The Top Schools Award for Happiest School in the United Arab Emirates. Top Schools Awards 2023 Nomination and Entry Forms.
Below is the official entry form for the Top Schools Award for Happiest School in the United Arab Emirates. For many schools, and parents, this is the most important Award we present at The Top Schools Awards.
It is telling that at least one school regulator, the KHDA in Dubai, today places the happiness of children as centrifugally important in what it means to be an outstanding school within its inspections. Read more on this here.
Extraordinarily, child happiness has not always been high up on the list of priorities in education for and in schools worldwide. Earlier generations focused much more on resilience, “toughening up” and results. As a result, schools in earlier generations, arguably, had more in common with the Hunger Games, survival of the fittest and a focus on group think rather than the individual – and many were significantly more brutal than any of us find even remotely acceptable today. To some degree this arose, perhaps, under the historical background of the World Wars. Today, there is recognition, built in some part on the orthodoxy of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, that if children are fighting to survive, they are not only going to suffer an unhappy childhood at school – but substantively are unlikely to have the space, time and safety to learn the most important lessons in education that come from the space to create and innovate, conceptualise and imagine, and think of others with, and often before, themselves. A whole child education, one beyond rote learning and results, is built on the foundations of schools that ensure the happiness of children.
In practice, delivering a happy school is not at all as simple as it would seem. We know of schools that secure very high academic performance from students, but which have struggled with their well-being. Creditably, the best of these schools today invest heavily in trying to secure a way through the Scylla and Charybdis of what can be, in practice, two wholly divergent challenges in delivering an outstanding education for children.
What we do all know, however, as parents and human beings, is that a zero tolerance for bullying, together with the recognition that every child is different, must come before you can even begin to create happy schooling. Happy schools are those that enable children to flourish in the areas in which they are gifted and passionate, those which ensure that every child can excel on their own terms, rather than those creating an education in which every child is, relatively, average across-the-board. These are schools with individualised learning with breadth of pathways and subjects equally valued; school in which every child is listened to and known, not only by name, but for what makes them who they are and appreciated for who they are; schools that are rich in teaching faculty who feel education as a vocation and leaving no child behind as a given – all of these things and more begin to build the foundations of happy schooling.
Above and beyond this, there is the intangible and ubiquitous you experience when you visit a happy school – it’s one that children do not want to leave and run to in the morning. It’s a school in which a whole child education has the foundations in place to actually be delivered and made real. It’s a school that gives us all faith, ultimately, in a better world because it’s a school in which every child has the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them; find their own voice with those of others; find the self-belief to understand we can, and do, all make a difference by our actions and words, and then make that difference.
This Award then recognises schools that place happiness centre stage in what they seek to achieve for every child – because they recognise that it is only from this, that education can be successful for every child in ways that matter beyond numbers and ticking boxes. In so many ways, happy schooling is the hardest thing to deliver – because it means getting absolutely everything right in a school – and building an education that relies on understanding that it is not enough to educate how you think a child should be educated. You need to look too to how a child thinks and feels that they should be educated, or needs to be educated, at any given moment in time.
In this award then, we are looking for a school that sets the region alight with the quality of its provision for children across every aspect of school life, experienced through the lens of the happiness of each individual child, and collective happiness of its school community. It will be a school hugely ambitious for every one of its students. It will be a school that is loved by its students, parents, teachers, school leaders and owners alike – it will be a school that makes each of them proud.
Given our focus on excellence in STEAM this year, we are particularly focused on schools that powerfully play to the strengths of the Arts in STEM – one that celebrates the way that subject areas relate together to inspire innovation and creativity in solving problems defined by both students and society more broadly. We are looking for schools that don’t place children in boxes but celebrate all parts of the curriculum.
The happiest schools shine a light on what the best education in the world can be, must be – with a focus on the bigger, whole child picture of education, a recognition of the importance of providing a breadth of subject knowledge to meet the broader needs of every child, a profound recognition of the importance of happiness and wellbeing in education – and a recognition of cross-curricular knowledge as the engine block of the 21st century economy and social contract.
