Schools are a vital part of a child's education and picking the right school is an extremely important step parents need to take to help the overall development of their children and shape them for the future.
Choosing a school can be difficult and with a wide number of schools to choose from in Dubai as well as the different curriculum formats available, the choice can get tricky.
To help make your decision easier, Connector asked head teacher's from different schools what the top questions are that parents should ask them when visiting a school, in order to get a better idea of the school and see if it is the right fit for their child.
How do you promote happiness? - Simon Crane, Headmaster at Brighton College Dubai, said asking about how the school prioritises a student's happiness is key. As a child spends most of their day at school, socialising, interacting and learning, a fun and safe environment at school will keep them happy. If a child does not enjoy going to school because of the environment they are in, it can take a toll on the child's well being and have negative effects.
How does the school support students who have academic, social or emotional difficulties? - Mark Ford, Principal at The English College, mentioned that not all students are at the same academic level as their peers and some may need more attention and time dedicated to understanding concepts taught. Schools need to be able to have the right tools to cope with any situation with care and consideration as well as be able to assist any student to the best of their ability to ensure their bright future. Additionally, Rania Hussein, Deputy Head of School at Swiss International Scientific School, said that an educational institute needs to provide a personalised learning experience to students as one method of learning does not work well with all students.
Are there any extracurricular activities? - David Hutson, Head of School at Dwight School Dubai, advised that a good balance between academics as well as extracurricular activities needs to be managed. Extracurricular activities help in increasing a child's interest, help them interact with children their age and learn new skills. Holistic development in education will help in a child's overall development.
How does the school challenge students? - Simon Crane, Headmaster at Brighton College Dubai, said that children at various educational levels need to be nurtured and developed based on their capacity. Some students who have a higher academic capacity tend to finish the work given faster or find it easy to complete and need to be challenged. The school needs to provide the students with the right academic challenges to ensure they are able to get the best out of their education and hone in on their skills and knowledge.
What is the school's staff retention situation? - Rania Hussein, Deputy Head of School at Swiss International Scientific School, said children need a stable environment in school to help them grow and learn. If a school has a high turnover, with many teachers leaving, children will struggle to adjust to the continuous change and in turn, will be detrimental to the children's development.
How many children are there in each class? - Mark Ford, Principal at The English College, mentioned that it is important for parents to ask about the number of students in each class. Classes with fewer kids have teachers that can be able to devote equal time to all students whereas in classrooms with big numbers, giving personal attention can get difficult.
What are the next developments in the school? - Clare Turnbull, Principal at The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, told us asking about the next developments that the school will take will help in determining if the school have the children's wellbeing as its top priority. A school needs to be constantly ensuring that a child is getting the best education they can in order to ensure a bright future for all.
When visiting schools and deciding, it is important to trust your own gut as parents know their child the best and picking a school is easier when the child's interests, skills and talents can grow at the school.