Well, I made one of the local papers this morning! Find it here. Unfortunately the article is not about my best selling books (one can but dream) but about the schooling in Dubai and choices one makes. My ds's were on the panel of kids at boarding schools. The eldest went away to school when we lived here the last time when he was ten. It was the hardest thing I have done which includes child birth and the best things I have done. Ds1 is dyslexic and when here the support (outside of the classroom) was good it was not enough. We were given the option of holding him back a year or looking at another local school. I was told by his then headmaster and that he clearly didn't have it and wouldn't go far. If the school wasn't behind him and with the bullying he experienced then I had little choice.
So with the help of the wonderfully wise Sue Anderson we decided to send him back to the UK. Any mother who has done this knows what that is like. The tears over the phone when you are miles away. The matches you never see, the small triumphs that are missed... I had to think of the boy and not me. If he continued here in education with me he would continue to believe he was stupid- the other kids said it and so did his headmaster.
He didn't look back. In small classes he could ask all the questions in his head and finally learn. He was properly assessed and told there is nothing to stop you from getting his PhD in Physics from Cambridge. So at first in small steps watched by teachers who nurtured the growing confidence Ds1 flourished. He moved onto his next school. Last week in the UK I met with his teachers who applauded his goals. He intends to do his A levels in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Art with the plan to study engineering at Imperial continuing through their masters programme. They looked at me and said he can do it. He can receive the A*s required and nothing lower than a B in the other GCSE subjects (meaning English and RE).
I only told him his headmaster's comment from all those years ago before Christmas. He was quite rightly angry (this man is still in education here in Dubai). I told DS1 the best revenge is success.
So ds1 had a convincing need to be away. Why did I send ds2? Well, he has no learning difficulties at all unless you count laziness. However I was warned that ds2 was the 'perfect' student. He sat comfortably at the top of his class here. He was joy and never a problem. A wise PE teacher said to me quietly and off the record - if you want to pull the best out of him you will need to find teachers who have time to challenge him. In boarding school they have time to know the kids and pull the best out of them. They have done so with ds2.
I am now sitting with the same dilemma with dd. The schools here are not challenging her. She is happy to do only what is asked and nothing more...It is such a waste of a clever and curious mind. I have no faith in the education provided here. Profit as with many things in Dubai is the key motivator at schools. Teachers are not supported properly and don't often stick around long. Education here could be fabulous. The multi cultural aspect of the community is wonderful. The facilities are great but the schools seem to lack the desire to reach higher and pull the best out of the their students.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts. I believe I have made the right choices for my kids thus far. Interestingly enough both boys said the same when they were on the panel yesterday.