Guidance from our experience in establishing a school in Dubai

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THE REPTON STORY
GUIDANCE FROM OUR EXPERIENCE IN
ESTABLISHING A SCHOOL IN DUBAI
WHO AM I?
Mark Atkins
Head of Academics and Education
Evolvence Knowledge Investments
Formerly: Founding Head of Junior School, Deputy
Headmaster, Acting Headmaster.
Now: Overseeing all aspects of education in EKI Schools
with responsibility for the establishment of new schools in
the GCC: Repton Abu Dhabi, Repton Doha, Foremarke
Dubai.
IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW!
Establishing a school in Dubai (or anywhere in the GCC) is
far from straightforward.
The process varies greatly from country to country and
even inside one country it can be different depending on
the authority you are dealing with.
When we brought Repton to Dubai we were naïve and
we made mistakes.
COMPLIANCE
Every school school needs a
competent and
experienced ‘Sabreen’
A compliance officer who is
familiar with the rules and
regulations both local and
Federal is vital.
CURRICULUM
• There are rules and regulations pertaining to the
curriculum that must be followed and these should be
checked thoroughly by your ‘Sabreen’.
• Arabic and Islamic Studies are very important core
subjects in any school in Dubai and there are strict
regulations as to how much and when these are taught.
Further, Arabic for first language Arabic speakers is
taught separately from Arabic for non-Arabic speakers.
ARCHITECTS AND CONTRACTORS
Essential
Land
Where is it?
Rental Terms?
Utilities connected? (extra cost here)
Surrounding road network
Parking requirements on the site (RTA/TECOM) regulations
Delivery Agent – project manager to represent your interests
Local knowledge
Experience in Education
Proven track record
Point of contact coordinator appointed by and working for the school
PRIVATE NOT INDEPENDENT
All private schools are regulated by their local regulatory
authority. Schools do not function as independent schools
in the UK.
Curriculum
Admissions and transfers
Fees
Calendar
Examinations and Assessment
INSPECTION
Dubai Schools Inspectorate (DSIB) inspect all Dubai Schools
annually.
Results and Inspection reports are published.
Schools are graded Unsatisfactory through to Outstanding.
The ability to increase school fees may be linked to the
grade received in the inspection report.
PARENT AND MEDIA INTEREST
The press never tires of running stories about schools and
love to find a bad news story. School fees are under
constant scrutiny.
Schools in the UAE feature abnormally large in the lives of
parents. Coffee shop and dinner party talk inevitably
centres on schools.
Chat rooms buzz all over the GCC with ex-pat parents
attacking and defending schools. Every single decision will
be dissected and scrutinized.
COMPETITION
Some in Dubai, backed by KHDA, are trying to promote a
spirit of cooperation between schools and break down
historic barriers of competition.
Heads may become isolated and find a lack of local
support from colleagues inhibiting.
Sharing of resources for example, to buy in quality Inset is
rare and many schools remain inward looking rather than
sharing best practice for the good of the children.
MORE INFORMATION
• Handout with useful sites and links:
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www.khda.gov.ae
Publications:
Opening a School in Dubai – Academic Plan Guide
DSIB Handbook
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www.adec.ac.ae
Publications:
Irtiqa’a framework for private schools (inspection)
Downloads:
Design manual – minimum requirements for private schools
• [email protected]
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