British school seeks KHDA clarification on new age criteria

Will December 31 cutoff date set by KHDA for new admissions put UK curriculum students at a disadvantage?

Dubai: A British school in Dubai has sought clarification from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on its new age criteria for admissions as it could mean students in UK curriculum schools here would not be on a par with their international counterparts.

On May 6, KHDA intimated schools of the new admissions policy, stipulating that KG1/FS2 children registering for 2014-15 should be four years old as of December 31 this year. But Dubai British School (DBS), like most other schools, has already finalised its admissions for 2014-15.

Dawn Rennie, Admissions Officer, said it opens its admissions 18 months before the academic year commences. She said the school has finalised its September 2014 admissions and accepted applications for 2015-16 on the basis of the August 31 cutoff in line with international norms.

International norm

She said: “DBS has received a notification from the KHDA advising us of the new regulations. However, our admissions policy is to keep students in line with UK and international admissions norms. Any decision DBS makes is taken with the best interest of our students. We have therefore written to the KHDA seeking further clarification… should DBS and Dubai Foundation (a Taaleem school that offers UK curriculum) be required to amend their policies we will of course contact parents and advise them accordingly.”

She said: “The main confusion is due to the unexpected change in the proposed December 31 cutoff date. Parents are concerned that other countries as well as the UK have an earlier cutoff date – August 31. Should their child return to their home country and join a British curriculum school, they could be out of the age group. DBS has advised parents that we are seeking a clarification from KHDA and as soon as we have clarity, we will be in touch.”

seeking clarity

DBS also offers FS1/pre-KG where the age cutoff is three by August 31.

While parents are seeking greater clarity on what the new age regulations for this category are, Kalthoom Al Beloushi, Director of Institutional Development, KHDA, told XPRESS: “If a school is providing high quality education, they will be given approval to offer provision for three-year-old students. The list of schools that have been granted approval will be announced after all the requests have been processed by KHDA.”