Primary education in UK v Dubai

(9 Posts)
Dxbdad Fri 26-Jan-18 14:21:13

Dear All,

I am in a bit of a conflict with the Mrs and here is why:

We are currently living in Dubai and have two children aged 3 and 4 (my wife took a one year break from Dubai to do a PGCE Primary course in Manchester and is returning in Aug 2018) She feels that primary education in Dubai may not be good enough and hence we should move to the UK right away.

Form a practical perspective living in Dubai allows us to save around GBP 60-100k per year and I suggest staying here for another 5 years and then returning to the UK (when the kids will 9 year and 8 years old) and could be prepared to sit 11+ entrance exams for top schools in London.

All our savings could allows us to live a mortgage free life and that means being financially able to afford school fees of up to 20K per child per year.

I think that my suggested plan is better than what the wifey is suggesting since moving to the UK now would mean that we would save literally one thirds of what we save in Dubai and this would mean that we won't be able to afford the private schools in London such as St Pauls, City etc

What is your take?

Thank you for advice.

OP’s posts: |
hhks Fri 26-Jan-18 14:32:51

i think, save first.

LIZS Fri 26-Jan-18 14:33:59

Would you have to pay school fees in Dubai out of your tax saving and have you got places lined up as apparently they can be hard to come by in the more sought after schools . Is you dw planning to find a job post pgce? Presumably she is liable to UK tax at the moment.

Underparmummy Fri 26-Jan-18 14:44:17

'the Mrs'?



Are you sure she wants to move back for the schools or is it a bit of a smokescreen? Does she like life there?

Dxbdad Mon 29-Jan-18 10:01:41

@LIZZYes, we would have to pay the school fees, but that's not a major consideration financially. We also have places at an outstanding school for both of them. Yes, she is planning to get a job once DS starts FS2 next year. She will be declaring herself as a non-resident and we also have a tax specialist assisting us.

I think it's bit of both - as her family is based in Manc but we couldn't live there anyway since my job would would have been in London. Plus she is not a massive fan of the life style in Dubai although she hasn't really experienced much of it.

My main concern here is to establish whether the savings over the next 5 years outweigh the perceived compromise in terms of the quality of education. In my opinion our children could still adapt to the life in UK 5 years later and have the opportunity to benefit from outstanding education (if they are good eneough to get a place at any of the top schools)

OP’s posts: |
Mamabear12 Mon 29-Jan-18 10:39:17

Schools in Dubai are very expensive and to be honest, I am not sure the standard is the same. That would be my main concern. I lived and worked in Dubai and the standards at work were definitely not the same as in the UK and US. Would your kids be able to get in the desired schools later on when you move to the UK? That is a question you should consider. Also, schools in London seem to be a year ahead of everyone else (start reading and learning etc a year ahead). I am sure this all balances out in the end, but not sure if it would in time for your kids to sit the 11+ and get in to top schools in London. However, your plan to save loads of money does sound very appealing. But did you factor in the costs of schools in Dubai? I have friends that still live there and the best schools there are very expensive and I would not send my kids to anything other then private in Dubai if you are hoping to get them into private here.

Seriously32111 Mon 29-Jan-18 10:55:00

We have moved here from Dubai, and honestly, don't thinks schooling is so different at the two places. I would say that English here in the early years is perhaps a notch above, but that's primarily because it is the second language for most of the children in Dubai. Schools there are more multi-cultural and there's a lot that can be gained from the experience of an expat life.

Having said that, I do believe schooling- and more importantly where you choose to stay- is a family decision that depends on so many factors, so hopefully you and your partner will be able to find an amicable common ground


Dxbdad Mon 29-Jan-18 13:43:15

@mamabear12 - Kids are going to DESS (Dubai english speaking school) which has been rated as outstanding and is the oldest British school in Dubai with excellent reputation. It is not cheap, but this has been factored into the equation already.
In terms of getting into London schools - we aim to move in 5 years so that would allow us two years in London before they sit the 11+ exams (allowing us to have extra support in the UK such as private tutor to get them prepared for the entrance exams)

@seriously32111 - The fact that DW would soon qualify to be a teacher, I am hoping that she would be able to bridge any gaps in terms of schooling standard in DXB compafed to the UK. Although I feel quite satisfied with the school we have chosen but my DW is not 100% convinced. I hope the short term slight compromise (even if there is one) would benefit all of us in the long run as living a debt free life would make a massive difference and give us the financial freedom to afford private schooling in London. (Although I struggle to assign any real value to private education but apparently it is the best experience in terms of education and we had agreed to provide that for our kids)

OP’s posts: |
cantkeepawayforever Tue 30-Jan-18 17:52:57

Completely irrelevant aside... I can vouch for DESS's age, as I was one of its pupils back in the mid 1970s, and it was reasonably well-established as a 3 form entry primary even then!

There was no secondary schooling in English back then in Dubai, so everyone was prepared to take 11+ entry for boarding schools...

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