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EDUCATION Emirates

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True Vocation

Could a BTEC be right for your child?

ALIVE & KICKING

SUMMER 2017

The benefits of learning Latin

FUTURE PROOF

Teaching for the 21st century

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Plus…

HOMEWORK

Love it or hate it?

Going GLOBAL MAKING THE MOVE TO DUBAI

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Your pathway to a degree London Brunel International College (LBIC) is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider with the knowledge and resources of staff in more than 120 colleges and campuses worldwide.

• Brunel is ranked 24th in the Top 200 universities for international students • Brunel is ranked among UK’s top 50 and London’s top 10 universities • Accommodation facilities ranked 3rd best in London • Brunel Language Centre ranked 2nd university language centre in London and 3rd in the UK • Business School accredited by AACSB placing it among the top 5% of Business Schools worldwide • 2nd in London for Engineering

Contact us now Brunel University London Russell Building, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, United Kingdom T: 01895 265540 • E: info@lbic.brunel.ac.uk W: www.brunel.ac.uk/lbic Apply: www.lbic.navitas.com/apply

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Open for Admissions ‘A school with a definite “wow” factor’... ‘an exceptional school’ SchoolsCompared.com British Curriculum ages 3-18 • Admissions open from FS1 – Sixth form • www.kentcollege.ae registrar@kentcollege.ae • +971 (0) 4-3180700 KENT COLLEGE V2.indd 1

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CONTENTS SUMMER EDITION 2017

35

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF UA E

Sophie Pender-Cudlip

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF UK

Amanda Constance

UP FR O NT

PUBL ISHER UA E

15 NEWS

Amina Ahmed ž

What’s going on in the world of education

A DV ERTISING M A NAGER

20 STUDENT VIEW

Hayden Taylor ž

The challenges and benefits of Ramadan at school

A RT DIR ECTOR

Phil Couzens

22 GET HAPPY

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General KHDA on why teachers matter

GROUP SA L ES M A NAGER

25 CAREER MOVE

SENIOR DESIGNER

J UNIO R

Ekrem Yilmaz, Rebecca Noonan ž

Wasif Ahmed ž Pawel Kuba ž

Tips on teaching in the UAE, by Fiona McKenzie

DESIGNER S

32 SMALL BUT PERFECT

PRODUCTION M A NAGER

Stand-alone primary schools are a good choice, by Sasha Crabb

Chris Couchman ž

FINA NCE DIR ECTOR

39 GREEN TEAM

Alexandra Hvid ž

Introduce gardening to schools, says Justine Bain

PA TO THE DIR ECTOR S

44 FOR OR AGAINST?

Kerry Hollingsworth ž

49 NOTE PERFECT

Greg Hughes, Alexandra Hunter ž

Headmasters give their view on homework

DIR ECTOR S

64

Learning music has many benefits, says Rebecca Octave

73

PUBL ISHING DIR ECTOR

Sherif Shaltout

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56 NEW SCHOOL

86

An interview with Daniel Lewis, Principal, at North London Collegiate School, Dubai

60 BEING BRAVE

Education is about more than exams, says Brendan Law

Zest Media Publications Ltd. cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken, prices and details are subject to change and Zest Media Publications Ltd. take no responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and edit any letters.All rights reserved.

@AB SOLUTELY_MAGS ‘AB SOLUTELY MAGAZINES’

63 LEARN LATIN 64 ALL ABOARD

E D U C AT I ON E M I R AT E S

Fiona McKenzie on regional boarding

EDUCATION Emirates

S U M M E R 2 01 7

True Vocation

S CHOOL’S OUT

Could a BTEC be right for your child?

92 GOING TO CAMP

The benefits of summer camp by Fiona McKenzie

FUTURE PROOF

Teaching for the 21st century

Plus…

HOMEWORK

Love it or hate it?

Going GLOBAL

96 SNOW LIMITS

ZE ST.LONDON

It's boiling outside, let's go skiing, says Sophie Oakes

ALIVE & KICKING

The benefits of learning Latin

S UMME R 2017

16

The benefits of learning Latin by Charlotte Hughes D'Aeth and Lucy Holland

MAKING THE MOVE TO DUBAI

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The cover depicts pupils at North London Collegiate School www.nlcsdubai.ae

98 JASPER HOPE

Chief Executive of Dubai Opera

2017

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We l c o m e

From the

EDITOR

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hen I was young, I loved playing teachers. I would get home from school and set up my classroom with a group of enthusiastic teddy bears. My teachers were wonderful and I looked up to them with awe, particularly if they wore a beautiful pair of shoes, which we would admire as we sat cross-legged on the carpet. I am now encouraging my own daughter to consider a career in teaching. She spent a week last year working in a small village school in the UK. Apart from the thrill of being allowed into the staff room, she really enjoyed spending time with the children who were struggling. She would sit with one

to question and broaden my rather narrow teenage mind. He constantly prompted me to ask ‘why’, no doubt contributing in some small way to me becoming a journalist. In this edition of Absolutely Education we take a closer look at teachers and their contribution to education in the UAE. Dr Abdulla, Director General of the KHDA writes on page 22 about his appreciation of teachers in Dubai and what the KHDA is doing to support them. He is offering his own time as a teaching assistant to schools in the City. What better way to see and learn what goes on in the classroom and get a true insight into education. Fiona McKenzie, Head of Gabbitas Middle East, whose husband is a headmaster and whose daughter is a teacher, writes on page 25 about teachers

“A GOOD TEACHER WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON A CHILD BEYOND MERE ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT” little boy in the library, reading to him when he was tired and no longer able to concentrate on lessons. She built a relationship with him and her feedback to staff at the end of the week was valued and appreciated. Despite being young and as yet untrained, she made a positive impact on this child, however small. We all remember the teachers who inspired us. My maths teacher, Mr Ross, patiently helped me through my maths GCSE. He wore shoes that squelched as he made his way round the classroom to rescue me from the latest equation conundrum. My philosophy teacher, Father Saunders taught me

moving to the UAE. She gives valuable tips and advice to those making the transition to ensure they maximise the opportunity. A good teacher will have an impact on a child beyond mere academic attainment. They might be quirky, inspirational, make them laugh or urge a child to keep questioning come what may. Or they may just wear a rather loud pair of squelchy shoes. I hope you enjoy this issue.

Sophie Pender- Cudlip EDITOR

2017

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• E D U C AT I O N E M I R AT E S •

CON T R IBU TOR S

Dr Abdulla Al Karam Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and is responsible for a wide spectrum of education in Dubai’s private sector, spanning early learning, school and higher education and training institutes. He talks about the importance of wellbeing for Dubai's teachers on page 22.

Fiona McKenzie

Director Middle East, Gabbitas Education

Fiona McKenzie has over 30 years' experience in independent education across the UAE, UK and Australia. She moved to Dubai in 2010. She writes about BTECs, Regional Boarding, Teaching in the UAE and answers your education dilemma on page 73. What advice would you give your school age self? Be bolder and braver and take more risks. Do not worry about what other people think of you.

Dr Saliha Afridi

Founder and Managing Director of The LightHouse

Dr Saliha is a clinical psychologist at the leading mental health and wellbeing centre in the UAE. She presents to parents and educators at schools in Dubai. She writes about anxiety in children and how parents can help on page 75. What advice would you give your school age self? Ask: "How will this decision impact you?” before you act. 

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Opening in September 2017

Ranked 1st for IB in the UK

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Ranked 1st in the UK for acceptance to top universities++ Over 150 years of heritage

Now Open for Admissions in Dubai

800-NLCS (6527)

www.nlcsdubai.com * Opening subject to building completion and final KHDA approval Source: + Financial Times ++ The Sutton Trust UK

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• E D U C AT I O N E M I R AT E S •

CON T R IBU TOR S

Justine Bain Founder of Sandy Seeds

Justine Bain founded Sandy Seeds in 2012. A mother of three young children, she has over 16 years of experience and extensive study in health and wellbeing with a deep and personal interest in auto-immune disorders. She is the author of the Mindful Seeds Teacher Training Programme and writes about her Sandy Seeds garden programme on page 39. What advice would you give your school age self? Be kind to yourself, to others and to your planet.

Hannah Duale

Year 10 student at Repton Dubai

Hannah Duale moved from England with her family and has lived in Dubai for almost three years. Prior to that she was a student at Haberdasher Askes’ Girls, England. She really enjoys writing and putting her own perspective on all sorts of matters from social issues surrounding youth and gender equality to humanitarian concerns. Hannah writes about her experience as a student in Ramadan on page 20.

Steven Downey

Chartered Financial Analyst Candidate, Holborn Assets

Steven wants to help families make wise financial decisions so they can achieve their unique goals. Steven writes about financial planning for education on page 76. What advice would you give your school-age self?  Remember that you will get the greatest value from the most difficult classes, and that popularity is a passing fad.

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NO STRANGERS HERE... ONLY FRIENDS YOU HAVEN’T YET MET Every Child, Every Mind, Everybody

At Dubai Heights Academy we believe that a warm, fun and nurturing environment makes for happier, healthier children. Our small class sizes and individual attention creates a home away from home to unlock potential and expand minds.

Dubai Heights Academy, Al Barsha South, Dubai, UAE T 04 3682677 E admissions@dubaiheightsacademy.com facebook.com/dubaiheightsacademy

www.dubaiheightsacademy.com

Open for admission in 2017, Dubai Heights Academy is conveniently located in Al Barsha South and offers the English National Curriculum. Visit our website www.dubaiheightsacademy.com or call us on +971 4 368 2677 to find out more.

The school opening is subject to building completion and KHDA approval

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A BRITISH PREP SCHOOL IN THE HEART OF DUBAI. Foremarke School aims to produce happy, well rounded, well-grounded young people who possess a thirst for knowledge coupled with the unending pursuit of academic excellence. Admissions open for FS1 – Y6 (For pupils aged from 3-11 years)

INSPIRING EXCELLENCE. NURTURING RESPECT. P.O. Box 391984 Al Barsha South, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 818 8600 Email: info@foremarkedubai.org Web: www.foremarkedubai.org

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Up Front SCHOOL NEWS P . 16 STUDENT VIEW P . 20 KHDA VISIT P . 29

HIT FOR SIX

Foremarke pupils took on their teachers in the annual Teachers v Select XI cricket match in the Quad. The school's top cricketers played in a friendly but competitive game against teachers whilst also ending the fixture season before the summer holidays. The teachers only just inched their way to victory.

2017

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31/05/2017 11:46


Har vest Time The launch of the garden project at Ranches Primary School inspired a host of exciting activities. Pupils cultivated their seeds in the cooler classrooms and transferred the growing seedlings to their new garden home. The school’s new green space has provided a glorious harvest this year but is also a wonderful spot for some mindful breathing.

GOOD VIBES Dubai College hosted the inaugural COBIS Wellbeing Conference last month. The event brought together eight world renowned experts from fields such as positive psychology, early years education, philosophy, journalism and politics to move us away from happiness as a political metric towards the consideration of what really constitutes human flourishing.

Fa s h i o n Fo r wa r d Students from Repton School’s IB Careers-Related Programme (IBCP) - launched last year - have had many successful accomplishments and recent accolades. These have included invites to VIP fashion awards, hosting record-breaking charity events, and work placements among UAE’s most re-knowned enterprises.

“The event brought together eight world renowned experts”

S T A R AWA R D S Star Wars came to Cranleigh Abu Dhabi to help students take part in a series of challenging and engaging maths activities. Children dressed as their favourite character from the movie series. The challenges, designed by the maths team, included activities such as cracking the empire code, Jedi agility training and Padme’s problem-solving.

KINGS’ SCHOLARS The UAE’s most gifted children are invited to apply for a scholarship at Kings’. Following the success of the programme last year, it is now open to GSCE and A-Level students demonstrating excellence in academia, sport or the expressive arts. Those are accepted will receive up to 50% off annual school fees.

“Only a generation of readers will spawn a generation of writers” STEVEN SPIELBERG

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UPFRON T / NEWS

Top Story

To m o r r ow ’s Te e n s Thirteen students from Aldar Academies Al Yasmina Academy recently hosted a TEDx event which tackled many thought provoking topics, such as the impact of the media on human compassion and why music is a language. 

MORE CHOICE Students at JESS will soon be able to choose a BTEC ‘PLUS’ course in Art and Design, Business and Sport. Sixth formers can take these Extended Level 3 Diplomas, equivalent to 3 A-Levels, and get an additional qualification such as an A-Level in Art History, a finance diploma or a coaching qualification. These courses are perfect for those wishing to work in these fields or who want to go on to study related subjects at university. Courses will be offered from September alongside the current IB Diploma option.

ROOM FOR P O S I T I V I T Y The region’s first Mindfulness and Wellbeing Room has recently opened at Greenfield Community School. The Taaleem school invited guests to see how the room helps students mentally and emotionally by focusing on all things positive. It's not only a relaxing environment but also contains IPads with guided meditation routines and a sensory room.

3D VISION Children at Kent College Dubai recently enjoyed a Maths Day where they created projects based on 'shape'. Creative ideas included igloos made from sugar cubes and 3D models of Dubai buildings. Seniors had to design and build a geodesic dome with points awarded for not only the maths but also collaboration.

“Teach me & I forget, teach me & I may remember, involve me & I learn” B E N JA M I N F RA N K L I N

SOMETHING THEY SAID

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts” C.S. LEWIS

2017

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UPFRON T / NEWS

CHARITY CONCERT More than 1,100 students, teachers and parents enjoyed an evening of music and dance at a charity event earlier this month. Aldar Academies hosted its fourth annual charity concert at the magnificent Emirates Palace Theatre, to raise funds for the UAE’s SmallWorld charity.

“More than 1,100 students, teachers & parents enjoyed an evening of music & dance”

H a cka t h o n

Ju s t S i n g

What is the sound of little fingers hacking? Take 100 children, from nine schools across Dubai and one beautiful summery Saturday, add a burning question that needs to be solved in four hours and you’ve got a Hackathon. That is exactly what Clarion School’s awardwinning DT Integrator, Annie Barrows did. The challenge was to make recycling easy and available. Ideas included apps to shoot down garbage monsters and an alarm attached to a recycling bin, to shout out how many trees are saved by recycling paper.

Sue Carpenter, the Principal, at Dubai British Foundation, a Taaleem school, told educators and parents at the 'Festival of Education' in China about her unique programme ‘Singing for Learning’. “Wise parents sing to their children from birth. I know no better way to unlock children’s potential to speak with confidence than to sing.”

ON THE BUS Kings’ Nad Al Sheba is introducing subsidised transport. This follows an announcement by School Transport Services (STS) that prices were going up from 1st April.  Kings’ reduced transport is available to students of all age groups. The school will subsidise the transport service up to and including academic year 2018-19. After this period the normal rates, as defined by STS, will apply. “We value our loyal and supportive families at Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba. As a thank you, we would like to offer our parents support in the form of subsidised transport.”

BORN TO M OV E Pupils at Swiss International Scientific School accepted the challenge of helping to set a Guinness Book World Record, holding the biggest BORN TO MOVE™ class ever held. LesMills’ BORN TO MOVE, powered by Stryx, has teamed up with Reebok to bring the latest trend in children’s fitness to the big stage. The school is the first to host the Reebok school tour.

Top Story

BALLET RUSSES Opera lovers are in for a treat this winter as Russian Seasons of the 21st Century will perform masterpieces of the Ballet Russes. Over a 100 years since the Ballets Russes debuted on the European stage, the performances of Sergei Diaghilev’s repertoire Chopiniana and The Firebird will perform in three dazzling evenings of storytelling, music, choreography and design. 16th18th Nov at Dubai Opera.

SOMETHING THEY SAID

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” NELSON MANDELA

2017

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RAMADAN at SCHOOL

A student talks about the benefits and challenges of observing an important part of Islam HANNAH DUALE

F

or non-Muslim readers, you may only notice the closed restaurants and the law that states that you cannot eat nor drink in public.However, for students like myself who observe the fast, the weeks of Ramadan can present some difficulties, alongside its many benefits.

What does Ramadan really mean?

T

he ninth month of the Islamic Calendar is known as “Ramadan”, and is a time of fasting and prayer for Muslims. This is a time for Muslims to draw closer to Allah (God) and be reminded that there are people less fortunate than they are. Because it is seen as a time to enrich yourself spiritually, many Muslims spend more time in communal devotion in mosques during the holy month.

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“By the end of the week, I find myself more strong-willed and less tempted” The logistics:

I

t is true that after getting up at Suhur (pre dawn meal), I feel fatigued. Although, it may seem daunting, students get to start school later, to compensate. I usually get to school by 8:30 am as opposed to the usual 7:45 am registration time. Since the prayer time changes subject to the moon’s position, I cannot tell you exactly when I get up for my morning meal because it changes from year to year. I can say that I usually got up around 4-5 am  last year. However, Suhoor is usually last eaten ten minutes before the call for fajr prayer.  I usually eat a light

2017

31/05/2017 17:35


UPFRON T / STUDEN T V IEW

LEFT Dubai’s skyline BELOW LEFT Ramadan is a time of hospitality RIGHT An Iftar meal

breakfast with plenty of water for the day ahead. Eating a heavy breakfast does not sustain you for the whole day, especially later in the day. Instead, I make sure that I get the vitamins and nutrients that I would have gained on a normal day. We also finish school a lot earlier, around 1:30pm - this is two and a half hours earlier than usual, and means I have more time to rest, recuperate and visit with family. Iftar (the evening meal) usually happens after sunset (Maghrib prayer) and we start with a date and a cup of water.

How we deal with temptations and cravings

A

t the start of Ramadan, you feel really tempted to munch on a packet of crisps! To make these cravings easier to resist, the schools have separate eating and drinking areas. There are rules that ban drinking water while you walk around in public, for example. This really helps me to

simply forget about hunger and my thirst, especially on the first week of Ramadan, when even the sight of food can send me spinning! However, by the end of the week, I find myself more strong-willed and less tempted. When Ramadan ends, I usually eat more healthily than I did beforehand, I know that I do not need those chocolates anymore. Often, the school will host a communal Iftar meal.

