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by Tabitha BardaNovember 26, 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

Gulf student enrolment into top UK public schools on the rise

Traffic and pedestrians pass buildings of the independent Harrow School at Harrow-On-The-Hill in West London.

Middle Eastern students are increasingly picking the UK as their schooling destination of choice, reports Arabian Business.

Currently 1,527 children of Middle Eastern nationality attend UK independent schools, along with 3,603 expat children hailing from the region, according to the latest data from the Independent Schools Council.

Middle East-based parents are increasingly keen to see their children attend top-tier universities such as Oxford, Cambridge or Harvard and are choosing British boarding schools for elite preparatory education, said Dr Guy Schady-Beckett, head of research at Next Step Education and director of the Independent Schools Show.

UAE domiciled students filed 116 applications to Oxford University in 2020, with a 2.5 percent success rate, according to the organisation’s 2020 figures. Comparatively, students from UK independent schools filed 4,060 applications to the university with a 21.8 percent success rate. Find out more. 



New UAE labour law: Teens can now get part-time jobs alongside their studies

Teens may now get jobs alongside their schooling

While weekend jobs have long been a rite of passage for teenagers across the world, they’ve not been possible in the UAE – until now. The UAE’s new labour law enables teenagers above 15 to work inside the country under conditions that govern their rights. Under the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on regulating labour relations, announced on 22 November 2021, teenagers aged 15 and above can work after obtaining written consent from their guardians and a medical fitness report.

The new law amendments regarding the employment of teenagers comes after the government announced a new temporary work visa earlier in September that allows teenagers above 15 to get a part-time job alongside their schooling.

The executive regulations will determine the sectors that are prohibited from hiring teenagers, with criteria of exception for the entities that can train juveniles in the workplace.

Find out the conditions that need to be met in order for teens to get jobs in the UAE.


UK MPs launch inquiry into ‘effectiveness’ of post-16 qualifications

A new inquiry into the “effectiveness” of post-16 qualifications like A-levels, T Levels and BTECs has been launched by the UK’s House of Commons education committee.

MPs on the committee will explore whether a new baccalaureate system that would “allow young people to study a greater blend of academic and vocational subjects” should be introduced in their place – an idea proposed by its chair Robert Halfon in 2019.

The ‘Future of Post-16 Qualifications’ inquiry will consider whether current post-16 courses “properly prepare young people for the future world of work”, according to a spokesperson.

Controversial proposed reforms to level 3 qualifications, which could spell the end of funding for most BTECs, as well as the proposals set out in the Skills and Education Bill currently going through parliament, will also be examined. Find out more.

Meet the first female Emirati principal

Photo for illustrative purposes only

Dr Nora Al Midfa, the first female Emirati principal, tells The National that she remembers cleaning classrooms before lessons at one of the first schools to open before the UAE’s unification.

In a fascinating video, the 71-year-old recounts her experience of teaching at a time when you still needed passports to pass from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi, and when she met Sheikh Zayed himself at the opening of Maysaloon School in Sharjah. See what she has to say when she compares the students of today with the children she taught in her heyday. 

UAE celebrates 100,000 public school students visiting Expo 2020 Dubai so far

Students got into a formation depicting the shape of “100K” at Expo Dubai 2020 on Wednesday to celebrate the fact that 100,000 students from UAE government schools have visited the Expo since it opened on October 1.

Pictures of the formation and well wishes were tweeted on Wednesday by Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education.

“I am proud of this great achievement and we will, God willing, contribute to more educational achievements and activities in our country and to our sons and daughters in our public schools,” she tweeted.
The Expo School Programme offers free tickets, exclusive to UAE schools, for students to explore the three Thematic Districts (Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability), as well as various pavilions celebrating the legacy and future of the UAE. There are a number of other initiatives for students under the overall school programme at Expo. Has your school visited Expo yet? Find out more.

UAE principals react to Adele’s viral teacher-reunion video

Singer-songwriter Adele’s emotional reunion with her inspirational secondary-school English teacher went viral this week, following the broadcast of the ITV show ‘An Evening with Adele’. In it, the Grammy-award-winning, platinum-record-selling artist traced her talent for lyric writing back to the passion for English first instilled in her by her secondary-school English teacher’s inspirational influence. Here, UAE principals and educationalists share their response to the video, and recall their own influential teachers from childhood.

