International schools in the UAE offer a wide variety of curricula and teaching philosophies, with the British, American and Indian curricula being the most common. Many of these schools also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, which is internationally recognised.
Students at international schools in the UAE are required to complete an Arabic course. Though no subject testing will take place in this language, students are expected to achieve basic proficiency as part of their studies.
All schools in the UAE adhere to a uniform school calendar, made up of three terms, with the school year running from September to July. For many years, the school (and work) week in the UAE was from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being weekend days. As of 2022, the school and work week will run from Monday to Friday.
Despite the huge variety of options, finding a school can easily be the biggest challenge new arrivals need to overcome as a result of severe shortages of space, especially in primary schools. Added to this, international school fees can be extremely high, so expat parents planning a move to the UAE should start the school-enrolment process as early as possible.