When the school bell goes…

B

y the end of the school day, I love to go out as much as I do sleeping. I find that a few weeks into Ramadan, I love seeing new places, especially, those that offer a great iftar meal. Ramadan is the month I can truly spend time with my family and friends since exam week has passed. Though the thought of restricting my food intake may seem harsh and tough, Ramadan is a month of relaxation and serenity, in complete juxtaposition with the strenuous months ahead of it.

“Ramadan is a time to bring yourself closer spiritually to Allah” Is that the new moon?

R

amadan is one of our favourite months, yet what I really look forward to is Eid–Al Fitr. It begins with the first sighting of the new moon. Eid traditionally starts with prayers in the mosque. It is a time for families to come together and celebrate the end of a long though enjoyable month. It’s a lovely time just to relax and have fun with your loved ones. And it leads onto the summer holidays!

Ramadan is not just skipping meals...

A

s I mentioned before, Ramadan is a time to bring yourself closer spiritually to Allah . It is not just a month where you stop eating. I find myself reflecting more on my actions and generally being a nicer person during this month as well.

H A N N A H D UA L E Year 10 student at Repton School Dubai. agirlspenandpaperblog.wordpress.com 2017

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Happy Teachers Matter The Director General of the KHDA on why he is keen to support Dubai’s teachers

I

DR ABDULLA AL KARAM

’ll always remember the story of Sarah. She came to Dubai as a little girl with her parents in the 1970s. Back then, Dubai didn’t have many options for secondary education, so when she finished primary school, her parents sent her back to the UK to complete her studies. Sarah finished university, got married, and did what she had been planning to do ever since she’d left Dubai ten years earlier: she came back. Now, she is teaching at the school she attended as a child, which is also the same school her own children are attending. And her parents still live here. When I asked Sarah why she decided to move back to Dubai and stay, she said, “I was always happy in Dubai as a child, and I knew I would be happy here as an adult as well.” Sarah’s happiness is important to us at KHDA as is the happiness and wellbeing of all teachers in Dubai. We have a strong focus on positive education and wellbeing in Dubai, because we know that when students are happy, they learn more effectively, they’re healthier, they’re more creative and more resilient, and they’re more likely to find and follow their purpose in life.

Why wellbeing?

I

n a recent conference on mental health in education, British economist Lord Richard Layard said that the sole purpose of education is to develop capacities that increase the happiness of students and the rest of society. This may feel at odds with what we’ve traditionally 22

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perceived as the purpose of education: to give students a knowledge base that prepares them for work. When we look at the research into adult happiness, we find that it isn’t academic results at school or university which contribute most to our sense of wellbeing, but mental and physical health, as well as the relationships we form with others. If we look at it this way, it makes sense then that school should be preparing our children to live happy and healthy lives, rather than just academically successful ones. Many parents seem to agree with this: when asked what they most want their children to be in the future, most answer with just one word: happy.

Its importance for teachers

P

art of the reason we want teachers to be happy at work is because their work is our children. Studies conducted in the UK and elsewhere have found a clear correlation between teacher wellbeing and student academic outcomes. When teachers feel positive and happy, they are more likely to have positive relationships with their students, which will in turn have a positive effect on children's learning. We are not focusing on teachers’ happiness and wellbeing just because they influence our children, but also because they are people. They are also parents, friends, neighbours, and important members of our community. Their wellbeing is important because people’s wellbeing is important. Research in positive education has

identified the main factors which contribute to teachers’ happiness at work. These include having regular opportunities for interaction and sharing with colleagues, being recognised and being rewarded for effort and achievement.

No teacher is an island

S

ince 2012, teachers in Dubai have participated in What Works, a series of events for teachers by teachers, designed to spread the best practices happening in some classrooms in Dubai, to all classrooms in Dubai. So far, more than 12,000 teachers have attended upwards of 600 workshops. In effect, What Works is a teachers’ staff room on a grand scale, bringing teachers together across curricula and cultures to talk about how best to motivate students, or how to engage parents more.

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UPFRON T / K HDA

LEFT Dr Abdulla with a student from International School of Creative Science RIGHT Dr Abdulla with students from Uptown School Dubai

Through comments and replies, we’ve seen wonderful interaction from our local community – from parents thanking their children’s teachers; to other teachers showing appreciation of colleagues; to students expressing their gratitude for their teachers’ role in their education. By spreading the positive stories of teaching in Dubai and around the world, we can encourage appreciation of teachers, instill a greater sense of pride in them and inspire a generation of future teachers.

Teach Together

O

“We want teachers to be happy at work because their work is our children” The real value is not just in the connections made and learning shared on the day of the events, but in the culture change it has affected. The value of positivity; of concentrating on what’s working, has strengthened teachers’ working practices and students’ learning outcomes. What Works has enabled teachers to understand they are part of a community of teachers all seeking the same support, working in a city that values their professional contributions.

Thank you #TeachersOfDubai

T

oo often the media narrative around teachers and teaching is focused on challenges and difficulties. Yet we know that this isn’t the complete picture. There are thousands of teachers across Dubai who love what they do, who get a deep sense of fulfilment from their work and who enrich their students’ lives. Inspired by Humans of New York, a blog which tells the stories of ordinary New Yorkers through photographs and quotes, we started our own version for teachers of Dubai. Using social media, Teachers of Dubai tells the stories of teachers in their own words, and is helping to bring the community together in support of teachers and teaching. More than 400 teachers from across Dubai’s schools have shared their stories so far.

ne of the many people who have been inspired to become a teacher is me. Well, not quite a teacher admittedly, but a teacher’s assistant. The Teach Together initiative is part of our commitment to include teachers in the policy-making process, giving them a voice in policies that affect their work, so that we can enable greater teacher wellbeing in Dubai. How better to understand teachers and their work than by helping in the classroom? Through the Teach Together website, teachers can request that I visit them in their classes. I spend part of my time as a teacher’s assistant by helping with the photocopying, organising upcoming lessons and at one school, acting as a fire marshal during an unplanned fire alarm! The other part of my time is spent simply listening to teachers so that I can better understand their experience. What Works, Teachers of Dubai and Teach Together form part of our commitment to improve teacher wellbeing in Dubai, and we’ll be working together with our community to do more in the coming months to make sure that, just like Sarah, we always come back to happy. 2017

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A PLACE WHERE

A PLACE WHERE

STUDENTS

STUDENTS

EXCEL

EXCEL

One of the most well-respected

One of the most well-respected

and oldest schools in Dubai, and

and oldest schools in Dubai, and

a leading school in the Middle

a leading school in the Middle

East, JESS is a school which

East, JESS is a school which

aims to have a global reputation

aims to have a global reputation

for delivering a unique brand of

for delivering a unique brand of

education that challenges young

education that challenges young

people to make a difference.

people to make a difference.

The top IB school in the Middle East New BTEC Specialist courses in Sport, Art and Business available in the Sixth Form from September 2017

Large, attractive, leafy campuses with superb facilities

Large, attractive, leafy campuses with superb facilities

One of the few ‘not-for-profit’ schools in the UAE

One of the few ‘not-for-profit’ schools in the UAE

‘Outstanding’ inspection ratings and excellent GCSE outcomes

‘Outstanding’ inspection ratings and excellent GCSE outcomes

A wealth of extracurricular and enrichment opportunities

A wealth of extracurricular and enrichment opportunities

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10/02/2017 10:39


UPFRON T / TE ACHING

Sunny

SIDE UP Teaching in the UAE can be a fantastic career boost but be prepared for challenges FIONA MCKENZIE

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n a rainy day in January, whilst marking exams at the end of a stressful week, I dreamt of teaching in the sunshine, with small classes of motivated children and parents who were interested in their children’s achievements. Easy enough to daydream but more and more teachers are now acting on their dreams. With the number of schools in the UAE growing year on year, the demand for fully-qualified British teachers is growing exponentially. But how does the reality match up to the daydream and are teachers fully prepared for making such a dramatic move? The good news is that moving to teach in the UAE can be an amazing experience. It can be a fantastic career boost. In the large international schools there are plenty of opportunities for career development.  But it is also crucial to be well prepared before you move so that you can make the transition smoothly and be ready to take on your first class of international children brimming with confidence and enthusiasm.

ABOVE Teaching a pupil at North London Collegiate

Having taken the plunge, applied for jobs and then been selected for interview, it is wise to find out as much as possible about the school you are considering. Do your research, ask to speak to other teachers who work there, check out its location and find out exactly what your package will include.  It may be teaching in the sunshine

but it is still teaching and you need to be sure of your motivations and understand what challenges may lay ahead. Once you have accepted the post then the planning begins. This includes being smart about how you sort out your financial affairs, such as being aware of the rules surrounding pensions and National Insurance. You also need to make sure that you have all your important documents with you. My top tip is to photograph them and store them on two hard drives, leaving one in the UK in a safe pair of hands and bringing the other with you. You will need to consider

“Teaching in the UAE can provide tremendous professional development”

2017

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UPFRON T / TE ACHING

RIGHT Teaching a pupil at Victory Heights Primary

the cost of shipping things out to your new home and whether it might be cheaper to start again once you get there. If you are shipping things then think through the timing of moving and your things arriving. It can take 6-8 weeks for goods to arrive by sea. The teachers we work with tend to polarise into two groups. Those who turn up with two suitcases and a couple of photos and the others who ship their whole lives out to the new country. There is no right or wrong. Just work out what fits best with you. Once you have arrived, that sense of adventure might suddenly feel a little misplaced as the reality of moving to a very different country with a different language, culture and lifestyle kicks in. Whilst in many ways the UAE is extremely efficient with many government functions being online, there are likely to be unexpected administrative frustrations. Do remember to bring lots of passport photos and have a nest egg of cash for set up costs.  Your new school should be supportive in helping you to navigate the bureaucracy and any tackle any teething problems. If you are moving into staff accommodation, then it should be pretty straightforward as the school will have provided you with a furnished apartment.  If you are going it alone then it will be a frantic few weeks of looking for somewhere to rent, waiting for bank accounts to be sorted out before you can produce a cheque for the deposit.  Yes - cheques are common here and are used for many things, including post-dated cheques to landlords for a year’s rent.  It can be a period of great uncertainty and it is quite normal to have a few wobbles at this stage but focus on getting ready for the new job and remembering why you came. Everything else will start to fall into place. One of the things schools often ask us to help with when we are preparing new teachers to arrive in the UAE is that despite the climate and the many extraordinary facilities to be found in Abu Dhabi and

“Remember, running in to debt is simply not an option under Sharia law” Dubai, this is not a holiday. You need to be grounded pretty quickly and not sucked in by the weekly brunch culture, the fine dining and high fashion. Working in a new currency can be deceptive and some new teachers can find that their good intentions to be sensible about spending can easily be forgotten. Beware of running into debt as it is simply not an option under Sharia law. Professionally, teaching in the UAE can provide tremendous professional development. The standard of teaching and learning are certainly on a par with, if not exceed, many very good schools in the UK. Responsibility posts can often be taken up earlier than in the UK. Dealing with a culturally diverse pupil and parent body is a tremendous experience. Many international schools are likely to cater to over 70 nationalities. Increasingly there are more and more opportunities for first rate professional development as schools understand that this is key to retaining the best teachers.

Generally, teachers are delighted with the decision they made to follow their dream and teach abroad. They comment on how well-behaved the children are here and how the culture of working to achieve is very ingrained, and they love the fact that so much of life can take place outside. There are opportunities to develop professionally that may not have been possible back home and the experience of teaching in a multicultural, multi linguistic environment can be very stimulating. I have lost count of the number of teachers who told me they are only going to do it for a couple of years and are still here six years later!

G A B B I TA S E D U C AT I O N will be running seminars in the UK for teachers who are moving to the UAE, which cover how to leave the UK and what to expect when you arrive in the UAE. Please contact admin@gabbitas.ae for further details. 2017

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800 - PRESCHOOL

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London Bur Dubai Jumeirah Deira JBR Dubai Media City Al Twar Mirdif AUH Al Bateen AUH Al Nahyan Sharjah (Quran Rbt.) Dubai Silicon Oasis

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More than 25 awards, 16 branches, and tens of thousands of happy children this decade.

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25/05/2017 10:26


UPFRON T / K HDA

inside out

The KHDA’s modern offices reflect its innovative approach. Absolutely Education takes a tour

rather than ‘open-door’ policy with board members working alongside colleagues. On one floor there is a large running track, yoga studios, a boxing ring and ping pong table. Staff pull around their own small trolley containing their personal things while deciding where to sit.  Turtles and parrots play their part in the office in endorsing the message that we should be good to the environment and kind to animals.   Monthly board meetings are open and everyone is welcome. Working mothers are offered flexible working hours and attendance and punctuality are not formally monitored.  Instead, the importance is placed on the quality of the work.  Reflecting the devolution of power amongst employees,

SOPHIE PENDER-CUDLIP

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expected my meeting at the rule, but serve people in innovative ways, KHDA, Dubai’s well-known the KHDA set about appraising its staff regulator of education, to be a through a satisfaction survey. It showed similar experience to visiting other that happiness benefited organisations and government departments.  I could employees, as well as students, parents and not have been more mistaken. teachers.  A cheerful man welcomed Inspired by the NEF, the KHDA came me and led me to a large open up with the Five Ways to Wellbeing plan floor which was as far from a formal made up of pillars which include:  Keep reception as you can imagine with no desks, Learning, Be Active, Connect, Take Notice ticketing systems or badges. Everyone and Give.  Gradually an organic cultural around me seemed happy, even the canaries change began to take place which was that flew freely above me.   reflected in its office design. Glass-fronted This innovative working environment meeting rooms contain anything from is the result of fundamental changes fitness balls, exercise bikes, treadmills and brought in by the KHDA in brightly coloured sofas.  Some 2012 to transform how the don’t have any chairs to RIGHT organisation functioned on the encourage people to exercise One of the brightly inside and how it appeared from while meeting.  PowerPoint coloured rooms the outside.  Inspired by Sheikh presentations are banned and BELOW Mohammed bin Rashid that the meetings take no longer than The running track in the office function of government is not to 30 minutes. There is a ‘no-door’

“Everyone seemed happy, even the canaries flying above me” performance is determined by feedback from peers. The ‘Awesome Achievers’ programme encourages staff to nominate others who are doing well and advancing the KHDA’s journey of positivity and wellbeing. New staff are recruited via the ‘scouting team’ and upload their profiles on the KHDA Connect app and answer three questions which enable the scouting team to see if their hearts and minds are compatible with that of the KHDA.   The KHDA is impressively outwardlooking. On the World Employee Happiness Survey, it is ranked in the top 15% of companies for employee satisfaction. Positivity and happiness amongst employees are key to learning and productivity, something many of our schools seek to achieve for children and staff.   I left the KHDA offices with a spring in my step. It felt refreshing and modern; a place in which we could all feel inspired to achieve. 2017

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31/05/2017 12:29


WE FIND THE SCHOOL THAT FITS

www.gabbitas.ae NURSERY & SCHOOL SEARCH UNIVERSITY, HIGHER EDUCATION & CAREERS ADVICE STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES & GUARDIANSHIP +971 445 16933 | admin@gabbitas.ae Gabbitas Educational Consultants is registered in England No. 2920466. Part of The Prospects Group. GABBITAS.indd 1

19/01/2017 14:30


Junior

VICTORY HEIGHTS

STAND-ALONE PRIMARIES P . 32 ROBOTICS P . 36 GARDENING P . 39

2017

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31/05/2017 12:32


Standing

TALL A small primary can be a great choice for parents who want a nurturing environment SASHA CRABB

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oday’s parents moving to Dubai are lucky. They have more options when choosing the right school for their child now than ever before. There is a rich menu of all sorts of schools here that simply need to be visited so parents can see for themselves. Whatever the priorities are or your location, you can hear less frenzied panicked screams from parents as they beg for a place on a waiting list. There is a plethora of educational nests that charge a variety of fees and you are in the best position to choose what suits you best. As founding principal of a stand-alone primary, I have seen how, over the last five years, the market has opened up. There is less pressure on families to commit to places in ‘all through’ schools from Nursery to Year 12 as there are more schools around. Victory Heights Primary school is not part of a large organisation and has developed a culture and spirit that mirrors a primary school back in the UK, where all stakeholders are invested in the academic, pastoral wellbeing of an individual children. Parents bustle through the gates with arms laden with recycled materials and items for the class assembly. They give up their time to help tend to our ‘ground to plate’ project and make sauces with the tomatoes that we are growing. They drop in to listen to our young readers, help on trips, with

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supervising swimming lessons and they drop off forgotten lunch boxes and caps. The advantages of being a standalone primary is that we can genuinely nurture individual children, where the small things matter. We then send them off to secondary school to rediscover themselves. We can be autonomous of our curriculum changes and focus purely on the 3-11 year-olds. We have the freedom to change direction and policies to meet the needs of our community and decide what works best for our current cohort without the restraints of a head-office. This is both time effective and efficient. Wellbeing is currently an educational priority, as it should be. Knowing every child’s name in the school and paying close attention to the small details, opens the

doors for big possibilities in the future. A stand-alone primary school offers gives Year 6 children responsibilities and allows them to be the ‘Big Fish’ in a small safe pond. When they leave us to go to secondary school, they return to being the small fish once again. This transition is an important process and we help parents to choose schools that are right for their child at 11. This has evolved over the years, forming established invested links with secondary schools across Dubai such as DESC, DC, JESS, Jebel Ali, Safa and DBS, to name but a few. Communication regularly with parents and teachers ensures the right fit is made. We call it the ‘Hogwarts Hat House Process’ – one hat doesn’t fit all! The opportunities of starting afresh in Year 7 and breaking away from some peer groups is a blessing for some children and a chance to reinvent themselves. They can step into a new chapter without reputation. Like our primary counter parts, Horizon and Ranches Primary, we provide a childcentred environment which is focused on developing early independence and self-confidence. We have a ‘no lids on kids’ philosophy and high expectations of tracking progress. A stand-alone primary in Dubai is not fluffy or less ambitious. It allows for a close-knit community to be nurtured, which is very much like an extended family. Our school is often chosen for the child who needs a smaller and less daunting

2017

31/05/2017 12:35


JUNIOR / FOCUS

ABOVE In the classroom at Victory Heights LEFT A young pupil colouring RIGHT On the football pitch

“A stand-alone primary in Dubai is not fluffy or less ambitious. It allows for a closeknit community” environment. This does not mean that specialist opportunities are limited. Our children commit to 6.45am squad training and their passion for representing their school is faultless. The BSME Games hosted at Horizon this year was a testament to that as demonstrated by the hashtag, #smallschoolswithsoul. As with many families in Dubai, extra-curricular activities after school and at the weekends allow children the time to become future Olympic divers or premier league footballers. This means they can make further friendships

with other like-minded children from across Dubai and other schools. If you have more than one child, don't hinder their education through convenience or by following an older sibling’s path. Car-pooling and using the bus are practical options in Dubai and mean that a variety of secondary schools are easily accessible. What suits one sibling, doesn't mean it'll suit the other. In summary, you – the parent – now have a choice. Your child may flourish in a traditional all-through school or be suited to a smaller standalone primary school. Schools in Dubai are so well regulated that your money is well spent where ever your child goes. The myth of grappling for a place before your child is born is not the case anymore and won't be for some years to come. It may be an overwhelming choice but simply think where will your child be happy and they will blossom, despite the size of the plot you choose.

