Registering your children in Dubai’s private schools can give parents goosebumps. The process of admission starts with applying to a school. From choosing a right school to following the admission process, and making timely payments of school fees may look like a tedious process. However, in this feature we have broken down the whole process in tiny steps, which would help parents stay cool, calm and informed as they jump on to the admissions bandwagon in Dubai.
There is no restriction on the number of schools parents can apply for. However, each application costs between Dhs 500-1,000 in Dubai, therefore parents need to bear in mind the cost factor before applying to multiple schools. If as a parent, you are fine with the additional costs, there is no restriction. Clive Pierrepont , Consultant at Taaleem said, “Parents can apply to as many schools as they wish, however this can be expensive as admissions applications can cost between
Dhs 500-1,000 at various schools. With groups of schools such as Taaleem, one application will usually suffice as admissions applications can be transferred internally from school to school in accordance with parents’ wishes. In Abu Dhabi, the government authority does not allow collection of application fees, which means parents can apply to as many schools as they like, which is highly recommended as school places are very limited.”
Admission process and duration
Once you shortlist the schools, the second major step is to go through the admission process, which may sound tedious but schools make every effort to keep it simple and easy. In general, the whole process is laid out online on the websites of respective schools’. Once parents apply online and submit the required documents, schools generally get back within a week, however this may take longer if you are on waiting list or it is a special case such as mid-year admission.
Yvette Mitchell, registrar at Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) said, “JESS offers an online application form where prospective parents can complete an online expression of interest form to begin the application process. We have a very high volume of applications to JESS and after receiving the initial expression of interest, our admission team will respond within one week and begin the application process.”
A spokesperson for Brighton College Dubai said, “At Brighton College Dubai parents are required to submit an application via our website. Upon receiving the application, a member of the admissions team will make contact to discuss the school and details of the pupil and will request the essential supporting documents in order to commence the application process. Parents will be invited to visit and tour the school and meet members of the College Leadership Team if they have not already done so. Once documents have been received the pupil will then be invited to attend an introduction meeting/entry assessment at the college. Should this be successful, a Formal Offer Letter and acceptance form will be emailed to the parents.” He continued, “Prospective parents can expect to receive through the admissions office a final decision over an offer of a place at the school from the Headmaster. This is done in writing within five working days of the final assessment, confidential report request, work samples or interview.”
The school conducts assessments of all applicants in order to provide information to teachers as to the child’s level of language competency and basic skills. This enables teachers to ensure a smooth transition and to maximise continued progress in learning.
Shahida Patel, Admissions Officer, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park said, “ Children who apply to the school from within Dubai are invited to attend an assessment at the school and overseas applicants take assessments remotely at their current school. Children visiting the school receive a warm and welcoming greeting, followed by an assessment conducted by a teacher or member of the admissions team. A child who will be joining Years 1 to 4 will be required to provide an English writing sample and will have the opportunity to share their interests and hobbies with us during the assessment. Children joining Years 5 to 10 will also be required taking an online cognitive ability assessment.”
A spokesperson at Dwight School Dubai “For PreK to KG2, there is ‘play based assessment’, for PYP, applicants need to submit a writing sample and as well as appear for an interview, for MYP, we assess candidates through interview only.”
Once a school notifies parents that their child has been accepted and if they are willing to accept the offer, they need to deposit school fees and acceptance deposits, if required before the first term starts. Parents generally have up to 10 days to make the payments.
Clive Pierrepont of Taaleem said, “The application fee is a one-off, non-refundable payment. After a place has been offered, parents will be asked to pay a deposit, usually within 10 business days to secure the place, this may be refundable under certain circumstances in accordance with the regulators’ policies. It is then discounted from Term 1 fees. Invoices for Term 1 fees are issued one month before the first day of school. Full payment of Term 1 fees must be complete before the child can begin attending. However, if there are any difficulties then parents are asked to contact the school and discuss a solution to any short-term difficulties.”
Yvette Mitchell of JESS said, “JESS parents must accept the offer within 5 days and they will then need to pay an Acceptance Deposit of Dhs 3,000. The schools tuition fees are then due on the first day of the term that the child starts at JESS.”
Making an appeal in case of rejection
Parents can always appeal to the school for a reason their child was rejected. Schools can then set up a meeting for the parents with the principal or the head of the school to explain them why the application was rejected.
A spokesperson at Brighton College Dubai said, “Should a pupil not be offered a space at Brighton College, we would welcome parents to further discuss the decision with the Head of Early Years, Head or Prep or Head of the Senior School and where necessary the pupil may be asked to sit a reassessment.”
Can parents change their mind after accepting the school offer?
If parents change their mind about accepting a school place within a reasonable time, they should inform the school as soon as possible as they may be eligible for a refund as per KHDA guidelines.
These simple steps can take away parents anxiety related to school admission process. It is always better to refer to each school’s website and meet the registration team in person to get your queries answered.