Picking a school for your child can be a difficult task, especially with so much on offer in Dubai, here are four things to consider when picking where to educate your child.
Check the official rating system
The Dubai School Inspections Bureau carries out comprehensive annual reviews of all the schools in the emirate, covering all areas of school life giving a rating of either “outstanding” “good” “acceptable” and “unacceptable”. The board – which is part of the official Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) government department – gives a good general indicator of the standard of the different establishments in the city, so it’s a great place to start when choosing where to educate your child.
Tips for visiting the school
It’s always important to plan a visit before you sign your child up. Before your visit, request a copy of their prospectus and prepare a list of questions. What values and services are most important to you and your child? Does your child have a propensity and talent for art or sport? If so these departments might be more important to you than others. Depending on how old your child is, you might want to take them with you on the visit. Questions you might want to consider asking include: How many children will be in your child’s class?, How does the school deal with bullying? , is there a network for parents at the school?, What type of support is available for your child outside the classroom?, How will they help your child settle in, moving to a new school?
Consider how it will affect your household budget
Dubai schools are notoriously expensive. It’s important to consider how much you are willing and able to spend on school fees, and what sacrifices you are willing to make in order to cover them (would you forego yearly holidays in order for your child to go to an “outstanding” rather than “good” school for example). It’s important to ask for a full breakdown of the prospective school’s fees, how much they increase each year, and whether they are planning to apply to increase the fees in the short term.
Extracurricular activities and ethos
Extracurricular activities can be a way for kids to develop lifelong passions and strong friendships. It’s important to find out what type of extracurricular activities are offered (if any), and consider how these are relevant to your child. It’s also important to ask about the management structure – how long the current teachers have been at the school and how high the attendance rate is to get an idea for the school culture. Ask about the key community pillars the school adheres to, for a better idea of their ethos too.