A Guide to Choosing a New School for Your Child

Where will your child go to school this year?

Many schools are wonderful, however the search can be overwhelming and choosing a new school can feel intimidating. What should you be looking for in a new school? How can you be sure that you make the right choice? Here are some important factors you should take into consideration before making your final choice.

Social and Emotional Factors:

While most people think of academics when they think of choosing a new school, you shouldn’t stop there. Schools also teach (or fail to teach) children social skills and how to interact with others.

Schools should be proactive about teaching children values like friendship, kindness, emotional well-being, and more. You can ask about this when you visit the school. However, you can also get an impression by looking at displays on the walls at the school. Often, in addition to student work, you can see displays that show what values are being practiced or awards for students who’ve exemplified moral or ethical skills.

Also within this category is how the school approaches problems like bullying. Make sure that the school you are considering has a designated policy in place.

Teacher Turnover:

Ask each school you’re considering about teacher turnover rates. High turnover can indicate that there’s a problem with administration or the school culture. Consistency in the staff is good for students, not only academically, but in creating a strong, healthy school community.


We would be remiss not to mention academic rigor as a factor to consider when looking at new schools. Ask about the curriculum used and what their educational philosophy is. UK / US / IB have different approaches. Many progressive education philosophies such as Montessori, Project Based Learning, and others, prioritize child-centered learning and helping children move at their own pace. Learning a second language is also very valuable.

Transitions can be challenging for any kid. At this stage, while your child is adjusting to their new normal, they might benefit from some extra academic support. On UrbanCircle you can find a variety of trusted, qualified tutors providing academic support in math, reading, language, to name a few.


For elementary students, research shows that homework may not benefit students very much. As such, we suggest you consider schools with less focus on homework and more focus on developing skills through quality playtime during these stages This will give your child more time to get involved with fun activities like sports or other after school activities.

For older students, some homework should be expected. You want to check what kind of assignments are given as homework so that you can know what to expect. The best homework requires students to retrieve or remember information they’ve already gone through in class.

Practical Concerns:

Of course, as parents, you must also factor in practical aspects of your life when considering schools. For example, how close is the school to your home or workplace? The school hours are another consideration that might affect your family life in a big way. While convenience may not be your top concern, it might help you break a tie between two favorite schools.

With these subjects in mind, you can visit and explore various options and make a solid decision about which school is the best for your child and family.

The tools below can also help you in your search for schools:

  • KHDA iPhone App: This mobile application allows you to search for Dubai schools using a number of criteria, including school performance, location and curriculum. Click here to download it.
  • KHDA Directory: This allows you to find schools in Dubai, their contact details and website addresses.
  • School Inspection Reports: The Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) issues annual inspection reports that include detailed feedback on each school. Click here to find the inspection report for the school(s) you are considering.

Before you know it, your child will be thriving in the new school you’ve chosen!

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