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Seminar Programme

Seven years of visitor feedback means we have whittled down the burning topics for UAE based parents. The talks are free to attend and the programme has been curated to inform and educate.

Friday Seminars

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13:00 Should I stay or should I go?

The Tatler Schools Guidance Keynote Debate featuring:

  • Jamie Monaghan, Vice Principal, North London Collegiate School, Dubai;
  • Michael Lambert, Headmaster, Dubai College;
  • David Cook, Headmaster, Repton School Dubai.
  • Gemma Gray, Director of Admissions, Fettes College
  • Iona Hutchinson, Director of Admissions, Charterhouse

With one of the world’s highest concentrations of international schools, Dubai has long been coveted by arriving ex-pats for its educational offerings. The last decade has seen rapid-growth in the number of international schools in UAE; indeed there are over 280 private international schools in Dubai alone. What unique opportunities do they offer and how does a Dubai education compare with its British counterpart?

1pm Friday

14:00 IB or A-Level - what's right for your child?

  • Giles Vosper Brown, Registrar, Malvern College
  • Niall Hamilton, International Admissions Tutor, Marlborough College

It is probably fair to say the IB Diploma Programme has ousted the A-level as the international schools' sixth form qualification of choice. Yet over 96% of British-based students still gain entry into UK universities using the tried and tested A-level qualification.

The AS/A2 system has now been scrapped, so the reversion to the 'harder' fully linear A-level is now fully in place. Regardless of the tinkering which is the better qualification for your child? If you are US college bound is the IB a must?

2pm Friday

15:00 When is the right time to make the move?

  • Naomi Bartholomew, Headmistress, St Catherine’s Prep, Bramley
  • Alastair Graham, Headmaster and Proprietor, Hall Grove School

Parent hysteria frequently clouds this issue and there is not one answer for all students. Each school will of course have main entry points, publicizing these with accompanying, comprehensive and clear admissions processes.

Entrance assessments often appear daunting at first glance. After all the most academically selective schools begin their admissions process for Year 9 as early as Year 5, and many senior schools now pre-test applicants in Year 6. But equally you should be aware that formal admission assessments might not even be required by some schools at other points of entry.

3pm Friday

16:00 US College or UK University?

  • James Higgins, Bonas MacFarlane Education

How do you decide which higher education system will best serve your needs, helping you to flourish both academically and as an individual? Once decided, how do you navigate the application process for each system? What is required, what matters most and what really will help you to stand out?

James has supported students to make successful applications to universities across the world. In addition to this, he spearheaded Bonas MacFarlane’s University Preparation Programme that enables students from all environments to secure places at Oxbridge and Russell Group institutions. This background, alongside his experience as a teacher and a Head of Department and Head of Y10 and 11, allows James to provide considered advice on how to make a distinguished application in a balanced and practical manner.

4pm Friday

Saturday Seminars

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13:00 Should I stay or should I board?

  • Panel discussion featuring Dubai families who have sent their children to boarding schools
  • plus Martin Cropper, Director of Admission, Shrewsbury

The last decade has seen rapid-growth in the number of international schools in UAE; indeed there are over 280 private international schools in Dubai alone. So why do many Dubai families opt for British, Irish and Swiss boarding schools? What unique opportunities do boarding schools offer and how does a Dubai education compare?

1pm Saturday

14:00 IB or A-Level - what's right for your child?

  • Arabella Stuart, Director of Admissions, Sevenoaks

It is probably fair to say the IB Diploma Programme has ousted the A-level as the international schools' sixth form qualification of choice. Yet over 96% of British-based students still gain entry into UK universities using the tried and tested A-level qualification. With the AS/A2 system now scrapped, the reversion to the 'harder' fully linear A-level is now fully in place. Regardless of the tinkering, which is the better qualification for your child? If you are US college bound is the IB a must?

2pm Saturday

15:00 When is the right time to make the move?

  • William Petty, Director, Bonas MacFarlane Education

There is no easy answer to this question. Each school will advertise its main entry points, as well as its admissions processes. The latter can appear daunting. The most academically selective schools begin their admissions process for Year 9 as early as Year 5, and many senior schools now pre-test applicants in Year 6. But equally you should be aware that formal admission assessments might not even be required by some schools at other points of entry. 

William's talk will look at the practicalities of the admission process. What is a cognitive ability test? Does the 11+ still exist? Surely it's cheaper and easier to wait until sixth form (Year 12) entry?

3pm Saturday

16:00 US College or UK University?

  • James Higgins, Bonas MacFarlane Education

How do you decide which higher education system will best serve your needs, helping you to flourish both academically and as an individual? Once decided, how do you navigate the application process for each system? What is required, what matters most and what really will help you to stand out?

James has supported students to make successful applications to universities across the world. In addition to this, he spearheaded Bonas MacFarlane’s University Preparation Programme that enables students from all environments to secure places at Oxbridge and Russell Group institutions. This background, alongside his experience as a teacher and a Head of Department and Head of Y10 and 11, allows James to provide considered advice on how to make a distinguished application in a balanced and practical manner.

4pm Saturday