Dh73,540 in Year 13.
Dubai English Speaking School (primary only): up to Dh47,406 per year
Dubai English Speaking School (DESS), one of the oldest schools in the country, was established in 1963 in a room of a residential villa in Dubai.
Dubai's late Ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed, in 1967 granted the school land in Oud Metha.
From only a handful of pupils in the villa, about 2,700 pupils now attend DESS and its secondary school arm, Dubai English Speaking College.
For the 2022-23 academic year, fees at DESS will range from Dh38,305 in the foundation stage to Dh47,406 in years one to six.
Dubai English Speaking College: up to Dh79,222 per year
In 2006, DESS opened its own secondary school, Dubai English Speaking College in Academic City (DESC).
The school was established with an aim of providing quality British education for pupils up to the age of 18 and preparing pupils for entry into university.
DESC caters only to pupils in year 7 to year 13.
The not-for-profit school does not select pupils on an academic basis.
DSIB has rated DESC as outstanding since 2013, considered an impressive feat after having just opened in 2007.
For the 2022-23 academic year, DESC’s fees will range from Dh73,708 in years seven to 11 to Dh79,222 in the sixth form.
Gems Jumeirah Primary School: up to Dh51,511 per year
Gems Jumeirah Primary School in Jumeirah 3 is one of the most sought-after primary schools in the emirate and has been rated 'outstanding' since 2010 by the KHDA.
The school offers a bespoke and innovative curriculum that focuses on the British Curriculum while also incorporating best practices from other international curriculums.
Fees at the school start at Dh40,865 in foundation stage one and go up to Dh51,511 in year six.
Gems Dubai American Academy: up to Dh86,260 per year
The only American curriculum school to find a spot on the list of outstanding schools, Gems Dubai American Academy was founded more than 20 years ago.
Located in Barsha South, the school focuses on celebrating diversity, resilience, creativity and driving positive change.
School fees start at Dh61,190 in kindergarten and go up to Dh86,260 for grade one to grade 12.
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou Primary: up to Dh29,668 per year
The Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou Primary (LFIGP) is located in Oud Metha.
LFIGP pupils’ attainment and progress in mathematics have been outstanding across all ages, according to DSIB's latest quality indicators report.
For the 2022-23 academic year, fees at LFIGP will range from Dh30,000 in the foundation stage to Dh35,021 in years one to six.
Fees will range from Dh44,294 in years seven to 11 to Dh48,093 in the sixth form.
Gems Wellington International School: up to Dh95,597 per year
One of several Gems schools to make it to the outstanding category, the Gems Wellington International School in Al Sufouh offers both the UK curriculum and the International Baccalaureate diploma programme.
The school boasts a 1:13 teacher-to-pupil ratio and an impressively low rate of teacher turnover.
The fees for the next academic year are: foundation years fees start at Dh43,941, with years one to six starting at Dh55,346.
Fees for years 7 to 11 range between Dh76,000- Dh85,870, with those for sixth form reaching Dh95,597.
Horizons English School (primary only): up to Dh40,792 per year
Horizons English school, in Dubai’s Al Wasl area, caters to foundation stage one to Year 6, with almost 1,000 pupils enrolled.
Quality indicators have deemed Horizons’ pupils' personal and social development as outstanding, while their progress in Arabic as a first language was rated as acceptable for pupils in primary years.
Horizons’ fees range from Dh29,126 for foundation years, to Dh40,792 for years one to six.
Repton School: up to Dh95,000 per year
The Repton in Nad El Sheba is one of three branches in the UAE.
This branch, founded in 2007, has had an outstanding rating on DSIB inspection reports for six years straight, from 2014 up until 2020.
Repton has listed its 2022-2023 fees as follows: the foundation stage fees start at Dh52,863, and years one to six range from Dh59,754 to Dh70,221 and years 7 to 11 reach up to Dh88,000.
The school fees for years 12 and 13 are Dh95,000.
Kings School Dubai (primary only): up to Dh66,383 per year
Located in Umm Suqeim, close to Burj Al Arab, Kings School Dubai offers primary education for children aged 3 to 11.
The original school in a family of three Kings Schools, it has attained an ‘outstanding’ rating by DSIB every year since inspections began.
The fees for the next academic year start at Dh43,619 for the foundation stage, reaching up to Dh66,383 for Year 5.
Kings School Al Barsha: up to Dh97,796 per year
The British curriculum school in Al Barsha differs from its branch in Umm Suqeim, in that it caters to pupils from years FS1 to Year 13.
This is a relatively new school, having opened in September 2014, and has managed to achieve a DSIB score of “outstanding” in its last two inspections.
Kings School Al Barsha’s fees start at Dh53,622 for foundation years.
The school is the most expensive of the top 17 on the KHDA's portal, with a maximum grade 13 tuition fee of Dh106,404 per year.
But fees for grades 12 and 13 are frozen so the maximum for 2022/23 would be Dh97,796.
Gems Royal Dubai School: up to Dh48,331 per year
This branch of Gems schools is the only outstanding primary school in the Mirdif area that offers the UK national curriculum.
Founded in 2005, the school has been rated “outstanding” for the 5th consecutive year in the 2019-2020 DSIB Report.
The school caters to the learning needs of FS1 pupils up to year six.
The fees for the next academic year are as follows: FS1 fees are Dh 38,331 and fees for FS2 all the way up to year 6 are Dh48,331.