Dubai College

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Dubai College
كلية دبي
Dubai College Emblem. Bold letters "DC", with full name displayed in Arabic & English.
Dubai College Emblem
A tradition of quality in education
Al Sufouh
United Arab Emirates
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
School type Non-profit institution Independent school
Established 1978
Founder Tim Charlton
Status Open
Authority KHDA

Michael Lambert

Peter Hill

Carlo Ferrario

Eric Parton

Harry Deelman
Tom Jackson

Tim Charlton
Teaching staff Approximately 100
Years offered 7-13
Gender Both
Enrollment 870 (including Sixth Form)
Education system British National Curriculum
Language English
Campus Urban
  •      Barbarossa
  •      Chichester
  •      Cousteau
  •      Heyerdahl
Colour(s) White and Navy Blue          
Slogan "Work hard, play hard. Be neat; be civil; be co-operative."
USNWR ranking Outstanding
Newspaper DConstructed
Yearbook Shamal
School fees AED 67,000 - 77,000 (US$ 18240-21000)
Dubai College 01.jpg
View of Dubai College from parking area.

Dubai College was established in 1978 and is the top British system independent school in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is a secondary school for 11- to 16-year-olds with a sixth form for 16- to 18-year-olds situated in the Al Sufouh area of the city. Students prepare for the British GCSE and A level examinations. It is a non-profit organisation, and is administered by a board of governors, who control all matters of academic and financial policy.

In the 2014 COBIS survey of its members Dubai College had the best examination results of all British School Overseas in the world. As such Dubai College is regarded as the top British curriculum school within Dubai not only for its outstanding examination results but also because of its broad focus on sporting, creative and philanthropic activities as well. The headmaster is a member of the HMC, COBIS and British Schools of the Middle East.


Dubai College was founded in 1978 under an Amiri decree issued by the late Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.[2][3]

Before the school moved to its current location, it was housed in two small villas near Safa Park. Dubai College started its first year with five teachers and twenty two pupils.[4]

The Board of Governors set up a debenture system and arranged bank loans to fund a permanent building for the school. The contracted architectural firm was Brewer, Smith and Brewer. In 1979, the first school building, now dubbed A Block, was constructed near the Chicago Beach Hotel.[4]

After some years of absence, the school has reintroduced a compulsory debenture system, payable for all new pupils entering the school from September 2015.


Regarded as the best British school in Dubai and among the top academic British curriculum schools in the world, Dubai College has consistently produced strong academic results, with students scoring exceptionally well in both GCSE and GCE Advanced Level examinations.

In 2009, Dubai College students received a 100% pass rate in the British Curriculum Advanced (GCE) level examinations. 99 candidates sat for 300 subject examinations with 70% achieving an A grade pass, in comparison to the UK average of 26.7%.[5][6] 90% of students from Dubai College in 2009 gained admission to their first choice university, which included Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia, and Cornell.[5][6]

KHDA Inspection Report

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is an educational quality assurance authority based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It undertakes early learning, school and higher learning institution management and rates them as well.

A summary of the inspection ratings for Dubai College.[7]

School Name 2014-2015 2013-2014 2012-2013 2011-2012 2010-2011 2009-2010 2008-2009 Curriculum
Dubai College Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding Good Good UK

A summary of all the schools in Dubai's ratings can be found at KHDA School Ratings.


With a predominant reputation in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai College is a popular and highly selective choice. It receives about 450 applicants a year for only 132 spaces. It has approximately 820 students and more than 80 members of staff.


Sports field of Dubai College, showing rugby posts and cricket pitch in distance.

The campus of Dubai College offers many facilities such as a large sports field with rugby pitches, football pitches, a cricket pitch and cricket nets as well as astroturf tennis courts and netball courts. There are also 3 Design and Technology workshops, a Music Centre with a recording studio, and a specialised Art department. The school has 5 computer suites, with internet access.

A new 950-seat auditorium began construction in 2007, and was opened in 2009. A Wi-Fi network was implemented into the Sixth Form centre in 2010 and the entire school in 2011.

The school is currently working on plans of a new set of sports stands along with a canteen near the field.

Student body

As of 2010 there were 760 students, with 60% originating from British families and the remainder from other foreign nationalities.[8]

Extracurricular activities

Significant extracurricular activities participated in by Dubai College include the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, the Young Enterprise scheme, and F1 in Schools.


Dubai College students annually partake in the 'Fab 5' athletics tournament, competing against other schools in the area. The college also competes in athletic competitions on a regular basis at Rashid School for Boys. The school also participates in the annual British Schools in the Middle East Games.


