Dubia: Finding a school
Finding a school place for your child is usually the biggest headache, especially if you arrive part way through the year. That said, in an expat society people move in and out all the time so you never know when a place will become available. Waiting lists do not necessarily reflect the true picture as parents are forced to put their children’s name down at several schools in the hope of getting a place, or leave the country and don’t cancel their application. It can be an expensive process as each application attracts an administration fee of around Dhs 500.
The competition for places doesn’t stop with the application form. If your application is success, your children will often be asked to attend an assessment even for nursery places.
Expat children are required to go to private schools. School fees vary widely from around Dhs 35,000 to 65,000 a year. Schools generally start quite early (before 8am) and finish around 2pm.
It is often a chicken and egg situation whether to select the house or school first, especially when you don’t know the area, and don’t know when a school place will become available. To make a short list try getting some recommendations from the Expat Woman online forum, although your choice maybe limited depending on whether you prefer the British or American curriculum, or the International Baccalaureate Programme. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) website regulates the standard of education, and inspection results are available online.
Private schooling in Dubai is generally of a very high standard and communities tend to grow around these supportive environments.
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