What age do children enter schools in the UAE?

Default Asked on May 17, 2014 in Starting Ages.
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There has been considerable confusion over this, and while more clarity has been provided there is still some confusion, especially in Dubai. We’re keeping this article on school starting age on whichschooladvisor.com updated, so go here for the latest information…

The confusion has arisen because of new UAE MoE guidelines regarding school age. These are:

• KG1/FS2 children must be 4 years of age by December 31st
• The cut-off age date for schools starting their academic year in September has changed to December 31.
• The cut-off age date for schools starting their academic year in April has changed from to July 31.
• This ruling will take effect from the beginning of the 2014/15 academic year for September schools and for 2015/16 for April schools .
• All students must be enrolled in school by the age of 6. This is the equivalent of Grade 1/Year 2.

What the ruling has meant is that Pre-K/FS1 looks like it is no longer part of a school’s offering.

However, in the latest comments from the KHDA to the The National newspaper, the authority said “schools will still be able to offer FS1 classes, provided they can prove the education is of a high quality and that pre-primary is a recognised part of their curriculum.”

In a note to The National newspaper Kalthoom Al Balooshi, director of institutional development at KHDA said certain curricula, for example UK, would start providing education from the age of three.

As far as WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is aware this would only apply to England and Wales curriculum schools, where the starting age for FS1 is 3 years of age and FS1 is a core part of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.

Schools would presumably still need to have a “high quality” of education – which may (or may not) mean schools should be rated Good or Outstanding to offer FS1 by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau.

In the latest piece of information released by the KHDA to XPress newspaper, Al Balooshi noted “The list of schools that have been granted approval will be announced after all the requests have been processed by KHDA.” This begs two further questions. When will the list be finalised, and, obviously, which schools will be on it? WhichSchoolAdvisor.com believes many (but not all) schools will have been given an intimation if they will be on the lis.

Note: There are more UK based schools than any other in the emirate. In total 51 of the schools in Dubai are UK curriculum based, and account for just under one-third of all students in school…

Default Answered on May 3, 2015.
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