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Where to find out which UAE Schools are the best

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by chrisdore, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. chrisdore

    chrisdore New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm sorry if this has been answered before but I really can't find a specific answer (acknowledging that individual schools cannot be named publicly).

    I am looking to move to the UAE with my wife and 3 year old son in the summer but when looking at jobs how am I supposed to know which schools are good and which are nightmares that should be avoided?

    I'm sure people living there are aware of this but I'm really worried about getting such a big step wrong when I have a family to support.
    Is there any websites forums that people use to talk about this kind of thing? Would anyone be willing to pm me so they can discuss the school's I'm thinking of applying to?

    Thanks for anyone who can help.
     
  2. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

    ISR is usually a pretty good place to start. The KHDA post inspection reports and league tables of sorts. Whichschoolsadvisor.com also has profiles of most schools.


    Feel free to pm me
     
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    How are you supposed to know, chrisdore? You are not supposed to know and that's the whole point. They do not want you to know.

    Are all of the ISR reviews genuine, up-to-date and factually accurate? Is the Pope a Catholic?

    Now I might be wrong, but I seem to remember that the KHDA inspection reports are produced by the Emirati government. But if the Emirati government knew really and cared anything about education, then there would probably be lots of Emirati schools all over the UAE and no foreign or international schools because the Emirati ones would be so much better. However, this is not the case and therefore the KHDA reports are therefore not so reliable. What a western parent may want and what an Emirati government official may want could perhaps be two different things.

    Another little problem is that words like "good" and "nightmares" could perhaps mean different things to different people, chrisdore.

    On a slightly more positive note, you could just try that miracle of American technology called "Google". Type in the name of the school you are interested in and then see what little bits of info come up. Another thing you can do is to ask the school for the e-mail addresses of two or three members of staff who are currently working there.

    Some misguided people even send a TES Conversation to some crazy guy who thinks that he is a hippopotamus. That is obviously a waste of time.
     
  4. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    I have sent you / replied to your pm.
     
    chrisdore likes this.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I have not replied to your pm because you have not sent one to me.
     
  6. L11cex

    L11cex New commenter

    Try and connect with a few members of staff from the prospective school on LinkedIn. Most people are pretty happy to give an honest opinion on the pros and cons of the school they are working at. After all it is in their best interest to have people who are going to be happy on their teams.
     
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I have to disagree with you, L11cex. In my experience, some teachers are not "pretty happy" to give an honest opinion about their school. If a teacher were to say something rather negative and it were to get back to the SLT, then do you think that the teacher concerned would get a good reference when he or she left the school? I doubt it.

    There are plenty of stories about "witch hunts" for those who have spilled the beans to the ISR and I have witnessed one of these first hand. It was not pleasant.

    Yes, L11cex, there is no problem with being honest if you are very happy and everything is hunkydory. Of course, those schools where the majority of the teaching staff are happy do not have many vacancies for new teachers.
     
    rednelly84 likes this.
  8. rednelly84

    rednelly84 New commenter

    Check Which School Advisor, the UAE edition. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have very different school cultures. You'd need to narrow it down a bit.

    Dubai - lots of competition between international schools = lower salaries as the numbers of students has been dropping as more families leave.
    Abu Dhabi - handful of top performing schools = higher salaries (but not by much these days, sadly). More Emirati students entering the international school system as they look for a better education for their children. This has unfortunately, meant grades have been dropping, again, as more expat families leave the UAE.

    I find Abu Dhabi to have more of a friendly village feel to it. Dubai is the complete opposite. Depends what life you'd like with your family.
     
  9. mungomango

    mungomango New commenter

    I have worked in Dubai for 7 years and the number of schools here is HUGE.
    I agree that KHDA reports are a good first port of call, followed by Which School Advisor and School Compared. They all have reviews which should be listened to in sections, even if you ignore others.
    KHDA is the inspection arm of the government and they put a high regard on Arabic, Islamic, Moral Ed and Social Studies. However, they also look in depth at progress and attainment, GCSE and IB results, PIRLS, PISA etc. You can make a good judgement from their reports. I would only touch a school "good" and above. However, you can get some schools which are "good" because they don't care about Arabic and have a high British/European population. It depends what you are looking for in a school. My school is a top school in Dubai according to the KHDA but comes with it's own challenges.

    I would also have a good look at their social media and see what the students and parents look like, the comments and the interaction with the posts. It can tell you a lot about the school. And also what kind of achievements and things they publish.

    Finally, look at the student numbers. Some schools are huge with 3000 students and are full = job security. Others want to have 2500 but only have 200 currently = I would be worried about my job......

    I can see @rednelly posted earlier about a school in Abu Dhabi cutting pay. I work in Dubai and not for that chain but we have been warned pay cuts are on the horizon and it is "challenging times". My school will be fine, but I worry about others.......
     

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