SASHA CRABB Principal Victory Heights Primary 2017

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Admissions Open 2017-2018 School Fee Discount Programme

IB World School Grade 11 Scholarship Programme

Pre-KG — Grade 12

Brand New Facilities

1:1 iPad Programme

www.facebook.com/AjmanAcademy

www . ajmanacademy . com

www.instagram.com/ajmanacademy

school@ajmanacademy.com

AS/A

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JUNIOR / OPINION

Get ACTIVE, Get HAPPY How to get the balance right between academic and physical activity ANDREW PROSSER

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hen I think back to my childhood and recall the times I was at my happiest, they all have one thing in common. They involved being active, either with my family or my friends. This started me thinking. Is there a link between active children and happy children? As well as health benefits, engaging in regular physical activity improves children’s fundamental motor skills including coordination, balance, reaction times and spatial awareness which are linked to the development of the brain. It also has a positive effect on social skills, confidence, self esteem, mental alertness, concentration, academic performance and sleep. There are many schools of thought on how being physically active can lead to increased happiness. It can offer a distraction, provide a break from the

class-based stresses children experience and increase social stimulation which has a positive effect on wellbeing. Perhaps most importantly, physical activity develops children’s selfesteem and confidence. The ability to overcome challenging situations improves and they enjoy a better outlook on life.  In schools we focus on teaching literacy across the curriculum, but how much time is devoted to teaching Physical Literacy – the mastering of fundamental movement skills and sport skills that enable a child to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, allowing them to move confidently and with control in a wide range of physical situations. For children to get physically active, they ABOVE need to feel confident On the climbing frame at Dubai in active settings. Heights Academy This confidence BELOW stems from having Pupil playing learned fundamental

“Play is one of the most important foundations of physical literacy” movement skills and sport skills as a child. Just as learning phonics is necessary to read, the development of fundamental movement skills and sport skills is critical if children are to feel good about physical activity. Research also shows that without the development of physical literacy, many children withdraw from physical activity and turn to more inactive or unhealthy choices during their leisure time Play is one of the most important foundations of physical literacy in helping children develop fundamental movement skills. Those that develop these skills from an early age, will not only be healthier, they’re likely to do better academically. For example, playing on a climbing frame helps develop muscles and coordination, and the basic challenges of climbing from A to B gets the mind working. Problem solving, coordination and all round awareness are all parts of the brain that are stimulated. Children exposed to a wide variety of physical activities develop their physical literacy and become confident to take part in physical activities. Sport offers many benefits for children such as improving selfesteem and reducing stress and anxiety in addition to being healthy. Schools and parents need to adjust the balance and give children the time they need to play without worrying that they’ll fall behind. With a balanced approach to both physical activity and academic pursuits all children will be given what they need to flourish and will ultimately be happy.

ANDREW PROSSER Principal of Dubai Heights Academy, a new British curriculum school opening in Dubai in September 2017 2017

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The

FUTURE is here

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are going to be part of our children's lives, so schools must get them ready MICHAEL GERNON

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obotics is the branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is concerned with the practical use of robots, bringing together aspects of engineering, computing, maths, and science. Within a school setting, robotics can appear to be a daunting prospect with many picturing a futuristic scene of humanoid machines who have replaced people. This is a far cry, however, from what good

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“Robotics in the near future will become as important and as ubiquitous as ICT has been in recent years�

educational technology, robotics and coding is like. Many schools have engaged with robotics through clubs and activities, but very few have embedded it into their core curriculum. GEMS Nations Academy is one of the exceptions. Every child aged four to 18 has learned how to code, and all teachers embed robotics into every subject. Coding is given equal exposure and is seen as an integral language. As the world becomes ever more digital, coding and programming (which are an integral part of robotics) will increasingly

2017

31/05/2017 18:25


JUNIOR / TECHNOLOGY

become core elements of what students learn. Robotics is now an information technology which is growing at an exponential rate. We need to expose our students to this and educate them for their future world and not for that of the past. Robotics is an important part of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) education which is already a major focus in many progressive schools. Students learn how to make, to connect, to innovate and be entrepreneurial. In doing so, the curriculum offered by schools needs to expand beyond traditional subject delivery to more expansive, inquiry-based learning which allows students to research, problem-solve, and provide solutions to real world issues. In this way, students become more fluent in skills and develop capabilities relevant to the 21st century.

linkages to be made between the individual subjects. Depending on the creativity and imagination of the teacher, it could be used in the arts and humanities as well. For example, at Nations Academy, Grade 8 students programme Sphero robots to create artwork as part of their studies on abstract art; equally Grade 7 students in Islamic Studies devised water and proximity sensors to minimise waste during Wudhu (ablution before prayers). Introducing elements of learning through play is useful when working with special needs students. Social robots, such as Asobo (language acquisition) and Leka (social and cognitive skills) are having an impact with students with Autism, Downs Syndrome, and multiple disabilities through multi-sensory functions - movement, light, vibration and sound. LEFT AND BELOW Students from GEMS Students of the future Nations Academy cannot be expected to working on robotics communicate the way we do and technology today. Who can say whether projects robotics will promote or Within GEMS Nations hinder social communications. Academy, teaching has been But children will communicate re-modelled around key areas differently - as have all generations in of fluency, such as media, digital, comparison to their predecessors. and solution fluencies, which engage Robotics and AI will increasingly students in real world learning where they complement one another, with more jobs combine a range of coding and applied and tasks being automated by robots. Ray skills to deliver a solution. As an example, Kurzweil, Founder of Singularity University one Grade 8 student prototyped a piece and Director of Engineering at Google, of nanotechnology as part of a genetics predicts that in the coming decade we will project looking at diabetes. She researched, have computing power trillions of times designed, and 3D printed the component – a more powerful than the human brain. This will transform human society in ways we cannot yet imagine, just as the creators of the Internet couldn’t have imagined a world of YouTube and Facebook. The challenge for schools is preparing children so they can thrive in this new reality. Robotics, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, will soon play a role in all industries, particularly education, medicine, warfare, and space exploration. The advances in technology, and its application, allow very different approach to biology class. students to experience things never Schools are beginning to focus on possible before. Simulations are now three key areas – the growing interest commonplace in medicine, advanced in maker education; coding, programing engineering and nanotechnology. At and 3D printing; and on solving real world GEMS, we now use advanced simulations problems. Robotics needs to have purpose to train our teachers in a range of and not be seen as a gimmick. Small learning environments. Exposure to these desktop robots are helpful to a certain technologies and understanding their extent, in providing engaging activities for application within both industry and young children. LEGO Mindstorm is also society, has to be reflected within school becoming extremely popular in schools, curricula. Our students will live in a new with LEGO leagues being established, and technological age and they need to be more sophisticated challenges using VEX prepared for this. robotics now becoming commonplace. Robotics can be used in two ways - as a subject/discipline on its own; or as a tool to MICHAEL GERNON teach other subjects through. The majority of robotics applications will be within the Senior Vice President STEM subject areas, allowing for greater Global Head of Innovation, GEMS Education

“Students of the future cannot be expected to communicate the way we do today”

2017

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JUNIOR / GA R DENING

sow LET IT

Founded in 2012, Sandy Seeds is the UAE’s first Mindful Ecological Education Programme JUSTINE BAIN

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n my early twenties, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. I had endured a long history of being misdiagnosed, which was worrying and extremely frustrating. Being aware of my strong family history of autoimmune disorders and the massively important role that diet and stress can have on these conditions, I set about studying as much as I could about health and wellbeing. Enjoying a clean, nutritionally balanced diet and calling on my own stress management tools, have helped me considerably to manage flare ups and to aid my healing. Finding out more about the food system, learning the skill of cooking and preparing healthy meals and using mindfulness as a tool, also played a hugely instrumental role in my lifestyle change’. A longtime Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, passionate about nutrition and food technology, and alarmed at the high rate of mental disorders and diet related diseases in the younger generation, I decided to set up Sandy Seeds. In 2012, we launched a 21-month pilot study in Dubai English Speaking School (DESS). 

“Jamie’s ‘Kitchen to Garden’ concept was a great source of inspiration to me"

ABOVE A little girl gets green fingered

‘Jamie’s ‘Kitchen to Garden’ concept was a great source of inspiration to me when it came to launching the study and buoyed by the incredible response from students, their parents and the school, I decided it was time to focus on taking Sandy Seeds to the next level, surrounding myself with an incredible team, and introducing the programme, particularly Edible Gardening, to many schools and nurseries in Dubai. In addition to the design and installation of Edible School Gardens, we offer lesson and activity plans, and Internationally Accredited Teacher Training courses which allow schools to take ownership of the gardens once installation is complete. A number of gardens are currently being introduced to schools and nurseries in Dubai, in preparation for the launch of our complete curriculum in September 2017. Responsible for all aspects of our Edible Garden Programme, award-winning

Creative Garden Designer Kamelia Bin Zaal believes LEFT teaching children to Pupils at DESS watering their nurture and grow garden an edible garden is the key to change, at home and at school. It’s vital that education is about healthy eating and nutrition starts at home. We work closely with schools and nurseries, but also with parents to highlight the benefits of edible gardening, and to demonstrate what a powerful activity it is for children. It teaches them about the food system, nurturing themselves and the land, and also about working with others. With a long-term goal of addressing childhood obesity, mental health issues and food education with our ‘mind to table’ programmes, we are already sowing the seeds of change in a number of schools in Dubai, including DESS, Victory Heights and Ranches Primary. Ranches Primary recently underwent Internationally Accredited Mindful Teacher Training with us and have adopted the Mindful Seeds Programme for students.  For more information about Sandy Seeds, visit  www.sandyseeds.com 2017

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JUNIOR / GA R DENING

I LEFT Sowing the seeds

Kinder Garden Teaching children about eco-friendly living and caring for the environment is a must for life SUSAN WHISTLER

t’s a small garden, perhaps the perfect size for tiny hands. Small slender shoots rocket up and even the bees are delicately petite. But in this garden big ambitions grow. After an unusual spell of rain in Dubai, the garden is bursting with stalks of rocket gone wild, three-foot tall branches of basil, and a long vine the budding gardeners think might be cucumber, zucchini or a message from Jack in the Beanstalk. In the Clarion garden, we are all novice gardeners. The actual garden consists of six, eightfoot long elevated growing boxes. The Kindergarteners, under the watchful eyes of teachers, have selected and scattered seeds into their boxes; the grades 1, 2 and 3 gardeners have graphed their boxes off with string to conduct an experiment of what grows faster and bigger. The garden boxes, named the Clarion Farm, is a project of the Clarion parent organisation and was one of the first ideas they formed into a mandate. Many mornings, parents sat around the Parent’s Café table discussing an organic garden long before the actual garden boxes were ordered.

“With the bounty of ‘crop’, kindergarten students have now harvested and made salads to eat several times over the past month” The ECO Committee was formed with the vision ‘that caring for the environment at Clarion will positively impact students’ appreciation for their natural world and surroundings. Such activities integrate learning opportunities beyond the obvious such as entrepreneurship, collaboration and conservation. The mission and vision – to develop an eco-conscious student body made up of environmentally aware students, faculty, staff and parents through hands-on initiatives focusing on sustainable agriculture, recycling and endangered species conservation.’ The children’s organic farm is funded by the ECO committee. As fitting with the progressive school’s teaching, this 2017

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project exemplifies not just conservation thinking but also ownership of the project in its entirety. “We always planned to have a garden for the student’s to plant but we planned to let it grow organically, and it has,” notes Aparna Verma, Clarion CEO and designer. This is a school where participation is valued, nurtured and supported. As the plan progressed, in a culture where gardening know-how is not widely known, issues of how to make it child driven were deeply discussed. This couldn’t be a project taken over by a caretaker or maintenance staff. It had to be school run and maintained with parents, students, staff and teachers all pitching in. And, since the school is currently enrolled PreK to Grade 3, there would have to be adult guidance in the picture. To provide support, a botanist services was obtained with the purchase of the boxes – to teach the teachers first. Dr. Kandace Williams, Superintendent at Clarion, says: “As a key part of our school ethos, we share the concept of being ecofriendly with our entire school community. The garden extends our learning out of the classroom, thereby connecting our students with the natural world. It's a great way to integrate concepts and skills.  Through the garden, students learn the true source of their food and are delighted by eating salad grown there.” Every Wednesday, when the Dubai Ripe Organic market brings produce to sell after school, students and ECO Committee parents harvest a bit of the garden and sell it as well. We haven’t yet had a zucchini come to the market – but the vines look promising. Clarion School is just finished its first year. One of 14 new schools to open in September 2017, it doesn’t take much to see that it is different from anything else in Dubai. From the beginning the school’s

green sensibilities were drawn into its DNA. Clarion’s CEO and school designer, Aparna Verma, travelled twice to Bali to visit the famous Green School to learn all she could about what they were doing and why it was important. “I went there to look at how they used bamboo in making the school ‘natural’. We were trying to incorporate the feeling of the school being real and authentic. We bought the bamboo used at Clarion from the green school architects, as we wanted to use the product that was tried and tested by them. Bamboo is a hard wood that does not damage the environment.” From those learning trips, plans were formulated to ABOVE use bamboo indoors Children gardening BELOW and outdoors at Collecting water the school, use plants requiring

minimal amount of water and minimise the amount of real grass, due to its high carbon footprint. At the same time ways to incorporate the fun and exploration present at the Green School in a completely different desert environment were sought. The building design itself was also a source for finding ways to make a conservation a priority at the school - a solar water heater is installed on the roof, the primary swimming pool is a low-flow water usage model, motion sensor lights are used throughout. The outdoor “Street” has three wind tunnels incorporated down the middle to keep the air moving. We also wanted to minimise the amount of plastic used in the school. The playground equipment is all wooden, as are the play house, stage and outdoor furniture. Following the Green School model, wooden ramps and climbers dot the junior play area. Teak and bamboo bring natural materials to the glass and cast concrete building. Following up with the ECO Committee, a full recycling plan has been put into place, student lead recycling takes place weekly. It’s hard to feel lush and green in the desert climate of the UAE, however, conservation and sustainability guidelines are equally as important here as anywhere. This is especially true in a school teaching for the next century. A small organic farm box can go a long way toward teaching this.

SUSAN SIMMONS WHISTLER Communications Director Scholars International Group, parent company to Clarion School

Clarion School is a Progressive American Curriculum school now enrolling PreK to Grade 4, expanding to Grade 12. www.clarionschool.com 2017

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HOMEWORK

Homework is an important extension of learning . B R EN D O N FU LTO N . Principal, Dubai British School

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y definition of homework is work that is an extension of learning done in school with the purpose of allowing children to practise and consolidate new ideas, knowledge and understanding. I am against gratuitous homework (given for the sake of giving homework) or homework that has children self-teaching, without the benefit of the teacher or a fellow student present. This latter type of homework causes the most angst for parents, who are left to try and explain new content to their children. At Dubai British School, we have a very flexible homework policy. The teacher uses their discretion to determine whether homework will serve the purpose of the definition above. In primary years we prefer the term ‘home learning’ and the emphasis is on allowing children to practise and develop a real-life understanding of taught concepts. For example, children may be asked to help their parents in the kitchen using newly taught measuring skills or practise using new words. The purpose is not to exasperate students and parents with overly time-consuming and onerous worksheets, but allow children to consolidate learning and demonstrate an understanding of real world application. In secondary years, our expectation is that homework consolidates and extends

understanding of new content. We run a homework timetable which specifies the days on which certain subjects can give homework to ensure students aren’t overloaded. The teacher makes a judgment on whether homework supports and extends in-class learning. Homework should facilitate the flow of learning from one day to the next. In Psychology, for example, students have to research and review an excerpt from a study, to help consolidate learning from that day and provide a bridge to new learning in the next lesson. Whilst I respect and understand some schools’ decision to ‘ban’ homework, this misses one important point of schooling – to develop students to become lifelong learners. With the right school philosophy and guidelines in place, home learning and homework can play an important role in not only specific knowledge and understanding,

but in the development of learning skills. Giving students opportunities to consolidate learning through real-world application, research or project work reinforces an ideal that is sorely needed in education today – that learning is not just to help one pass the test. Of course, not all homework will be welcomed and enjoyable, but for the most part, our students engage exceptionally well with homework. Younger students love showing their parents what they're learning and older students develop an appreciation for the depth of understanding that homework can provide. By the time students reach post-16 education, if done correctly, they are more confident independent learners as they've developed broader learning skills through the flow and balance of class-based and home-based (or independent) learning. To help parents, we use an online facility to record and track homework. Parents are notified when a new homework task is set, with a brief on the expectations of the task. This helps parents to support children and map out the journey and flow of class-based and home-based learning. We only include tasks that specify the extension and consolidation element of the homework. This makes us accountable for our philosophy that homework should not be gratuitous, but should be a valuable and proportionate opportunity to consolidate and extend learning in varying contexts.

