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Raffles World Academy, Dubai

Now in its eighth year of operation Umm Suqeim 3 located Raffles World Academy is home to 1,977 boys and girls studying the UK based IGCSE and the Geneva IB based curricula. The largest single demographic is Arab nationals, but students come from 85 different nationalities in total, including French, Russian and other European students. One quarter speak English as a first language. The dominant nationality is Arabic.

There are 164 teachers, “almost” all have teaching qualifications according to the KHDA. There are also 30 classroom assistants operating within the school. Teachers came from a wide variety of countries, including the Indian sub-continent, Europe, Middle East, Northern America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, but the majority are recruited from the UK. Teacher turnover is 8% – low by UAE standards.

The school’s principal, Julian Williams, has been in the post for three years. Mr Williams has focused on international education in his career so far, with previous roles as the Group Quality Assurance Director at Innoventures Education Investments (the owner of Raffles World Academy), a Consultant at the UAE’s largest education provider, GEMS SIP, a Consultant Teacher Advisor at School Improvement Partnership, the Director of International Programs at Beijing World Youth Academy and Head of School at Beijing City International School.

From Kindergarten to Grade 5, pupils at Raffles World Academy follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum following the Primary Years Programme (PYP). In the secondary phase, from Grades 6 to 10, students follow the UK based IGCSE curriculum. Students in Grades 11 and 12 follow the Diploma Programme (DP) of the IB curriculum

You may find the schools accreditation on its IB programmes here.

Unfortunately the school does not publish the results of its external examinations which is a key piece of information parents use when assessing a school.

The KHDA does at least give some information here: At all stages of the school – primary, middle, secondary and post-16 the school is now rated good for both attainment and progress in English, Maths and Science. This is a welcome improvement on the previous year for Primary and Foundation stages when English and Maths, (as well as of Arabic as an additional language and Islamic Education) were rated Acceptable. Learning skills too are now judged Good across all phases of the school.

Islamic Studies is still the weaker link in terms of education provision at Raffles, with progress falling to Acceptable at secondary and Diploma phases of the school.


The school gets top marks and is rated Outstanding for community and environmental responsibility, curriculum quality at the Diploma and secondary phases, Health and Safety, governance and facilities in general according to the latest KHDA report,

Raffles is an inclusive school, and meets the educational needs of its SEN students very well. With the exception of shadows, this support does not incur additional cost.

Key strengths of the school according to the KHDA are excellent relationships throughout the school community; the initiative and leadership of students in taking forward sustainability and community projects; strong and productive links with the parents and the effective governance; arrangements for ensuring the health, safety and security of students; and the provision of highly motivated and committed staff, and the quality of resources and facilities. As noted, children in all phases achieve in almost all aspects of their learning.

Facilities are Raffles World Academy are indeed good, and include well equipped classrooms, art rooms, a dance studio/music rooms, science and computer labs, a soccer field, swimming pool, sports hall, basketball and tennis courts and badminton courts. The school has ample space, covering 30,000 square metres in total.

Areas defined as needing attention by the KHDA include the need to improve the implementation of child-centred approaches in  the Kindergarten with more focus on independent learning opportunities, the use of assessment to track the progress of students at each stage across the curriculum; improve the effectiveness of professional development to enhance the skills of teachers; and to improve the rigour of self-evaluation and ensure that improvement planning has a greater impact on student outcomes.

Feedback to Which School Advisor from the Survey was limited. Concerns exist for feedback and discipline. Parents responding to the KHDA survey are reported to be largely satisfied with both the governance and performance of the school.

There is a sharp differential between KG fees and Year 12 fees at Raffles World Academy, so parents who may be able to afford early years education at the school should seriously assess whether they believe they will be able to keep their children at the school for their full school career. Fees start at 27K AED and rise to 79K AED by Year 12. (Full details below).

The school says it accepts students from any nationality and from any curriculum “able to demonstrate that they have the ability to successfully access the IB curriculum and who will contribute in a positive way to our school”. For those wishing to shortlist Raffles, here is the Online Application form.


The WSA walk in test

Friendliness/Warmth: A
Able to provide information: A
Availability of Registrar: A
Overall: A

Raffles World Academy is located in Umm Suqeim 3, in the block between Kings’ Dubai and the Jumeira Beach Hotel. Raffles World Academy is part of Innoventures Education and Raffles nurseries feed into it seamlessly.