Dubai College is considered one of the leading schools when it comes to Debating in Dubai. They have been Cup and Plate Winners on numerous occasions, and have played schools from India, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Dubai College's Debating teachers are Louise Hodge, Zoë Brenham and Melanie Parkes. In December 2013, the school's Under 16 representatives to the Debate Dubai competition won the title of 'Overall Winners' in their division, winning the Cup trophy. The United Arab Emirates School Debating Team in 2013 was represented by 2 students from Jumeirah College, 2 students from Dubai College and a student from Dubai International Academy at the World Schools Debating Championships.


Dubai College annually hosts the Dubai College Rugby 7's, and the Dubai College Rugby 10's tournaments. School teams from all over the United Arab Emirates and from the Persian Gulf are invited, and all the proceeds go to charity. Regular participants include the English College, Doha College, and Jumeirah College.

Dubai College also participates in the Gulf Under 18 Men section of the Dubai Sevens, and in an annual tour of Hong Kong preceding the Hong Kong Sevens.

F1 in Schools

In 2010 Dubai College participated in the F1 in Schools competition. Out of four Dubai College representative teams, Team Impulse won the UAE National Finals, and went on to represent the United Arab Emirates in the International Finals in Singapore. They won the Outstanding sportsmanship award. In the 2011 F1 in Schools UAE National Championships, two teams from Dubai College were entered, Team RedShift and Revolution Racing. Revolution Racing came 2nd overall, which means they will collaborate with a Malaysian team and compete in the world finals. Team RedShift won the Best Verbal Presentation award, as well as being named the 2011 F1 in Schools UAE National Champions. They will now represent Dubai College, as well as the UAE at the world finals due to be held in Malaysia in September.


Students from Dubai College annually create a workforce of over 100 people from years 9 and 10 to perform scoring duties at the Dubai Ladies Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic. They have also been scorers at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, the season-ending event of the European Tour.


Resignation of the headmaster

In 2009, schools in Dubai were subject to inspection by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), who separated schools into one of four categories; Outstanding, Good, Acceptable and Unsatisfactory. The assessments sparked significant controversy, partly because of the decision to link tuition increases to the results of the inspections.[9] Outstanding schools were allowed fee increases by 15%, Good schools by 12%, Acceptable schools by 10%, and Unsatisfactory schools by 7%, diverging from the previous uniform allowance of an 8% increase each year.[9]

The then headmaster of Dubai College, Dr. Carlo Ferrario, subsequently announced his resignation, citing government interference in the school’s operations as the chief reason.[9]

In a letter sent to parents of students, Ferrario was critical of the school inspections launched in the previous year, and said he would depart at the end of the academic year because of significant changes in the "educational landscape".[9][10] "Over the past two years this has changed markedly, with the level of intervention from external agencies ... reaching levels that, in my view, compromise [the school’s] independence," Ferrario said in the letter. "While school inspection is important and I applaud it, I believe the system of inspection that has been adopted in Dubai presents more disadvantages than benefits for schools like Dubai College," he said. "It is not a regime with which I feel able to work."[9][10]

Dubai College was given a result of Good, the second highest rating, in both the 2009 and 2010 inspections.[9][10]

Ralph Tabberer, the chief of schools at Global Education Management Systems, said of Ferrario; "Carlo Ferrario is an outstanding educator, so we need to take notice of his comments on inspections. They are supposed to drive out the weak, not the strong".[9] The owner of GEMS Education, Sunny Varkey, has also been critical of the inspections.[9]

Fraud by Accountant Employeee

In 2011, Dubai College discovered that they had been defrauded to the sum of several million Dirhams by an accounting department employee who proceeded to flee the UAE to his home country of India. The money was never recovered and seriously strained the schools finances for several years.[11]

Notable Alumni



  2. Dubai College, retrieved September 24, 2010.
  3. Dubaiphotomedia: Dubai College, retrieved September 24, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dubai College: History, retrieved September 24, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Zawya: Dubai College GCE 100% Pass, retrieved September 24, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gulf News: Dubai College GCE 100% Pass, retrieved September 24, 2010.
  8. Mansell, Warwick. "Expat guide to the UAE: schools" (Archive). The Telegraph. 30 April 2010. Retrieved on 24 October 2015.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 The National: Dubai College headmaster resigns, Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 dubaifaqs: headmaster reisgnation, Retrieved September 23, 2010.

External links