England’s most prestigious universities failing to boost social mobility

from Dubai to the University of Oxford by Jessica Cullen. A Guide to Applying to University.

Well-known British universities, including Exeter, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge, were found to have done the least to help those from the lowest-income households, according to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies(IFS), which for the first time ranks higher education institutions in England by their contribution to social mobility.

The IFS study found that Oxbridge and other highly selective universities admit so few people from disadvantaged backgrounds that their impact is far outweighed by other institutions recruiting low-income students in greater numbers and helping them into higher paid careers after graduation.
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is the sole example of a member of the Russell Group of leading universities with an outstanding record in both admitting a high proportion of students who had received free school meals and boosting their career prospects. Find out more.

International students return to Oz for first time in a year as Australia opens borders

Australian International School set to open in Dubai in August 2019

The first contingent of international students arrived in Australia this week under its travel bubble with Singapore, which came into effect on Sunday.
Travellers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who depart from Singapore can enter Australia without quarantining for the first time since March 2020.
Two flights of international students landed in Sydney and Melbourne on Sunday, the first batch of international students to arrive in Australia since November 2020, according to Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia.
The initial batch will be followed by another 500 students that will arrive in December.
“Universities have worked closely with government and health authorities for more than 18 months on plans to safely welcome back our international friends,” Jackson said in a media release on Sunday, adding that around 130,000 international students remain outside Australia.
Australia’s lucrative international education industry was crippled by the country’s strict border closure in response to the pandemic.
Universities lost 4.9 percent of their revenue, an estimated 1.8 billion Australian dollars (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020 and cut 17,000 jobs. Read more.

UAE teacher salaries: 400 teaching jobs on offer at schools

Schools across the UAE are recruiting to fill hundreds of vacancies – with start dates ranging from next term to the next academic year.
More than 400 jobs are on offer in the country according to Tes – formerly Times Educational Supplement –- one of the largest job sites for the education sector.
Major school groups in the country including Gems Education, Taaleem, Aldar, and several independent schools have advertised jobs.
Jobs range from primary school teachers to subject specialists and head of years, to principals, vice principals and inclusion specialists. While the majority of jobs are in Dubai, there are some listed in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah. Find out more about which schools are recruiting for new staff.

Study: The more high performing the school, the more stressed and lonely the pupils

Covid 19 and child isolation has been catastrophic on child mental health

Pupils at outstanding schools are more stressed, sleep worse and feel more overworked compared to their peers at lower-rated institutions, a survey of 45,000 UK schoolchildren has found.
The research, conducted by Edurio which carries out surveys for schools, found high rates of stress and anxiety among pupils and an increase in the number who felt lonely.
Overall, only 47 per cent said they had been “feeling well” in the period leading up to the study and 46 per cent said they were often stressed.
Stress levels and bad sleep were at their worst in GCSE years.
More than a quarter of pupils described feeling lonely, much higher than in a previous study before the pandemic when the Office for National Statistics found that 11 per cent of schoolchildren struggled with loneliness.
The research found a correlation between pupil well being and the school’s Ofsted rating, with those at the best institutions feeling the most overworked and worried. Read more.

LOOK: Pictures from Arcadia School’s Festival of School event

The Arcadia School Dubai’s Festival of Schools event sold out completely, with more than 850 families in attendance on Saturday 20 November 2021. Were you there? See if you can spot yourself in our gallery. And if you weren’t there – take a look at what made it such a roaring success.   

Don’t Miss: The last Festival of Schools event of the season. And there’s a VIP!

The Festival of Schools will arrive in Victory Heights Primary School (VHPS) this weekend, and we can’t wait! After the sold-out success of the Festival at Arcadia School last weekend, the team behind Victory Heights Primary School have put together a very special FREE family day out. The Festival of Schools at Victory Heights will get the whole family in the mood for Christmas, with lots of artisan craft shopping PLUS a visit from a very special man in red… Find out more….

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's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Thursday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter.

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