For this Award then, we are looking for schools that builds to all these strengths. We are looking for schools that celebrate their contribution to education in the UAE as one driven through the needs and happiness of each individual child, one that strives to ensure that every young man and woman leaves their school with a holistic education built on their individual needs, ambitions and gifts, and one celebrating the many ways we all live our lives beyond books in living a good and meaningful life.
This will be a school that sparkles with imagination and ambition in the way it teaches children, one with an extraordinary warmth that engenders the passion of teachers and the happiness of children, and so parents, alike. It will be a school that ensures that every student can speak confidently with others with knowledge, integrity and passion, about a breadth of subjects and interests, each empowered with the values and confidence to make a positive, personal impact in the life before them. These schools are those in which school days will be looked back on, genuinely, as the happiest of their lives.
Note: this Award is open to Primary-only and all-through schools in the UAE.
The Top Schools Award for Happiest School in the United Arab Emirates – schools please download the official application form here.
For Parents, Governors, Teachers and Students
Parents, teachers, governors and students – we want to hear from you! If you believe that your school is defined by the happiness of its children, please contact us with your answer to the following. “I would like to nominate X school [name of school] as the happiest school in the UAE because …. ” Please email us at [email protected]. You can write as little or as much as you wish, and please include photographs if possible. Please do your best to bring to life for us the impact the school has had on you and/or children in your email and what happiness at school means to you.
The Top Schools Awards 2023-24
This year, the Top Schools Awards are celebrating outstanding achievement in our schools with a particular focus on how schools inspire children by linking all subject areas to bring the extraordinary wonders of the Arts, creativity, imagination – and freedom to experiment and innovate, into all areas of the curriculum including, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
We believe, passionately, that the Arts are absolutely fundamental to delivering an outstanding, and happy, education for every child, one focused on the whole child and the gifts all children have to change the world for the better and make the difference – every day, and in the future. The Arts bring STEM to life.
Rocket Girl – the Arts and Sciences, together, brought to life
In November 2023, members of the TSA Space and Rocket programme completed first phase testing of the ImaginationTM powered Jet Pack specially manufactured for this year’s STEAM focused Awards. We visited a number of the region’s most outstanding schools. We are particularly grateful for the assistance of the extraordinary and accredited Rocket Pilot, Space Girl and aspiring young engineer Ava from Victory Heights Primary School in Dubai(pictured) for her considerable, and quite, totally, awesome, bravery and kindness in completing rocket pack inaugural flight testing. If you look carefully you can even see Ava winking as she is about to take flight….
Without her, and those many other children we visited across the UAE, none of this would have been possible. They made us… believe.
For schools seeking further information on The Top Schools Awards 2023 – 2024, please contact [email protected]
Read our Guide to the Top Schools Awards 2023 – 2024 here, including details of our Awards for STEAM and Bursaries.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Fine Art and Creative Studio Work here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Music here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Sport here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Environmental Science and Sustainability here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for the Best School in the UAE for “Architecture and Design to Inspire Children in a UAE School” here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for the Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for the UAE Early Years Teacher of the Year 2023-24 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for the UAE Primary School Teacher of the Year 2023 – 2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for the UAE Secondary School Teacher of the Year 2023 – 2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best Principal in the UAE 2023- 2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best Primary School in the UAE 2023 – 2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best School in the UAE for Post-16 Education here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best School for Technical and Vocational Stream Education in the UAE, including for BTEC and/or the IB Career-related Programme.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best School in the UAE for its Outstanding Blended Arabic-International Curriculum 2023-2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best Indian Curriculum School in the United Arab Emirates 2023-2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best American Curriculum School in the United Arab Emirates 2023- 2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for the Best British Curriculum School in the United Arab Emirates 2023-2024 here.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best International Baccalaureate School in the United Arab Emirates 2023-2024.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best Blended International Baccalaureate School in the United Arab Emirates 2023-2024.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Best New School in the United Arab Emirates 2018 – 2023.
Read about the Top Schools Award for Happiest School in the United Arab Emirates 2023-24.
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