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JUNIOR / DEBATE

HOMEWORK

The benefits of homework are limited . DAVI D BALDWI N . H e a d te a c h e r, H o r i z o n E n g l i s h S c h o o l

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omework is one of those topics in education that polarises opinion. It has become very easy to accept homework as the norm but more recently, easy to criticise it due to the research of the likes of John Hattie, CEM Sutton Trust and others. The topic orbits one very important question, ‘what positive long-term impact does it have and at what cost?’ As a student, father and headteacher, I think the benefits are limited and the cost is high.. The term homework in its most traditional sense is the additional work that serves to consolidate learning from the class setting or project work that is completed and brought into school to share. Learning is at its brilliant best when there are a certain set of conditions underfoot. Firstly, when a child’s imagination is aroused by something that genuinely intrigues them. Secondly, when there's a social element to the situation and ideas can be shared, reflected upon, critiqued and shaped in collaboration with others. Next, it requires a learning activator (often the teacher) who asks the right questions at the right time, gives feedback and knows when to hold back. Finally, when the child takes control of the process and outcome; and understands how new learning connects to their world now and in the future. We as educators will find ways that certain

elements of this learning equation might be met, by designing projects that encourage students to move towards pre-determined outcomes. However, there is a much simpler, richer, productive and streamlined solution - let children be children. Natural curiosity of young people should be cherished and enriched by supporting families in spending meaningful time together, allowing their children to play and to get bored. The human capacity for imagination is a gift only our species has received and when we as educators remove the shackles of deciding what the end product looks like, learning surpasses all expectations. Our children should be falling down, falling out, getting up and making up. They should be finding themselves in situations where learning is needed, rather than expected. Where emotions are heightened and not dampened. To attempt

to provide homework to achieve this has never made sense to me. What of the cost of traditional homework? Students are often with us for a large part of their day and there are high expectations for them to focus on, interpret, transfer and make meaning of multiple learning scenarios. Sending students home with heavy workloads can lead to burnout, stress, tiredness, disengagement and anxiety. We all need down-time, freedom and autonomy to maintain a healthy balance in our lives. Homework can put undue strain on individuals and families, that isn't necessary. For parents, busy schedules, demanding careers and challenges of life are often in direct competition with homework. The effect can damage relationships and impact a nurturing home environment. At Horizon English School the message to parents is simple - to share experiences with children, talk to them about their learning and encourage them to try new experiences. Connect with other families and give children space to learn social rules from each other and then discuss them. Unstructured play is the essence of selfdirected learning and child-development. Give them a balanced diet of freedom and guidance, supporting them in making wise choices. Sir Ken Robinson said it is the educator’s role to provide the conditions under which children can flourish. Traditional homework simply does not make the grade in this century.

“A SIMPLER, RICHER, PRODUCTIVE & STREAMLINED SOLUTION - LET CHILDREN BE CHILDREN” 2017

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I am limited only by my I am limited only by my

Imagination Imagination Admissions Open Admissions Open www.vhprimary.com admissions@vhprimary.com  www.vhprimary.com 423 1100 admissions@vhprimary.com   04  04 423 1100

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JUNIOR / DEBATE

PA R E N T VIEW

Is it ime to assign homework to the scrapheap? CLIVE PIERREPOINT

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omework has long been the bane of children’s school life. While its advocates say regular structured home study is an essential part of a well-rounded curriculum, I think it’s time to re-evaluate homework’s place in today's education system. Traditionally thought to reinforce the lessons learned at school and encourage parents to get involved in their children’s day, recent research from Duke University indicates there’s no evidence whatsoever that homework improves the performance of elementary-level students. I couldn’t agree more. I remember all too well my own experience of homework. I transferred to secondary school from a wonderfully creative, matriarchal primary school, and up until the age of 11, I learned by enquiry and questioning my teachers. I would run home every day with my brain buzzing, looking forward to joining my friends to play until it was dark. But my years in secondary school felt like purgatory. There was no escape from the academic treadmill, with unnecessary homework and an endless litany of pointless exercises every night. My education went into freefall. As a father of five and communications director at Taaleem schools group, I’ve seen first-hand the problems that homework can cause: the disruption of precious family time, the nightly struggle between tired children and their parents to get it finished, the interrupted holidays and weekends, the lack of essential downtime for kids to unwind and recharge. And the extra burden of planning and marking for teachers.

For older children, too, the negatives often far outweigh the positives. A 2014 study at Harvard University discovered that too much homework causes teens unnecessary stress, health problems related to sleep deprivation and anxiety-related illnesses, and less time for friends and extracurricular pursuits. By spending too much time studying outside of school, researchers say children are not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills. In Finland, primary children are set no homework, and senior grades receive a maximum of 30 minutes each evening. ABOVE A young boy studying at home

“READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN BUT NOT BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO”

Finnish students consistently feature at the very top of international league tables for educational performance, across literacy, numeracy and science. In France too, President Hollande announced the abolition of primary level homework, declaring, "an education programme is, by definition, a societal programme. Work should be done at school rather than at home." It’s clear that we need a rethink. Why not take our cue from the Italian teacher whose list of holiday assignments for students went viral last summer: "Read as much as you possibly can. But not because you have to. Read because summers inspire adventures and dreams. Try to use some of the new words we learned together this year: the more things you manage to say, the more things you’ll manage to think; and the more things you think, the freer you’ll be." That’s what I tell parents when they ask me about homework. Read a book with your children, talk to them over the dinner table. And if they’re still adamant about the value of homework, I ask, "What is the best homework you ever did?" Not one has ever been able to answer. I think that says it all.

CLIVE PIERREPOINT Communications Director Taaleem Schools 2017

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JUNIOR / MUSIC

NOTE PERFECT How children benefit from music tuition R E B E C C A O C T AV E

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TEACHES COLLABORATIVE SKILLS

instein used it when brainstorming new theories and Steve Jobs turned to it when he needed a break from launching Apple. Music – a creative outlet for some, and a burning

Although musical tuition provides students with a valuable opportunity to learn independently, it’s also an effective way to teach collaborative skills. Playing in an orchestra, singing in a choir or forming a band all require team work and interpersonal communication. These are skills we all need to succeed in our professional adult lives.

passion for others. Here are ways in which children can benefit from musical tuition:

A ‘SAFE ENVIRONMENT’ TO DEVELOP CREATIVE SKILLS Structured musical tuition provides students with a safe environment to explore their creative outlets, while learning new skills and developing their personalities. Parent, Basma Al Shamsi, has seen this positive influence firsthand in her daughter, noticing that she has increased her confidence and maturity, especially when she is among other cultures. “She warms to people and appreciates the conversations she has,” says Basma. “Her creativity has also flourished, in art and language and her English reading level has jumped well above her age.”

IMPROVES MEMORY Musical training has also been shown to improve a child’s ability to retain knowledge. Studies have shown that it enlarges the left side of the brain, which leads to musicallytrained students retaining nearly one-fifth more information than their non-trained peers. The experience of Basma’s daughter, Sheikha, backs up these findings. “Since my violin lessons, I’ve found it easier to complete times tables during Maths. I think that’s because you need to memorise

“Musical training has also been shown to improve a child’s ability to retain knowledge”

BOOSTS A CHILD’S CONFIDENCE

ABOVE Students at Aldar Academies Al Mamoura Academy

a lot and concentrate during music exams. Music includes elements of Maths too. For example, when you are adding half notes to make full notes and counting the music to keep rhythm.”

DEVELOPS LANGUAGE AND REASONING SKILLS Physical development of the left-hand side of the brain has also been linked to enhanced language and reasoning skills, according to The Children’s Music Workshop. This development continues for many years after birth, which highlights the benefits of musical tuition from a young age.

ENHANCES PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS “Music is made up of dots and lines to make a code, and it is up to the musician to decipher that code,” says Jennifer Marr, Aldar Academies Music School Coordinator and Brass Specialist. “Doing this regularly enables students to develop a disciplined approach to problem solving which can be applied beyond the realms of music.”

As well as teaching collaborative skills, live musical performance teaches students to feel confident in front of an audience. At the same time, creating music together allows students to share feedback, helping them learn to accept constructive criticism and engage in self-reflection.

IMPROVES PHYSICAL SKILLS Learning to play an instrument helps to develop good posture and motor skills. By using repetitive movement of hands, arms and feet, it also helps develop balance, coordination and timing, which benefits other disciplines, such as sport and dance.

HEALTH BENEFITS Playing a wind instrument can help reduce respiratory conditions, such as asthma. Being able to control the volume of air flow into and out of the lungs helps strengthen them, which helps in activities such as swimming and scuba diving. Music gives children an outlet and time to practise and freestyle to their heart’s content. It has huge benefits to their learning, health, wellbeing, social skills and they can carry their skill into adult life. The Aldar Academies Music School is an integral part of the organisation’s learning pathways. www.aldaracademies.com 2017

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DUBAI COLLEGE A tradition of quality in education

An outstanding British Curriculum secondary school in the heart of the city Outstanding sporting and creative success for almost 40 years The leading Oxbridge, UK and US university admissions record in the UAE The best GCSE and A Level results of any school in the Middle East and Africa UAE Sports School of the Year 2016-17

Sporting

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Creative

Academic Visit www.dubaicollege.org for further details

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1/31/2017 12:55:36 PM 30/05/2017 12:14


JUNIOR / FE ATUR E

STARTER for TEN British Orchard Nurseries celebrates a decade in the UAE VA N D A N A G A N D H I

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n 2007, our first branch of British Orchard Nursery in Bur Dubai was established. Ten years on, we have 16 branches across the UAE and are the largest ISO quality, health and safety certified pre-school chain in the Middle East. The journey with British Orchard Nurseries has been extremely rewarding and during this decade, the BON Family has grown to include thousands of children. With great testimonials and over 25 international and national quality awards, I believe that we have had a positive impact on every child who has been with us.  Over the years, we have continuously adopted the best and the most effective learning practices for the physical and mental growth of children. Our awardwinning and well-researched Early Years Curriculum modelled on the UK EYFS curriculum focuses on a three-year rolling plan and personal assessments for every child covering 680 objectives which is measured termly to ensure individual needs are met.  We offer a varied learning environment with facilities such as a sensory room, a role play area, ICT and smart board areas and outdoor play areas. We also run a specialised children’s gym called GymJuniorz, the first indoor gym offered for pre-school-aged children, staffed with instructors certified by the British Gymnastic Association. We have also been at the forefront of introducing various innovative learning

benchmark. The nursery has been recognised time and again for its efforts.  We believe in complete ABOVE Fun at the Fair parental involvement and hold regular coffee LEFT Pony rides mornings covering topics such as child development, safety and female health. To celebrate our tenth year anniversary programmes within pre-schooling, for we held a family fun fair which reflected example adopting in-depth Arabic and our core belief of learning with fun. It was French curricula into the Early Years attended by hundreds of visitors including curriculum. parents and teachers from all our branches. We initiated the KHDA-approved Early Children enjoyed entertainment including a Years Teacher Training programme to bouncy castle, costume photo booth, baking betterABOVE equip teachers at the nursery level contests and Zumba sessions. Animal lovers andStudents to further uplift the standards of preoutside MPW enjoyed the petting zoo while book worms school education in the UAE. 95 percent made a bee line for the story session. It was of our parents LEFT have rated our nursery a fun day out for everyone.  exceptionally high on curriculum, safety Hard at work I am extremely proud of what we have and care standards as per the annual achieved over the past ten years.  The quality audit feedback which is a high Fair was a befitting celebration and a wonderful opportunity for staff, parents and children to come together and enjoy a truly memorable day.

“We were the first nursery to offer an indoor gym for pre-school children”

VA N DA N A G A N D H I Founder & CEO British Orchard Nurseries 2017

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SSAT Education is a respected Education Consultancy working with schools across the Middle East SSAT is entrusted by both private and government schools in the Middle East to provide quality, pedagogically trained educators from around the world. SSAT Middle East is a British Company, with their recruitment department located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is a safe, thriving and rapidly growing 21st Century Country.

GET IN TOUCH Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates PO Box 15703 Tel: +971 03 7640331 | Fax: +971 03 7640339 Web: www.ssat.me

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JUNIOR / OPINION

THE PILLARS OF ALPHA School values and how to encourage student engagement R AC H E L CA S H I N

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he Alpha School is not just another new school. It is a school with a difference. Our mission, vision and values are embedded within our three pillars of Identity, Family and Innovation. Our identity is shaped by our multicultural environment and our appreciation of UAE culture and heritage. International-mindedness and respect are key. Our students celebrate a strong sense of identity in faith, language and heritage. The importance of mother-tongue alongside Arabic language development is highly valued. An Alpha education draws the best elements of all these frameworks to provide an exceptionally personal learning experience for every child. The Alpha family encompasses the whole community in our safe and nurturing environment with a focus on the whole child, so all feel truly valued. Ongoing reflection drives our students to be the best they can be academically and personally. Parents are partners at Alpha where regular communication and parent involvement is encouraged to help strengthen the bond between school and home. Our teachers facilitate true and relevant learning in blended contexts where collaboration, critical-thinking, creativity and communication skills are as important as gaining knowledge. Our students have access to the most current technologies to

identified as Gifted and Talented or as having an additional need, our team work with the child, their parents and any outside agencies involved to develop an individual education plan. Alpha’s home learning policy ensures a realistic balance in the time and quality of homework and clearly outlines expectations to teachers and parents. The leadership team monitors the consistency and quality of homework for all grades and delivers this electronically to parents at the start of the week. The care and well-being of our students is our number one priority. Alpha’s explicit Behaviour Management Policy celebrates positive models of behaviour and ensures that staff, students and parents are fully aware of expectations and sanctions. Concerns are dealt with personally by our teachers, Sectional Pastoral Care Coordinators or Senior Leadership Team.

Our Enrichment and Extension make learning personalised and ABOVE Circle time at The (extra-curricular) Programme meaningful. Alpha School is broad and varied; offering As a moderately small school, activities across a range of our uniqueness is our intimate interests from sports, arts, community feel. Every student is languages and more. Internal activities are known, cared for and valued as an integral included in our tuition fee. member of the Alpha Family. As part of our enrichment and extension Our teachers are highly qualified and all programme, we fully utilise the wealth differentiate instruction to the appropriate of educational and cultural facilities of level of challenge for each child to reach our wonderful host city. Field trips are their potential. As an inclusive school, embedded into the curriculum where they we have dedicated Learning Support and provide additional value to the learning or EAL departments. Where children are opportunities to apply learning.

“ALPHA’S UNIQUENESS IS ITS INTIMATE COMMUNITY FEEL”

R AC H E L C A S H I N Headteacher The Alpha School

2017

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02/02/2017 11:22 09:43


Senior

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2017

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from LONDON to DUBAI Daniel Lewis, the principal of North London Collegiate School, which opens in Dubai in September, on how his school will be different SOPHIE PENDER-CUDLIP

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SENIOR / FOCUS

“We want to form our own identity as a UAE school but also as part of the NLCS family of schools”

T

ABOVE Girls on the run at NLCS, London RIGHT Students in the classroom

here is always a buzz about a new school opening in Dubai, particularly when it is a branch of one of the highest achieving schools in the UK. North London Collegiate School Dubai (NLCS) opens its doors in September with Daniel Lewis at the helm.  I got to meet Lewis at the offices of Sobha, the investor behind NLCS, in Business Bay. When I arrive he is deep in conversation with potential parents in the reception area.  I watch as they leave smiling and satisfied with the smart, glossy brochure tucked under their arm.  Beside me is a large, impressive model display of the school itself which is currently under construction in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City.   I am eager to meet Lewis and find out more about the new kid on the education block.  What prompted such a mainstream school to open its doors in an increasingly competitive landscape where, unlike ºthe past, places are now available in most schools in Dubai?

NLCS is best known as the London-based all-girls school which has been ranked number one for IB since 2004, when the Diploma was first introduced in the UK. It was founded in 1850 by Frances Mary Buss, a Victorian headmistress and pioneer of women’s education.  NLCS’ reputation is outstanding and it is said to be one of the most academic schools in the UK and very competitive in terms of gaining admission.  Lewis, aged 43, has worked at the school for 14 years and was Deputy Head since 2010.  He was pivotal in setting up NLCS in Jeju (South Korea) in 2011 which is now the leading school in North East Asia for IB.   Building on the success of NLCS Jeju, Lewis says that he spent considerable time travelling the world, meeting potential partners with a view of setting up the next NLCS school. Dubai was always in their mind “as education is so vibrant here”, he says, “but it was also about finding the right partner to work with”. They were put in touch with Sobha Group and, he says, spent a lot of time getting to know them. “We felt the values Sobha places on education resonated with us,” he says. Sobha is known for their partnership with another nearby school, Hartland. Lewis tells me it is a different partnership than the one with NLCS Dubai, however. “Hartland is

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SENIOR / FOCUS LEFT The manicured grounds of NLCS in London

AED 83,000 to 130,000 per term. However, those that join in term one of 2017/18 will get a 15-20% discount depending on year group, which will last for the duration of their time there. The school also offers scholarships and, crucially, means-tested bursaries.   One of Lewis’ objectives is to create a strong sense of community at NLCS Dubai.  “We want to form our own identity as a UAE school but also as part of the NLCS family of schools.  We want parents to feel they are also part of that family.”  He is determined that NLCS in Dubai will retain the quality and reputation of both the schools in London and South Korea and there will be strong links between the three, such as joint projects, exchanges, cross cultural magazines, online debates and joint skyped assemblies.  Despite being highly meritocratic, pupils will have an opportunity to apply for NLCS back in London but there are stringent entry criteria.  “At NLC in London we sometimes turn away sisters or even a twin if they don’t meet the entrance criteria.  We can’t guarantee pupils from Dubai will get a place but of course they would be supported by us.” NLCS is impressive and I am sure its opening will make waves in Dubai’s educational landscape.  It has a first-class track record in providing a gold standard of global education at the highest level.  Being a parent to twin boys aged nine, Lewis understands the needs of parents and children.  He is likeable and personable and is confident about the school’s opening in September. With such a strong brand behind it I think there is a place in the market for a top end school in Dubai and many parents are prepared to pay for it.   It will probably be one of those schools that is always the source of much conversation among parents in the coming months and years - until the next one comes along.

