Dubai: The first day of school proceeded smoothly for schools across the UAE as hundreds of thousands of students returned from the summer break, principals told Gulf News on Sunday.
Around 858,000 students started their first school day of the 2015-16 academic year on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the northern emirates.
Coping with a large number of students going back to school can be a challenge for schools, however, principals said the first day passed smoothly thanks to their careful planning.
Principal of GEMS International School Chris McDermott said more than 1,000 students came to school today on the first day.
“It all went smoothly because we made sure to send emails to the parents to explain what exactly to expect and we allowed parents of the younger students to come in and get to know the teachers.”
McDermott hopes the new academic year will see the school perform better in inspections and the school community become tighter.
Similarly, Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at Taaleem, said more than 8,000 students in Taleem’s 11 schools started their first day of school on Sunday.
“The start of the year went very well. There are always challenges when starting the year but lots of communication before today helped our parents and students know exactly where to go, what to bring and what to expect on the first day,” said Pierrepont.
He said Sunday was also the first day at Taleem’s new school, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park.
“The first day at the new school went exceptionally well and we were delighted by a surprise visit from celebrated chef Gary Rhodes who we had been working with for the past six months designing menus for our new family dining school lunch experience,” he said.
On the first day of school, the British International School in Abu Dhabi filled its classrooms with approximately 1,500 pupils this year and have implemented a heightened level of organisation through revamping timetables and thinking of intricate details such as the location of water coolers, Principal Patrick Horne said.
All of this has been done to benefit the efficiency of the educational establishment as a whole and to incorporate the new secondary section. “The teachers have been back for two weeks to make sure every part of the school is really well organised, so kids can start from day one,” he explained.
In comparison, preparations for the upcoming year had Al Maseera Primary and Secondary School in Al Ain coordinate student walks throughout campus to become familiarised with the facilities and follow up on rules and procedures including safety for high school pupils, Vice-Principal Dionne Foy said.
However, those enrolled in elementary section enjoyed their day with a carnival to gear up their excitement for the upcoming school year.
As the integration of a boy’s cycle one (grades one to five) section has expanded the education establishment, the school has seen a growth with 100 new students bringing the total to roughly 600, she explained.
Therefore, the extension intensifies the achievement of their goals. “We would like to see an increase in technological integration and higher test scores in math and English and to start building upon our English writing skill,” Foy said.