The KHDA school report (“Mummy knows best”)
The KHDA (the UAE’s version of Ofsted, for those unaware) released the results of this year’s school inspections this week and I was delighted to see that my children’s school was not among the 12 that had been rated as “outstanding”.
Yes, I said not.
Obviously, the mums whose children go to the “outstanding” schools were looking a bit smug in Dubai’s coffee shops yesterday, but I personally think we mums should trust our own judgement more than that of the KHDA.
The KHDA ratings are done on a combination of school inspections, which are carried out with the school’s knowledge and hence open to abuse, as well as questionnaires filled out by parents.
Significant weight is given to the teaching of Islamic education and Arabic language; if these aren’t up to the KHDA’s expectations, the weighting of the school slides a little. My children go to a British school, with a British curriculum. That they learn Arabic is a wonderful thing, but it’s hardly the lynchpin of their school careers.
Anyway. When our school sent home the link to the online questionnaire, the headmaster pointed out what a disappointingly low percentage of parents had bothered to fill it out last year and appealed to the parent body to make more of an effort this year.
But, why would I want to fill it out? If I admit that the school’s as good as I think it is, it’ll get an “outstanding” ranking and hence be permitted to put its high fees up even more. The alternative is to lie and say it’s pretty rubbish – if we all did that, it’d get an “unacceptable” rating and wouldn’t attract good teachers.
So, stuck between a rock and a hard place, I didn’t bother doing it. Again.
But here’s the thing: My children run into the classroom each day without looking back; their teachers have all been excellent; the children astound me with the things they’ve been taught each day; they’re both making progress above my expectations; and they miss school in the holidays.
You can’t get more “outstanding” than that, can you?