One of the most important decisions parents have to make is choosing a suitable school for their children and this is often not an easy process! So what should parents look out for when making that all-important selection?
When moving to a new country, most parents want their children to follow the same curriculum, style of teaching, and language of their home country, so these are generally the most important deciding factors when choosing a new school in the UAE.
Many schools have waiting lists in certain age groups, so it is advisable to select at least two or three schools, as the choice may be limited to which ones have availability. Some schools in Dubai will accept applications and charge an application fee, even though waitlists in certain age groups are long and there is little chance of a place becoming available. We advise parents to be aware of this as application fees can be expensive, ranging from AED500 to AED1,000 per child.
Your Child’s Individual Needs
It is important to visit the schools and observe them for yourself. This will allow you to ask questions, see the style and standard of teaching, and get feedback from the head teacher and other parents touring the school. It will also allow you to decide if your child will be happy in that environment. You will be able to see sports facilities and discover what extracurricular activities are available. It is always a good idea to involve your child in the visits so you can have their input, which can often help to eliminate any concerns a child may have about moving to a new school.
The range of private school tuition fees is huge, starting from approximately AED5,000 up to almost AED100,000 per year. Determine your budget and research the schools with available places within that price range. Be aware that tuition fees are often hiked up due to the facilities offered and scale of the school, high fees are not always a refection of the standard of education.
Location and Transportation Options
Another important factor to consider is the distance between your home and the school. Remember that traffic jams during rush hour and early school drop offs will certainly add time to your commute. If buses are available, consider how long your child will be travelling on the bus. Schools are mainly located around expat residential areas, so most families tend to choose the school before coming to the location of residence and securing a property.
Obtain copies of your child’s school records for at least the last two years and any transfer cerﬁcates that are required. Some schools may require your child to take an entrance exam, which will be used to assess their level and make sure they are placed into the right class. All the documents you require should be listed on the school websites.
Ranking and Accreditations
In Abu Dhabi, ADEK (Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge) is responsible for supervising, regulating, and spearheading development initiatives within the education sector, including public, private, and higher education. ADEK produces annual performance and inspection reports of all of the schools in the Emirate.
In Dubai, KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority) develops the education and human resource sectors, licensing educational institutes in both the public and private sectors. Dubai School Inspections Bureau (DSIB), an arm of KHDA, provides a comprehensive review of the performance of each school in Dubai. KHDA inspection reports place schools into five categories (Unsatisfactory, Acceptable, Good, Very Good, and Outstanding) based on a number of key indicators. These are a great place to start researching potential schools.
Other Factors to Consider Before Choosing a School
- How many children are there per class?
- How does the school help to integrate the children and get them settled?
- Where does the school source its staff from and how qualiﬁed are they?
- How will your child be supported outside lesson time?
- What is the school’s style of teaching and how do they encourage children?
- How does the school deal with difficult behaviour and bullying?
- How does the school communicate with parents?
Get in Touch
As a relocation consultancy firm with a decade’s industry experience, our education specialists will support and guide you through the schooling process, to ensure you have all of the knowledge required to make an informed decision. RelocateMe.ae will ensure that your transfer goes smoothly from day one.
Level 14, Boulevard Plaza Tower, 1 Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, P.O. Box 334155, Dubai.
T: +971 4 455 8612
M: +971 56 686 8805
F: +971 4 455 8556