The new school will focus its attention on unsettled children and implement its highly successful educational model from the UK, catering for Dubai parents
The new Riverston School Dubai, due to open in September, will tackle the issue of bullying head-on, following on from recent announcements during the past two months by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on this important topic.
The Dubai Student Wellbeing Census highlighted the challenges that children face at school, with 11 per cent of Dubai’s children reporting that they felt unsafe at school.
Riverston School Dubai, which welcomes parents and children next month, is geared to tackle this problem, and with its specific focus on individual timetables, the school will operate as a branch campus of Riverston School London.
Two hundred Dubai schools took part in the week-long anti-bullying campaign announced by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority. The authority has recently called upon parents and teachers to work together to address Dubai’s bullying problem, after a study showed thousands of pupils feel unsafe in the classroom.
Speaking about the bullying issue in Dubai, Hind Al Mualla, Chief of Creativity, Happiness and Innovation at KHDA, said: “Pupils’ wellbeing and safety is the responsibility of all stakeholders – schools, teachers, parents, policymakers and operators – and we must all work together to ensure children feel happy and safe.
“If the child demonstrates negative or bullying traits, it’s as much the parents’ role to intercept this behaviour as much as the school’s to ensure that all classrooms are safe spaces for pupils.”
Dubai’s student population has soared in recent years with more than 281,000 children studying across Dubai’s 194 private schools. Bullying takes form in many ways and the rise of cyber-bullying has put an added pressure on young people, changing the nature of the problem which means that a different set of challenges exist for school children.
Up until now, there hasn’t been a school that has singularly targeted children who are unsettled in other schools. Riverston School Dubai is fully equipped to change that, as the primary focus is providing children with individual care and attention, as well as an individual timetable.
Founding Principal, David Quick, explained: “I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It is my desire as the Principal of Riverston School Dubai to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk taking, and invites a sharing of ideas.”
The major element that plays a big part in providing individualised learning is the size of each class. In a normal school, a teacher has a class of 25 children in a room – all with their own personalities, learning styles and needs, family situations, sleeping patterns etc. – and this becomes difficult to manage, meaning children who are bullied often slip under the radar.
Up until now, parents in Dubai have been forced to send their children to big schools with large class sizes, and factory-like systems. Riverston School Dubai is set to attract parents who are searching for a more personalised environment, with specialist teachers and maximum class sizes of 15 children. This news will certainly strike a chord with parents in Dubai with children who may have been affected by some form of bullying recently.
The school welcomes children who, for a number of reasons (such as bullying, language difficulties, and learning needs), might be struggling or unhappy in other schools.
“Riverston School Dubai will have almost twice the staff of a conventional school, providing each child with more support from teaching staff. In essence, this will mean twice as much in-depth knowledge of each child, with twice as much teaching and assistance. This adds up twice as much feedback and support. This is a school where, so often, we can see children find their character and strengths, and where they can grow in confidence and achievement in a safe and secure environment,” added David Quick.