BELOW A CGI image of how the school in Dubai will look

“This gold standard of education and facilities does come at a premium price” a different brand, owned and run entirely by Sobha. In our case, NLCS runs the school.  We are really pleased with Sobha’s commitment to the quality of the building and the site.  They have a keen eye for quality and long term delivery.” NLCS Dubai will eventually cater for 1,800 students and because it is a ‘branch’ school it is able to open all the way up to Year 13.  In September, however, education will be offered from 3-16 year-olds with the final three years opening as students move through the school.  It will offer the IB diploma and build on its success in the Korean and London school.  “IB is very portable and provides an international passport, so it makes sense for us to offer it in such an international city as Dubai,” he says.  He believes IB offers superb preparation for university with a higher proportion of IB students completing degrees and getting Firsts.  What makes NLCS different from others, is that they will offer IB all the way through the school from primary.  “We teach thematically and the IB is focused on the ten attributes that make up the learner profile, that codify a good education.  It makes pupils very conscious about their learning.  This model of education makes us unique in the region. We are providing all our IB pupils with the rigour and structure of a UK approach. Whilst delivering all the extra-curricular benefits of a fully-rounded education, we will be an unashamedly academic school.” The staff are predominantly recruited from and trained in the UK with most having IB experience. He recognises that staff turnover can be a challenge to schools.  “If staff leave, we will ensure that the standards don’t drop in any way.”  

Reflecting Lewis’s love of the arts, having been a drama teacher, the school will have a state-of-the-art performing arts centre with a double-height fly tower as in professional theatres. Sport will also be a strong part of the delivery, offering all the major sports, in additon to triathlon and crucially, hockey, which is hard to find in Dubai’s schools. Music will also play an important part in the life of the school, with music studios, recording studios and many practice rooms available for students. A key part of what the school offers is described by Lewis as “scholarly” extracurricular.  These include many clubs and societies (there are over 50 in the UK school) with every specialist interest represented.  External speakers are invited in to inspire the children and a formal lecture series forms a key part of the seniors’ academic timetable.  Student led publications are also popular such as the Linguist in London, in addition to a current affairs newspaper written in Latin.   This gold standard of education and impressive facilities does come at a premium price and NLCS has already been referred to as one of the most expensive schools in Dubai.  Fees range from around

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Press REFRESH Educators must have the courage to modernise teaching for the 21st century B R E N D A N L AW

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here is a great deal written about what the current generation needs in terms of so-called 21st Century Skills. Less documented though, is exactly what this means for educators and how we can best build the required skills in our pupils. It is widely accepted that the future workplace is one in which academic grades alone are not enough. For our children to become the leaders of tomorrow, they require a host of other, less tangible skills. They need to be curious, ethical and collaborative. They need to be technically savvy, analytical and adaptable. Their perspective needs to be global and globally tolerant. Their capacity to listen, communicate and empathise must be highly developed. The bottom line is children need to leave school with much more than a strong set of exam results. While there seems to be broad agreement on what the destination looks like, the route to get there is not quite so obvious. For many schools, the journey requires a great deal of change, including curriculum review and re-training of teachers, as well as an evolution in measurement and inspection regimes. Modernising teaching and learning practices is not an easy task. Organisational transformation is rarely quick or painless. However, as educators, we must have the courage to accept that change is necessary and be prepared to step up to the challenge and lead it. 60

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At the core of change sits the need to move towards a much more holistic approach. This has to start at the beginning, in the admissions department. If schools are selecting on academic ability alone, their communities can lack depth when it comes to qualities such as empathy or flexibility, collaboration or individuality. Every community needs strong character role models. A school that is too academically elite runs the risk of creating a narrow, pressurised and introspective environment for its pupils and staff. Only when schools adopt a broader, socially cohesive outlook, will they successfully prepare pupils for the real world. Not all children are Ivy League or Oxbridge material, and the world doesn’t need them to be. It needs a generation of assured, well rounded, emotionally intelligent young adults. Although academic results will always remain a primary driver, it is not the only one. It is my belief that four of the most important drivers for change are Engagement, Enrichment, Moral Education and Measurement.

“Not all children are Ivy League or Oxbridge material, and the world doesn’t need them to be”

E NG AG E M E N T When children are happy and engaged, they learn. It stands to reason therefore, that finding ways to actively involve pupils in their learning – giving them some responsibility for it – should be one of our highest priorities. I like to think of it as a bit of a role reversal. Rather than considering a child’s mind as an empty vessel waiting to be filled with facts and figures, teachers should be empowering children to talk, read and research for themselves so they are full of ideas, questions and understanding in the classroom. There are all kinds of ways to bring learning alive such as team challenges, film making, performances, debates. Critically, bringing the real world into the classroom and the classroom out into the real world plays a huge role. Technology is also a facilitator. Virtual Learning Environments, peer-to-peer and interactive online tools are sophisticated yet easy to use.

2017

31/05/2017 15:13


SENIOR / OPINION

ABOVE Cranleigh pupils on the beach

cultural community since we opened in 2014. LEFT Our work in the pilot has In the classroom focused on weaving Social Studies and our own Pastoral Programme into the new MEP. The Social Studies integration has targeted two key competencies – Global Awareness and Citizenship. It has also embraced virtue-based ethics to draw pupils’ attention to the responsibilities and duties they have in the UAE context. From a pastoral perspective, the focus has been on developing social and emotional skills as well as on values required in successful learners. The pilot draws pupils’ attention to developing and reflecting on themselves and on others, working to understand how core values are crucial to a successful life journey.

MEASUREMENT

something magical happens. Their energy and creativity levels rise and stay high as they move on to Science or whatever the next academic lesson is. By integrating sport, art, design, drama, dance and music into the weekly timetable – and offering challenging extension opportunities for scholars – a school automatically provides opportunities for all children to find their niche as well as take an interest in, and show respect for, each other’s diversity.

MOR A L E D U C AT ION E N R IC H M E N T We need to offer a curriculum that goes beyond the number of subjects typically reviewed by inspectors. Extra-curricular lessons should not be a nice-to-have; they should be built into the timetable where they can add value as a complimentary foil to the academic rigours of core subjects. When children go from Maths to Dance,

We are privileged to have been chosen as a pilot school for the powerful new Moral Education Programme (MEP), an initiative being driven by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court along with ADEC, KHDA and the Ministry of Education. As a school that already has a strong and wide-reaching pastoral model in place, we have been able to share our experiences of how we have built a cohesive and respectful multi-

A year ago, I would have used this opportunity to critique one of the most powerful global measurement standards used in education – Pisa. The 'Programme for International Student Assessment', is the OECD’s standard for comparing education systems around the world. Historically, I think its measurement criteria were narrow and contributed to an obsession with grades at the expense of holistic, skills-based development. Thankfully, it has recognised the need for change and following a meeting of G7 Education Ministers in 2016, stated it is working on a new test for 2018. This will focus on 'global competence' which it describes as, “the capacity to analyse global and intercultural issues critically and from multiple perspectives, to understand how differences affect perceptions, judgements, and ideas of self and others, and to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with others from different backgrounds on the basis of a shared respect for human dignity.” The fact that the Pisa is embracing this approach suggests a consensus is growing that we, as educators, have a responsibility to be brave and prioritise teaching of the most universally relevant skills.

B R E N DA N L AW Headmaster Cranleigh Abu Dhabi 2017

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SENIOR / L ATIN

Alive & kicking It’s difficult and demanding but having its moment in the sun. So why study Latin?

“I

LUCY HOLLAND & C H A R L O T T E H U G H E S D ’A E T H

sn’t it a dead language?” That's what pupils ask on discovering we have a Latin club at Repton. But Latin is back, enjoying a resurgence in recent years which is gratifying for those of us who endured the uncool years. All that time, learning vocab in dusty forgotten classrooms, and endlessly responding to friends’ incredulous queries as to what we were wasting our time for, means we're placed to answer the leading question….

THE BRAIN TRAINING

THE LINGUISTIC ARGUMENT

A prima facie…: (at first glance….) A knowledge of Latin helps with learning the Romance languages (romantic not because of their perception of love but for their relation to the Romans…). The most widely-spoken of these are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian. Similarities in both vocabulary and grammatical structure mean a knowledge of Latin is helpful. The joy of being able to work out a word in Spanish and unlock a sentence because of your knowledge of Latin is akin to scoring a goal. Understanding the logic of Latin grammar is invaluable for grasping the intricacies of English as well as Arabic

“Unlocking a sentence in Spanish because of knowing Latin is akin to scoring a goal”

Latin literature, indebted to that of ancient Greece, extends through the masterful prose of the Golden Age of the Republic, beyond the Empire to the Europe of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, where Latin was the lingua franca of the educated. With Latin one can encounter the military history of Julius Caesar, the stylistic paragon that is Cicero, the witty and ribald poetry of Ovid, the works of Descartes and Isaac Newton. Knowing Latin, one can appreciate JK Rowling’s debt to Latin in her spells and curses; and that, without Virgil’s Aeneid, there would surely have been no Dante’s Divine Comedy, one of the greatest works of world literature, and influential as a source of inspiration ever since. It provides a route to a huge range of other subjects such as history, literature, philosophy, theology and archaeology. Twinned with ancient Greek, the scope is further widened: a treasure trove which includes Homer and Hesiod, the Greek tragedians and a wealth of philosophical works. Latin broadens the mind and not just the tongue.

ABOVE Without Virgil’s Aeneid, surely Dante, above, would not have been able to write the Divine Comedy?

grammar. Although neither of these is its directly mirrored in Latin, understanding the terminology and how it ‘works’, helps one to appreciate and describe how these languages function more readily. With around 60% of English words derived from Latin, it increases both vocabulary, articulacy and an appreciation of language.

THE CULTURAL CLINCHER

A little less prosaic, but hardly less compelling… The study of Latin leads naturally on to reading Latin literature and encountering first hand, and in the original language, texts which have influenced European and world culture.

Audentis Fortuna iuvat (Fortune favours the brave) Reading Latin is like code breaking. Once one understands the grammatical structure, one can begin to translate and understand. As English novelist Dorothy L. Sayers argued in her 1947 essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, “The best grounding for education is the Latin grammar... not because Latin is traditional and mediaeval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labour and pains of almost any other subject by at least 50%.”

JUST FOR THE LOVE OF IT

Ars gratia artis (art for art’s sake) Latin enthralls and fascinates. Our years spent exploring the Classical world at school enriched our lives. The members of our Latin Club at Repton are united by their curiosity and appreciation of this language, discovering it is alive in situations they had not thought of. It may be dead but Latin remains very much alive and kicking!

LUCY HOLLAND & CHARLOTTE HUGHES D’AETH Repton School Dubai 2017

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Keep Tech in Check With the rise of technological innovation across the education sector, what is its role in the classroom? B E AT S O M M E R

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arents, teachers and students have all weighed in on the benefits and consequences of classroom technology, whether it be on personal devices or their integration into the learning experience. Technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes. Yet most schools lag far behind when it comes to integrating technology into classroom learning. Many are just beginning to explore the true potential tech offers for teaching and learning. Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly tech-based economy. There are countless resources for enhancing education and making learning more fun and effective. Including apps, organisational tools, e-textbooks and more, there are many amazing tools that help students and teachers collaborate, share ideas, stay organised, and get the most out of learning. Ultimately, however, children also need to develop essential social skills and motor skills, so ensuring there isn’t too much tech time is one of the key concerns for teachers and parents. Students can learn life skills through technology, thus preparing them for a lifetime of technological advances and

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IT IS UP TO US AS EDUCATORS TO ENSURE THAT TECHNOLOGY IS SAFE & MAKES STUDENTS SMARTER, HAPPIER & KINDER

innovations. Creating presentations, learning to differentiate reliable from unreliable sources on the internet, and maintaining proper written etiquette are all vital skills that they can learn in the classroom. If used correctly, technology will help prepare students for their future careers which will inevitably include the use of technology. Most of the students like to have laptops, tablets, etc. because these tools make learning more interesting and fun. Subjects that students deem challenging or boring can become more interesting with virtual lessons, through a video, or when using a tablet. Technology also enables students to learn at their own pace. For example, most apps allow for individualised instruction meaning that students can learn according to their abilities and needs. This form of

teaching is also very useful for teachers as it gives them time to work individually with students. When they are not in school, just about everything students do is connected in some way to technology. By integrating this into the classroom, teachers are not only changing the way they used to teach but providing students with the tools they will need as 21st-century adults. But technology, unwisely used, can stunt growth rather than foster it. It can act as a huge distraction both inside the classroom and at home. A way of avoiding this is to create structure from the first day of introducing the children to tech, creating expectations and guidelines for the students to follow. Technology changes by the minute, and as educators we need to keep up with the times in order to best prepare our students for the ever-changing world we live in. While we just saw how integrating technology into the classroom has its benefits, it’s important to note that traditional learning processes are just as essential. Teachers need to invest time to learn about each element of ed-tech they incorporate into their classroom, as technology has a profound impact on students’ learning. At Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, we know that teachers and students increasingly benefit from access to certain devices and systems.

2017

31/05/2017 15:23


SENIOR / TECHNOLOGY

We welcome electronic devices in the context of a framework that promotes thoughtful and productive use. In our design class we use iPads, PCs and a whole host of apps and programming equipment from LEGO robots and Spheros to industry standard programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. The school provides tablets for learning activities when necessary. The best way to integrate technology into the classroom and at home is to educate students on the use of technology, how to use it responsibly, how to stay safe, when to take action and when not to use technology. Learning should always be the priority of the student’s school experience; the varied tools used to get there are secondary. At SISD we introduce new technologies and the internet in Primary School. From Grade 1 onwards, students are taught how to use technology. They study the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities, and reflect on different forms of technological advances. In Middle School, students are expected to know how to use cloud-based programs for file sharing, and general programs (PC and Mac) to create documents and send emails. Students are also expected to be able to program with basic elements of code and animation, using programs such as blockly, scratch, and flash. We follow the same elements as the Harvard CS50 Intro to Computer Science (the program Harvard runs for its undergraduates) for our grade 6 students in their first year. Adopting technology into the everyday classroom experience is something teachers are comfortable with to different extents. It can be frustrating and it can be timeconsuming, but ultimately rewarding, opening doors to new experiences and ways of learning. It is up to us as educators to ensure that technology is safe and makes students smarter, happier and kinder.

TECHNOLOGY CHANGES BY THE MINUTE AND AS EDUCATORS WE NEED TO KEEP UP

I L LU ST R AT I O N BY P H I L C O UZ E N S

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B E AT S O M M E R Head Swiss International Scientific School, Dubai 2017

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SENIOR / OPINION

Talking

HEAD

OLD TO NEW Patrick Lee-Browne Principal, Kent College Dubai, on how to instill old values into a new school

Q What is the link between Kent College Canterbury (KCC) and Kent College Dubai (KCD)? It it a franchise? A We define ourselves as a campus, not as a franchise. The difference is that a franchise is where you buy the name and some of the attributes of the organisation you intend to take on. However, the essence of a campus school is not just about the physical and the buildings themselves it's about being a part of the same organisation, through the programme you offer, the style of education you provide and most importantly the ethos and values. If someone were to come from KCC to KCD, they would feel they are part of the same organisation. Before long our pupils from Dubai will be able to go to KCC. We had the chaplain from KCC, Paul Glass, over and, having being at KCC for ten years, when he came here to KCD he said it felt the same. Q How do you instill those values as a Principal? A I see myself as the guardian of these values. I have a good understanding of what Canterbury is like and how it operates.

“We can only be true to our reason behind being founded”

Who are KCD’s parents? We are next door to the Emirates Airline development in Meydan South so we're a local school for them. However, the geographic spread of other pupils is from Jumeirah to Festival City. Q

A

Q How did you open all the way through to sixth form? A Because we are a campus school, a branch of KCC, and not a new school.

Do you find that the year groups are smaller higher up the school? A The school is very balanced with a natural pyramid from Junior to Secondary. Although we are a smaller school the scale is now in proportion with what you would expect. We have been well organised in making sure we have even distribution. There isn't a single year group that feels empty or doesn't have the same dynamic or critical mass. Q

many of our staff who were based in the UK to visit Canterbury for a day before they joined so they had a sense of what the school was like. Also making sure all the systems are the same behind the scenes, because they are the foundation of what a school is. It isn't simply about teachers teaching in classes. ABOVE Students at Kent College Dubai

If we see ourselves drifting away from Canterbury, then we cease to be the school we set out to be. We can only be true to our reason behind being founded.

Q Is the curriculum similar between the two countries? Yes. The main difference at the moment is that KCC offers IB as well as A-Levels. We will do that when our sixth form is big enough to be able absorb two curriculums.

Q How did you help the staff to understand the ethos and values of the school? A That came in the preparation stage, getting collaboration from heads of departments so that they talk to their counterparts in KCC and encouraging as

Q Where are the teaching staff predominantly from? A They're mainly from the UK and Ireland because we are offering a UK Curriculum. Both KCC and KCD are very international in outlook.

Q How are you attracting pupils as a school with no academic track record? A Every new school is in the same position. The Kent College brand is strong and parents like the genuine connection with Canterbury.

