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Primary Schools in Dubai - IB,US?

(26 Posts)
RosaHibiscus Sat 14-May-16 22:15:59

Dh was offered a job in Dubai and we might be moving over the summer.
We live in Scotland and I am very confused about DS1 (6 years old) school. Because the English and the Scottish systems are different, DS1 is about to complete P1 which is more or less equivalent to reception year, but because of his age he might go to Year2if we choose a UK curriculum school. therefore, I am tempted to choose an IB or US school. Does anyone have any advice/experience on this? I am totally confused

InTheSandPit Tue 17-May-16 09:18:38

I'm in the ME. I'd say a significant number of kids are educated out of year due to differing education systems and starting ages round the world. For example, I know at least 2 of my son's class of 20 should be in the year above. And this is in the British School. So if you want a UK education, it is worth talking to them about it.

From schools here (over the boarder) I'd say don't worry too much about the US/UK/IB status but do look at who has spaces and the quality of education at that school. All international schools are not made equal. If school places in Dubai are anything like here, it may be a real scramble to get a place. Early years are packed. A British passport may get you a preferential place on waiting lists at British schools.
We moved school as soon as a British place became available, as we were less than impressed with the school place we initially secured.

PocketRocket1 Mon 23-May-16 06:11:49

Many kids esp boys who are young in their year group are kept back/repeat a year. Or kids who come from a different education system -particularly Oz - they tend to be quite behind esp for 'early years' year groups. Very common here. UK curriculum schools are definitely better then IB or US ones.

Tram10 Mon 23-May-16 06:34:12

We moved from a British system school (international) to an International US school / with an IB programme choice for senior years.

You will find that in the early years the US system focuses less on reading/writing/academics, than the British system. Not a bad thing in my view at all, by about Year 3 or 4, they are pretty much similar levels. Math covers US currency and they will also cover US history and geography, which is a big downside in my opinion.

If you are going back to the UK , it is probably easier to keep them in a system in which they will fit back in. If you are going to be expats moving around the globe, the IB is likely to be a good choice.

If you want him to start in a lower or higher year, , best to do it now, it is much harder to delay or advance a year if he is already in a school, there is a lot of red tape involved with the government department if you want to do it at a later date.

Not everyone agrees that UK curriculum schools are definitely better than IB or US ones.

There are some very good schools in Dubai, there are also some really bad ones, so do your research before choosing the schools to apply to.

NoPieInPumpkin Wed 25-May-16 02:34:18

Speak to the schools and see what they say. Your child will be assessed and the schools are very used to working with children that have come from all sorts of countries - overseas posts as well as home countries. I've got one child in primary and one in secondary in Dubai & we are sticking to the English curriculum. So many of our friends children are struggling with the volume of work required for IB (not necessarily the content) that it put us off looking at schools doing purely IB. I like the IB for its broadness though.

RosaHibiscus Sat 28-May-16 14:36:58

Thanks everyone.
I think I am getting more used to the idea of being flexible and choose the school in relation to how it is run, spaces, outdoor spaces, staff and proximity to home than the curriculum (either IB or UK). I think DS1 will always need to adjust independently of the curriculum and will need to catch up a bit.
If I may ask what is a normal time/distance from home to school? I am so spoiled with my 7 minute walk here in Edinburgh that I do not know if 20 minutes by car is crazy or doable.

YellowOlives Mon 30-May-16 07:45:48

I think a 20 min car drive is fine for a Dubai school run. Very few people can walk to school.
We've just looked round a new primary school that's opening in August. Oaktree Primary. Might be worth looking at. They have places. We specifically didn't want IB so it's a good option for us.

YellowOlives Mon 30-May-16 07:47:55

Also, meant to add. My daughter moved from Canadian system to British so was in same situation as your son. There was actually less gap than I thought and she soon caught up. We did however love the Canadian system, so also worth bearing in mind. There are a couple of Canadian schools also in Dubai.

RosaHibiscus Mon 30-May-16 10:16:10

Thanks for the feedback yellow olives that is reassuring. I am actually considering OakTree smile or Horizon. I wanted Safa school but they do not have places. Have you visited Oaktree?

Laptopwieldingharpy Mon 30-May-16 12:10:42

True, uk schools tend to have more consistenly run early litteracy and numeracy programs in very early years but it does even out around grade 3-4.
The American schools we know do seriously pick up pace in middle school and in high school the expectations are high with strong emphasis on advanced placement courses in high school. Of course, social studies/history/geography can be a problem at is US centered in primary. From grade 6 its back to a common core of ancient civilisations/greece, rome, etc......
Some IB schools are amazing, a big portion though are flaky in middle school due to the nature of the MYP. Be careful there. Unless you stay the course, Possibly wide gaps.

