Continuity and retaining a good team over the past four years has led to Royal Dubai School moving up from good to outstanding, its principal said.
Kevin Loft, head of the Mirdif school, said: “We’ve been working for these four years to develop. It’s the recognition of the work that’s gone on for a long time. In that time it’s been the same senior leadership team, which has helped. As a team, we’re quite strong and have a strong leadership.”
Continuity makes a big difference in a country where staff retention can be a challenge due to the nature of the transient population, he added.
“In international schools, maintaining staff at all levels is a challenge,” Mr Loft said. “At senior level, it’s less of a challenge because they can stay longer and our senior leadership team is a reasonable size. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to hold them altogether.”
A major shake-up has taken place at the school, with greater emphasis placed on Arabic and Islamic studies, which no doubt helped elevate the school’s rating. “We’ve really taken that forward over the last 12 months,” he said. “We restructured the team and our approach to the whole area.
“We brought in a coaching model to the staff members, which has developed their pedagogy and practice along with the programme they deliver.”
The school has even been teaching parents Arabic, with the first group now in their second year.
“They learn to read, write and speak, the same as the kids in the class. The feedback from the parents has been really positive because, when the students get stuck with homework, the parents can actually help them and share what they know too,” said Mr Loft.
The school has also developed an Islamic academy for Muslim pupils to have extra study time in areas such as Quranic recitation. “In school, they only get two 40-minute sessions, which isn’t really enough to develop these kinds of skills,” he said. “The parents wanted more but, from a teaching perspective, we realised we could get more from the kids if we offered more for them.”
The improvement will mean fees at the school can be increased but Mr Loft said he was unaware of exactly what any increase would be.
Source: uae news