What advice would you give to a fellow principal setting up a new school? A The attention to detail is really important from the outset. Being methodical and taking care of the small details makes a big difference to staying on track. Have a good team, be patient, flexible and recognise things won't necessarily PATRICK LEE-BROWNE go the way you want them Principal to. Overall, have a clear Kent College Dubai vision. Q

2017

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ALL ABOARD Regional boarding offers children a top level of education even if they don’t live locally FIONA MCKENZIE

Whilst boarding is often seen as a peculiarly British phenomenon, it is becoming increasingly popular in other countries too. In the UAE, two schools now offer a boarding option, with several more considering it. With the spread of British education across the globe, it was inevitable that some schools would try to replicate the very successful boarding model found in top British independent schools.  From its earliest days, boarding has always offered parents a chance to give their children a top level of education even if it is not accessible nearby - this still holds true today. It provides opportunities for children to be educated in a stable environment, within a system of 24-hour wraparound pastoral care whilst enjoying the company of their peer group.   But why would you need to board in the UAE?  Well, for many of the same reasons that you would choose to board anywhere else. Charlotte Hughes D’Aeth, 68

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SENIOR / BOA R DING

Housemistress of Field House, the girls’ boarding house at Repton says, “Boarding in the UAE and at Repton provides a unique opportunity to live and study in one of the most diverse and progressive countries in the world. As well as a first-rate education, our girls benefit from making friends with a huge number of people from over 70 different nationalities. They develop self- confidence and independence, a global understanding and an international friendship group which will prove invaluable in the years ahead.”

“The caring structure of a boarding house enables pupils to grow in selfconfidence” The presence of boarding schools in the UAE means that families based in the region, but outside of the UAE, can give their children opportunities that might not be available locally. Parents choose the boarding option largely because they want their children to study at an outstanding school, and to flourish both academically and across a wide range of activities. It is also a useful option for families based in the UAE but who travel a great deal during the week, or for families who are regularly posted to different locations and want a stable educational environment. Boarding either on a flexi (a few nights a week) or weekly basis means families have their children home at the weekend. It is also an ideal introduction to independent living for those families who are thinking of boarding school in the UK or elsewhere and want to build up some experience first.

ABOVE Boarders at Repton LEFT Pupils at Swiss International Scientific School

The caring structure of a boarding house enables the pupils to grow in selfconfidence and to learn how to cope away from home. Parents can feel confident that their children are in a supportive environment which is structured around things like homework time and a full schedule of after-school activities. Staff are trained to deal with teenagers. The school day is also extended, gone is the daily commute meaning children have more time to take part in activities and hobbies. The fact that the school facilities,

libraries, gyms, swimming pool or sports halls are open for use by boarders in the evenings means that weekends become havens of high quality family time. Nav Rai, from the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, says, “Boarding encourages young people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, which inevitably contributes to greater confidence, decision making skills and independence, all of which are important to thrive at university and in the workplace.” 2017

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SENIOR / BOA R DING

OVER 80% BOARD

Does boarding school and its effects on children really equate to parental absenteeism? D AV I D W E L L E S L E Y W E S L E Y

E

very parent wants the glance, boarding school has no place in this best for their child so can scenario, but in fact it’s an important and boarding ever be the best positive option for many families around the option? I think it's a very world that allows them to provide children positive option in this with the best opportunities. The term day and age for parents 'parental absenteeism' can mean different wanting to help children things to different people, from a parent reach their full potential who does not have daily face-to face-contact in an environment that’s right for them. with their child, to a parent who does not Many parents want to spend hours have a positive, meaningful, constant impact each day enjoying quality time with their on their child’s life. Whatever it means, children, being able to send them to the it’s hard to see how boarding school could best schools right on their doorstep, have equate to parental absenteeism. world-class sports, science, music FAMILY TIME and drama facilities all readily BELOW available, and teachers who When your children are at Boarders at have the time, opportunity and boarding school they're not with Milton Abbey in expertise to tailor their approach you, so there’s no option for Dorset to each individual pupil. At first that daily family time. Boarding

of former boarders thought their relationship with their parents was more positive as a result of boarding

means that the daily routine of doing homework, etc. takes place outside the home, so when the family is together, quality time is just that. Children look forward to seeing their parents and parents have the luxury of focusing solely on their children. A recent survey showed that over 80% of former boarders thought their relationship with their parents was more positive as a result of boarding. Also, with today’s technology, Skype, WhatsApp etc provide regular communication.

THE BEST SCHOOLS Not everyone lives within commuting distance of some of the best schools in the world. With world-class facilities, these schools provide the best resources to succeed at curriculum subjects, as well as the opportunity to try a range of different extra-curricular activities without having to spend time travelling. Exploring what they’re good at, and what they enjoy allows them to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and a confidence that stands them in good stead for later life. Boarding makes attending these schools an option for families worldwide allowing their children to achieve their full potential.

TAILORED EDUCATION Every child is different and needs a different approach to help them thrive. The unique blend of pastoral and academic roles that teachers at boarding schools fulfil means they have time to get to know their pupils holistically. Pupils are also part of a close knit community, making life-long friends. A former Wellington pupil reflects, ‘the friendships that were forged during my time at school were so important then, and remain a central part of my life even now.’

DAV I D W E L L E S L E Y W E S L E Y Founder British Boarding Schools Show 2017

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Q&A

AGON Y AUN T

HANDS UP Fiona McKenzie, Director of Gabbitas Middle East, answers your questions What questions should I ask when I consider a new school?

T

he best way to get a feel for a school is to pay it a visit and ask questions in person. Websites and prospectuses will provide you with all the basic information and have to suffice in many cases but try and visit the school if you can. Ask teachers about the staff turnover rate – a good indication of how ‘happy’ a school is, is whether they retain their teachers. If you’re feeling brave and have a good rapport with the person showing you around, you could even ask them if they would send their own children to this school. Ask about the leadership in the school – how long has the Principal or Head been there, what was their previous experience, how involved are they in the day-to-day activities and how accessible are they to parents? Find out about pastoral care. Having lots of children together in one environment can be a dynamic and exciting place to be, but also overwhelming for some and friendship issues through the teenage years can present challenges. Are there

plenty of adults readily available to offer children support? Ask what is included in the fees. Several of the new schools in Dubai are offering an all-inclusive fee which covers extra curricular activities, outings and school uniform, and others are offering a discount for founding families which can last for up to four years. Shop around and compare what you get for your money. Finally, no one will be able to give you a better insight than parents who currently have children in the school. Ask them everything and anything.

What do you think are the most effective revision techniques?

D

ifferent revision techniques work for different people, depending on whether they are more visual, auditory, or learn things best from doing. Work out your learning style: are you more visual, auditory or kinesthetic? You can take a five minute test on www.thoughtco.com. If you’re a visual learner, mind maps and post-it notes are your friend. You’re probably a real fan of fun stationery. Auditory learners work best by

LEFT listening to lectures, stress, gives you Plan your revision videos, and explaining time to process what carefully what they’ve learnt you’ve learnt, helps out loud. Recruit a you sleep better and parent, sibling or makes a good break friend who you can talk to each between study sessions. Eat well evening about what you’ve as it will promote concentration revised that day. Kinesthetic and energy levels. learners remember things Choose a nice quiet study best if they’ve participated in spot where you have a selfit actively. Take advantage of imposed ‘no phone’ rule. This your hands-on brain by making may be at home, at a library your revision more active. or even a quiet coffee shop. If Make some flash cards and you’re travelling to your spot when learning concepts, try each day, have a dedicated bag and illustrate them with real with all your books and tools examples so they are easier to in it so when you arrive in your memorise. ‘study nest’, your brain knows Remember to look after it’s time for study. yourself to make sure you are in Have a revision timetable so top condition and able to make you don't waste time. It helps to the most out of your revision have a framework to ensure you sessions. allocate time evenly across all Exercise, even if it’s just subjects, not just the ones walking the dog. This eases you enjoy.

“NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU BETTER INSIGHT IN TO A PROSPECTIVE SCHOOL THAN CURRENT PARENTS. ASK THEM ANYTHING & EVERYTHING” 2017

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PREMIUM BRITISH EDUCATION

A reputation for excellence stands behind every GEMS Wellington School INSPIRING FUTURE LEADERS THROUGH CREATIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail (Dubai) is part of the successful, thriving and trusted GEMS Wellington group of schools. We offer the National Curriculum for England from FS1 to Year 11 adapted to the context of the United Arab Emirates and incorporating best practice from across the globe. Our students benefit from: » A fully inclusive school that accepts children of all abilities, focusing not on a child’s starting point but on what they can achieve » Digital technology embedded into the classroom to inspire creativity, collaborations, sharing and innovation » A forward thinking school that engages its students in their own learning » A setting that nurtures academic excellence in a creative and happy environment. Children are

encouraged to see mistakes as a necessary part of the learning process » Highly trained British teachers with a proven track record » A broad range of extra-curricular activities to cultivate social, emotional, artistic and physical competencies » An investment in infrastructure and innovative teaching methods which allows our students to become independent learners

ENROLLING NOW FS 1 to YEAR 11 for 2017-18 For more information please contact: +971 (0)4 512 9100 registrar_wek@gemsedu.com gemswellingtonacademy-alkhail.com GEMS.indd 1

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SENIOR / W ELLBEING

LIGHTEN THEIR LOAD We can help our children control anxiety, says the managing director of The Lighthouse DR. SALIHA AFRIDI

A

ccording to the most recent statistics reported by the World Health Organization, roughly 20% of children and adolescents worldwide experience mental disorders or problems and half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14. There are several myths around children and anxiety. First, that children who have not endured any serious trauma don't experience anxiety. Regardless of race, culture, religion, country of residence, or socioeconomic status—all children will experience varying degrees of anxiety. Second, if a parent is doing their job right, children should not experience anxiety. The fact is that some anxiety is healthy for children. If children experience no anxiety because the parent protects them from it, then you are doing them a disservice.

BELOW Help is at hand for anxious children

Childhood is a time when children develop life skills. We have to be able to inoculate children with healthy doses of stress and anxiety and teach them how to deal with it. However, if children experience too much anxiety, it can affect their learning, their relationships and their ability to engage. They might shy away and start to develop avoidance strategies to manage it. If you think your child is suffering from anxiety here are some ways in which to help them.

PRACTISE MINDFULNESS Mindfulness shifts the child from a ‘what if’ anxiety provoking state to ‘what is’ present mind and body state. Make time to build in mindful moments and meditation.

MANAGE ANXIETY This is not about getting rid of all negative feelings, but learning how to manage and live with them. It's not always about feeling better, it's also about getting better at feeling.

EXERCISE, DIET AND SLEEP When the mind is running in circles, make sure the body is nurtured and cared for. Children must get enough sleep, limit sugar, avoid caffeine, and be physically active, to reduce anxiety levels.

“It’s not always about feeling better but getting better at feeling” USE EXPRESSIVE TECHNIQUES Some children find art, music, drama and other expressive techniques allows them to give voice to their difficult emotions.

BE AN EMOTIONAL COACH

LIMIT USE OF ELECTRONICS

Teaching children how to handle difficult situations can equip them to navigate the future with more confidence. Use day to day experiences to help your child become aware of their internal emotional landscape.

Video games, television, iPads, or mobile devices have a blue screen or overstimulating content. The mind is more agitated when it is over stimulated so limit time spent on electronics.

MANAGE YOUR OWN ANXIETY

LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA

If you are an anxious person, then you need to learn to manage it. Children do as we do, not as we say.

Social media platforms are linked to increased depression and anxiety in children and adolescents. By being in the ‘compare’ mode and tracking their ‘likes’, they spend too much time in the virtual world which doesn’t allow them to develop a good sense of self and form real relationships, which we know to be a protective factor against mental disorders. For more information on courses for adults and children tel: +97143809298

D R . S A LI H A A F R I D I Managing director The LightHouse 2017

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SAVE THE DAY Paying for your child’s education is all about planning STEVEN DOWNEY

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nvesting in our children’s education today will make all the difference for their future. It is a demanding world and we want our children to be capable of competing well. We also want our children to experience the highest quality of education for their own personal enrichment. Every parent wants the best for their child, but being able to pay for it is not always easy. In the UK, most universities were effectively free from 1962 – 1990’s. Over the years the cost of university has been steadily going up, with universities like Oxford and Cambridge charging £9,250 for home/EU status students up to £29,217 for overseas students per year for tuition. In the USA, tuition can rise as high as $50,000 – $60,000 per year for tuition for private universities. On the right (FIG 1) is a graph depicting the change in tuition for private university, public university, and two-year college in the USA. If you add in the cost of everything else (food, books, housing, etc FIG 2) the cost expands even more University costs are going up, often at a rate higher than the average rate of inflation (5% per year vs. 2-3% per year). What are the other costs you should consider, in addition to tuition, when planning the cost of university?

FOOD Universities usually have a

meal plan for students, but how often is your child eating out at restaurants?

ABOVE Students at Oxford University

TEXT BOOKS AND SUPPLIES

If your child is in the arts or sciences there may be lab or art supply fees. TRAVEL How much will it cost for your

child to travel to see you, particularly if you live in a different country from their place of study? INTERNSHIP FEES Interns may not

receive a salary so your child will need to factor in living expenses. SOCIAL CLUBS & ACTIVITIES

If your child studies in the US, they may be part of a fraternity or sorority. STUDY ABROAD If your child studies

away, how much will this cost?

THE COST OF UNIVERSITY IN THE FUTURE

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ou cannot control the cost of university in the future, but you can create a plan on how to save today. A couple - let's call themTom and Rachel - want to send their children to a top university in the UK or US. Their eldest, Sarah, is currently six years old. How much will it cost to send her to university when she turns 18? The table (FIG 3) gives four different types of universities and their forecasted cost in 2029 (when Sarah would be 18). In this situation, Tom and Rachel already have $25,000 saved and are considering the cost of sending Sarah to different types of universities. What if Tom and Rachel cannot afford to save the amount indicated (i.e. $643 a month to send Sarah to City University in Hong Kong)?

FIG 1

HISTORICAL COST OF US UNIVERSITY TUITION (PER YEAR)

$40,000

$30,000

1976˜77

$20,000

1996˜97

$10,000

2016˜17

RENT Will your child have roommates

or live by themselves, which can make a large difference in cost?

$0 PRIVATE NONPROFIT FOUR-YEAR

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PUBLIC FOUR-YEAR

PUBLIC TWO-YEAR

2017

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SENIOR / FINA NCE FIG 3

FORECASTING THE COST OF UNIVERSITY IN 2009

MAKING UNIVERSITY AFFORDABLE

Current Total Cost of University

There are several options to bring down the cost of university:

Increase in cost of Tuition/cost of living

• Apply for scholarships. Many students do not take the time and effort to apply for scholarships and thus forgo the potential for large financial aid. • In state / Home residency status. In many countries, there is a significant reduction in tuition if you are a resident. Make sure you know what is required to be considered a resident in the country your child will study, as it can save you thousands of dollars. • Financial Aid. Many universities and governments will provide financial assistance, particularly based on need. • Government Funding Through Military Service. In the US, if you enlist in the military they will pay for a large amount, if not the entire amount, of your university tuition. • Take Out a Loan. This is never an ideal option, but can be a viable one if it is the difference between attending university and foregoing an education. Young students often don't understand the concept of debt, so it is important to educate them. • Start at a Lower Cost University and Transfer Later. Sometimes a student is able to study for the first few years at a low-cost university (in the US they are called community colleges) and then transfer in the last one to two years to a higher ranked university. This is not always feasible but can be a prudent option.

PUBLIC FUNDED UNIVERSITY IN THE US

TOP TIER PRIVATE SCHOOL IN THE US

UK UNIVERSITY WITH HOME/EU STATUS

$128,743

$258,047

$99,957

5%

5%

5%

$93,356

5%

per year

per year

per year

Years of University

4

4

3

4

Years Until University Attendance

12

12

12

12

Future cost of University

$231,204

$463,414

$179,508

$197,654

Amount Already Saved for Education

$25,000

$25,000

$25,000

$25,000

Investment Growth

5% per year

5% per year

5% per year

5% per year

Amount need to save each year

$11,705

$26,294

$8,457

$7,712

Amount need to save each month

$975

$2,191

$705

$643

FOR THOSE PAYING FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL

I

f you are living outside your home country, you may be required to pay for the private school fees for your children. In this case, you already know the challenges involved with paying for your child’s education. Even though private school fees are most likely to be less than future university fees, it still requires a large cash outlay for the family.

• Consider a less expensive school. Many of the most expensive schools are located in prime real estate and have expensive sports facilities. You may find that a school with older facilities, but still with great teachers, may be a better financial option for your family.

A few ideas to make school fees more affordable: • Save up for future school fees. It can be daunting to try to save in advance for each school year’s fees, but borrowing or putting the cost on a credit card will add up over time as interest payments take their toll.

• Find areas you can trim. Are there areas in your life that you can cut back a little? Maybe you do not need to buy a new luxury car, or maybe it would be good to move to a lower cost home? The cost of educating our children is rising, and rising fast. The days of low-cost university are long gone, and it is important as parents we plan ahead well. Planning for the future is crucial so that your child can have the best start in life and be well equipped to thrive in today’s competitive world.

HISTORICAL COST OF US UNIVERSITY TUITION & ROOM/BOARDS (PER YEAR)

$50,000

$37,000

per year

“University fees are rising at a rate that is often higher than the average rate of inflation”

FIG 2

1976˜77

$25,000

1996˜97

$12,500

2016˜17

S T E V E N D OW N E Y Chartered Financial Analyst Candidate at Holborn Assets

$0 PRIVATE NONPROFIT FOUR-YEAR

PUBLIC FOUR-YEAR

2017

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CITY UNIVERSITY IN HONG KONG

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Talking

SENIOR / SCHOOL LE AV ER

HEAD

TOMORROW’S PEOPLE Alan Williamson, Director of Education of Kings’ and Principal of Kings’ School Al Barsha, on opening a new Sixth Form

T

his September our sixth form will open at Kings’ Al Barsha which will mirror two aspirations for our young people academic excellence and strong values. While the new Sixth Form will deliver A-Level Qualifications, our ‘Kings’ Diploma’ will enable students to do the Extended Project Qualification, the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, work experience and contribute towards a charitable cause. The Kings’ Diploma will prepare students for a very competitive ‘positive destinations’ marketplace. Whether they are entering the British UCAS system or equivalent across the globe, or entering directly into employment, our student track record and profile must shine. In many ways that becomes the by-product of a rich and varied senior school experience that goes beyond the ‘exam factory’ concept of simply producing fantastic exam results. The challenge for developing an excellent senior school experience is how schools go about ensuring students grow in other capabilities that are essential for living in

“We provide a rich school experience that goes beyond the exam factory” an increasingly complex world, such as contribution to the community and a sense of social and global responsibility. Delivering a range of academic choices, has been essential in ensuring a strong uptake in the new Kings’ Sixth Form. Students can study a wide range of A-Levels, such as Psychology, Sociology, Business, Economics and Photography. It is this rich and varied choice that makes the senior school experience special. Learning and teaching will be both innovative and different with tutorial-style forums and small group co-operative activities.

