Dubai is a cosmopolitan state and therefore has to cater to many nationalities and cultures, offering both national and international curricula. And ofcourse there are a variety of private and government schools as well.


You will find not only British, American, French, Japanese and Indian schools here but also the International Baccalaureate, all offering extra-curriculars like creative arts and crafts as well as sports facilities. A bus service is also provided to and fro.


Term: English schools start a fresh year in September and have vacations in the months of July and August.


Entrance Criteria: this is determined by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) which asks for essential documents or entrance tests that may be required by a certain type of school. 


Fees: this varies depending on the type of school as well as facilities and curriculum that is offered. The KHDA conducts regular inspections and gives each school a rating. According to the School Inspection Report, the school is rated as outstanding, good, acceptable or unsatisfactory and is allowed to increase its fees from approximately 3% to 6% depending on the rating given. These ratings can be found on their website, or is even published in local newspapers.


Binding contract: the parents have to sign a contract with the school outling each party’s resposibilities towards each other and the child. It addresses admission policies, refunds, attendance, punctuality, transportation as well as the health and safety of the child. This legally binding contract also states the rights of both parent and the school.


Still it is not easy to choose a new school for your child. So here are a few recommended websites for further perusal:

a) Which school advisor

b) KHDA School Inspection Reports




Dubai caters to both national and international communities, both locals and expatriates and therefore has a wide range of schools offering national as well as international curricula. These schools also focus on extracurricular activities that help in the all round development of the child.


It has a wide range of playgroups, childcare centres, infant schools, nurseries and kindergartens, some run by the government and some private. These are tailored to provide a safe and secure environment as well as physical and mental stimulation that lead to the overall growth of the child. Some Montessori schools offer different methods of learning that stimulate and speed up mental and intellectual development. All these pre-schools work towards socialising the child as it is their first experience out of the home environment.


Age: the child should be at leat 18 months old.


Fees: depends on the type of school and facilties offered.


Entrance procedures: the U.A.E. Education Laws prescribe the necessary documents required and lay down enrolment and registration procedures.


For more information log on to the relevant website.


You can also find online a list of services and location of all the nurseries and preschools in Dubai.




Generally there are very limited seats in Special needs schools as these schools are self funded and have to furnish their own professionals, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and special educators who are more expensive then regular teachers.


The government does support special needs but it has always been these special educators who are responsible for spreading awareness of mental and physical disabilities in children as well as taking up the humongous task of educating them.


Some regular schools also accept children with special needs or sometimes they may have already been granted admission prior to the discovery of the disability. In such cases the school provides a shadow teacher at an extra cost to help the child keep up to the level of the classroom.


Listed below are a number of schools for special children:


  1. British Institute for Learning Development (Jumeirah) - for children with learning difficulties like dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.
  2. Al-Noor Training Centre (Al Barsha) – one of the oldest schools for children with special needs.
  3.  Child Early Intervention Medical Centre (Dubai) - this has certified occupational therapists on board at the Healthcare City.
  4. Dubai Autism Centre (Satwa) – run by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, this centre provides specialists for Autism.
  5. Dubai Centre for Special Needs (Safa Park) – concentrates on different styles of learning.
  6. Dubai Community Health Centre (Dubai) – provides group therapy and psychiatry along with special needs education and therapy.
  7. Dubai Early Child Development Centre (Zayed University, Dubai Academic City) – this school has been opened by the Community Development Authority for children with special needs.
  8. First Steps Montessori Nursery (Umm Suqeim) - for slow learners and those suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
  9. Lexicon Reading Centre (Jumeirah Lake Towers) – for children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.
  10. Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre (Al Barsha) – also deals with children with moderate learning difficulties, besides the severe cases.
  11. Riding for the Disabled Association of Dubai – is a non-profit therepeutic horse-riding programme specially designed for children with special needs.
  12. Special Needs Future Development Centre (Karama) – takes care of the educational needs of special children as well as their parents.
  13.  START – specially designed art classes for children with special needs.
  14. Tamkeen – for the vision impaired. They offer support in the form of training and counselling.