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Dubai school guide
Parents and teachers talk about schools in Dubai 11 Comments
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Yes, yes, we know it’s only February, but if you are looking at getting your child into school this coming September, you need to be looking now. In fact, you should’ve been looking last February or even earlier if you wanted first dibs on some of this town’s most popular primaries. Waiting lists here are notoriously long, and almost every child you come across will have his or her name down at several schools. Come September, there’ll be the usual scramble for places and you may well be lucky, but, even if you’ve left it to the last minute and are beginning to have a complete panic, don’t. True, you probably won’t get into the most-renowned and reputable, but rest assured there are plenty of good schools to go round.
Inspection reports, such as that conducted by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), are valuable and will certainly help separate the wheat from the chaff, but they don’t necessarily tell you much about the ‘feel’ of a school – which is where we come in.
While to look at all Dubai schools would be beyond the scope of this magazine, we’ve picked 15 of the most popular or well-known establishments, covering English, American and International Baccalaureate curricula, which have all been rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the KHDA. We’ve looked at their facilities, checked out their waiting lists and chatted to the top guy or gal. Most importantly though, we’ve asked our team of expert mums – whose kids attend these schools – to tell us exactly what they think because, after all, good old word-of-mouth is often far more insightful than reports and brochures.
So relax and read on, bearing in mind that the academic hothouse which suits maths-whizz Michael next door may not be up your arty Annie’s street.
American Academy for Girls
04 288 7251; www.aag.ae.
Age range: 4-18
School size: 525
Class size: 18-20
Profit or non-profit: Profit (Taaleem)
Annual fees: Dhs34,000-Dhs53,000
KHDA ranking: Good
Waiting list: Open for admissions in all years
Facilities: Swimming pool, well-resourced library, three computer labs, interactive white boards, art studios, music studios, four science labs, mini auditorium, fitness room, gymnasium, sports field, dance studio, KG playroom, separate KG library, outdoor playground, canteen.
Dedicated to delivering excellence, our mission is to promote intellectual curiosity, independent and critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills. We aim to develop self reliant global citizens, committed to being leaders in community involvement and environmental awareness.
Delice Scotto, Head
Mum says: ‘A small school with small classes, students get great individual attention and the teaching standards are excellent. AAG is not massively competitive, so there is plenty opportunity for kids to enjoy activities without lots of pressure. Discipline is strict, so good manners and respect for others is encouraged. I didn’t choose AAG for its single gender ethos, but I can see the benefits now. When boys aren’t in class, girls seem to excel and take a much more active role in lessons. I do think the school would benefit from having more of a cross cultural population. Diversity is a good thing, and I’d like to see more American, European and Asian children at the school.’
Time Out Dubai,
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