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Dubai English Speaking College

Dubai English Speaking College

After four years of consistently achieving a ‘Good’ rating from the KHDA, Dubai English Speaking College made the Outstanding rating for the first time in 2012/13, one of only 12 Dubai schools to do so. It has since repeated the Outstanding rating for three inspection ratings in a row,

Dubai English Speaking College is a sister institution to Dubai English Speaking School (DESS). DESC is a ‘not for profit’ organisation.

The school is situated in Academic City, Al Ruwwayah and opened in 2005. The school is still growing, but that growth is now slowing. The school is home to 1253 student students, up from 1146 in 2014/14, 842 in 2012/13 and even more significantly from the 737 students in 2011/12. Students are aged 11 to 18 years, and housed in Years 7 to 13.

The school follows the English National Curriculum. Students are entered for GCSE at the end of the secondary phase, for AS level at the end of Year 12, and for GCE Advanced level at the end of the post-16 phase. The is a pure play English curriculum school that is bucking the recent trend to mash it up with the International Baccalaureate (IB), most commonly for Post-16 education.

There are 114 teachers, up quite significantly on the 96 full-time teachers employed in the previous academic year, including the Headteacher and the senior management team, and an additional 10 assistants. A significant percentage of the teaching body comes from the United Kingdom. The teacher:student ratio is a high credible 1:11.

As noted the school has received its fourth Outstanding rating from the KHDA. Its report notes good student behaviour, self-discipline, consideration for others; outstanding teaching, learning and assessment in most subjects; a supportive caring and learning environment; its partnership with parents (2011 though to 2015) and dynamic leadership (2012 – 2016).

More specifically its latest report notes:
– Students’ outstanding performance in English, mathematics and science and their good achievement in
Islamic education.
– Students’ extremely positive attitudes
– The high quality teaching, underpinned by excellent assessment strategies and an engaging and
challenging curriculum.
– The excellent leadership of the headteacher and key staff, and their total commitment to inclusion.

The school still needs to improve in certain areas, specifically achievement in Arabic; as well as to better monitor the work planned for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to offer an appropriate challenge and to establish relationships with other schools, “so that they may benefit from the considerable range of skills and expertise of leaders and teachers in this outstanding school”.


Academically, however this is a school that delivers.

In 2016 GCSE results at the school were good- 95% of the cohort achieving A* to C (well above the UK average of 66.9%), while DESC’s A* to A results at 43.7% were more than double the UK average of 20.5%.

In 2015 in GCSE English over 75% of pupils attained grades A*-B, well above UK outcomes at 37%.  Pupils’ attainment and progress in mathematics significantly exceeds pupils’ performance in UK schools in every measure at GCSE, AS and A2 level. In 2015 66% of pupils achieved A*-B grades at GCSE compared to a UK average of 34%. At A level, in 2015, 67% achieved A*-B grades. In Science in 2015, 81% of all science results were graded A*-B. This is again much higher than averages found in schools and colleges in the UK.

The progress of pupils who have special educational needs is good; over 47% attained grades A*-B.

For Science, Maths and English at both secondary and post-16 phase attainment and progress are deemed Outstanding by the KHDA. However successes at DESC are not confined to the core subjects however. Attainment is at least above average and progress is often outstanding in almost all subjects of the curriculum.  Particular strengths in GCSE results for 2015 include art, drama, French, Spanish and humanities. Physical education is particularly strong.

In its 2011 recommendations the KHDA noted DESC still needed compliance with Ministry of Education requirements for Islamic Education and Arabic, an area that now seems to have received a tick. In its 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 reports the recommendation was to improve performance in this area – a requirement that continues into its 2015/16 report.

Did you know that Dubai English Speaking College has its own information app? If you’re a parent of the school it may be downloaded onto your desktop or mobile. More info here. 

DESC is however pretty much an outstanding school across the board – from personal responsibility of students to its community, from the quality of leadership to curriculum quality, this is very much a school at the top of its game.

The school offers an array of extracurricular activities – an annual skiing trip, sports days, debating, activity days, and the International Award (Duke of Edinburgh) scheme – examples among many. Additional information can be found in the school’s excellent Parents Handbook here. Physical education is particularly strong – the college has an enviable record in sports competitions.

The school, like its sister DESS, is a non-profit making organisation. This does not mean that its school fees will be any cheaper than a for-profit school  – they are not. In theory it does mean that revenue is more likely to go towards teacher salaries (aiding retention), facilities, training, etc.

Fees start at 74,219 a year in Year 7, and rise to just shy of 80,000 AED tuition fee in Year 12.

Total annual fees do not include charges for GCSE and GCE examinations or any external examination eg: music, instrumental, dance, etc.

There is an additional 500 AED application fee, a 500 AED enrollment fee and a 5,000 AED deposit at the end of each school for the next academic year (offset against Term 1 school fees each year).


The Buzz

A very well liked institution among parents and students alike who report high satisfaction ratings. The school did exceptionally well in the WSA School Survey, recording a high recommendation rating among parents from the school who took part.



YEAR 7 74219
YEAR 8 74219
YEAR 9 74219
YEAR 10 74219
YEAR 11 74219
YEAR 12 79772
YEAR 13 79772


KHDA Rankings

2008-2009 Good click here
2009-2010 Good click here
2010-2011 Good click here
2011-2012 Good click here
2012-2013 Outstanding click here
2013-2014 Outstanding click here
2014-2015 Outstanding click here
2015-2016 Outstanding click here





If you are the principal or the owner of the school and note any factual inaccuracies, or would like to update any information, please do not hesitate to contact us at editor@edu2021.com.


Update on October 4, 2016 | Reviewed by David on July 7, 2012

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