Ifiwasabadger Mon 30-May-16 12:14:50

I live in Dubai. Lots of friends have school runs of 45 minutes. The average is 30 mins, by car. Often on six lane highways..Bear in mind that primary schools finish at 1230...a mid day school run is the bane of our lives. You cannot under estimate the dire traffic and the benefit of having a school close to home or work.

We picked a school 7 minutes in car from home of this very reason. It's a very good school. We did have DD registered for one around 30 minutes away in car. But the traffic has been diabolical recently and we decided that up to 45 minutes each way was too much for all of us.

Did I mention that traffic is dire in Dubai?!

Ifiwasabadger Mon 30-May-16 12:16:08

Also bear in mind that if you were lucky enough to live walking distance from a school (this is very very rare) it is far far too hot for the majority of the school year to even attempt to walk..46 degrees today....

RosaHibiscus Mon 30-May-16 12:21:02

Thanks. My first experience of Dubai was traffic. Long taxi run from the airport to the hotel smile this was 2013… but I guess it didn't get any better.
I think I will go with the UK curriculum as it's a bit closer to the Scottish one. Surely DS will need to catch up, but hopefully I will be able to support him at school.
DH s office will be a bit far, so we have decided to find a place and school around downtown. From what I could see there aren't many schools nearby and it will always be a 15/20 minute drive.
Can I ask for any opinions in downtown Dubai?

Ifiwasabadger Mon 30-May-16 12:34:00

Downtown has no schools inside it (it's a very very small area) I lived there for four years and loved it. The nearest primary is gems Wellington, probably ten minutes. It's a good school.

Ifiwasabadger Mon 30-May-16 12:34:58

Where exactly is your DH's office? Could then give more helpful targeted advice on living areas and schools....sorry if I have missed this!

RosaHibiscus Mon 30-May-16 13:13:35

It is in sharjah near the airport - al saif.
Our options for schools at the moment are OakTree (new), Horizon and kings (the new one - Nad Al .. Something).

Ifiwasabadger Mon 30-May-16 14:11:44

Oh REALLY cannot drive from Sharjah to Dubai, twice in one day! It's over an hour each way!!!!! Can be two plus hours getting back from Dubai.

Is the plan that you live in DXB and he commutes?

RosaHibiscus Mon 30-May-16 14:26:00

He will commute. That was the advice from the office. That's why we need to stay a bit more north. He was told it is about 40 minutes as it is against the traffic and it's outside sharjah's centre

LadybirdsAreFab Mon 30-May-16 14:31:53

Have you looked at Sharjah English Speaking School? My friend has her children there and they all love it. My DD is at Gems Royal Dubai near Mirdif.

Have you considered Mirdif to live in? An easy commute to Sharjah and lots of schools and stuff to do. We have been here 14 years so have seen it grow.

RosaHibiscus Mon 30-May-16 15:05:41

ladybird yes, we have also looked at Mirdif, but I am just a bit apprehensive on whether I might find it too isolated? What do you think?

Ifiwasabadger Mon 30-May-16 17:10:14

Dubai to Sharjah in 40 minutes is wildly optimistic, even from mirdiff!

Mirdiff is a nice community but my friends who live there don't socialise much outside of the area. The traffic can be a killer too....DH had a meeting there one evening...getting in and out was a nightmare......he has a motorbike so could avoid a lot of the traffic but the rest was gridlocked....

RosaHibiscus Mon 30-May-16 18:16:38

Thanks for the advice! So different to have real feedback rather than googleling and look at maps!

Ifiwasabadger Mon 30-May-16 18:33:54

Is your DH's company paying your rent? Did they give you a budget? TBH I would live somewhere in the heart of the city like Jumeirah or downtown. His commute is going to be a bitch (sorry) wherever you live. At least if you are in the thick of it, you can be connected and have a great life...not out in the sticks. If you are not planning on working it will very likely send you slowly mad.

Plastictree Mon 30-May-16 18:49:19

I live in ranches and worked in Sharjah, you're going against the traffic and it's a clear run. Now the other way is impossible. I would not advise Mirdiff, traffic terrible during rush hour no matter where you work. My child goes to DESS, leave house at 6.45, child at school for 7.15 or 7.20, sitting at my desk for 7.35ish.

RosaHibiscus Mon 30-May-16 21:23:05

We have an allowance for accommodation and school fees. Downtown is not cheap... But. Although this is a very personal preference, I think I would prefer to live more central and have a smaller flat, than living further away and have a villa. We currently live in a flat in the city centre, so it won't be a big change. The prices downtown don't seem to vary much for a 2 bedroom.
If I may ask one more thing (sorry!) How do you do in relation to cars. Can you buy them and pay a monthly loan? I am not the most confident driver. Will I need a couple of extra classes to get used to drive on the other side? It's funny because I learned the European way, but I have been driving in the UK for over 10 years...

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