ABOVE Student leadership is a Scotland. Without academic Alan Williamson requirement for Sixth Formers excellence students will be unable with students at who are role models for younger to move on to their chosen field Kings' students. They will lead on Ecoof study or work. However, it Schools, mentoring and coach is about having a well rounded younger students through academic and individual, with a balanced, aspirational sporting studies. outlook. I always smile when I hear staff talk Sport and the expressive arts are of ‘the pressures on curriculum time’ for incredibly important and crucial as seniors due to the range of extra-curricular the Sixth Form develops. Our range activities. Whilst I worked hard and enjoyed of ‘academies’ include scholarship the rigour and challenge of pre-university programmes aimed at academic, sporting qualifications, I remember fondly our and professional excellence. An exciting First XV Rugby Team winning a national new initiative ‘The Acting Space’ runs competition and a school trip to Russia in partnership with the school’s Drama inspiring me towards language learning Curriculum. Students will at university. These were the learn in an adult, ‘universitytangible experiences of my style’ environment with a own Sixth Form. 'business attire' dress code The senior student furthering the more ‘adult’ experience at Kings’ will working ethos and allowing ultimately be about preparing students to develop their tomorrow’s adults for a future, independent identity. today. Our focus remains on Finally, health and wellbeing supporting the student as a is an integral aspect of Kings’ whole, developing their wider ALAN WILLIAMSON Director of Education, Kings’ Sixth Form as I discovered capabilities to ensure we & Principal, Kings' School via my own senior school are encouraging successful Al Barsha experience growing up in lifelong learners. 2017

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Take a Vocation There’s a new buzz about BTECs in Dubai as students wake up to this great alternative to a traditional academic path FIONA MCKENZIE

T

here has been a lot of buzz in Dubai schools recently about a qualification known as BTEC, but many parents have no idea what they are and why they are suddenly becoming so popular. As parents with children at international schools, we are all used to dealing with and debating the merits of different curriculums. Are A-Levels better than the IB? Should you do the PYP and MYP or take the GCSE route? And now we have another acronym to add to the list. BTECS (Business and Technology Education Council Level Qualifications) are courses that have developed out of the more vocational stream of qualifications and have been introduced into several schools in the UAE to run alongside A-Levels or as part of the IB Careers Programme (IBCP). For many children who are simply not motivated by the prospect of two more years of academic learning, these courses can be the perfect solution. Clive Pierrepoint from Taaleem says: “It is really important for students and parents to realise that that there are alternatives to the narrow traditional academic route.”  Both in content and in the way the courses are

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delivered, BTECs are geared to provide a much more applied form of studying. One of the big advantages for students who dislike the ‘all or nothing’ exam approach encouraged by the IB and A-Level systems is that the majority of work is externally assessed as you go along, in the form of coursework and observed tasks. There are a wide variety of types of BTECs, from those at Level 2 – equivalent to GCSE level – to Level 4 and 5 at degree level. Level 3 BTECs, broadly equivalent to A-Levels, are assignment-based courses continually assessed over two years. The focus is on practical skills with central

vocational experiences, and considerable project management is demanded as students often work on several assignments at once. There is need for collaborative work as well as individual research and development. Many BTEC subjects mirror the less traditional A-Levels subjects such as Sports Science, Art or Business Studies, and others branch out into entirely new directions with courses focused on Leisure and Tourism, Hospitality and Theatre Studies.  The content of the courses is deliberately structured to be modular. For example, the Hospitality BTEC not only covers practical cooking skills, global cuisine and the history of food but also event management, risk assessment, budgeting and planning.  Work experience hours can also be included as a relevant part of the course.  In Sports Science, topics could include anatomy and physiology with sports business and managing a fitness centre.  One of the benefits of BTECs is that they open up whole new areas of study. For example, Creative Media and Production, with its focus on film, radio, app and game and web production, is a great route into media related courses or a passport straight into the world of employment. The Enterprise and Entrepreneurship BTEC looks at finance, launching and running a business, innovation and the principles

2017

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SCHOOL LE AV ER / BTECS

ABOVE Students from Repton School LEFT

of management – all of which perfectly positions a student heading down a business orientated pathway but also giving them the skills and confidence to develop their own business ideas. Many students worry that if they take a BTEC it means that they will be limiting their chances when applying to university. But this is not the case. BTECs are fully recognised by UCAS as qualifications that translate into UCAS points. BTECs can be the equivalent of one or two A Levels depending on which level you opt for.  The majority of universities are happy to accept BTECs as part of an overall portfolio of qualifications at sixth form and students regularly get into top universities to read academic subjects with a combination of A-Levels and BTECs or the IBCP.  The success rate from Taaleem illustrates this, “The IBCP and BTECs have been tremendously successful alternative

Student from offer for some time, as has pathways both to university Greenfield Deira International School. and into careers; 19 out Community School JESS and Repton now offer of 20 of our graduates a range with the IBCP, and from the IBCP programme DESC, with the development went to university and the of its new sixth form centre, will other one started her own cake introduce a selection next year to run business.” Whilst some Russell Group alongside A-Levels. Universities would recognise BTECS Even if they're relatively new to the UAE, if they are relevant to a degree course, BTECs have been around for nearly 30 others such as Oxford and Cambridge do years. They are widely recognised by many not see them as an academic equal to IB universities and other higher education or A-levels.  Therefore, it is important to providers and are well regarded by industry work out in advance which universities and as providing a good transition to the work which courses are available.  The reality is place.  Many courses have been designed in that if BTECs are a better fit for your child’s conjunction with industry experts so they learning profile then they would probably are wholly relevant and up to date. If an be better suited to a university that offers a in-depth academic approach is not the right similar learning experience.   fit for your child, then consider a school In the UAE, an increasing number of which offers BTECs.  For some children, it schools are running BTECs alongside is a welcome relief to find learning can be other qualifications. The Taaleem Schools applied, relevant and practical. have included BTECs as part of their IBCP

“BTECS ARE GEARED TO PROVIDE A MUCH MORE APPLIED FORM OF STUDYING, ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO LEARN BY DOING AS WELL AS TRADITIONAL TEACHING” 2017

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At Your Service Why not study at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality? M A R I A N N E S A U LW I C K

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ome to the mighty Emirates Airlines and base for World Expo 2020, Dubai has become the centre of the world’s biggest industry; hospitality. The staggering vision and rate of growth is breathtaking. The hospitality industry in Dubai has been built on the traditional Arabic notions of extending genuine welcome, warmth and food to guests. These foundations provided the springboard from which has developed a unique blend of genuine hospitality and five-star service. No matter what your experience is in Dubai; whether it is indoor skiing, brunch on the terrace at the Burj Al Arab, swimming with dolphins at Atlantis, a desert safari, zip-lining across the Dubai fountains or a night at the Dubai Opera, the level of service you will receive is the best in the world.

2017

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SCHOOL LE AV ER / HOSPITA LIT Y

Formula 1, Dubai World Cup, cultural events and product launches. These LEFT experiences give The Emirates Academy the students of Hospitality valuable skills, opportunities to make friends and prepares them for their internship and the world of work after graduation. The Emirates Academy graduates can be found in senior positions, including as general managers, around the world. They are represented in many of the world’s top hotels, airlines, consultancies, cruise ships, restaurants, events and hotel design companies to name a few. They are working in the areas of marketing, sales, finance, strategy, food and beverage, IT and human resources. The industry liaison office provides career counselling prior to graduation and assists graduates with their job search. The Academy is very proud of the fact that 96% of our graduates are in full-time employment within six months of graduating. The beautiful campus has student accommodation consisting of single occupancy, fully-furbished studios, a pool, gym, tennis court and a number of food outlets. Accommodation rates vary depending on the length of stay and meal packages are also available for students. The Academy is just a 10-minute walk away from Jumeirah beach where many outdoor and surfing activities are accessible for the student’s enjoyment and pleasure.   Students can of course, live off campus if they choose. 24-hour security provides a stable environment for students to study and relax. The campus is overseen by a professional team and experienced faculty who ensure that each student is managing the transition from senior school student to independent, polished young professional. Why study hospitality in Dubai? The answer is quite simple. The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management offers a world class hospitality study programme from a stunning campus located in perhaps the most dynamic and safe city in the world. The programme, coupled with the industry connections and graduate outcomes makes the Emirates Academy an obvious choice. ABOVE Students at Emirates Academy of Hospitality

The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management is at the heart of hospitality in Dubai. Located opposite to the iconic Burj Al Arab, the campus was purpose built by the Jumeirah Group and has become a reference for hospitality education in the Middle East. An academic association with Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne provides a distinguished affiliation that allows faculty and student exchange and a robust international dialogue. Emirates Academy offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) in International Hospitality Management which can be completed in three years allowing students to take up graduate positions sooner than with other four year programmes. The programme is taught by international faculty who have been selected for their experience in hospitality and business as well as the highest academic qualifications. Each faculty member is dedicated to the academic and personal growth of the students. Students will undertake an internship as part of their degree and the Academy has relationships with the major fivestar hotel properties in Dubai and internationally, allowing students unique access to an internship experience that will allow them to build on their theoretical knowledge and experience a working

96% of our graduates are in full time employment within six months of graduating

environment under the close supervision of the Academy. The director of industry liaison prepares students for their internships through presentations, where company representatives talk to students about internship placements, and also CV preparation and interview techniques. As well as the internship, the Academy facilitates casual work opportunities for students that are simply not available at other hotel schools. Given the level of hospitality and entertaining that exists in Dubai, Academy students can work with hotels and high-end catering and event companies on events such as private dinners and cocktail parties, royal weddings,

M A R I A N N E S AU LW I C K Director of Industry Liaison and Professional Development Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management 2017

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THE BEST BY EVERY CHILD

KINGS’ SCHOOL NAD AL SHEBA

OUR VIBRANT COMMUNITY IS GROWING Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba is a British heritage school with an international perspective. We are a thriving, vibrant community in which students and families alike feel safe, valued and happy. PLACES AVAILABLE AT KINGS' SCHOOL NAD AL SHEBA FOR SEPTEMBER 2017

SCHOOL TOURS RUN EVERY MONDAY (9:00 AM)

• Visit our school to see us in action • Subsidised transport for students of all age groups • Sibling discount for families with multiple children +971 (4) 237 1841 KINGS SCHOOL DUBAI.indd 1

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registrar@kingsnas.com

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www.kingsnadalsheba.com 31/05/2017 09:10


School’s Out TRUE GRIT P . 88 TOP ECAS P . 91 BARCA SOCCER P . 94

CING MY

2017

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31/05/2017 15:53


TOP SUMMER MUST READ

How do you trigger your child’s inner bookworm? Here are ten wonderful reads that have caught my attention R AC H E L H A M I LT O N 8+

THERE MAY BE A CASTLE

8+

by Piers Torday QUERCUS

As dark as you’d expect from a book that begins with a car crash, There May be a Castle is also full of quirky humour and thoughtprovoking observations when Mouse enters a strange new world after being thrown from the car. On one level, it’s a fantasy adventure, but Piers Torday has also created a poignant study of life and death and the power of storytelling.

My Brother is a Superhero

by David Solomons NOSY CROW

The subtitle, ‘I could have been one too, except I needed a wee’, made me laugh before I’d even opened the cover, and I continued laughing to the very last page. It’s incredibly hard to be keep comedy going for an entire book, but David Solomons makes it look easy. He twists the superhero genre to focus on the ‘sidekick’ rather than the character with the superpowers. Brilliant.

8+

The Secret of Nightingale Wood

5+

BAKE ME A STORY

b y Lucy Strange

by Nadiya Hussain

CHICKEN HOUSE

HODDER

A unique combination of storybook and cookbook, Nadiya Hussain updates 15 fairytales with recipes. Meet Ruby-Red and the Three Bears and then bake Very Berry Muffins. A fun, practical book which brings families together in the kitchen to read, giggle and bake.

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Chosen by Waterstones as a Book of the Month and described as a modern classic, Lucy Strange’s poetic, atmospheric book, set in 1919, tells the story of Henry, who is sent to the country as a ‘rest cure’ for her traumatised mother. Neglected and left with only book characters for friends, she wanders into the woods, where mysterious secrets and ghostly figures abound.

2017

31/05/2017 16:09


SUMMER R E A DS

4+ 4+

2+

We Found a Hat b y Jon Klassen WALKER

This is a simple picture book full of complex ideas, which are powerfully communicated because of – rather than in spite of - its minimalist language and imagery. "We found a hat. We found it together. But there is only one hat. And there are two of us.” As you read this wonderful and witty exploration of the difficulties of sharing, you’ll understand why Jon Klassen wins so many awards.

8+

THE SLEEPER & THE SPINDLE b y Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell BLOOMSBURY

An enchanting book, with wonderful illustrations, in which Neil Gaiman creates a spell-binding tale. The story cleverly weaves together the most darkly magical elements of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and casts a spell on readers of all ages.

9+

SWAN BOY b y Nikki Sheehan ROCK THE BOAT

One of my favourite authors (I’d also recommend ‘Who Framed Klaris Cliff ’), Nikki Sheehan describes Johnny’s attempt to start a new life following the death of his father. Settling into a new school is hard enough, without taking on responsibility for his little brother and fending off the school bully. Fortunately, Johnny is helped by his dance teacher and by a chance meeting with a swan.

8+

TALL STORY

RACHEL HAMILTON’s debut novel, The Case of the Exploding Loo, was runner up in the 2013 Emirates Festival of Literature First Fiction Competition. It was also nominated for the Redbridge Children's Book Awards 2015 and the Leeds Book Awards 2015, and won the Worcestershire Awesomest Book Award 2015 and the Ossett Riveting Read Award 2016. She is also author of the Unicorn in New York series with the first book, Louie Lets Loose, chosen as part of the 2016 Big Read, Summer Reading Programme.

b y Candy Gourlay RHCP DIGITAL

Ÿ 11-year-old Andi thinks she has problems. She is short but obsessed with basketball. Then she meets her long-lost half brother Bernardo from the Phillipines who isn't just tall - at eight foot tall, he's a GIANT. A funny, magical and wonderful book that captures the joys and challenges of two very different cultures.

2017

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LIFE Lessons In a 21st century school, building character is one of the most important things we do MARK S STEED

A

s a child, when my mother wanted me to do something that I didn’t really want to do, she would describe the experience as 'character-building'. For her, the term was a catch-all that would cover anything from visiting an elderly relative, to speaking in public, to conquering a peak in the Lake District - usually in the pouring rain. Looking back, she was right, those formative experiences made an enormous contribution to the person that I am today. The word 'character' derives from the Greek kharassō (χαράσσω), which means “I engrave”. Character is something that is etched into us by the experiences that we have as we go through life. The experiences that we have when we are young are particularly influential for they shape the adult that we become. That is why schools should be in the characterbuilding business. Good schools do so much more than focus on attaining a top set of examination passes, they seek to develop the whole person. Indeed, some of the most important parts 88

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“Every pupil should be taken out of their comfort zone - to do something they would rather not do but be very proud of afterwards” of a good education take place outside the classroom - for these are the parts of the curriculum that provide the most characterbuilding opportunities. It is for this reason that top schools have a commitment to an all-round education which aims to give young people a range of experiences which will both stretch and challenge them. In every school there will always be those for whom the stage, the concert hall, the sports field and the art block or the computer room will be a second home and some schools have an outstanding track record of providing the facilities and expertise that will allow these pupils to develop their talents to the highest possible level. We must also recognise, however, that

for others these arenas provide challenges which take them out of their personal comfort zones: some young people find that performing or speaking in public doesn’t come naturally; others dislike physical challenge in any of its forms. This is genuine character-building territory. Schools such as Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS), invest considerable resources into providing specialist facilities, staffing and time to provide outstanding extra-curricular programmes. They are fortunate enough to be able to provide specialist sports pitches and swimming pools, theatres, music practice rooms, rehearsal space and great art and design facilities. They provide these, not just for the sporting, artistic and musical elite, but also to offer opportunities for all. One of the significant ways in which outstanding schools stand out is the extent to which they provide an extra-curricular programme. At top schools every pupil is expected to be involved in a play or a choir; represent the school in sport and to serve their community. These schools believe that every pupil should have the opportunity to experience teamwork and camaraderie; above all, every pupil should be taken out of their comfort zone – to have

2017

31/05/2017 16:10


SCHOOL’S OUT / OPINION

ABOVE A JESS pupil tries out abseiling LEFT JESS pupils on a trip to Vietnam

to do something that they would rather not do, but something which they will be very proud of afterwards. The International Award Scheme has an enormous part to play in building character. Young people learn more about themselves and about their peers when they are exposed to challenging situations, be that camping out or abseiling for the very first time. The outdoor education aspect

provides opportunities for young people to face fears and to manage risk. Sometimes the lessons are learned the hard way: a badly put up tent or the wrong choice of clothing can mean a few uncomfortable hours, but the individual is wiser the next time. Few meals are more satisfying than those cooked on camp fire with one’s friends after a day navigating across the desert or trekking through the jungle in Vietnam. The International Award also teaches young people to think of others by serving their community. Each year our Gold Award expedition takes our Year 12 pupils to Vietnam where they spend a week working on a house-building project in the Mekong Delta. Memories, friendships, trust and, of course, character are forged here. The importance of developing students who grow into balanced, responsible young people, able to accept new challenges, was a consideration in deciding to offer

the IB Diploma course at JESS, instead of A-Levels. The ‘CAS’ element of the IB programme, which stands for ‘Creativity, Action, Service’ involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies and challenges them to show initiative, demonstrate perseverance and develop skills which they would quite often consider to be outside their comfort zone… all ‘character-building’ stuff. Schools are under increasing pressure to deliver measurable results, but some of the most significant parts of education don’t lend themselves to metrics – building character falls into this category. It is arguably, however, the most important thing that we do.

