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by Tabitha BardaNovember 3, 2021

The Schools Compared Weekly Briefing on the Hottest News in Education.

Every Thursday we bring you the latest stories in education in the UAE and around the world in the last 7 days. Here’s what’s been happening this week…

This Week in Education. UAE Education News. First. Every Thursday. Only from

Indian schools in Dubai declare Diwali holiday

Diwali holiday declared in some UAE schools

Several Indian curriculum schools in the UAE have declared a one or two-day holiday to commemorate Diwali, the traditional Indian festivals of lights. Students from leading schools such as the Indian High School, Amity High School and several Indian curriculum schools said they are taking a holiday on November 3 and 4, the two days of Diwali. This will mean they will be able to enjoy an extended four-day leave as the weekend follows the two-day closure. Find out more.

UAE’s first Festival of Schools kicks off this weekend

Join the Festival of Schools, kicking off this Friday 5 November

This Friday 5 November, from 9am to 12pm sees the launch of the first Festival of Schools event, being held at Safa British School in the heart of Dubai. There’s no decision more important than choosing where your child is educated, but regardless of how an establishment looks on paper, every parent knows that the clinching factor of their choice of school comes down to simply the “feel” you get when experiencing it in person. Brought to you by the parenting and education experts behind and Which School Advisor, the Festival Of Schools is designed to give families a big day out of fun and excitement, while also showcasing the facilities and communities on offer at each school venue. Find out more, or sign up for this Friday’s event.



English exam boards may be asked to avoid ‘complex language’

Some pupils unfairly disadvantaged by ‘irrelevant features’

Exam boards could be asked to avoid using “complex language” including colloquialisms, sarcasm and idioms in assessments to make them more accessible for pupils.

Ofqual, the exams regulator in England, has published draft guidance aimed at tackling the ways in which some pupils are “unfairly disadvantaged by irrelevant features” in exams, making it harder to determine their knowledge, skills and understanding.

This includes pupils who are deaf, blind, autistic and dyslexic, as well as those who have English as an additional language, and those who are unfamiliar with certain humour and customs, as well as housing, family arrangements and certain cultural, social or travel experiences.

The guidance, on which Ofqual is seeking views until 24 January, could come into force in spring 2022 if approved. Find out more.

The UAE approves use of the Pfizer vaccine in children age 5 – 11

The move will enable many more school-age children to be vaccinated against COVID-19

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) has approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. Until now the Pfizer vaccine was only approved for use on children aged 12 years and older, leaving many school-age children unable to get the Pfizer shot.

Although the Sinopharm vaccine has been approved for use on children aged 3 and above in the UAE since August 2021, many parents have welcomed the move to approve the Pfizer vaccine because of the recent evidence released about its efficacy and safety. Find out more.

UAE parents want education reform

Books and Movies - A Study Guide for Parents. We look at how films can be used to bring books to life and inspire a child's love of reading. Top Movies for School revealed.

Many parents want to see a education system that places less of an emphasis on testing

Many private schools in Dubai are far too traditional and need to better prepare pupils for the future, according to a cross-section of UAE parents interviewed by The National.

They want schools to shift away from the cookie-cutter approach that involves worksheets, tests and regular memorisation of information for exams.

Instead, some said they want children to be given more space for hands-on learning and creativity – and be taught skills that are relevant to a rapidly changing job market. Read The National’s full story.

More than 200 UAE schools sign up to make sports inclusive

Awards for the best schools in Dubai, Abu Dhani and the UAE for sport

More than 200 private and public schools in the UAE have signed up for a Special Olympics programme that aims to make sports in schools inclusive.

Under the initiative, called The Unified Champion Schools programme, children with and without intellectual disabilities play sports, are part of athletics clubs, engage, train and learn together.

The UCS programme was introduced by Special Olympics UAE in 2019 just before the Covid-19 pandemic and has now been implemented nationwide.

Launched 11 years ago in the United States, the UAE is the first country to implement the UCS programme nationwide in all schools. Read more. 

Are UAE school children happy? KHDA investigates

Are children happy in Dubai schools? Children in Dubai say Yes!

Dubai’s private school students will share insights about their wellbeing and happiness this month in the fifth annual edition of the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census.

Kicking off this week, more than 100,000 students in grades 6 to 12 and over 20,000 school staff will participate in the survey, run by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

As the world’s largest cross-cultural study of student wellbeing, the Census touches on topics related to relationships at school and at home, student engagement with teaching and learning, and their feelings about the future. Find out more.

Forest schools flourish as youngsters log off and learn from nature

Demand for forest schools has increased since March 2020 in the UK

After months of home schooling, more and more children are ditching their tech and heading outdoors.

Of more than 200 forest schools surveyed by the Forest School Association (FSA), about two-thirds said demand for their services had increased since March 2020. Among the reasons cited were increased awareness of the benefits of the outdoors, especially in relation to stress and anxiety, Covid safety, and dissatisfaction with the school syllabus after months of pandemic homeschooling. Find out more.

Gun violence soars as US schools hit with bad behaviour epidemic


Teachers in the US are seeing a rise in violence on school grounds, which some link to an increase in mental health problems following the pandemic

Gun violence has soared in US schools with students returning to the classroom from home study, amid a wider epidemic of misbehaviour in the aftermath of the pandemic.

There were twice as many school shootings in the first two months of the new term than in the last full term taught in person in 2019, before Covid-19 broke out and home study was introduced. Gun-related incidents at school over were up by three times overall.

Teachers and education administrators say they are seeing a rise in disturbances on school grounds from low-level disruption to fighting. Experts say this is a reflection of an increase in mental health problems in wider society and a rise in violence, with a 29 per cent leap in the murder rate in 2020. Find out more.

UAE sends financial support to build school in Gaza

The UAE is providing aid to help build a school in the Gaza Strip

The UAE has provided $600,000 in financial support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to build the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan School in the Gaza Strip.

The UAE Embassy in Amman handed in the financial support, which is provided by the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation to execute the project, to Tamara Alrifai, Acting Director of the UNRWA Department of External Relations and Director of Strategic Communications/Spokesperson. Read more.

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About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Friday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter. You can often find Tabitha on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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