You could almost hear the joy. After six years of continuous improvement, Repton Dubai finally achieved an Outstanding rating on its seventh attempt, a long time coming for this high-profile, top-tier but costly Dubai school. The school made it two in a row in 2015/16 confirming excellence has now well and truly embedded itself at a school that always set its target high.

Launched in 2007, Repton, located in Nad Al Sheba, is currently home to over 2111 students (down just under 100 on last year, and 200 over two years), almost four times as many as its sister school in the UK of the same name. Its school grounds are vast, with some new parents describing it as “like walking onto a university campus”.

The school takes girls and boys from three to eighteen years of age, and offers both day and boarding facilities (from Grade 6). Its “Outstanding” rating makes it one of only 16 schools in the emirate to achieve the grade. Repton Dubai is also rated ‘Outstanding’ by British Schools Overseas (May 2015).

Repton School, Dubai follows the English National Curriculum from Foundation Stage to Year 11. Students are entered for IGCSE at the end of the secondary phase and follow the increasingly in vogue International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at post-16. This is unlike the UK school which follows a GCSE route, followed by the traditional (for the United Kingdom) A’ Level curriculum.

WSA discusses the relevant merits of each curriculum here in terms of their approach, however you can see the logic in the deviation. While A’ Levels are established and recognized by universities around the world, the IB Diploma is more of an international curriculum in terms of its syllabus, and arguably therefore more suited to Dubai and 62 of the 63 nationalities that attend the school.

Note: The largest single nationality within the school is, as you would expect, British, however this is a school also favoured by the local community – over one in 10 students is Emirati.

One thing to look for when examining IB schools is staff resourcing. The syllabus and methodology of the IB diploma requires more staff and Repton does not disappoint. It employs 201 full-time teachers, and 60 teaching assistants making the school one of the better resourced institutions in the emirate in terms of teacher-to-student ratios.

One trick no Dubai school has yet to offer, but which a school like Repton probably has the resources, and space to do, is to offer both A’ Levels and the IB. The choice is not about which is better, but about which suits the student in question. A’ Levels allow focus, the IB allows breadth. By offering both and channeling students towards the curriculum that best fits their needs, any school that has the resources would be able to increase their results in external examinations considerably.

Repton School Dubai generated significant publicity at its opening, much of that simply from the famous name of the school itself (Dubai does love a brand), combined with the city’s love of the new, and the general need for good quality institutions. Repton UK enjoys a good reputation as an English public school. Academically (and it’s more than just academics of course) it is ranked 97th in a league of UK public schools in terms of exam performance (A’Level), which may not sound high, but puts it top third of a very competitive bunch.

It is perhaps unreasonable to expect Repton UAE to offer the same experience of its UK counterpart – academically or holistically. One is over 500 years old, the other just over 5. The school has had its share of teething problems as anyone who does research on the school will find out from various UAE forums. The school seems quite unlike many others in the heated response any discussion of it gets. Some actually hostile, some very passionate in its defense.

In fairness to the school the majority of negative comments seem to come from parents who don’t actually have children at the school – although some parents have actually moved their children from Repton. The parents of those attending in general rate highly the quality of teaching and care – the school is highly recommended by parents, and there is strong satisfaction for academic attainment. Lower satisfaction levels exist for feedback, and on school discipline.

Aside the name, a second reason behind the heated response may have something to do with the cost. Fees at the school range from 47,599 AED for KG1 to over 100,000 AED for Grade 13. That makes it, with GEMs World Academy, one of the two most expensive schools in the UAE and its fees still clearly exclude many potential students whose parents may have wanted them to attend. It also sharpens the senses when it comes to determining ‘value’ – and certainly puts the performance and facilities Repton offers under the microscope. (It also means you are far less likely to forgive the school’s initial “teething pains”.)


The school has recently released its results to It does relatively well. The full results may be found below, but 91% achieve A* to C at GCSE, while IB performance has been improving year on year – and its 2015 average, 34, was on a par with the leading IB schools in Dubai. Its average score in 2012/13 was 30 and that 4 point increase is hefty in terms of improvement. Each point is the equivalent of 2.2% (1 point divided by 45 points (maximum points), times 100).

According to the KHDA, attainment and progress, curriculum and quality of teaching, learning and assessment are ‘Outstanding’ at Foundation Stage (noted in 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 reports). This is of course where the school has most ‘history’ – the school did not start taking senior students until one year after it had opened. It is at other phases of the school the KHDA notes most progress. The school is now rated Outstanding for Maths, Sciences and English at Primary and Secondary stage, while post-16 it is rated Very Good. For Islamic Education and Arabic both performance and attainment are largely rated Acceptable.

Facilities at the school are very good – and certainly there is little complaint here. The school is on a dedicated campus which it claims is the largest in the Middle East. At 1.3 million square feet it’s certainly big, with large playing fields and dedicated buildings for music. As well as describing it like a university campus, the architecture is described by visitors as a bit Disneyland – old spires in new Dubai. The school has too many after school clubs to actually list – but you can find the details here.

Fees for boarders are clearly higher than the tuition fees we have discussed. For boarding options fees range from 130,000 AED at Year 6, to 166,000 AED at Year 13. (Note, the cost of boarding in the United Kingdom is presently the equivalent of 175,000 AED (£9,760 per term) – it does not seem to matter the age range.)

Repton School Dubai offers a number of scholarships – for internal and external candidates. Don’t ask, definitely don’t get. The school had admissions information on its Web site. At the time of this review, it had availability from Years 1 to 10 (but not nursery or reception or Years 11 and 12). Hopefully up to date information here.

Note 2: Repton Abu Dhabi opened its doors in September 2013. Initially taking pupils for Nursery (FS1)  through to Year 1. Year 2 followed from 2014. The school is housed in two buildings on Al Reem Island.  The first intake (Nursery (FS1) to Year 1) is housed in the Foundation School. Year 3 followed in September 2015 with the opening of the second building.