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Universal American School, Festival City, Dubai

Which School Advisor has had good feedback for Festival City based Universal American School (UAS), with most parents happy with the progress the IB, US High School Diploma curriculum based school has made since it opened in 2005.

Dubai of course is not short of good US based schools. Non-profit The American School of Dubai, and GEMs Education owned Dubai American Academy at present head the pack, but parents of UAS (owned and managed by Educational Services Overseas Limited –  ESOL) do not feel they have settled with their choice. An Interim Director, who had been in post for 6 months is due to hand over to a Permanent Director in September 2014.

Ranked ‘Good’ by the KHDA for five years running, UAS has some Outstanding features says Dubai’s education regulator. These include the school’s leadership, students’ personal and social development – their interaction with their teachers was considered exemplary, the students’ awareness and understanding of other cultures, partnerships with parents and the community, and the school’s facilities and resources. Student behaviour is also said to be Outstanding by the KHDA, a rare accolade.

The curriculum at KG level is also highlighted by the KHDA as Outstanding (2013/14).

Located in Festival City, UAS provides education for 1419 boys and girls from Kindergarten to Grade 12, aged three to 18 years. About 70 nationalities are represented within the student body, served by 139 full time teachers, and 19 teaching assistants. 8% of the students is Emirati.

As noted, the school follows a US and the increasingly popular International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) is provided in Kindergarten to Grade 6, a school-developed US based curriculum in Grades 7 to 10, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) in Grades 11 and 12.

Unfortunately UAS does not provide information on the success of its students in external based examinations, so it is not possible to benchmark the performance of the school against its IB based peers. Which School Advisor strongly encourages all schools to publish this information. It is difficult for parents to see substance to claims of academic performance without the proof which really should be readily available to them…

The school’s KHDA report notes a ‘Good’ quality of teaching, learning and assessment across age ranges however, with Outstanding attainment in English (2012/13) at KG level (Good elsewhere), and Good attainment in Science and Maths across the board. Student relationships, their behaviour and the support provided to them are also considered Outstanding. Arabic and Islamic Studies are highlighted as areas which still require improvement..


Facilities at UAS are excellent. The building was designed by U.S. based architects THA, and includes an indoor gymnasium, Olympic size track and soccer field, vocal and instrumental music rooms, art rooms, computer and science laboratories, libraries and swimming pool.

The school offers a wide range of extra curricula activities including dramatic productions, sailing classes, student council, model united nations, etc. Given the school follows the IB curriculum, which offers three points (out of 45) for Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) – basically activities to counterbalance the academic core curriculum – both the school and students are encouraged to source activities that develop the human side of the student.

CAS activities at UAS include Arabic Newspaper, IB art immersion, Book Club,  SAT Prep, Peer Tutoring, Sailing, Girl Guides, Yearbook, Golf, Tennis, Cheerleading, Yoga, Fitness Boot camp, and Chess Club .

Details on applying to UAS may be found here, however note, students applying for PreKG, KGI, and KGII must have an interview with a KG teacher. Students applying for grades 1 to 11 must take an assessment test in Math and English.

Fees for Universal American School are top end, starting at 36033.00 AED for KG1 and rising to 68412.00 AED for Grade 12. Not the most expensive school in the UAE by any means, but certainly in the top tier.  There is also a 4,000 AED registration fee post acceptance.

Note: Which School Advisor has so far had limited feedback for the 2013/14 School Survey for UAS. However, results thus far are mixed, with partial satisfaction levels over academic performance, and a low percentage of respondents describing fees as Good Value.


KHDA Reports

Academic year Overall performance Report
2013-2014 Good
2012-2013 Good
2011-2012 Good
2010-2011 Good
2009-2010 Good
2008-2009 Acceptable



Grade/Year Annual fee (AED)
KG1 36033.00
KG2 40930.00
1 54358.00
2 54358.00
3 54358.00
4 54358.00
5 60465.00
6 60465.00
7 60465.00
8 60465.00
9 68412.00
10 68412.00
11 68412.00
12 68412.00





If you are 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 June 26, 2015 | Reviewed by WhichSchoolAdvisor.com on March 23, 2013


Leave A Reply
  1. Ayana says
    May 10, 2016, 7:51 pm

    UAS is a great school I go ther e myself and it is a wonderful educational experience.

  2. Jane says
    March 8, 2015, 4:04 pm

    A solid choice if you cannot get your kids into The American School of Dubai or Dubai American Academy. Probably the best of the second-tier top American schools in Dubai.


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