RWA is an IB school with a very international feel to it. No single nationality stands out either amongst the students or the staff. The 2-3 storey buildings it occupies are situated in the middle of the block, with ample parking in front and at the back. Over the past year, a new floor has been added to parts of the building. Facing the entrance, the primary section of the school is to the right, while the secondary is to the left. The KG section is at the back of the building, with its own entrance and car park areas. Security at the entrances is efficient.

The large open entrance area looks inviting with flags of many nations decorating the walls. The bright interior of the school is busy and has a lived-in look with children milling around working on various activities. At the time of the visit there were approximately 2000 children registered at the school, but the noise level was low and all the children encountered seemed to be happy and courteous.

The school boasts a KG Section (KG 1-2 –PYP), a Primary Section (PYP)A Lower Secondary or Middle School Section – grades 6-8 (CS1), an Upper Secondary or High School Section – grades 9-10 (CS2) and the final IB Diploma Section – grades 11-12. Unlike the British system, this is a 12 grade system.

The pick-up times for the school are staggered, with the youngest children finishing at 1pm and the oldest at 3.15.

The school boasts a sizeable library of over 27.000 volumes in various languages, such as Arabic and Mandarin. The library is open and spacious, occupying two floors, with a sweeping staircase leading up to the upper floor used by the secondary students of the school. Here there are spaces for individual study and indeed, several young students were working silently on laptops, with earphones, oblivious to the visitors.

The corridors are wide, with classroom doors opening off them. Cubbies located outside the classrooms enable bags and other items to be left, while lunchboxes and flasks go in with the children. The classrooms were decorated with the children’s art and project work. Children seemed engrossed in their work working in groups, some with teachers, some on their own. One year 3 classroom had an area of proudly constructed, elaborate and rather large junk vehicles on display. The happy and slightly less than perfect offerings spoke volumes of the effort and enjoyment the children must have had in constructing them. Each class has 25 students in the primary section of the school.

There is an atrium in each section of the school where exhibitions, shows and various collective activities take place. There are numerous sports halls, a dance studio and all the usual facilities you would expect in a modern school.

A shallow training pool is available for younger children, as well as a larger pool for regular swimming training. Physical education is on a 6 week rotational basis, with gymnastics, sports and swimming alternating. Several large playing fields and sports fields surround the school. There are no trees, and little real vegetation, however the areas are partially shaded and clearly a place of much work and fun.

The school has a large canteen where primary and secondary children eat at different times. The food is provided by Abela and a menu is posted on-line for parents to peruse. Every attempt is being made to provide children with healthy options. The meals cost 15 Dirhams each, with fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate frowned upon.

The school has a bus service, provided by Falcon Buses, but does not own its own buses.

For our inspector, this school offered an inviting and convincing picture of a successful school. Its track record for IB speaks for itself.



KG-1 27981
KG-2 33577
GRADE-1 43426
GRADE-2 43426
GRADE-3 43426
GRADE-4 52380
GRADE-5 52380
GRADE-6 52380
GRADE-7 59096
GRADE-8 59096
GRADE-9 59096
GRADE-10 65812
GRADE-11 78347
GRADE-12 78347


KHDA Rating

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




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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 August 8, 2016 | Reviewed by WhichSchoolAdvisor.com on June 13, 2013


Leave A Reply
  1. Manal says
    July 31, 2016, 3:50 pm

    My two daughters had been going to raffles for 9 years and still.
    They are very happy over there and its like their second home.


  2. Naithon Anderson says
    January 11, 2016, 1:50 pm

    I have visited raffles and i was told they dont have a theater as you say in the report !!

    • January 11, 2016, 7:04 pm

      Thanks Naithon. The school itself actually lists have a “theater” on its facilities page – http://www.rwadubai.com/facilities/

      I suspect however it’s how you define it. For the sake of clarity we have removed the word from our review. Thank you for your feedback.

  3. Hiba Safdar says
    November 23, 2015, 1:22 am

    My child has been with raffles for the last four years and i am too satisfied with it.I would recommend it parents who are looking for workd class education for their children.

    • November 25, 2015, 10:45 am

      Hi Hiba, many thanks for sharing your feedback. I’m sure this will be appreciated by parents looking at schooling options in the Umm Suqeim area.


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