MARK S STEED Director JESS, Dubai 2017

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THE HOME OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT Cityscape Korea is East Asia’s premier event for real estate investment and development. Featuring a large scale exhibition, the pioneering East Asia Real Estate Summit and interactive networking events, Cityscape Korea brings together key decision makers from local and regional public and private sectors while supporting development, bringing transparency and encouraging collaboration. Cityscape Korea is set to be the central meeting place for real estate developers, private and institutional investors, government leaders and urban planners, architects, consultants and other real estate professionals to network and do business. As a visitor you will have the opportunity to network and do business with regional and international real estate investors and financiers, developers across all asset classes, architects and urban planners, consultants, representatives from investment and economic agencies and cities.

+971 4 336 5161

Managed by

17 - 19 August 2017 HALL D, COEX, SEOUL, KOREA

Register now for FREE entry

info@cityscapekorea.com

www.cityscapekorea.com

Organised by

exhibitions

CSK.indd 1

25/04/2017 14:13


10ECAS TOP

Absolutely Education looks at some favourite after-school fun AMINA AHMED

COOKERY

Top Chef Dubai’s mini chef classes offer children time to learn, explore and create with food. Children prepare two simple yet delicious sweet recipes and one smoothie or milkshake during an active 90-minute cooking session.  www.topchefdubai.com/ cooking-classes.

SCHOOL’S OUT / EC A S

prototypes; learn about electrical circuits and much more.   www.fun-robotics.com

SYNQUATICS

Synquatics is synchronised swimming and a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics. With music, nose clips and big smiles join the first synchronised swimming club across nine different venues across Dubai. www.synquatics.com

DRAMA SCENE

Professional performing arts training which helps children build confidence, communication, concentration and creative skills. Drama Scene offers skill-based acting, musical theatre & public speaking classes. LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) exams are offered to students aged five years plus. www.dramascene.com

FENCING

ART

thejamjar is a community arts space that provides the opportunity for schools to bring children to an actual art studio to create artworks. It also offers summer camps, weekend workshops, and a DIY painting studio for families throughout the year.  www.thejamjardubai.com

BOXING

The Warehouse Gym kids boxing programme helps children develop discipline and confidence through boxing. Under the supervision of UK certified coaches, children learn to master the fundamentals whilst increasing overall fitness levels. www.whgym.com

Fencing, an old traditional and prestigious Olympic sport, is a challenge to both body and mind, requiring a blend of patience, determination, discipline and competitiveness. It develops dexterity, endurance, flexibility, grace and overall fitness. www.mkfencingacademy.com

PARKOUR

Running, jumping, climbing, playing - Parkour is an art of movement, a discipline that enables children to travel freely through and over any terrain they may encounter. It focuses on developing the fundamental attributes required for

“Why not join Synquatics, Dubai’s first synchronised swimming club? ” movement, including balance and strength. Beyond a sport, parkour is a complete way of training the mind and body.  www.parkour.ae

ROBOTICS

Fun Robotics provides fun workshops for children to learn what skills are required to keep up with the technology in the 21st century. Children will build models,

HULA HOOPING

Hopping classes are now available. The six week course teaches all of the basic skills plus cool little moves and tricks that’ll motivate and inspire. Children are taught by instructors as they try out this new skill. Beginners welcome. www.flowground.com

SKIING & SNOWBOARDING

The world’s largest indoor snow park where children can have hours of fun whilst also improving skills in skiing and snowboarding. Weekly ski lessons, an indoor zip-line, a free penguin show and birthday packages. Check out more activities at www.theplaymania.com/ skidubai 2017

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Schools out for

SUMMER The top 10 benefits of going to summer camp FIONA MCKENZIE

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It’s an Adventure

Builds Resilience

The combination of activities that a summer camp can offer will take you out of your comfort zone by challenging you to try new things. Students come back from camps saying they have had the time of their lives and can’t wait to go back again next year.

With so much on offer it is possible to try out lots of new things: some of them you will excel in and others you will struggle with. As you practise and get better with the support of the expert team, you grow in confidence and realise you can do anything you put your mind to.

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Meet new friends

Discover a new skill

Being surrounded by lots of people your own age and sharing similar interests encourages instant bonds to form. Many students comment on the deep friendships they make. There is nothing like learning to sail with a stranger or doing a high ropes course to form an unbreakable connection.

There are summer camps to cater for all hobbies and interests and it’s also an opportunity to develop new ones. As the camp manager for Champittet Summer Leadership Course in Switzerland says: “Our camp is unique since students develop a variety of skills: communication, time management, goal setting, etiquette, presentation techniques whilst learning from industry experts and doing great adventures.” Sometimes you will acquire a new skill from scratch, like a language, but you may also discover a hidden talent that you didn’t know existed.

ALL PICTURES Students at Champittet summer leadership camp www.challengecamp.ch

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Independence For some students, it can be the first experience of being away from home. Having dreamt of living in a Hogwarts environment free of ‘interfering adults’, they suddenly have a chance to make their own decisions and organise their own time – a great learning experience and it also makes them much more appreciative of their parents when they get home.

“SOMETIMES YOU WILL ACQUIRE A NEW SKILL FROM SCRATCH, LIKE A LANGUAGE, BUT YOU MAY ALSO DISCOVER A HIDDEN TALENT THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED” 92

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SCHOOL’S OUT / SUMMER C A MPS

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Safe environment Highly experienced staff run the camps so parents can be rest assured that their children will be well looked after. Professional experts will be on hand to supervise the new skills and challenges and there is often a team of young mentors who are around to encourage everyone to take part and be a friendly face.

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Improve a language This is often one of the key reasons parents enroll the children in a camp so that they can acquire or perfect another language. Courses vary in the amount of hours they offer but however long is spent in the classroom there is always more time spent on other activities so you are learning the language in an immersive environment.

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Multinational environment Students come from all over the world to be part of summer camps. This means you get to find out all about other cultures and languages when you work together to achieve a common goal, whether that is cracking a code, learning to be a spy master or taking a Law course in an Oxford College.

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Cultural experience

Confidence builder

Not only do you have an opportunity to spend some time living in another country with a different culture, right down to the language and the food, but you also have an opportunity to visit some of the famous sights and take advantage of the galleries, museums, theatres and other excitements that are unique to that location.

When your child returns from a successful summer camp, they will feel they can conquer the world. They have new skills, tackled challenging tasks, made new friends and learnt some independent living skills. This newly built confidence will carry them into the new school year, confident in their ability to achieve. 2017

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Do it the ‘BARCA WAY’ Soccer superstars FC Barcelona is opening its third training academy at Dubai British School-Jumeirah Park. Absolutely Education takes to the pitch CLAIRE GLASBY

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s one of the world’s most celebrated football clubs, FC Barcelona is renowned as much for its legendary philosophy as its superstar players and silverware in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet. Sportsmanship, respect, effort, ambition, teamwork and modesty lie at the heart of the club’s success, and these values have been carried through to FCBEscola, the FC Barcelona’s flagship soccer school. With more than 30 FCBEscola academies across the world training young soccer players ‘the Barca way’, the latest to open is at Dubai British School-Jumeirah Park (DBS-JP) in the UAE. The third FCBEscola to launch in the country, registration at DBS-JP is now open to all football-loving girls and boys aged four to 18 from across Dubai. Training sessions at the new FCBEscola will make the most of DBS-JP’s world-class facilities, which include a multipurpose indoor sports hall and dedicated football pitches. “We are very proud to welcome the FCBEscola programme to Dubai British School-Jumeirah Park,” says Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications at Taaleem. “We believe in the importance of offering students an holistic education, and we share many of the same values 94

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as FC Barcelona. Our aim is to prepare the next generation for their place in an ever-evolving global society, where social skills, teamwork and developing each child’s individual potential are just as crucial as academic and sporting achievements. We were incredibly impressed by the way that FCBEscola’s coaches encourage young players to take responsibility in their own training and progression and emphasise each player's role as part of a team.” Unlike many club-affiliated soccer schools, FCBEscola is closely managed by FC Barcelona and is not just another franchise or revenue generator. “FC Barcelona is one of the very few clubs which operates this model,” explains Seif Tawfik, CEO of StryxGulf Sports Marketing, whose company has been working with FCBEscola since it launched in the MENA region in Cairo in 2006, followed by Dubai in 2008. “The majority of clubs’ soccer schools programmes are managed by their marketing department as an activity to promote the brand and increase their fan base. FC Barcelona wanted to support young players themselves by offering much more than just training. It hopes to instill the values and culture of the club into players from a young age.” As well as holding a diploma in Higher Physical Education and at least three years’ of regional coaching experience, all coaches on the programme are certified by

“We are now open to all footballloving girls and boys aged four to 18 across Dubai”

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SCHOOL’S OUT / SOCCER

ABOVE The team at FCBEscola

FC Barcelona, having undertaken intensive training sessions in order to understand Barcelona’s philosophy, methods and values. The club liaises directly with the StryxGulf team on an almost daily basis, while the technical director overseeing the programme is an FC Barcelona employee assigned to the programme who lives in Dubai full time. “StryxGulf has been working with FC Barcelona in Dubai for nearly a decade, the programme is very effective and the feedback from parents has been excellent,” says Tawfik, himself an ex-professional player. “Not every young football player is destined to become a professional, but alongside football techniques, our coaches focus on physical, interpersonal and social skills and all the values they’ll need in their life and career.” Kids signing up to the FCBEscola programme at DBS-JP receive an official Nike FC Barcelona kit and take part in three 1 hour 15 minute training sessions each week. There are also additional matches and local tournaments on some weekends where players can showcase their talents and test their skills against teams from across the UAE. “Training is quite intensive compared to other Dubai clubs and academies,” explains Tawfik. “We

LEFT Young soccer player

don’t spoil our players, but educate and encourage them. We emphasise to parents that they often need to step back, so as not to put too much pressure on their children to perform, and to enable them to reach their full potential.” Another benefit of being affiliated with the world’s best club is ample opportunities for young players to experience Barca for themselves. StryxGulf organises regular trips to Spain, where kids on the

programme can train in FC Barcelona’s facilities and enjoy the full Barca experience for a week. “Parents tell us how much their kids have changed after the trip, how they have matured, are more responsible and dedicated to the game,” adds Tawfik. With players trained according to both their age and ability, every year during the Spring break the top players in each age group are invited to visit Camp Nou to compete against other FCBEscola teams in the prestigious FCB International Tournament. The lucky players who are selected will also have the chance to meet their sporting heroes from the FCB squad in real life. At this year’s event, centre-back Gerard Piqué joined the closing ceremony, and last year mid-fielder Andrés Iniesta took part in the fun. For Dubai’s young football enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, the latest FCBEscola programme at DBS-JP is a unique opportunity to get first-hand experience of FC Barcelona’s world-class football curriculum in a safe, positive and fun learning environment. www.fcbescoladubai.com www.dubaibritishschooljp.ae 2017

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Snow Limits Want to cool the children down this summer? Head to Dubai’s famous ski park S O P H I E OA K E S

W ho would ever guess that your child can become an expert skier here in the desert? With temperatures outside averaging the mid-30s how on earth can this be possible? Look no further than the Mall of the Emirates. Along with numerous fashion houses it is also home to one of the best indoor ski slopes in the world. While parents go shopping, children can go skiing. Complete with chairlifts, zip rides and the obligatory button lift, your child can get the full skiing experience here without paying, often extortionate, Alpine prices. Whether you are a novice or advanced skier, the slopes cater for everyone. If you have already booked your next ski trip then it is an excellent idea to send your wouldbe skiers for a taste of the snow before they get to the real mountains. There are five different levels of slopes with varying degrees of steepness giving skiers different levels of achievement as they progress. Even if they have been before, it is a good

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way to brush up on their snow plough so as not to waste valuable slope time when you get to the real deal. Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects is how they create the real snow conditions within the dome. They make the snow using a similar procedure to that made at outdoor ski resorts and there are posters on the walls explaining how this is done. The regulatory ski outfit is provided within the entry cost but you must take your own ski gloves. All children under 13 must wear a helmet. Once you are suited and booted, you walk through a door and into a snowy world. The feeling must be similar to

Whether you’re novice or advanced, the slopes cater for everyone that which Lucy felt when walking through the cupboard door and into Narnia. Ski Dubai regularly runs school skiing competitions where they encourage schools to enter their best skiers. They have a sophisticated timing system and enter the children into age appropriate categories. Ask Ski Dubai whether your school is involved and if not whether they might be able to help your school to get involved. Ski Dubai produces extremely

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SCHOOL’S OUT / SK IING

ABOVE Learning to ski LEFT Enjoying the chair lift at Ski Dubai

competitive ski racers who are honing their technique and their race starts for up to eight hours a week. These youngsters are being further encouraged by the increasing number of ski-training companies who pass through Dubai on their way to Australia in the summer or Europe in the winter. These are commercial companies that help talented skiers train for major race competitions with a view to them racing for their national team. As with all sports though, beware of the competitive parent. This is not a team sport and can often witness extreme parental behavior. As Sherif Hashem, Senior Marketing Manager at Ski Dubai, says, “The most important thing for any new skier to do is to be safe, enjoy the experience, and, most importantly, have fun! If you are enjoying yourself on the slopes this will boost your

confidence, which is a key factor when learning how to ski. Learning at your own pace and through certified, professional instructors will help you perfect the basics. These techniques all take practice, but once you have them mastered, there will be no stopping you.” Snow boarding is also available for those who want to try something a little different and perhaps have a break from two skis. Despite the number of visitors per year (about 1 million), the slopes never seem too overcrowded. This could be the perfect opportunity to hone a skill without getting in the way and enduring the wrath of the traditional skier. Ski Dubai also offers summer camps for those who are here over the summer holidays. It can be the perfect way to keep your children occupied, get lots of exercise whilst escaping the extreme heat outside. The instructors are highly qualified and internationally certified by numerous global bodies, providing a safe environment to learn a difficult sport. A general pass to Ski Dubai gives you two hours on the slopes and includes all your equipment. The 'mountain' is 85 metres high and 80 metres wide. You can take either the four-seater chairlift to the top or use the button lift. You can get off half way up the slope for a short, leisurely ski, or head all the way to the peak for the more challenging run. To get the full experience, enjoy a hot chocolate with marshmallows or crepes on the patio of the Avalanche Cafe If skiing isn't quite your thing, you can still enter sub-zero temperatures and enjoy the fun of the Snow Park. There is also a resident colony of 29 King and Gentoo penguins and it is possible to meet them up close as well as learn about ongoing conservation efforts to help them in the wild. Children can enjoy sled and toboggan runs, an icy body slide, climbing towers, giant snowballs and an ice cave. Children over eight can ride the Snow Bullet, a 150 metre zip wire above the slopes but be sure to book ahead. For most, just the unique sensation of playing in real snow is enough. Where else in the world can you leave your deckchair on the beach and head to the slopes to ski, snowboard and meet a penguin all under one roof? 2017

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60

L AST WOR D

seconds with

JASPER HOPE

The Chief Executive of Dubai Opera on ex-pat life and his plans to get schools more involved with one of the Emirate’s most iconic venues

Tell us about the day you heard about the job at Dubai Opera? A The phone rang. It was a head-hunter who I had spoken to seven years earlier about my job at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  She told me about the opportunity in Dubai.

Do you miss anything about England? A No. We enjoy going back to Europe but being away only makes the things back home even sweeter.  We are having a great time here and it’s become our home now.

Q

What made you move from a job working in a venue with more than 100 years of cultural history behind it to a totally new project? A There were two things. When I met with Emaar, I realised they were completely serious about what they were doing.  I knew they would complete this project to the highest standard.  They have a good track record and I believed in their vision.  Secondly, I realised there really wasn’t anything like this in the UAE - no venue which was suited for good quality productions.  The building is key for the production and the experience is crucial. It has to give its audience a wonderful night out.  In addition to all the other attractions and great restaurants in Dubai, visitors and residents can now go and have the very best cultural experience.

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Q

How did your family feel when you told them about the job? A We were enjoying a very happy life in Parsons Green, London. Our children were settled at the The Roche School and Thomas’s Fulham. I had never been to Dubai either for a holiday or for business but we were always open to living and working overseas.  My wife is British but Q

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Q What is your perfect weekend in Dubai? A I love playing golf. We enjoy going to Kite Beach and visiting the Park House Cafe or Salt.  We also love spending time at home in the garden, at the pool, tennis courts or playgrounds.  The children have made lots of friends in the community.  It’s a nice lifestyle.

How will the Dubai Opera work with schools and reach out to children? A On a commercial front, we will have a regular programme of family slots such as Mary Poppins. We can’t talk much about what’s coming in the future as it would spoil the surprise.  On a non-commercial front, we are working with the British Council on 12 to 14 projects involving schools.  We have sent musicians into schools to do workshops and have invited children into the Opera for dress rehearsals.  We will continue with these projects and are also in discussions with some school providers about individual projects which could culminate in the Opera, such as school productions. Q

with Swedish parents and we both speak several languages. My wife recognised the opportunity of what it would mean to me professionally and to do something so significant here.  Emaar insisted we both came and visited.  We looked at schools and different areas to live in and talked to friends. I then told Emaar I would be very interested in the job. ABOVE The opulent interior of the Dubai Opera

Q How has your family settled into life in Dubai? A A Our children are now four and eight and are at Kings’ School Al Barsha. They are very happy. We live in Arabian Ranches and really enjoy it there. Q Do you have music playing all the time at home? No.  I never even had a Walkman when I was little.  I don’t like recorded music, but I love live music, having worked for 25 years in live entertainment.  I listen to podcasts in the car on the way to work.

JASPER HOPE Chief Executive Dubai Opera

Q Did you enjoy your own school days? A Yes. I went to Highgate School in North London from the age of eight to 18 and was very happy. Q What advice would you give your school age self? A Learn to play the piano for the pleasure it can give you later on.

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31/05/2017 16:46


ALPHA SCHOOL.indd 1

22/05/2017 14:27


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Absolutely Education Emirates Issue 2 2017