Making A Last Minute School Choice For Your Child

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Picking a school for your child is one of the most tasking decisions to make as parents, and with just a few weeks to the start of the new academic year, making a last-minute school choice can be even more stressful.

Finding a school that focuses on all-round development, academics as well as extra-curricular suited for your child, is a difficult task to undertake.

To help make the process easier, Connector in conversation with teachers from schools in Dubai. has come up with some tips to find the right school for your child, when time is of the essence.

The first thing to do when looking for a school is to do your research in advance.

Abigail Fishbourne, Director of Learning at International Schools Partnership, who operates Nibras International School and The Aquila School in Dubai, advised that some schools prioritise academics while other's well-being and, based on the environment your child thrives in, will help narrow the list of schools to visit.

The next step in looking for the right school is to visit the school. Robert Ellis, Principal at Emirates International School Jumeirah said that on visiting schools, it is easier to assess the school environment and determine if the school is the right choice. Your child should be happy and engaged at the school to ensure their development.

Mark Ford, Principal at The English College Dubai also mentioned that meeting the principal and teachers during open days is a great way to get a lot of insight into the way the school operates.

Identifying the questions to ask is always difficult. When visiting here are some questions to ask to find the right fit.

  • What is the school's communication policy? Parents should easily be able to communicate with the school as well as raise questions or concerns when not satisfied, as mentioned by Mark Atkins, Principal at Durham School Dubai. 
  • What are the facilities of the school like? Mark Ford, Principal at The English College Dubai said that on visiting the school, it is important to see whether the facilities work with your child and if the school invests in the upkeep of their facilities.
  • How will the school support my child if they have a hard time developing academically, socially or emotionally? Abigail Fishbourne, Director of Learning at International Schools Partnership said that a school should provide a child with all the development tools they need, as well as support them when struggling to ensure they are able to overcome any hardships at school.
  • What are the opportunities for leadership? Janice Butterworth, Director of Learning at Citizens School Dubai said that leadership is one of the most important steps to independence and should be taught at a younger age in schools.
  • What innovations to the curriculum have taken place? As the world continues to grow, it is important for schools to continue on the same trajectory and constantly update their curriculum to teach students to get an all-around education, as mentioned by Robert Ellis, Principal at Emirates International School Jumeirah.
  • Does the school have a nice community feel? A good community for a child to grow and develop in is important as your child should feel free to express themselves with ease advised by Mark Ford, Principal at The English College Dubai.
  • What are the school values? Abigail Fishbourne, Director of Learning at International Schools Partnership said that inclusive schools that celebrate effort, as well as unique talents, help children to develop in all aspects rather than just academically.
  • Is there any bullying in the school and how is it dealt with? Mark Atkins, Principal at Durham School Dubai said that asking the principal about bullying is important as ensuring your child's safety at school is key.
  • What are the induction programmes available? Robert Ellis, Principal at Emirates International School Jumeirah said that starting at a new school is extremely daunting for children and schools should provide induction programmes during the first few weeks of the school year to ensure their happiness.
  • How are children encouraged to take risks in the post-pandemic world? Janice Butterworth, Director of Learning at Citizens School Dubai advised that in this ever-changing world, schools should provide children with the ability to adjust to new changes as well as encourage them to face changes with determination and strength. 

When making a last-minute decision, Janice Butterworth, Director of Learning at Citizens School Dubai added that as admissions remain open throughout the year, proper planning for a child at any time during the academic year, will help ease making the wrong decision.

Additionally, if schools have waiting lists, it is better to continue looking at schools and have a backup school ready.

Parents should give their children time to adjust to the new school environment and if the school is still not a right fit, Mark Atkins, Principal at Durham School Dubai, said that there are plenty of schools to choose from in Dubai that will help unlock your child's potential.

Choosing a school for your child is a daunting task and should be done with a lot of thought. Using these tips when on the lookout for schools can help reduce your stress and worry, as well as ensure your child finds a great school to be a part of.

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