UAE- Boarding School

There was a time when flights to the UAE at the start of the school holidays were known as the "Lollipop Express", crammed full of unaccompanied children on their way home from boarding schools around the world.

Those days are long gone as the UAE now has its own range of reputable schools for parents to choose from. However, the attraction of an overseas education is still there and in some ­cases it can be more cost-effective than a day school in the Emirates.

"With the current exchange rate in the UAE, British boarding schools are a good value option to provide the best educational options," of UK boarding school specialists Anderson Education. American boarding institutions can also offer value for money.

"I want to be in that atmosphere and meet all the different students who go to boarding school," says the 13-year-old Lebanese-Italian. "Here in Dubai, I always have to say: ‘Hey mum, drive me to this place so I can meet my friends.’ I want to have more independence."

But how does it compare price-wise?

According to Ms Sparling, the average British boarding school costs £30,000 (Dh141,432), with Dulwich College in London, for example, in the highest bracket at £39,480 a year. A report released earlier this year by the online education guide Edarabia shows that average school fees in the UAE are significantly cheaper, ranging from Dh2,479 at the lower end to Dh120,145 at the top end.

But boarding school prices also include accommodation, tuition, meals, laundry and school trips with only pocket money and flights to factor in on top.

The cost of a full education up to degree level per child in the UAE is almost Dh1 million, according to the insurer Zurich, which claims this makes it the most expensive country in the world in this regard.

"Amid the rising cost of education, more families will be considering sending their children either back home or to other countries to finish their studies."